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Going Down

by on May 13, 2014

Milroy Birnbaum’s creaky old star fighter fell out of hyperdrive at the spot where Hadley’s planet should have been. It still wasn’t there. As Hadley gaped out of the viewport at the bits of rock that floated serenely past in the black emptiness, it hit her for the first time that her entire planet had been destroyed. A billion and more people, all her friends, the police detective for whom she’d solved so many cases, her home, every place she knew…..all of it had been reduced to so much space dust. “I wish I’d been there,” she said mournfully. “I could’ve helped.”

“Like how?” Rain said. “You’re unarmed. You’re a shade of color. What would you do, glow at them?”

Hadley bloomed into a red fury. “I could’ve done something! And what would you know anyway? You’re Death, right? All this is just a normal day’s work for you, isn’t it? Oh, dear, another planet’s blown up, so sad, better start packing people off to heaven or the other place, wherever. What do you care?”

Hadley had expected Rain to make a blistering retort. But she didn’t say anything. She just stared out the viewport.  Finally, she said, very quietly, “I’ve lost people. I do care.”

Before Hadley could say anything else, the hatchway to their corridor squeaked open, and Milroy Birnbaum, god of war, stepped through. “We got a problem.”

“No kidding,” Rain said, back to her usual acid self. “You noticed that the planet’s missing too?”

“Not that. I’m a god of war, remember? So if someone’s fightin’, I can usually tell who they are, what weapons they used, that kinda thing. It leaves residue. It’s hard to explain, but you get the idea.”

“So… you know who blew up the planet?”

“Yeah,” Milroy said unhappily. “But you ain’t gonna like it.”

Rain and Hadley waited. Milroy didn’t continue for a long moment. Finally, he took a deep breath and started. “I picked up Dantean wave particles. Those come from only one type of fighter. Those ships weren’t from Earth. They weren’t from anywhere known. They were from someplace else.”

“Will you stop being dramatic and just spit it out?” Rain demanded.

“Right,” Hadley said hopefully. “It can’t be all that bad, can it? Wherever it is, we’ll just go there and find out why they did it and tell them to stop, and-”

“They came from hell.”


There was a long silence.  “Well,” Rain said, “I can get there, perks of the job and all, but Hadley’s still alive. She’s going to have problems.”

“That’s okay, I didn’t really want to-”

“Back on my planet there’s a door,” Milroy said. “It lets any living soul pass through.”

“But I’d really rather not-”

“Let’s go then,” Rain said. Milroy nodded, and without further discussion went back to the bridge of the fighter and whipped the ship around towards his planet. Hadley would’ve preferred further discussion.


The weather on Milroy’s planet had not improved. The clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground. Hadley usually avoided ominous shadows if she could at all help it. She trailed miserably after Rain and Milroy as they marched on, not even looking back, until they arrived at a metal door set in the wall of a rocky canyon. The shadows were particularly ominous round the door. Hadley could just make out some ancient writing. She couldn’t make out what it said, and didn’t particularly want to. A red warm glow filtered underneath the door, and trails of inky black smoke coiled at its edges.

Milroy produced a key and unlocked the door, tugging it open. It creaked noisily as it moved, and more smoke billowed out. Beyond was all black and red, that Hadley could see. “There,” Milroy said. “The only door that a livin’ soul can pass.”

“As I said before, I’d much rather not, thanks,” Hadley said. “Why don’t you guys go in and I’ll stay out here and, um, keep guard! I can do a lookout with the best of them!”

Rain rolled her eyes. “Honestly. It’s not that bad.”

“Not that bad? It’s hell! That’s like the absolute pinnacle of bad! There’s not much more bad you can get!”

“Then let’s get it over with,” Rain said, and with that she moved behind Hadley and gave her a hearty shove. Hadley tumbled forward, flailing wildly, right through the open door into the dark.

For previous chapters in Hadley’s Story, go here. Thanks for reading!

  1. Poor Hadley. Hopefully the rules in hell are different for visitors than they are for residents. Can’t wait to see what happens next! 🙂

    • I can’t either. I certainly didn’t envision Hadley going to hell when I started this thing.

  2. I can understand her reluctance- hell isn’t exactly Club Med! Looking forward to what she does with her unwanted adventure.

  3. I enjoyed the humour you injected, and the way you explore alternative ways of looking at characters. Nicely written and engaging.

  4. This is so creative! Imagine accessing hell through a door. What really got me was how Milroy just happened to have a key, like it;s his weekend retreat or vacation house. Great story!

  5. Great dialogue!!! I like that she tries to avoid ominous shadows as much as possible. Smart, um, shade. I’m really enjoying these weekly instalments!

  6. Dude, I love Rain but shoving a sentient color through a portal to Hell is pushing it, even with my appreciation of her take no prisoners, take no sh*t attitude 😉

    • I’ll have to arrange some sort of karmic comeuppance for her, I suppose. I have one or two ideas. 😛

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