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Dreams are a very special kind of magic. They can be influenced by our daily decisions and experiences, and can even influence our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I’ve always been fond of remembering my dreams, the good and the bad.

In one of my darker visions, I saw a vision of Hell through the eyes of a middle aged woman. It had all the classic elements of Catholic mythology: demons, fire, torture and rape. I floated through, watching souls wrapped in burning chains, having all manner of gruesome practices enacted upon them by the winged beasts circling above. The screaming was unbearable. When I awoke, I instantly concluded that my Catholic upbringing had a major influence on this vision (though ironically, I don’t believe in hell).

At the end of the dream there was a pit. I hadn’t read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” at the time, but I’d seen the 1991 version of the film with Lance Henriksen, so I figured that little cinematic gem had wormed its way into my subconscious. A demon stood over the pit, and without words, let me know that the only way to avoid indefinite physical and emotional torture was to plunge into the pit voluntarily. As I obliged, I fell through the seemingly bottomless wormhole, seeing even more extravagant tortures along the way down. By the time I reached the bottom, my sin had turned black and crispy, I sprouted wings and flew off as Hell’s newest demon.

I was going to write this vision into a short story, but like so many dreams, when pen hits paper, the story has no purpose other than self-reflection, so I kept it as a memory. The dream most likely had an impact on my flash fiction Pyromania though.

The underlying subtext of this dream was clear to me when I woke, the only way to survive in Hell is to embrace it, become one of the demons. An idea that was later shared by the writers of the television show Supernatural, where one of the main characters goes to Hell.

There are a plethora of moments throughout history where people have undergone inhumane practices on a large scale. The scariest thing about the dream was that, it made me ponder this question far too much: If I experienced Hell of Earth, would I suffer with the rest? Or become a torturer?

By Jambo Stewart