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Ghost Wyverns in the Sky

by on April 16, 2015

Madeleine had forgotten about the cliff. She and her evil twin had been riding through the ditches of the eighth circle of hell on a goblin-driven Zamboni. They’d whirred over bridges and up ramps and generally managed to get through, but now they faced an obstacle. A rock wall, sheer and ominous, towered impossibly high above them. Far to her left, Madeleine saw a cascade of dark water tumbling down the wall. She had forgotten the name of the river from Dante, but she remembered it flowed through Circle Seven, and had murderers submerged in it. Something to look forward to, she figured. Meantime, there was the cliff.

“Well, see ya,” Screwbolt said. “I ‘opes y’ get out, I really do. But I’m goin’ back to Nine.”

“Hang on there,” Madeleine said. “Is there a path at all that leads up?”

“Nah,” the goblin said shortly. “See, usually people ain’t trying to go back. Usually people are goin’ the other way.”

“Well, then, how do they get down?” Madeleine vaguely remembered something about a rope, but she didn’t quite recollect exactly how the descent had been made. “It has to work both ways, right?”

Screwbolt sniggered. “Sure. Sure it does. Blimey, you’re in fer a treat.” Before Madeleine could say anything else, the goblin had summarily popped back in the Zamboni and driven away, back into the depths of Circle Eight.

The two Madeleines, good and evil, stood alone at the base of the rock wall. “We could try flying…” Madeleine suggested. “Our powers do work down here. I’m trying not to think why.”

“You know what? I’m bailin’,” Evil Madeleine said. “We’ve been going along on that stupid Zamboni, riding past ditch after ditch after ditch, and now we’ve got to fly or climb or whatever up a stupid cliff, and there’s, what, seven more circles to go? This sucks. And it’s boring.”

Madeleine Prime glared at her. “This is hell. You have something better to do? You want I should’ve left you in the ice back in Nine?”

Evil Madeleine glared right back. “I could’ve gotten out. Anyway. Isn’t there some kind of hole or something down there? How come we didn’t go that way instead of clear back up through all the circles of hell?”

“Did you even read Dante?” Madeleine Prime snapped. “The way out through Circle Nine goes right by Satan. I haven’t exactly dreamed of meeting the Big Bad, you know what I mean?”

“So what do I care? I’m evil. Satan and me should be like best buds!”

Madeleine Prime was aghast. “And the fact that it’s the freakin’ Devil doesn’t deter you at all?”

Before Evil Madeleine could answer, there was a sudden loud thud from behind them. Slowly they turned. All at once, Madeleine Prime remembered how Dante had gotten down the cliff.

Above them loomed a gigantic winged beast, with the face of a man, huge lion-like paws, immense bat-like wings, and a barbed tail that curved venomously around behind him. It rumbled something at the two Madeleines that might have been Latin and might have been some other hellish language. “Hi…there…” Madeleine Prime said.

“Well, bye,” Evil Madeleine said, and without further comment tore off for Circle Eight as hard as she could run.

“Oh, no, you don’t-” Madeleine Prime started to say, but the monster’s tail abruptly slammed down in between her and her alternate self. It rumbled at her again. It seemed irritated. The last thing Madeleine wanted to do was to irritate the giant hell-monster.

“So…” Madeleine said. “Geryon, right? Okay, I’d like to get out of hell. I wanted to take her too, but-”

The monster’s wings flapped, creating a sudden hurricane of wind that nearly bowled Madeleine over. Then it lurched into the air and disappeared above Circle Eight. Madeleine stood awkward and alone at the base of the wall. “Well then. So much for that.”

She was about to try flying up the side of the cliff when Geryon reappeared, Evil Madeleine clutched tight and shrieking in one of his monstrous paws. The monster landed with another thud, and growled at her, gesturing with its tail for her to climb on. Madeleine Prime sighed. “I really wish I had a glider right now…”

This story was written for the Mutant 750 challenge of Grammar Ghoul Press, and is another chapter in the  adventures of Gaseous Girl. For more information about Geryon, go here. Thanks for reading! 

  1. Clever and seamless use of the prompts. You really took me there. Evocative writing!

  2. Awesome! Perhaps my favourite chapter yet. 🙂

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