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Hell in the Hornet's Nest
by Michael S. Collins

“Hell”, said the Hornet “Is a state of mind.”

He said such things to cheer me up.

“It’s not a matter of being in Hell. It’s if you choose to turn it to your advantage or not.”

I looked at my surroundings. Hell is a Hornets nest. Not the metaphorical kind. Thousands upon thousands of hornets buzzed around a large echoing nest, relentlessly stinging the damned forever.

“Sorry about this” said the Hornet, as he continued to stab me.

“Where am I?” I asked. I had no way of knowing. I’d only been dead for a minute or two. It takes a while to get used to new surroundings.

“You are in the 15th Circle of Hell.” Said the Hornet.

The Fifteenth? So much for anyone getting saved, I guess.

“There are fifteen?” I said.

“Oh yes.” Said the Hornet. “Judas got moved upstairs for good behaviour after The Saved People vs. God and The Lower Disciples. That put us down to eight. Then there was one for bureaucrats, one for bigots, one for people who sneeze or talk loudly during the pivotal moments of a Doctor Who episode, one for zealots, one for rugby fans who didn’t realise God was an Englishman, one for yoghurt lovers, and one for your lot.”

“You mean MPs?” I said. Trying to work out my situation. I hadn’t meant to be eternally damned. I don’t think many are. Apart from the yoghurt lovers, perhaps.

“No, no, politicians don’t go to Hell”, said the Hornet, “Bless, they don’t know any better!”

“Why am I here then?” I asked.

“I thought it was obvious. This is the fifteenth circle of Hell, for the most grievous sin yet known to man.”

“What is it?” I cried.

“Killing a hornet” he replied.

I guess it did sort of make sense, in a horrible schaddenfreude kind of a way.

He continued to sting me.