Origins of Hell
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Hell is a nightmare of his own making.Claudius Merloche’s family is killed in a brutal act. He takes his life in his hands, hoping to rejoin his loved ones in the afterlife.
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ISBN: 9780692209646
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Origins of Hell - M.R. Adams

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Claudius Merloche was enlightened. He had killed himself with a pistol in the mouth, collapsing onto the grave of his wife, their two small children buried at their side. He was dead before the black birds took flight from the trees.

When he awoke, his wife slept in bed, her blond hair fanned about her, a messy sleeping beauty. He smiled, then raised the ax and butchered her head. He stopped after her neck was a stump, a pulp of flesh, bone, feathers, and hair hovering above–twenty-two whacks. He had imagined his vision of that painting, where the man had air for a head, his hat seemingly floating. He took clumps of her hair and dabbed them about the pillow.

Next, he visited with his daughter. Sitting in the rocking chair, he placed his ax in his lap and watched the angel for fifteen minutes. For sleeping so quietly, she was rewarded with two whacks; his son, fifteen. Boys were supposed to be men–stronger, protectors. He fixed himself a glass of warm milk, turned on the late show, and fell asleep smiling. Next time, he’d use chloroform and place them together. The children could lie across their mother in opposite directions. When Claudius awoke, his wife slept in bed, a messy sleeping beauty. He raised the ax.

The first hundred repetitions, he cried inside. He fought to control himself and the cold hunger that needed their blood. But he knew their death was peace, the only way to sleep. Otherwise, he’d be awake for eternity. The hundredth and fourteenth time, he had accepted his futile attempt to control destiny as an act. He needed to feel like a good person.

Hacking their heads, he got his sleep. He woke up, repeated, always thinking how he could evolve artistically, his own cross. The surrender, the release of the horror, anger, and self-consciousness, opened a space in his mind: He hadn’t killed his soulmates. Why was this his hell?

The two hundredth and fiftieth time, he stood over his wife and raised the ax. This wasn’t her. He hacked away. He visited his