The Devil's Lair

An Excerpt from:

The Devil's Lair:

Beyond Gehenna Book 2


Copyright © 2008 Scott Leddy



"You'd better be a good little boy, or you'll go right to Bogey Land. That's where bad little boys go! That's where the bogeyman lives, and he eats up bad little boys and girls for supper," Mom sporadically threatened during my youth.

She had strange methods of admonishment. Legend of the urban myth catered to my irrational childhood fears, and the possibility of the existence of such a wicked place of torment often led to sleepless nights. Later on in life, I researched the heritage of the imaginary domain, only to find that its existence could be neither substantiated nor disclaimed, the origins of its lore undeterminable. Moreover, if I wasn't currently witnessing first hand the confines of this sweltering grave and its cast of ghastly inhabitants, I'd refute the existence of such a horrid place. Given the gruesome turn of events, however, I was reasonably confident that I'd landed smack dab in the middle of Bogey Land.

Choking, I coughed up slime and sediment and then, moments later, breathed again of my own volition. I wiped mud and shit out of my eyes. Dazed, I wallowed in the giant overflowing dung heap.

The vile stench of charred flesh and excrement was atrocious, the sultry atmosphere oppressive. Putrid air contaminated my senses and drove me to the brink of retching. The immediate area was nothing less than a cesspool of human waste and disease. Vague silhouettes tormented a crowd of distressed shadowy figures, whose assemblage languished in the misery of their flagrant sins.

Come on, Elgin. Focus...focus! I pushed myself with a sense of urgency, finally regaining command of my impaired vision.

A narrow rivulet of steaming lava ran parallel, emitting unbearable heat. Combustible gas exploded from the tributary, launching plumes of billowing scarlet smoke that drifted high above. It wasn't clear whether the bloody channel was a division of the river Styx or a branch of some other obscure conduit, but the stream was a dominant presence throughout this mid-sized cavern and emerged from a gaping hole in the far wall. The tumultuous current, traveling in my direction, cascaded down a shallow waterfall that lay adjacent to my position. Beyond a lower plateau, the molten lava disappeared from sight.

The only light source was the glowing radiance from this flowing river of liquid magma. Its faint glimmer barely outlined the demarcation of the chamber, making it indistinguishable and giving its fiendish inhabitants a more frightening appeal. Their gruesome shadows projected high on top of the cavern's red luminous ceiling, dancing wildly.

Frenzied swarms of distraught people huddled near the flaming riverbanks. Situated in close proximity, they scampered and clawed over one another, desperate to escape the profound brutality of their ruthless captors. Their fright was immeasurable, their suffering immense.

A conclave of what I perceived to be harmful spirits tormented the damned. Ghouls, goblins, demons, trolls, ogres, and a whole assortment of other malevolent entities taunted and tortured the crowd. Somehow I knew many of the instigators were bastard offspring, forged from the unearthly propagation of unprincipled demons who had been intimate with swine, humans, goats, and other animal life forms, breeding spine-chilling abominations.

Their grotesque features appeared anomalous. Some members of the mutated and malformed horde flaunted large, pointy-horned heads and slithering forked tongues, which thrashed at the crowd's unfortunate affiliates, inflicting extreme harm. Some possessed cloven hooves with hairy lower appendages and sprouted goat horns, resembling satyrs. Pig faces, obese hairy figures, tall and lanky with beaks and other proboscis appendages and scaly reptilian skin graced their bodies.

The entire episode reflected the same atmosphere as Laurel and Hardy's Babes in Toyland, and I was playing the role of Tom Tom.

A flock of belligerent and relentless bogeymen suddenly swarmed me. Hal Roach's (producer) interpretation of the underworld and its constituents wasn't that far from reality.

The scene represented a human abattoir, the loathsome stink of rotting corpses lingering in the air. Nearly impossible to determine the magnitude of people trapped within this slaughterhouse, I guessed at fifty--but it could have been one hundred.

I was certain of one thing: the underworld didn't discriminate. The riotous group seemed to comprise a wide spectrum of diversity and wasn't gender biased. Blacks, whites, Asians, Indians, and Latinos from all religious denominations and cultures attended the party. Another glance at the group's clothing revealed the representation of conflicting generations and the lineage of a magnitude of distinguishable eras.

In this place of unspeakable horror, it seemed no one escaped the blood-lust rampage of the sadistic tormenters--and it didn't matter where you came from, or who you were, in the eyes of the infernal abyss, your actions alone condemned you.

Judged and labeled for a wide assortment of transgressions, the group wallowed in their own ignominy. I wondered if each individual had been specifically sentenced either because of their lack of faith, or because of their blatant abuse or neglect of their fellow man.

These types were termed heretics, blasphemers, idolaters, cabalists, pagans, and hermitic practitioners, I knew. They represented a wide diversity of false prophecies. Greedy and selfish, insincere, callous and bigoted, they'd sinned unforgivably against both God and man alike. In ironic terms, the intolerant found their way to the land of intolerance.


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Elgin Thomas's iniquitous past soon catches up with him. He wanders the fiery depths of Hell, where his fortitude and sanity are continually challenged. Introduced to a cast of unsavory characters, Elgin must learn to adapt and survive as he traverses through the Underworld's scorching, volcanic terrain. It is a world of serial killers, demons, satanic rituals, secret societies, petty criminals, and an entire host of some of history's most ruthless tyrants. Attempting to atone for his sins, Elgin seeks salvation--but is he trying to find a way out of the abyss, or is he merely attempting to cope with his own delusional mind?



The Devil's Lair - Beyond Gehenna II - Audible Book Trailer