A Hope in Hell

Tell me, is this Hell? Aanteekwa asked,
and after she did, she thought that she felt
a frigid wind slink through a vein and
blow into her echo chamber heart: she feared
that it would chill her red walls into ice
which would shatter at the slightest
sound. Babyface sighed. For me, it has been

worse than Hell, he said. You are the first
sentient being to whom I’ve spoken in centuries.
They exiled me here, inside the machine which
lies beneath the surface –
beyond the carrots and the blind white worms,
beyond the rows and rows of their own precious dead,
beyond even their secret bunkers full of
wretched human chimeras who live in endless night –
and left me here to rot.

Aanteekwa peered at Babyface, who was
veiled in the ghost shroud glow of light
descending from above their heads: she
could see his eyes now fire lit, dervish spun,
their blue hardening into ice. You said they
did this to you. Who are they? she asked. He
looked up for a moment, watching the light above
bisect the empty void that gorged the throat
of this pit, wall to wall. She wondered how long

he would remain transfixed by the only light
in this forlorn place: after a moment, he
wrenched his gaze away from the light and the
thoughts dancing inside its woeful beam. Humans,
he replied. Humans locked me – and anything else
they found dangerous – away. They would have
destroyed us, but the Demiurge killed them all
before we could be either destroyed or resurrected.
We are inside a prison machine – a labyrinth

of circuits and hard drives, and a program designed
for only one purpose: keep things like us from
ever escaping and seeing the light of human knowledge
again. The program is a giant loop of if-then statements
that never moves on to the next module: erase us
from existence. And because of this we are
trapped here, my dear – forever.

Aanteekwa paused, and said nothing at first.
Then, she threw open the doors in her
cranium dome ceiling and felt her attic flood deliciously
with brilliant light. No, we’re not! she shouted,
reveling in how her subversive echoes
slammed their rubber bodies against every wall and
returned to her thousand fold. She felt
the choking gloom halt, nervous by the presence
of her gleeful crowd of misfits . We

can leave – I’ll show you! She shut her eyes,
and a warm spot of azure melted inside
the stone fabric of the opposite wall. Sunlight
burrowed its way through the blue tunnel and
revealed the edge of a wooden bridge which led
out of the pit. The warm, umber-tinctured wood,
the spreading azure portal, and the light of the
rotund, joyous sun beckoned to the
teenaged killer and the old black eccentric,
entreating them to leave the darkness.

Written 11/7 and 11/8/13
© 2013 Nicole Nicholson. All rights reserved.

This was written for two prompts: Misky’s We Write Poems Prompt which asks us to write about bridges, and Joseph Harker’s Renovation 7 prompt — in this case, I used a line from Rachel McKibbens’ “deeper than dirt” (“Beyond the carrots and blind white worms…”) (Rachel is a fantastic and phenomenal poet, BTW — if you ever hear her perform live, you will not forget it.) This is continued from the last poem, “Babyface“.

The title is borrowed from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Chronicles — the original issue with this title was published in April 1989, and it now appears as part of Preludes and Nocturnes.


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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3 Responses to A Hope in Hell

  1. Pamela says:

    Wow, that is pretty awesome, Nicole. Too many great lines to quote. You do have a way with words and imagery.


  2. Irene says:

    You’re weaved a pretty sci fi saga, Nicole. I look forward to their leaving the darkness.

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