The First Circle of Hell

Step by step, descending into the brick and mortar surroundings, I thought of the hands of which built the walls around me.  A box was on my mind, not a girl, a box with bottles of wine.  No coffin, not this time, but I wish…

I just about wish it would happen.  However, I had to work out for so long the last time I was a pallbearer.

In time the end of the room will come near, I thought, but what if something is there, an entity, a being?  What if that thing is there, the idea; something out to get me.  I am now alone.  Alone with my mind.  People are above and I am below.  The dark matter of idea, the bleak and grey object in the corner, standing, watching, waiting.  A feeling of malaise so grand I could hardly stand.

Do I want to see it, will it appear?  I vanish as the light goes out.  I imagine a shadowy figure walking towards my direction, arms stretched out.  Would I faint?  Would I call out?  Would I be found?  There is so much doubt, but I imagine I am alone again.

Lights flicker out, I could hear the door locking above, I could hear feet loud and abrupt at first, faintly fade to the entry way and exit out the iron and glass door.  Another latch comes closed and I wait in dark and silence.


I was talking with a friend.  My hands began to hurt, the skin was taught, hot and cold from work; red now, chapped as well, skin peeled back, nails a translucent white, pale, unhealthy, tarnished, stripped of varnish and depleted.

The cold outside made the ride, and the feeling in my appendages, worse, but as bad as it got the warmth inside sufficed.  Making the trip all right.  Momentarily, I pondered.  The lights remained on again, dim however, and I found the box.

It was waiting for me, square in shape and dry as a desert.

Sadly, I trudged up the stairs, holding the brown box, pulling it to one side, then the other, one wood plank at a time, box awkwardly in arms; held almost like a baby, but this was not your typical child shape.  Hunched as to flex, top heavy and straining, I made my move.

To the top of the stairs, to the main floor, I flip the switch.  Lights out below.  I was still mentally underground.  I walk into the kitchen through swinging blue doors. I flash my findings to the superior and immediately I am told it is the wrong kind.

I sigh…  “Do I have to get the other?”

My superior, “Yes, now!” as if a power complex doesn’t get any better, or any worse, possibly a bit more confusing than usual, but still the same.  I believe I remember someone in tears a while back, I remember someone about to lose it, being disparaged in front of others, being oppressed.  I stand erect, my ego is being torn to shreds in some respects.  What control do I have?

Insecurity is funny; one has to control another person to feel special, but one loses control of themselves in the process.  It’s so simple and so easy.  I wonder where I found my wits.

Then I ask myself, how secure is one now?

I sigh again and pick up the cardboard, glass, and liquid and walk towards the opening.  I ignore the open wound in front of me.  I move past the situation, the discussion, the drawing of lines.  I walk on.  I step over the past and move forward.

I have a new idea:

If I just dropped this, if it crashed to the floor, contents abound, fucking money lost.  Maybe I would get fired, but I can’t.  Maybe I would have the opportunity to move on and get to another spot.  It would probably be somewhere, somewhere worse; a new job, maybe in government.  The heavy door swung open, I flipped the switch and…


A true Aside:

My old roommate loved Nutella…  Unfortunately for her I was too cheap to buy that shit, I preferred peanut butter.  I thought it had a “ghetto” appeal to it; chocolate and nuts?  I don’t know why.  She was out of town or something, in Mexico being courted by some loser trying to get citizenship in the United States by fucking American women and living with his grandma.  No big deal, but I was the only one who saw it that way.

And then my ex gf came over one time…

She undid my pants and began to suck on the tip of my penis, and then around the shaft, then all the way down.  She licked from the bottom center to the top, accentuating her tongue far over the top before bringing it back into her mouth.  This was kind of funny looking, but in all seriousness I was almost speechless.

Between slurps she expressed how thankful she was to have me in her life, to have me show her what free sexual expression was like.  She pulled out a jar of Nutella and a knife, and began to create some sort of sexual art project (nothing went into the jar, just out of the jar), of which was later cleaned up by her mouth and her tongue.  Saliva and chocolate coated my member as it was left out in the warm summer air of the room.  She told me to sit down and not say a single word.  I did.

Not saying a word, this was the hardest part…  Almost…

She stretched on the communal yoga mat center floor, sticking her shapely rear out and pushing forward her breasts.  She pulled off her short-shorts and said she would be right back.  She came back opened the condom, threw the wrapper aside to the floor, put the condom in her mouth, and with little effort and much finesse I was protected and ready.  Something I had never seen before, a true professional.

As she mounted me, I thought what a beautiful day.  I leaned back against the couch.  I could see blue and green out the window.  Her hair fell forward and covered us as she came down on my hips with her legs.  The shades were not drawn and the windows remained open.  In and bliss, on to the moaning and physical pleasure.

And then I woke up.  So it goes…  Again, I was talking in my sleep.


I descended the stairs for a second time, hobbling with the incorrect box, wishing for a more precise description of what to bring up.  Thinking about how it would feel to fall down the stairs and wake up in the hospital.  Just an escaping thought.  Maybe I would break my ankle, or get a concussion, or maybe I would break both of my legs and/or arms.  Either way I would be out of a job and sitting at home.  I would be alone and bored.  I would have nothing, I would be just fine.

I felt I didn’t miss much, however my boss thought so.  Apparently I don’t hear, I find it more selective hearing.  Maybe I don’t see, I could hardly see the breakdown coming.  Speaking down to me like she would a dog.  I write, I can form sentences, I hardly think she knows.  The unrecognized blurting out of spew about banal misgivings on an internet medium.  How clever?

I have a degree and I have great customer service skills.  Why should I have to worry?  Ah, never do.  Sometimes you just have to get free.  I felt like in her attempts to control, she lost all control.  I wasn’t surprised, my theory was realized.  Was I right?  I felt as though I was in charge, but I would not get recognition, I also didn’t want it.  I care for only self-control, at which times I definitely lack.  However, I think that may just be human nature.  I just do what feels right.  Some people need more time to make up their minds.  They think on it.

I step on the concrete subfloor for the second time, the corner of the basement in the back right hand corner seemed to be calling.  The opening was dark, there were no lights on the other side; some old boilers loomed in the black, a small walkway, cement corridor to the left of the rusted out metal outer structure led back to more black and silence.  I looked for the other box, watching closely, not to turn my head away from the opening.  I grabbed the box, which was bigger, and heavier, and headed toward the stairs…

As I turned away from the opening I felt a pressure on the back of my neck as if something was watching.  My movement made shadows on the ground before where I walked.  I thought I would see it come in a shadow only, from behind.  The box was heavy, I placed it firmly in my arms and turned to the stairs.  I set my eyes in the direction I came, directly at the opening and there was nothing.  Just an empty basement, well, actually not quite empty; pallets with goods, items wrapped in plastic, racks, objects variously stacked on the sides, all the way to the back to the opening and the manifest monster.  The building some 100 odd years old, dust from then.  I wonder who built it.  80 percent of all dust is human skin.


I thought of the other day, I thought of when my dealer came over to drop off some shit and I couldn’t believe in ghosts anymore.


It was in an empty warehouse, we met like we knew each other.  I had only seen her a few times, she was gorgeous; however, just as mysterious and elusive, possibly an alcoholic, possibly preoccupied with something, that was none of my business.

This one time she gave me advantage.  I found myself awestruck as she spoke of split personalities and meds.  I told her I should probably be on Prozac, but I abandoned all hope for Western Medicine some time ago.  I read this one book I said.  She explained to me how I was so caring away from the crowd, so different.  She hadn’t heard me at first.  I said we all act accordingly.

Bio-feed I explained, like believe it and it will transpire.  I was not tired, I pissed outside, and had my cash in hand.  She mentioned my buttons, I told her I stole them from some teachers awhile back.  One read:  I make the difference.  I guess I did; the button’s lost, the difference is there will be a search and nothing will be found.  I make the difference.  I thought on it more.  She looked at me, I did the same back.  We were alone with all this space.  She came near and kissed me, slow at first and then aggressively.  Had I lost control, did something fly past the radar?

Part of myself was left on the warehouse floor that night.  I wasn’t actually sure which person she liked me as more.  I figure it was the one apologizing for the mess I had made.  I walked towards the light switch and she explained how I was still an asshole, and we laughed.

I flipped the lights off, walked towards the door, and looked outside upon the city.  I reached the door, locked it from the inside and padlocked it on the opposite.

One can never be too safe.

Lights loomed in the distance, a great diversity in shapes and colors danced across the sky.  The mass of water in front of us reflected the skyline; the 3rd St. bridge held solid in the foreground to the right, it lead wherever, whenever, if you had the gumption.  Let it take you.

I thought of what was in my pocket and what was now in my past.  I looked at her and said have a good night.  I unlocked my bike and we rode in opposing directions.  This was the antithesis of leaving together.  The night was not over for most, darkness was nowhere but in that basement.  The sun was missing, yet everything was vibrant and shimmering; yellows, reds, and whites, all lights, hung in and out of my view as I rode downtown and home.

I opened my door to the warmth and quiet of an empty gas heated dwelling; my roommates were gone, off on some adventure, the doors haven’t been open in hours.  The heat hit my face and I began to feel tired.  I went to my room and crashed on my bed.

I thought of the basement more, I wondered how others slept.  I wonder if they had control of their situation yet.  I thought of the past and how much fun I had had.  I thought of all of the good and bad things in life and realized they were just things.  No labels.  It had happened.  Nothing more, I would judge no one on a single action.

I almost forgot about every encounter I had that day.

I thought of how my superior had lost it, but I am sure she would be all right in a few days.  I thought of how I had lost it in the basement, I would be back down there again and in complete control of myself.  I was sick of thinking about things.  I rolled to my side and through the blinds I could see a light on at the neighbors.  It was nearing 1 am.  I thought about how this light comforted, how I gave it so much power.  I would have to do that for myself more.

I thought of pleasant things as I fell asleep.  All was well.  All was all.

And then I thought…

If only people I knew could grasp the idea that I own a warehouse near downtown Minneapolis.  If only they could see what happens.

And then I thought if there was truly something in the form of a ghost in the basement that I wished it was my grandfather, he taught me to be myself and never be afraid.


About Terry Scott Niebeling

Hello, My name is Terry Scott, a human being with flaws. twitter: @sirterryscott Buy my ebooks:
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