This is a direct sequel to an earlier post: ‘The Day I Saved the World with Nutella’ therefore if you have not read that one, please do so first. It hopefully will still make sense as I am trying to write this with the intention of it being read and understood as if this was read first.
Over time – seeing as I was now immortal and living in a place where eternity is a state of existence – I had built a castle, which had taken me approximately two millennia in Hell years thanks to my exacting standards and time being no issue, but only one thousand earth seconds had elapsed. I did not age at all, for I built my castle on the Plane of Extended Age and Beauty, which had surprisingly better land value than the Plane of Visceral Torture. Alas, this was hell, and although I had built my castle far from civilisation, planning requirements still insisted on there being a bus route with a stop positioned surreptitiously outside my drawbridge, and an airport to the rear with endless flights to Nowhere soaring overhead 24/7.
I was very proud of my castle, especially the crenellations adorning the parapet, added later to look like teeth nibbling at the claret sky. My castle had a defensive moat filled with lava sharks and lavadiles (a lava dwelling crocodile not to be confused with the much more expensive and demanding lavagator) and a fireproof wooden drawbridge providing the only access to my courtyard containing statues of my Overworld heroes and a chocolate fountain. The statues looked nothing like the people they were based on because I am not a sculptor, even with having eternity to perfect the art, I still couldn’t get my scene depicting Isaac Brock and Colin Meloy singing sea shanties to look much more like a Rastafarian octopus climbing backwards into a car with a load of heavy shopping. The main reason I had a moat and drawbridge in fact was to prevent ridicule at the hands of travelling bands of sculpture hunters, of which there are a surprising amount residing across the Planes of Oblivion. My castle was featured many times on the cover of ‘Castle Monthly’ magazine, which was the most subscribed to magazine in Hell and surprisingly so seeing as how my castle was the only one that existed.
The October edition of 4302 was widely circulated and was released to feature the aforementioned crenellations with a handy ‘How to…’ guide. Unfortunately, this drew many unwanted neighbours trying to imitate my castle in the surrounding area because the land values were low and the scenery was the most impressive this side of the east Plane of Extended Age and Beauty, and now there were of course excellent transport links, unless you wanted to travel by train, which you couldn’t do anyway because ironically there are no trains in Hell. I really liked my isolation, and nothing could ruin that more than having Ben Affleck build a castle next door, which I am sure crosses over a land boundary and therefore gives me less space to build my chrysanthemum garden. I swear, if he builds something stupid like a geranium garden on my land boundary then I will go to the Court of Arbitration for Gardening and have a restraining order placed on his stupid geraniums.
Now I would like to make it clear that I have no idea why Ben Affleck is in Hell, nor do I intend to find out as I like my privacy to be respected and therefore I respect the privacy of others. I don’t have anything against Ben Affleck, but he did not endear himself to me when he came round to my castle when he bought the land next to me and tried planting his stupid geraniums all round the entrance. It is because of him that I keep my drawbridge up even when I’m home. Still, even now I find gifts of geranium seeds lovingly sealed in an embossed and scented envelope at the point where my drawbridge reaches the public side of my moat.
I have lived here in hell now for quite some time. It isn’t all bad, but it isn’t all it’s supposed to be and was promised to me. Although as I was tempted here by a succubus I guess I should have expected the disappointment. Even though my being here was necessary for the preservation of all of mankind, I started to miss the Overworld as it was referred to by the denizens that called themselves my neighbours. As exciting as the view over glowing lava pools and burning brimstone was at first, I began to grow weary of this new view and hankered for trees, blue sky and Pendle Hill looming large like a gigantic whale beached upon the horizon. Volcanoes relentlessly spewing ash and magma is pretty monotonous once the original feeling of awe has subsided, plus it plays havoc with your respiratory system.
One morning, as I was outlining where my new chrysanthemum plot would be located I heard what I was sure was a voice carrying across the hot wind exclusively for me. I couldn’t quite make out any words and so dismissed it as an audial illusion and my over active imagination. I could however see Mr. Affleck waving at me from his side of my hastily erected fence and pretending that he was some sort of superhero, although the last time he tried that he probably wished that he hadn’t. Some people never learn. As I turned to ignore him, I heard a thud and a cry of pain. Snapping my head back I saw that he had fallen over onto my side of the hastily erected fence and he had nearly slipped into the lava and the hungry creatures therein. He was probably trying to balance on one of the hastily erected fence posts which he does when he thinks that I’m not looking. He can be such a daredevil. He won’ t do that when I plant my cacti there next week.
I turned away again to walk back indoors and once more heard the strange voice-wind, this time much more clear and audible. Not exactly crystal clear, more of polished lead, but it was clearer than before. It seemed as if someone, a female, was addressing me. Most unusual too because the only female I had had contact with the entire time that I had been here was Ely, and she was due round for her conjugal visit in three days, as she was every three days. This visit was coinciding with a celebration I was throwing inside the castle walls to acknowledge my 24,000th consecutive appearance on the cover of ‘Castle Monthly’. Hopefully this voice would stay hidden then, for if Ely heard then she would not let me eat of her honeyed cake which she would surely bring and expect me to devour slowly, but hungrily. And if the stories are to be believed, her cake is the most delicious comestible in the whole of Hell, better than anything found in the Bakery District on the Plane of Gluttony.
In order for my party to run as smooth as it should and hopefully impress the editors of ‘Party Monthly’ enough to feature in the ‘What’s On in the Plane of Extended Age and Beauty’ section I had to hire staff. My caterers were from the highest rated restaurant on the Plane of Gluttony, the decorators were the second highest rated from the Plane of Vanity (the highest rated already being booked by Mr. Affleck to decorate his guest bathroom on the same day) and my butler was a mild mannered man named Paul Thatisall, who constantly claimed to have Mjölnir in his possession. I couldn’t verify one way or another, and I perhaps should have been more vigilante with my interview techniques, except Paul said nothing more than ‘I HAVE MJÖLNIR’ over and over again in varying tones and pitches, even after he had left the interview room. If he did indeed have Mjölnir, then I could be well advised to keep Paul around, because if Ben built the pool room for which he is seeking planning permission without receiving such approval, then that which marks and pulverises into dust would become exceedingly handy.
There was now only one day left until the party started and everything was coming along smoothly. Ben must have heard Paul’s incessant bragging about his Norse hammer for no construction work had taken place on the plot of land reserved for his swimming pool. I had only caught snippets of the voice-wind yet still could not make out any clear words, apart from something that may have been my name, and something about celestite. Now celestite was something that a market vendor once tried to sell me, but because he was wrinkled and haggard and tried to touch me with his warty finger I ran away in surprise and alarm. I thought nothing of it until when, trying to nap by an open window in the room at the top of the west tower of the north wing, the voice came through and a little clearer than before:
“K-k-k-kris” it started, like static through a walkie-talkie “f-f-f-find celest-t-t-t-tite t-t-t-to h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-hear me bette-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.”
That was the clearest I had received the message so far, and owing to my elevation from ground level and being by an open window it was no surprise: this was where I came to send text messages when the network was being particularly egregious. My interest was piqued however, and so I went to find Paul.
“I have Mjölnir.” he said.
“Good afternoon to you too, Paul.” I replied with courtesy.
“I have, Mjölnir?” he asked.
“Yes thank you, Paul, the breeze from the west tower of the north wing carries less ash than the others thus aiding my sleep.” I answered. “I need your advice on something.”
“I have! Mjölnir.” he expressed, quite delighted to be included in such a conversation.
“I need you to find me something, urgently. I need you to bring me this.” I handed him a piece of paper. As he unfolded it, he could see the word ‘celestite’ thereon.
“Ahhhh have Mjölnir” he nodded, and he looked at me and as he did, I knew at once that he understood and that he knew exactly what it was for. “I have Mjölnir.” he whispered as he put his hand upon my shoulder, bowed his head and headed for the main door. Finding it was closed he screamed “I HAVE MJÖNIR!” and kicked his way through with one almighty shunt of his foot that set the very foundations of my fortifications to shaking. And with that, he headed to what I presume was the market to find the haggard and warty-fingered old stall vendor. I waited all night, yet he did not return.
It was now the morning, and Ely was on her way. I knew this because she sent me a picture of her cake dripping with sweet, delicious honey with the caption, “Ready for this, baby?” and then a follow-up message saying that she would be over shortly. I couldn’t wait, for I loved how she smelled when she was around, usually the aroma of fresh cupcakes, rising sponge and decadent icing, buttercream so light it teased to melt upon my tongue…and more recently the earthy whistle of hazelnut and chocolate permeated through her choicest treats. This cake though, the honeyed cake, was one she only provided at special occasions, and was one that she would only allow those most worthy to savour. The Demonic Princess Ely was a succubus, and if she willed you to taste her cake, you tasted her cake. You couldn’t resist. If she commanded you to eat it on your knees, you did. If she commanded it eaten on a unicycle whilst juggling, you practised. I had no intention of refusing, and not least because her bosoms were so prominent that they would surely crush me in anger should she rage so.
The castle was ready, my crenellations adorned so that they resembled teeth more so, biting into the deep burgundy sky, an obvious reference to how light and airy Ely’s sponge was, and how I would be feasting upon it very shortly. I stood atop the parapet to await the guests. I looked out over the desolate, rocky terrain, red and grey and variations thereof the only colours present, and I sighed. As much as I drooled for Ely’s cake, I missed home. I missed other women, I missed the constant wind and rain of Lancashire, I missed Pendle Hill, I missed my chickens, I missed home. I missed people who were not Ben Affleck. A single tear rolled down my cheek and landed upon the cold cobblestone of the battlements. Yes, today was my party, but I could cry if I wanted to.
The guests started to arrive: editors from magazines all bringing tea and biscuits and bottles of wine, neighbours bringing their muddy-shoed children into my home to smear their dirt all over my lovely rugs from the mass manufactured Swedish furniture store, and Ben Affleck, who brought me a geranium in a ceramic pot.
“I know you don’t care much for geraniums,” said he “but this one might just bring you what you desire.” He spoke these words with more wisdom and clarity than any he had ever previously uttered, yet he only had on one shoe, mismatched socks, and a geranium fastened to his hair with a cable tie, so I didn’t pay him much heed.
The party was well underway. I wanted Freddie Mercury to perform the opening ceremony but everyone rightly pointed out that he was in heaven, and so I settled on Michael Jackson instead. It was a good choice and everyone applauded the decision, although most wished that Mr. Mercury could have been there, as did I but after I contacted him I was told by his PR people that he had other commitments. Undeterred, I had the sultry whispers of Sam Beam providing the background ambience, which was obvious as anything else would have proved fatally misguided.
(The link below is a reading by Ely herself)
Ely arrived about three hours later than she insisted, which was also her way of drawing out my burning anticipation. Everyone fell quiet as she approached, as everyone was in awe; men and women both were dumbstruck in hoping to curry her favour. The bouquet coming from beneath her satin gown was unmistakable: she had baked and brought her honeyed cake. All mouths salivated as their owners olfactory perception hit new heights. Her eyes glinted as her wicked grin flickered across her sensual face. Our eyes were locked, and she bit playfully on her lip.
“I am sure you aware of the honour bestowed upon you by my allowing you a taste of my cake?” she said in a tone with no hint of evasion. She knew she wanted me to eat her cake as much as I wanted to smother it all over my greedy little face. It made my knees grow slightly weak, and they shook.
“I am, Your Highness.” was the best I could muster. She giggled, and flicked her long, dark hair behind her.
“Then let us to your chambers, for I wish to honour you.” And without waiting for a response, she led the way, leaving behind the pheromone filled room in which we were standing.
My head swirled. Walking downwind of her filled my nostrils with the scent of sweet, sticky syrup, setting my tongue aquiver. My glands were throbbing, and I salivated like a rabid dog, overcome with what was to transpire. We entered my chambers and I sat at the table. She closed the door behind me and turned to face me, her arms behind her palms planted on the hard wood. The light from the flickering torches softened, casting a resplendent red glow across the room, the gentle wisps of flame seeming to lay themselves onto my skin, caressing and lingering, barring retreat. Ely seemed to fill the room, her fragrance setting the flames to dancing. Her lips parted and she whispered:
“Tut, tut. Oh no, no little one. Take a tray, to the bed you go, and make yourself comfortable. Tonight you dine so well.” I did as I was bid. She lifted her gown revealing her lockbox containing the spongy confectionary. She carried it over to the bed and sat facing me. Running her hands across her ample chest, she fingered a key on a chain nestling safely in her cleavage. Slowly, gently, precisely she lifted the chain from around her neck up over her head, and delicately slipped it into the lock. Turning the key clockwise, she arched her back as an audible click moaned from within. She turned it to me, haunting turquoise eyes locked at mine, piercing me, feeling me, owning me, as she opened the lid with such deliberation I felt seasons come and go. She had me again. I was hers, and I wanted nothing more.
I followed her eyes down towards her open box, invited in by the warmth of her cake. Oh and what a sight did greet me there! Golden sponge, perspiring with sweet, sticky honey, beads of escaped sugar droplets clung to the sides of the box, the warmth, the smell, the view…I could not hold back. I sunk my fingers into the soft flesh down to the core, hooked them under and pulled back. I tore off a chunk. It was soft and gooey, moist like a good sponge should be, dripping with syrup all the way to my hungry mouth. I had resided in Hell for so long I had forgotten to imagine what heaven must be like, but now I knew. I was there.
Just then, I heard the voice trying to come through. Ely must have heard it too for she was startled. The voice seemed to be pleading, begging for something undecipherable, but Ely seemed to know, she was panicked. She opened a few buttons on her silken slip and heaved her breasts against the fabric, silk barely strong enough to keep them withheld. They seemed to gesture for my concentration, which they had without trying. I heeded their call, and plunged my face into the sticky opening.
Ely gasped: “Not too fast, not too fast!” I obeyed. I wanted to savour every last drop of her honey. She groaned as my hunger became in sync with her desire to see it satiated. I began to lick the droplets that had become loose in the folds of her sponge, the tip of my tongue easing them off when I saw a vision, I saw my home, my life to which I wished I could return, and I sat up.
Suddenly, the door burst open. Paul had kicked the door with an almighty shunt of his foot that set the very foundations of my fortifications to shaking. He said nothing and threw a mineral consisting of strontium sulphate the colour of delicate blue towards me. I caught it, and I heard the voice-wind clearly as though the possessor was right by my ear.
“I can get you home, but we must do it now.” the voice entreated, brokering no argument and clearly that of a woman.
“But the cake…” I tried to argue.
She interrupted: “If you finish that cake you will never be able to leave! It’s a trap!”
“I cannot resist, she has won.” I whimpered, almost apologetically.
“Who then will look after your chickens?”
That had me. My poor chickens needed me! I steeled myself, trying not to look at Ely or her still warm, fresh honeyed sponge.
“You need a geranium, and Mjölnir. Quickly, now!”
“I HAVE MJÖLNIR!” bellowed Paul, suddenly forgetting that he wasn’t supposed to be impersonating Sir Ian McKellen. He emitted a blinding light, transforming him into a giant hammer with a short handle, possibly due to a manufacturing error, and flew out of the window, smashing down all the mountains in the vicinity and revealing a portal that alternated between sparkly purple and glittery violet.
“Get your geranium, go!”
I didn’t think, I just ran. I was very confused. I burst downstairs grabbed my potted geranium a la Ben Affleck and fled the castle. I ran, I kept running towards the portal. Behind me were footsteps, pounding hard. Believing them to belong to Ely I pressed on harder, lactic acid burning my calves until a voice called my name, a voice most certainly not Ely’s.
“Wait for me!” Ben Affleck called out, catching up with his elongated stride.
“No Ben Affleck, turn back! It is not safe for you, you must stay here where it is warm.”
Tears filled his eyes and he stared hard at his feet.
“But the beautiful scary lady tried to make me eat her cake, and I didn’t want to.” He sniffed, then hugged me. I felt guilty, but understood when I saw the geranium that he had plaited into his hair with a cable tie.
“Okay Ben, take my hand. Whatever you do, don’t let go!”
“Thank you. You are my best friend!”
“Be quiet, Ben.”
And so I took his hand in mine, and we walked through the portal together. As we stepped through, everything went dark because I didn’t want to have to write a long, drawn out travel scene. Needless to say we were unimpeded and bored until we arrived in my back garden, falling at the feet of I’m not sure who as their face was hidden, but they spoke as a woman might:
“I have brought you home, for I was born to God.” she said, very austere.
“I thank you, truly…” but she cut me off before I could continue.
“Enough! You sacrificed yourself so that mankind could be saved, and for that we thank you. However, you are a sinner, and you have eaten too much of the Demon Princess’ cake. I saved up all of my prayer coupons and used them to rescue dear, sweet Ben Affleck.” Ben smiled a childish grin as she ruffled his hair. “I could not do so without your help. I used you and for that I’m sorry. You are lucky though, for you were in need of rescuing from a fate worse than death: drowning in innuendo.”
“So you are my deus ex machina?”
“I am. But no longer, as I have redeemed all of my coupons. Now I am to take Ben Affleck and leave.” And she turned, took Ben Affleck and left. The portal in my garden closed, I fed my chickens and heard no more about my saviour until I read an account of what had happened in the form of a social media play with pictures and someone called Holly, whom nobody knows whether or not she is who she says she is but who became very rich regardless.
Ely still owned Nutella and resided in my castle redeeming her prayer coupons to ensure my return because nobody had eaten her cake so well before.
My chickens grew strong and healthy and enjoyed their lives.
As for me, I had a shower, changed my bedding, put on fresh pyjamas, slept for a long time, woke up, had breakfast (scrambled eggs on wholemeal bread with a cup of coffee), walked up Pendle Hill, enjoyed the view, went home and wrote this fictional retelling.
© Kris Blackburn 21/07/2015