The First of January

Awakening from what he thought was the most amazing dream ever Ted opened his eyes and stared in wonder at his surroundings. It hadn’t been a dream. He was in a place of such incredible beauty that words failed him.

The air was tinted aquamarine and flowed in swirls around alabaster columns and upwards toward a ceiling that seemed to whirl into a gentle vortex of colours that had no names.

He was lying on what seemed to a vast white cloud that gave way perfectly with his slightest move while supporting him. He couldn’t remember ever being so comfortable. He was enveloped in an overwhelming bliss.
As he tried to take it all in a voice drifted to his ear.

“What may I do for you Ted?”

He turned his head and took in the most exquisite creature imaginable. His jaw dropped and her smile widened. He worked his mouth but no sound came forth.

“Are you hungry? Shall I summon some nourishment?”

He nodded his head and a table laden with every imaginable food appeared. Every dish he had ever loved was there for him. He eyed a roast leg of lamb and suddenly the taste of it filled his mouth. He cast his eye on dish after dish to the same effect.

At last he could take no more and as quick as it had appeared the table of food was gone. He looked about and there were two more incredible women looking at him with longing. He tried to recall how he had come to be in this place but as though he had never been anywhere else.

He leaned back and stretched. Another voice called.

“Ted, what else would you like? What can we do for you?”

He gazed upon their voluptuous bodies and carnal thoughts filled his mind. The one who not yet spoken walked over to him and crouched down beside him. She whispered in his ear and then straddled him. His eyes went wide and she leaned down until her face was inches from his.

All at once he could smell her fetid breath. As he looked on in horror a forked tongue slithered out of her mouth and then a hideous laugh filled the space. His mind shifted and he was lying on a rough stone slab that burned his body everywhere it made contact with the stone. The smell of sulphur stung his nostrils, the heat was overpowering. The creature above him was a massive demon with curling horns. Erupting boils dripped sickening green ooze onto him adding to the horrid stench that seemed to come from everywhere at once.

The other two were laughing. Then he remembered. Torment. Once a year they allowed him to think he was in heaven. Year after year, decade after decade. As his mind filled with overwhelming bitterness and despair the demon straddling him leaned down again into his face.

“Happy New Year Ted.”


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