Journey Through Hell: Part 3

June 23, 2015:

John, Jesana and Kitty continue on their way out of Hell, moving through the Bolgias.

Hell

Characters

NPCs: Maanacalladiusphilothosphius

Mentions:

Mood Music: Deep Dark Below - Amanda Shires


Fade In…

How long had it been? It was impossible to tell. Time seemed to flow differently in the blasted wastes- it could have been hours, it could have been weeks. Kitty was the only one with a sense of independent time. John would stop her at intervals and simply order her to sleep. While she did, he would carry her on his back, lashed to him by the chains that drape around his body. Like something out of a Dicken's novel, the chains rattle along with him, more and more evident as they walk along. They drag from his feet and from manacles around his wrists, but at the same time they seem to weigh nothing nor slow his hands and feet down.

Taciturn at best, John had gone quiet as they moved down the mountain. Silent, even. It'd been how long- days? Since he'd spoken to either one.

"We're approaching the Bolgias," John says, finally, gesturing at a plain spreading in front of them. For endless miles in every direction, broken rock is scattered, plateaus springing up here and there with distnat, tiny milling forms on them. Monstrous in size, each a vast distance across. "These are where the fradulent go. Liars, hucksters… thieves, politicians. Everyone here will lie to you happily. They'll do it compulsively, even." He turns sallow, sunken eyes onto the girls. "I'll try to get us out of here swiftly. Remember that this place will corrupt you. The more you give in to the nature of Hell, the more Hell you take on. We'll do what we must to survive, but remember, we're here to /survive/. This is not the time or place for moral pronouncements. In. Out. On. Check?"

Jesana hasn't said anything since they'd donned their disguises and more and more it's gotten harder to see any hint of the curious young woman that John and Kitty know. Her expression is empty and blank and she doesn't do anything unless one of them directly tells her to. The important parts of herself she's tucked away are getting burried deeper as time passes here. Sometimes she remembers who she is, or who she thinks she is and what they are doing, other times she isn't aware of herself at all and her companions only as a source of instruction. It might be worrisome, only they're in Hell, so what isn't? really.

While perhaps the only person with some sense of time, it's mostly brought about by exhaustion and hunger. As they go on, Constantine does not need to order Kitty to rest quite so often, as the woman is starting to slow. Who knows how long it has been down in Hell, but it certainly has been long enough that her gnawing hunger is starting to become more than something she can simply ignore. It's dragging on her.

The emotional and quipping Kitty at the start of this journey has melded into a woman who does not argue with Constantine, despite their knock down drag out fight earlier. She merely nods and allows him to carry her - surely a sign that she's growing weaker the longer they stay here. This latest stop and attempt to ensure they are ready for what they are about to face is met with another nod. "Got it," she says, attempting to put some force behind the words, but she merely sounds tired.

John gets to the entrance to the largest of the 'Bolgias' and with a focused effort, makes the chains girding him vanish into the aether, leaving a slump-shouldered fellow standing there. He stretches and tilts his head back, looking upwards, and then cracks his neck. …more or less notionally, but he cracks it.

"Okay. Look alive, you two," he says, forcing some personality into his vocie. "We can't afford to look weak. They're predators- they'll be all over us in a heartbeat. Don't volunteer any information, don't try to weave a story. These blighters would give me a run for my money. In- out- discreet. That's the keyword here."

John walks around the corner, trenchcoat puffed around him like armor, and starts heading into what must be some kind of market.

"IT'S JOHN CONSTANTINE!" someone screams, pointing a finger. A dozen- several dozens- of faces whip around. They range from the vaguely human to horrendously distorted. Demons, towering over or slithering among the various people, turn with eyes alight in interest.

"GET HIM!"

"Oh, bollocks, they remembered me from last time," John says, mournfully. In moments he's overrun by a swarm of demons and hellish residents who start dragging him down the street by main force.

"Stay here and hide." Jesana tells kitty and eyes the situation for a moment. A lot of the trouble she's gotten into has been attempting to do things that no one else would think is possible simply and managing simply because no one told her she couldn't do that. Fighting these things, there are too many, far two many and Kitty's body is fragile. There's also no way she's going to let them have John. She's still aware enough to remember she's supposed to be protecting him and that he's important and that knowledge sends a surge of panic rushing up and out and Jes is herself again for the moment and has an idea. A desperate idea.. but it's the only thing she can think of this quickly and is pretty much what they've been doing all along. With a minor (or not) change.
She'd told him she belonged here. That had been true, but not the entire truth. In the normal course of things Jesana would belong here, only she isn't technically dead at the moment and someone, somewhere else has a prior claim on her soul. They can't really hurt her, can't even keep her here, not permanently. The only wounds she's actually gotten where the ones John gave her. She just hasn't been ready to admit otherwise til now. "That man, That Soul belongs to me!" Jes snarls and savage kicks, shoves and tosses aside everything in her way. Her eyes have changed, both are brown instead of the usual one brown, one green. "Get off my slave you little pissant bastards!" One of them is holding something, a length of metal or wood, or, she doesn't look really, just jerks it free and lays into the demons. They have what is hers and she will take it back.

Knowing that part of the whole groups survival depends on her attempting not to look half starved, Kitty stands straighter. Or, at least, as straight as she can. Reminding herself that she's supposed to be some sort of Succubus, she hopes that they all are model thin and will think she's desperate for stealing energy as opposed to food. Energy is like a form of food to them, right?

As the approach the city, she attempts to look confident and slightly pissed. That's what Betsy would do in this situation, right? She's behind the pair as they move toward the market and is about to push forward to help John when Jesana leaps into the fray and starts to bite and kick. A feistier Kitty would ignore both John's and Jesana's warnings and attempt to help. But, the weaker woman remains where she was told, just out of range, watching and attempting to figure out how she can help.

And at that moment, when Jesana tells a lie in the Bolgias of Hell, a little bit of blackness colors her soul.

Still, it gets their attention, and they all freeze up. John frantically waves Jesana off as best he can, with a frozen-face grimaced and a slashing motion across his neck, but it's too late.

"John Constantine? He's your /slave/?" One of the demons- a huge, honking thing- stomps up to Jesana, looking down at her, then roars in laughter. "Not likely! Is she with you, John?" it asks through a mouthful of mangled fangs, bat wings shuddering behind it with a rasp of scales. He pokes Jesana's shoulder with a cat-o-nine whip handle, snorting. "She's got some guts, h'uh. What are you doing with a revenant down here? Are you hunting someone? We told you, you ain't allowed down here no more for work."
"Boris, mate, you think I can tell a bloody revenant what to do?" John snaps, trying to look unconcerned. "Those things are nuts, you know. C'mon- who can keep me against my will? Eh?"

"Fair enough, John boy," the demon sorts. "But we told you, you ain't skulkin' around here! Not no more! C'mon boys, let's take him to the offices! The sheriff's gonna wanna talk to him!"

The crowd surges and roars and with a shocking amount of speed, rushes John down the street before he can give Jesana and Kitty any instructions!

Jes stares after them and stalks forward growling. She probably does look crazy. She very well might be at the moment. She's never felt this angry and been in human guise, even if its just part of her soul, right now she's without coyote and coyote is the one who handles this kind of anger. She's wondering if the demons can die. Probably not. She isn't a priest either, that makes her blink, wondering if a Priest could even be here. Only for a second though. She's not a priest or all that religious but it doesn't matter, she's still one of father's children. Mortal for the moment but with time.. with time there's likely no limit to what one of Old Coyote's children could do if they really set their mind to it. Right now her mind is set to getting John and Kitty out of here. Kitty, shit. Jes pauses and turns back around. She can't leave her there. "Kitty..you know more about this place than I do, maybe. If I knew someone..or someones here..could I make them help us?" She moves back to Kitty's side while she speaks.

Sherriff. Offices. That's got to be something. Kitty does not know much about this level of hell and when Jesana returns to her, she shakes her head. "Bolgias are something from Dante. It's on one of the levels of Hell. There's a bunch of different levels that have thieves and politicians and hypocrites." That part of class is a bit fuzzy for her at the moment. "There's bridges or something that divide them. One holds sorcerers? But, none of them talked about sheriffs or offices." And so, she doesn't know how that can help them.

"They said they're taking him to the sheriff. Come on, we can find that." Setting her mind off her aching stomach, she pushes forward. Determined, she starts moving as quickly as she can in the direction the demons took John. There are a crowd of them; even if they are moving quickly, they'll hopefully not be too hard to follow.

It takes a little while to find the offices. Mostly because literally everyone in town /lies/. They're not just contrary- they actively avoid telling the truth, and when they do, it's usually misleading or 'technically' correct. In fact, the demons are the ones who are a little more reliable, because they /always/ lie, and at first cut, too. There's really no effort at misdirection.

It doesn't take terribly long to figure out where John is, though- because it looks like there's a party in the makings. A huge, rolicking party. Drinks. Various acts of carnal fulfillment. And a clown! But mostly the orgy. It's a bit squicky, and doesn't bear thinking about. The sheriff's office looks like something out of a spaghetti western flick, with an actual deck and a little one-level building with a false facade front. There's even a star over the walkway. Drunk or asleep, or both, what might be a deputy snores not far from the door. He looks human. Ish.

Jes shows a flash of worry several times at the mention of the Sheffif they are looking for, but quickly dismisses the thought troubling her. The Sheffif she's thinking of had been a lot more corrupt than…this. Her eyes flick from thing to thing and she pauses a moment. Huh..doing what those three are doing, in just that position had never occured to her. Maybe later… Jes shakes her head. Not what they are here for. Besides, just because she'd murdered the bastard in his sleep doesn't mean he's holding a grudge, people get killed all the time and most of them don't deserve it like that man had. Nah, it won't be the same guy. "These guys really kinda suck at lying." Jes comments quietly to Kitty as they approach the deputy. Now, how to get past, sneak, strike, bluff? Throw him into the nearest pile of…Jes blinks and stares. "They have some interesting ideas though…"

It seemingly takes forever to find the sheriff's office, but when they do…ew. Though, a succubus wouldn't think something like that is gross, right? Steel expression, Kitty. Constantine said the disguise came with some magic, but she doesn't want to use too much of it if she doesn't have to. The way to get into places seems to be walk with a purpose.

"That's all they do," she tells Jesana quietly, tone weary, not wanting to think about the interesting ideas they're having. "Come on, let's just walk in like we own the place. If John's in there, we'll find him."

The door opens on a bizarre tableau. John is drinking with a tall, blue skinned man with a pair of giant white wings folded behind him. He's… well, he's gorgeous. And glowing. Literally. Like, heavenly chorus stuff.

"Oh blimey, I forgot to send someone for you two!" John hiccoughs, then laughs. "Ruddy hell, sorry about that. This is Mac," he says, gesturing with a gallon of what must be moonshine at the fellow. The solar rises and beams (literally) at the girls, golden rays of heavenly light pouring from his eyes and possibly his buttcrack.

"Hello, ladies," the angel says. He looks abashedly apologetic, enough for him and John together. "I'm Maanacalladiusphilothosphius," he says, the syllables rolling smoothly. "I'm in charge of protecting this Bolgia. Please, come in," he invites them, pulling out two chairs. "I have some food, if you'd like- real food," he tells Kitty. "I keep some on hand. Nothing glamorous, but it'll sustain you. Four-legs," he tells Jesana, looking apologetic, "you look unwell. I can offer you nothing but a friendly smile for your time here."

Jesana stares for a moment but doesn't seem taken in by the guys looks. At all. There are alot of factors that have to work for her to find someone attractive and coyote has a lot to do with that. Since she isn't here, Jes is only abstractly aware of such things. Besides, something about this guy makes her want to punch him in the face. He's too pretty, maybe. "Don't eat anything he gives you. You know more about this place than me, but I don't think…I don't think real angels go here." Or would be guarding the…goings on outside. Jes doesn't punch the ..whatever it is but she does haul off and aim one right at John's nose. He forgot them?! If she manages to hit him she's likely to kick him once he's down for good measure. She doesn't care about herself but Kitty, Kitty is in real danger. And Jes might be suffering from a bit of anger management issues right now. Maybe, more than a bit.

Food. Real food. The very mention of it has the woman salivating. Kitty takes an involuntary step forward before she stops herself. No. Eating here is bad. And John wouldn't forget them, would he? He did injure them and scare them, but he's yet to forget them.

"Everything here's a lie," she repeats to Jesana. Her voice is not low as she says it, eyes focused on the blue angel for the moment. When the coyote moves forward to clock John across the face, she gasps. "Wait! Stop!" Her attention narrows on Maana and she asks, "What did you do to him?" She's attempting to sound menacing, but it's hard when it's hard to look at the glowing man without blushing.

John rolls his eyes at Jesana when she swings at him, to precisely zero effect. Her hand just kind of… stops when it contacts him. "No skin and bones, luv," he reminds her, waving a hand in front of his face. "You don't have the chops to hurt me anyway. You're just not mean enough." He takes another swig of his moonshine and looks at Mac, a grin on his face. "Five quid, mate. Told you she wouldn't take the food."

John belches and stretches in place. "Rule fourty-three, Kit- roll with the punches. Rule forty-four: never pass up a free lunch," he says, ticking three fingers up at Kitty, reminding her of the rules. Which she's quite certain he makes up on the spot, for the most part.

"I didn't do anything to him," Mac assures Kitty, smiling gently at her again. "I met John a long time ago. He was-" John hisses and waves his hands, trying to flag Mac off the topic. "-rescuing some children who he'd trapped here a long time ago. It was an act of great selflessness," Mac says, his tone gentle and full of compassion, patting John's shoulder. "He saved me, too. I was cast down here for lying. I was angry and bitter, and I was likely on a course to some great darkness. John showed me a better way- a path to redemption."

John looks like he might crawl under a desk. He chugs more moonshine instead.

"I've sworn an oath to honesty, John," the angel says, shrugging apologetically at the man. "I promised God I would be forthcoming until the end of days."

Jes overbalances and catches herself before she falls over. She hadn't forgotten exactly, it's hard not to notice half of herself is..gone. She just really wants to hit someone. She sighs and her lips quirk slightly. He isn't really the one she wants to hit though, she thinks he's wrong about the mean part. She turns to study the angel. She can almost always spot a liar. It's not just scent, which doesn't have access to at the moment but body language, tone of voice, the look in ones eyes. This is Hell though and everyone is lying. Still, it seems to have the ring of truth to it and John's reaction… Jesana moves close and kisses his cheek. Or what passes for such a thing here. Then she nods at Kitty. "I think he's telling the truth." She gives the angel another look. "If you aren't, some day when I know more and I'm stronger, I will come back here and beat the beauty out of you." Her eyes are both still brown and narrowed with promise.

Kitty looks at the angel, eyes turning from narrowed to confused to awe, to suspicious again. "And angel of God…here…" As a woman who wears a Star of David around her neck, she certainly knows what that means. A hand reaches up to touch it subconsciously. To see the blue winged creature here is certainly a surprise and something of mistrust. An angel in Sheol? It does not compute.

"You said there's never a free meal in Hell," she reminds John softly. However, with the chair pulled out, she can't help but drop into it. She's tired and weak. The burst of energy that brought them here has added to the toll of her being here in her body. "I guess an angel here is about as believable as someone telling the truth."

John kisses Jesana's cheek with rough affection. It's the thought that counts, anyway, spirit forms or not.

"That is quite fair, four-legs," Mac tells Jesana gently. "I will weep when I send your spirit to join with the Earth mother again," he says, smiling at her. And he seems like he /really means it/.

"Yes, daughter of David- the Father has his servants, and we are honored to serve Him as He grants us permission. It's my great and humble duty to tend to the Bolgias and ensure that those here are protected until they repent and seek absolution. I'll be here until the end of time, serving Him." It's funny how he capitalizes God's name with just his tone of voice, but there's no mistaking the genuine love and warmth that flows from him. Literally.

"We're going to sleep here for a night then, mate," John says. "If you've a bunk for Kitty. Jesana and I could stand a Blessing of Peace- it's been a long… however long for us."

Jes leans against the wall next to John, her cheek pressed by where his shoulder would be and frowns slightly. Maybe she'll feel bad later over the threat and it had been a threat, later. Right now all Jes really cares about is getting them out of here and while she isn't much right now some day, she'll be able to make good on her promise. "I think a little rest would be good." It's the closest the angel is going to get to a Thank You, in this place. She's being careful. Her eyes move to Kitty and she looks worried for a moment. She isn't tired, not really but Kitty must be exhausted and Jes has more than a little to think about now that she isn't on autopilot.

"The food is off the table, then?" Kitty sighs. She's exhausted, yes, but she's more than that: she's starving. And if John trusts an angel, maybe she can, too. Having a spirit form would be very useful right now. It would mean she didn't have to eat or drink or sleep. Her eyes are focused on the floor rather than any of the other occupants in the room, meaning she misses the worried looks or the resting affection between the two of them.

The initial distrust of the angel and John saying that he forgot about them has not yet left her, but she's too tired and hungry to not ask the question. If an angel of God has food, surely she can eat it, even if this is Hell.

"Of course not," the angelic being says. "Eat. Rest. Sleep," he offers. "You are safe here, daughter of Eve, daughter of Gaia. I will protect and guard over you. As the shepherd protects and guards over his flock." He smiles, literally radiating warmth and compassion.

HOURS LATER:

Kitty and Jesana are resting- Kitty sleeping soundly with a full belly, Jesana in a spiritual semirepose that resembles it. True to the angelic being's word, no one disturbs or threatens them. He and John stand on the porch, looking at the eternal twilight over the Bolgia.

"You've still got your knack for this, John," Mac says, his humming voice only reaching John's ears. "You've been here most of a day, running your mouth and I have yet to hear you make any kind of declarative statement."

"What can I say, there's good reason Old Horned One wants me here," John responds, drolly. He's smoking, albeit more for the form than a need for nicotine.
"The four-legs is quite taken with you. Best be careful."
"Fuck you, Mac," John says, cooly. "If I wanted your opinion I'd beat it out of you. You lie like a rug. Don't forget who got you this gig," he says, pointing a finger at the angelic being. "You'd still be writhing in the Pit without me."
"That's true, John," the angel agrees, seeming unruffled. "But last time, you didn't have two souls to protect." He holds a hand out, gesturing, and John exhales reedily. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out something that looks like a crystal, swirling and hazy images inside of it.
"Ahh. Lying to seduce a woman- classic Constantine. A delicious sin." The angel holds the crystal near his face and breathes in, deeply, the image turning to dust and vanishing into his nose.
"Whatever, Mac," John says, looking haggard. "Don't sell that one. If I make it out of here, you can say you knew me when. If I don't- who knows? Might be a collectible someday."
"Not the way you've been bartering, John. I talked to our friend below. He said you sold him a pretty bauble for his aid."
"Fuck off, Mac."
A long silence stretches, the fallen angel and the Hellblazer standing in the eighth layer together. Finally, Mac reaches under his wing and holds a pomegranate out to John, the firm flesh of the fruit redder than freshly spilled blood. "Persephone's demise, John. That illusory food won't keep her going for long. She needs to eat." He nods at John, looking from the fruit to the man again. "No more than seven seeds a day. It'll keep her alive, if barely. Which is I assume your plan- another Constantine masterstroke.

"Masterstroke," the angel says.

"Yeah. One step at a time, Mac," John exhales, looking haunted. He looks down at the chains tightening around his chest, growing heavier with each passing day. "One day at a time."

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