I’ve done a lot of bad shit in my life. Sure, I can make the usual excuses for my crimes – a rough upbringing, poverty, addiction, falling in with a bad crowd and so on. It’s all true up to a point, but in the end a man needs to take responsibility for his own actions.
I never had much respect for the judicial system when growing up. I hated the cops and resented being pulled in, but I was smart enough to know how to play the system and so never spent any long spells in juvie or prison. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t so bad. I was certainly a repeat offender but not a serious criminal like a murderer or rapist.
My crimes were relatively minor – burglary, car theft, possession of controlled substances, resisting arrest etc. I told myself I had it under control, but in reality, my life was violent and chaotic, and I was trapped in a downward spiral.
Obviously, I didn’t fear the courts or police and nothing in the mortal world could scare me straight. But that was before I stood trial in the court of the damned. After what I went through, I’ll never commit another crime again.
Let me start at the beginning. The night of the ‘incident’ was pretty fucked up. I was off my head on a lethal combination of vodka and cocaine and unwisely decided to steal a BMW and go on a nice little joy ride.
My speeding and swerving through the dark city streets predictably drew the attention of the local constabulary, and what happened next was inevitable. I lost control of the car and collided with a brick wall.
I vividly recall the moment of impact, the terror I experienced as the vehicle left the road, and the shock and pain as my skull hit the dashboard and everything went black. No-one would expect to survive a crash so bad, and in that moment, I thought I was definitely dead.
Before the incident I’d never believed in an afterlife or in Heaven or Hell. I thought, once you were dead, that was it…Game over, and nothing but eternal darkness and oblivion. Despite my reckless behaviour, I actually didn’t want to die. Therefore, I was relieved to regain my consciousness and open my eyes…But of course, this feeling of relief did not last.
The thug hit me before I even had a chance to catch my breath or acknowledge my surroundings. I felt a sharp burning pain in my ribs, making me yelp aloud in shock and pain.
“Get up you, filthy bastard!” was the cry.
I looked through the darkness to see my attacker – a brutish man, easily 6 foot tall and built like a brick shithouse. He wore a crisp, jet black uniform and cap that made him look like a SS officer. The weapon in his hand appeared to be an elongated baton, although given the force and impact of the blow and the burning in my side, I suspected it might be a cattle prod.
But what really horrified me was his face. The man – if that’s what he was – looked like a walking corpse, his skin yellow, rotted and peeling, exposing the skull underneath. And his eyes…those damn eyes…they were dead and soulless, without a trace of humanity. The monster opened his mouth to reveal a gaping maw and cracked, rotting teeth.
His breath was vile, like something had crawled down his throat and died. And when he spoke his voice was deep and inhuman, his words chilling. I recoiled in horror as I watched him lift his baton, preparing to strike me for the second time.
“Get up you bastard! On your feet! I won’t ask again!”
“Okay, okay!” I whimpered, whilst raising my hands defensively.
I shakingly stood up, focusing on the baton as I backed away.
“Get in that damn cage!” he screamed, pointing behind me.
I turned around to see a literal cage before me, cold steel and a space barely big enough to hold my body. I shook my head in disbelief, turning back to my ghoulish captor, my heart suddenly filled with an angry defiance.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I swore.
His response was instant and violent, as he struck out with extreme force. I experienced an intense pain in my chest and suddenly fell backwards, landing heavily inside of the cage, my broken body helpless as the hideous guard slammed the door shut behind me.
I was now trapped like a rat, imprisoned in a space so small that I couldn’t sit down. The monstrous guard grinned sadistically as he looked over me and spat out his orders.
“That’s you nice and secure sinner. Now, stand tall and keep your mouth shut! Court is in session!”
Suddenly the darkened room burst into light and I was exposed to a collection of horrors beyond my wildest imagination. The first thing I noted was that I was inside a courtroom, although it wasn’t like any court I’d seen before. The room itself looked like a throwback to the middle ages, with prisoners thrown into cages and a jeering mob hurling abuse from the public galleries.
The layout of the court was more or less as I would have expected, with wooden pews for the jury members and an intimidating and ugly bench that seemed to be crudely forged from iron. I remained in a state of panicked confusion as I scanned the room, noting two other prisoners contained within cages to my right.
One was a silver-haired man in a sharp designer suit. I noted the deep scar across his face and mean look in his eyes. This prisoner clearly wasn’t happy about his predicament, as he screamed obscenities and bashed his fists against the steel cage in a futile act of angry defiance.
The prisoner in the next cage looked entirely out of place – a timid, middle-aged man with a bald head and pot belly. He looked like a deer stuck in headlights and was evidently terrified by his predicament, appearing on the verge of tears.
When he turned to face me, I noted his black shirt and white neck collar…A priest! What the hell was he doing here? Time would tell.
Meanwhile, the volume inside the courtroom rose to a crescendo. With some difficulty I turned my head to look back at the viewing gallery at the rear of the court. What I saw was an angry mob standing on benches, their faces twisted with hatred as they screamed vile abuse and threats at me and the other prisoners.
I just couldn’t understand it. But what really confused me was the way the men and women were dressed. They looked like they came from different periods of history – wearing everything from roman togas to medieval tunics and twenties zoot suits. It made no sense, but that’s what I saw.
Their hatred was so vitriol that I couldn’t bear to look upon them for more than a few seconds, so I turned my head and tried to ignore their hate-filled cries. At this point I tried to make sense of my surroundings and the horrifying situation I found myself in. This seemed like a nightmare, but I knew I wasn’t dreaming, because the pain I felt was too real. I was in a courtroom but not like any court I’d ever been in front of before. I considered myself something of an expert on the judicial system, having been through the mill many times. But I’d certainly never been treated like this before – beaten, caged, abused…this shit wasn’t right!
And suddenly my fear turned into defiance, as I angrily turned to face my captor – the zombie-like prison guard who stood outside my cage, grinning sadistically as he apparently relished our suffering.
“What the hell is this?” I exclaimed angrily, “You can’t treat me like this…I’ve got rights man!”
The ghoul laughed in open mockery before lashing out, poking his baton through the bars and hitting me hard in the stomach. I screamed as the pain shot through me, falling back against the cold steel of my tiny cage.
The hideous guard came up close to the bars, spitting his hateful words through clenched teeth.
“Listen here, you bastard! You have no rights in this court! So shut the fuck up or I’ll really hurt you!”
I gulped and fought through the pain, averting my eyes and meekly submitting. For a terrible moment I thought he would hit me again, just for badness sake, but instead he moved his attentions onto the other prisoners, beating both into submission with brutal efficiency.
I didn’t understand what the hell was going on here, but I knew this fucker would hurt me if I spoke again. And so, I kept my mouth shut and waited. In the next few minutes several things happened at once. Firstly, the jury box was suddenly filled up with twelve figures. I didn’t see them enter the courtroom or take their seats, but in an instant the benches were all occupied.
The jury members all appeared to be male, but it wasn’t possible for me to identify their gender. They looked similar to the ghoulish guard except less animated – living corpses dressed in ill-fitting suits, their skin yellow and peeling, and eyes empty and devoid of life.
The sight of the twelve was horrific, and I wondered whether some sick fuck had dug these rotting corpses straight from their graves. What kind of court was this?
The next individual to appear as if from nowhere was the court’s clerk, who materialized at the small desk underneath the bench. This administrator took the form of an elderly woman with blue rinse hair and wide-framed glasses. Her skin was wrinkled and she looked rather frail, but her gaze was fierce and when she spoke her shrill voice dominated the room.
“All rise for the judge.” she yelled, “His honor, the Lord of Darkness!”
I felt a cold chill run down my spine as I fearfully raised my head to observe the bench. The ‘judge’ who appeared before us wasn’t quite as terrifying as one would imagine, at least not in his initial form. Don’t get me wrong – he was intimidating as hell, looking down upon me from the bench like I was something he’d stepped in.
Nevertheless, the figure on the bench wasn’t a red demon with horns and hooves, but rather a middle-aged man dressed in long, dark robes and a traditional peruke wig, his face screwed up with a barely suppressed rage.
He frowned as he surveyed me and the other prisoners, not bothering to disguise the contempt and disgust in his voice. There was something in his dark eyes which shook me to my core, a wicked malice and propensity to violence unlike anything I’d seen in a human being. I couldn’t bear to meet his gaze for more than a few seconds and so looked down at my feet in an act of fearful submission.
I noted the absolute silence inside the courtroom after the judge’s arrival. The motley crew in the public galleries were no longer jeering and my fellow prisoners also seemed trapped in a state of terror-filled awe. Even the thuggish guard who’d assaulted me seemed to be afraid of the presiding magistrate, as he slipped away into the shadows.
You could have heard a pin drop in that tense moment before the demonic judge opened his mouth to speak, and his terrible booming voice filled the room.
“Be seated.” he ordered.
The jury members and audience complied. This wasn’t an option for us prisoners however, as our restrictive and uncomfortable cages prevented us from sitting, but the proceedings continued regardless.
The judge looked down upon me and the other prisoners, his polite words barely suppressing his contempt as he addressed us.
“Welcome gentlemen to the Court of Final Justice. You are here today because your mortal lives have come to an end, and now you must face judgement for your many sins. Let it be known that this courtroom is very different from any you’ve stood in front of in the mortal realm. You will no longer enjoy the legal protection afforded to you on Earth. You cannot lie in this courtroom because we know everything – every single sin you’ve committed from birth to death. All will be seen and all will be judged…And, when…excuse me, if you are found guilty, your punishment will be severe. You will burn in the fiery pits of Hell for all eternity, tortured and tormented by methods beyond your comprehension! Gentleman, today is the day you finally face the consequences for your heinous acts.”
My tired brain tried to make sense of what I’d just heard. What was this lunatic saying? I was dead and being judged for my sins? This couldn’t be real, it just couldn’t be! I listened intently in shocked awe as the dreaded magistrate continued.
“Now, let us proceed. Who is first on the docket?”
“Our first defendant is Angelo DiMeo, aged 62 at the time of his death. Accused of thirteen counts of murder, twenty two counts of attempted murder, and three hundred and forty two counts of assault.”
The elderly woman clerk had read the charges from a sheet of typed paper.
“I see.” the judge answered, with a knowing nod.
I looked at the dapper gentleman in a new way, now realising he was much more than an angry man who couldn’t control his anger. This was a dangerous man…a mob hitter with 13 bodies under his belt. I couldn’t understand why I was in the dock with a man like this or how my crimes were anyway comparable to his.
Angelo seemed taken aback for a moment but soon regained his ferocious spirit as he unleashed an angry tirade.
“That’s bullshit!” he exclaimed, “The pigs have been trying to pin those murders on me for years. But they’ve got no evidence! You assholes have nothing on me!”
“Mr DiMeo!” boomed the judge, while his eyes reddened in anger. “I have explained the rules of this court. Your mortal laws do not apply here! I will give you one warning and only one…Another outburst and you’ll be held in contempt of court, the consequences for which will be severe…”
“Fuck you!” Angelo swore in reply, without a second’s hesitation.
I could hardly believe how reckless he’d been and I feared what would happen next. I suspected the guard would dish out another beating to Angelo, but they had a more creative punishment in mind.
The judge was clearly furious, but I swore I could see a glint of gleeful malice as he spoke his next words.
“Very well Mr DiMeo. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.”
What happened next defied belief. The judge simply nodded his head and Angelo reacted instantly, clutching at his jaw and tearing his cheeks with his fingernails. He turned to face me, his eyes filled with terror, and to my horror I saw his mouth was closed over. That is to say, his mouth and lips were no longer there, the skin on his now bloody cheeks having inexplicably grown over, preventing him from speaking.
Angelo tried desperately to cry out but could not. He literally had no mouth and could not scream.
“Now then,” the judge continued, “with that out of the way, we can proceed. Bring in the advocates please…”
Two figures miraculously appeared on the courtroom floor, initially facing the bench but then turning to look upon us, the defendants. The first man was the stereotype of a shark of a lawyer, a slick and stylish man with black hair and a predatory glint in his eye. He certainly looked the part, dressed as he was in a dark designer suit as he strutted across the courtroom floor like he owned the place.
The court’s clerk made the introductions in her shrill voice. “For the prosecution, the Angel of Death…”
He scanned us three defendants with a thin, cruel smile on his lips, before he focussed his attention on Angelo, his first target. I felt a lump in the back of my throat as I realised this bastard was out to get us. I’d seen some tough prosecutors in my time, but this guy looked like he’d stop at nothing to see us fry. Even his name evoked terror in my heart, ‘the Angel of Death’. What the fuck was that?
And then there was the other man before us, who the clerk introduced with a mocking tone of voice.
“And for the defence, God’s sole representative in this court – the Angel of Mercy.”
The appearance of our defence attorney certainly didn’t inspire confidence. He was an elderly man with thinning hair, his body slumped over and frail and his white suit moth-eaten and out-dated. His body language seemed submissive, and he appeared pathetic in comparison to the confident and physically imposing prosecutor.
When the defender looked upon us, his eyes were full of woe. I couldn’t imagine that this sad and tragic figure could offer any sort of defence in his hellish courtroom. If he was my last hope, I was surely doomed.
The slick prosecutor was the first to speak, presenting his case in a confident voice which filled the courtroom.
“Angelo DiMeo is a man who has inflicted pain, suffering and misery on others throughout his entire life, and he’s repeatedly escaped justice in the mortal world…But no longer. In this final court of justice nothing can be hidden. May the truth set us free…”
Suddenly an image was projected against the far wall of the court, drawing everyone’s attention to the images shown. What we saw was a crystal-clear CCTV-style recording of a dimly lit street corner late at night. The block appeared to be abandoned until a figure emerged from the shadows, hanging around on the rubbish-strewn pavement.
The man wore a long trench coat and looked shifty and nervous, as if he was waiting on something happening. Suddenly a second figure walked across the street, marching with determination. The first man turned to greet the newcomer, but his expression turned to fear when he saw the gun in the newcomer’s hand.
The hitman fired a single shot at point blank range, shooting his victim directly in the face. The victim’s body fell heavily to the pavement, his life force surely extinguished. But, just to make sure, the gunman fired a second shot, blowing the man’s brains all over the curb.
His job done, the hitman coolly walked away. He raised his head for a brief moment, long enough to show his face. It was Angelo, that much was clear to everyone watching.
More murders followed…including a man garrotted in the front seat of a car, and a woman executed by a graveside while Angelo ignored her pleas for mercy. There were many other acts of violence too – attempted murders where the victim survived, savage beatings carried out with a baseball bat…in every case Angelo was at the centre of it, dishing out violence without a second’s thought.
The evidence was conclusive and surely damning. I looked to Angelo after the litany of violent recordings had concluded. His mouth was still sealed and so he couldn’t speak a word, but I could see the pain in his eyes as angry tears rolled down his cheeks and his whole body shook. Was Angelo experiencing remorse now he was faced with the reality of his hideous crimes? Or was he simply angry because he’d finally been caught?
I guess it didn’t really matter at this point. With such definitive evidence presented, the prosecuting attorney concluded his case with a brief but damning summary.
“Thirteen lives snuffed out, and so many others irreparably destroyed by this man’s violent actions. Clearly this monster has no remorse and indeed, Mr DiMeo would surely have continued his heinous crimes had his mortal life not been cut short. Based on the overwhelming evidence presented, I urge the jury to find the defendant guilty of all charges, and let this monster finally face the punishment he so richly deserves.”
After that, the slick lawyer took his seat, apparently satisfied that his job was done.
“Thank you, counsel.” the judge replied, “And now I suppose we should hear the case for the defence…”
The tone of his voice said it all. I don’t think anyone present believed there was any possible defence which could excuse the mob hitman’s many crimes. Nevertheless, the elderly and unimpressive defence lawyer – the so-called ‘Angel of Mercy’ – stood up and began to speak.
“Well your honour, members of the jury. The case of Angelo DiMeo is a difficult one. The evidence we have witnessed is impossible to deny and hard to stomach. It’s true that Mr DiMeo is a child of our Lord, but clearly he has strayed far from the righteous path…
Now, I know this court offers few protections for those on trial. But surely your honour will allow this man the opportunity to speak in his own defence?”
“What?” the judge grunted in surprise, “Oh, very well…”
With a click of his fingers, the demonic magistrate reversed his wicked spell, and Angelo’s mouth reappeared on his face.
The hitman coughed and spluttered for a few moments while he regained his composure. Unfortunately, his forced silence hadn’t taught Angelo any manners.
“You motherfuckers!” he swore angrily.
“Mr DiMeo please.” the defender pleaded.
“Fuck you too man!” he spat back, “You’re not my God-damn lawyer! What the hell is this anyway? You expect me to say I’m sorry? Fuck that! I’m a gangster. A soldier. This is the life I chose, and I don’t regret it!”
The defender shook his head in dismay before muttering his next words. “Forgive him my Lord, he knows not what he says.”
“Well, I believe we’ve heard enough.” said the judge, as clearly he was losing his patience.
“Foreman of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”
We all looked to the jury box in time to see one of the zombie-like suited figures slowly rise to his feet. He opened his gaping mouth and spoke in a croaky, almost inhuman voice. “We of the jury find the defendant guilty on all charges of murder and mayhem.”
“You motherfuckers” Angelo screamed in fury.
This latest outburst proved too much for the judge. He finally reached breaking point and the results were terrifying. The atmosphere within the court suddenly darkened and the man on the bench transformed into something monstrous. His eyes bulged and his face turned red, and when he opened his mouth, I swore I could see fangs in the place of teeth.
His booming voice was like something from a nightmare. “SILENCE IN MY COURT, YOU FUCK!” he screamed. “You think you’re a tough guy, huh? Well, now its time for you to pay! Angelo DiMeo. You have been found guilty of mass murder, and I sentence you to spend eternity in the Seventh Circle of Hell!”
He smashed a hideous ivory gavel down with tremendous force. The whole court was in a state of disarray, but the worst was still to come.
The very moment the judge stopped banging his gavel, Angelo began to scream in bloody agony. I smelt burning and turned in time to see Angelo’s suit going up in flames, as he struggled in vain to escape his cage. Soon, his entire body was engulfed, his clothes burnt to a cinder and his skin melting under the intense heat. All the time he kept screaming a blood-curdling wail which filled the room.
I couldn’t stand the sound…and the smell was horrific, like a sickening human barbeque. The horror seemed to last for an eternity, but thankfully it eventually ended, as Angelo’s body was burnt to ashes, leaving nothing but an empty cage behind him.
Angelo was gone, but I guessed his pain and suffering was only just beginning. I felt cold all over in that moment, my whole body shaking. If I had any illusions over what this hell was, Angelo’s fiery demise had shattered them into a million pieces.
The public gallery erupted after Angelo’s immolation as a dozen voices cheered in ecstasy, acting like they’d seen their team score in a football match. It took another round of gavel banging from the demon judge to silence them.
“ORDER! ORDER!” he cried. “Now, let’s move on to the next case on the docket.”
“Defendant Number Two is Father Francis O’Callaghan, aged 56 at the time of his death.” read the court clerk in a dispassionate voice, “The priest stands accused of multiple counts of child molestation, sexual assault, and rape of a minor.”
The courtroom was filled with gasps as the assembled reacted with shock to the charge sheet. I glared at the bald-headed priest in total contempt and hatred, watching as his face turned pale white, his whole body shaking in fear as he reacted with shock at the accusation.
“No…no…” he whimpered, “That isn’t right. It’s all lies…I would never…”
“Silence!” the judge exclaimed, “You will keep your mouth shut until told to speak. Or have you forgotten what happened to the previous defendant?”
Clearly he hadn’t, as Father O’Callaghan didn’t utter another word. The court proceedings carried on regardless, much the same as before. The slick prosecutor took to the floor first, and once again his words were damning.
“This man was placed in a position of trust, a respected man of the cloth. He claimed he was helping to mould young minds, guiding them down the path of spiritual enlightenment…But the horrors he inflicted upon these innocents behind closed doors…Well, the evidence speaks for itself.
Once again, an image was projected on the back wall of the courtroom. We all looked on in abject horror as the priest led a young boy of about nine or ten into the vestry, touching him inappropriately before…I won’t describe what happened next. The truth is, I’ve tried my best to block those horrible sights from my memory.
And there were other children too – boys and girls, all young and frightened. I saw their fear and felt their pain until I thought it would drive me mad. By the end of it I would have torn that bastard O’Callaghan to shreds with my own bare hands, if I could have gotten to him.
At first the priest seemed disgusted by his own actions, as he lowered and shook his head, tears running down his cheeks as he continued to whimper in self-pity. As the images ended, he finally mustered the courage to speak.
“…It’s not my fault…” he whined.
“Excuse me?” the judge spat angrily.
“It’s not my fault!” the priest replied more defiantly, “I am the way God made me!”
“Well, we can soon rectify that…Shall we defang the viper?”
The judge clicked his fingers, and a second later O’Callaghan screamed in agony. I glanced across to the priest and saw him clutching at his groin, which had been transformed into a bloody mess. He continued to scream, his body falling against the bars of his cage but unable to collapse due to the tight restrictions of his cage.
I didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy for him, and nor did anyone else inside of that hellish courtroom. After savouring the priest’s suffering for a moment, the judge turned to the sheepish looking Angel of Mercy.
“Counsel, do you have a case for the defence?”
The old defender looked troubled and I wondered what he could possibly say in defence of this abusive priest. As it turned out, he chose his words carefully.
“Father O’Callaghan’s crimes are indeed horrific and indefensible. He was a holy man and we must assume he held a genuine faith at one point in time. But clearly he has strayed far from the path, indulging his most wicked perversions and abusing the most vulnerable and innocent in the worst way imaginable.
One can only hope that Father O’Callaghan feels some remorse for his crimes, now he is confronted by the horrors of what he’s done.”
O’Callaghan stopped crying for a moment, rising above his pain to deliver an angry response.
“They were sinners…every one of them! They deserved to be punished. I was doing God’s work! I am the way He made me!”
“You’re beyond God’s help now…” the Angel of Mercy replied, with a terrible sadness apparent in his voice.
“I’ve heard enough.” the judge boomed, “Foreman, have the members of the jury reached a verdict?”
The zombie-like juror in his ill-fitting suit clumsily stood up and opened his gaping maw to speak. “We find the defendant guilty of abuse, molestation, rape and the ultimate betrayal of trust!”
“Very well.” the judge replied with satisfaction.
I watched as he transformed into his demonic form and banged his gavel down.
“Father Francis O’Callaghan, you have been found guilty on all charges. For your heinous crimes, I sentence you to freeze for all eternity in the Ninth Circle of Hell! Let it be done.”
“No, you can’t do this!” were the priest’s final words. He didn’t get the chance to say anything else.
The judge was true to his word at least. O’Callaghan didn’t burn like Angelo, instead he literally froze. His blood-curdling screams filled the air until his whole body turned to ice, and then he shattered into a million pieces, the shards falling to the floor before melting into oblivion.
The assembled audience shouted in glee, causing chaos before the judge called them to order. And all I could do was gasp, astonished by the horror of what I’d just witnessed. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel any sympathy for that monster O’Callaghan or Angelo, but now they were both gone, I came to the terrible realisation that I was next.
“Very well,” the judge continued, his tone now disinterested. “I see we have one more defendant on the docket. Details?”
The court clerk read my name and age, and the charges I was accused of…burglary, assault, grand theft auto and a few other offences to boot. The judge surveyed me with his eyes full of loathing.
“This case seems rather dull compared to the previous two, but I suppose justice needs to be done. Let’s hear the case for the prosecution.”
The suave Angel of Death took to the floor, coolly delivering the evidence he hoped would send me straight to Hell.
“It’s true that the defendant’s offences aren’t as serious as his predecessors, but he was still young when he passed, and no doubt would have progressed to more serious crimes had he lived.” He glared at me and smiled cruelly before continuing. “His life has been one of chaos. He’s stolen from and hurt many people, dishing out misery and suffering, all without remorse. But don’t take my word for it, ladies and gentlemen, let’s see the fruits of his young man’s labour.”
The familiar scene followed, with crystal clear images projected against the far wall, except this time it was my crimes being played out – a carjacking, an assault on a pensioner whose home I’d robbed, and other actions I’d rather forget.
Despite what the prosecutor said, I did feel shame at witnessing my sins played back to me. I wanted to scream at the kid in those pictures and tell him to stop, but it was too late to turn back the clock. The judge seemed bored by this point, as if he wanted the case to end.
“Defence?” he asked impatiently.
I glanced longingly at the so-called Angel of Mercy, who now represented my final chance at salvation. I certainly didn’t hold out much hope that he’d deliver, given his poor performance to date. My blood chilled as I remembered what had happened to Angelo and O’Callaghan and I shivered in terror when considering my own fate.
The aged defence lawyer took a breath before speaking in a soft but surprisingly confident voice. “It is true that the defendant has done bad things. He’s a habitual criminal and a sinner…but, as my honourable opponent has acknowledged, his offences have not yet passed the threshold for banishment to the lowest levels of Hell, and being a young man, there is still the opportunity for redemption…”
“How is there the opportunity?” the judge interjected in annoyance. “This man is already dead.”
“I’m sorry to contradict your honour,” the lawyer replied, “but the defendant isn’t quite dead, not yet anyway.”
I was astonished by this turn of events and struggled to understand. But a second later I was almost blinded by a light shining directly in my eyes, and I heard a frantic shouting, as medical terms were thrown about and a defibrillator was charged.
“DAMN IT TO FUCKING HELL!” was the cry.
I could no longer see those present in the courtroom but I recognised the judge’s voice, and he was furious.
“I’ve had it up to here with these fuck ups!”
“Forgive me your honour,” answered my defender, “but given his new evidence, I believe a mistrial is in order?”
“Very well.” the demonic judge answered angrily, his voice booming and inhuman. “But I WILL see you back here, you little shit! I know scum like you, and I know you’ll fuck up again. And, the next time you appear in my court, I’ll make sure you suffer the worst punishment imaginable!”
And with that the courtroom disappeared, and I found myself on a gurney in the ED, lights shining in my face as medical staff worked to resuscitate me.
I survived the night despite having suffered severe injuries. The paramedics told me I’d been clinically dead for two minutes before they revived me. Two damn minutes which seemed like a lifetime in that hellish realm.
What followed was a lengthy period of rehabilitation followed by a trial in a very human courtroom. I was given a lengthy prison sentence for my crime and several others I voluntarily confessed to whilst in custody. I didn’t hire a lawyer or fight the case, instead pleading guilty to all charges.
And now I’m out, having served my time and kept my nose clean all these years. The demonic judge’s final words still haunt me, and I live in terror after his threats. I’ve been scared straight and will do whatever it takes to avoid going back to Hell’s courtroom.
And, when it is my time, may God have mercy on my sinful soul.
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