Bournael was looking down at the parcel that had just been delivered to him. He wasn’t even expecting an arrival. Nothing on the schedule indicated he’d have to show up to deal with the damned. No, he was getting some fresh air on the top of the ziggurat, as one does when one is a fallen angel reminiscent of a raven, when the sky broke, promptly followed by Lily kicking in something through the hole and yelling at Bournael.
Honestly, he wished he had a mouth on this form, to take a sip of coffee from a paper cup. It felt appropriate to the situation that unfolded before him. If he tried to do so now, he’d just bonk the cup on the bronze mask and spill the coffee over himself. The man before him was still reeling from the fall, holding onto his ribs, an ominous red stain spreading on the crotch of his pants. With a sigh and a shrug, Bournie chose to forego the usual theatrics. “Alright douchebag, welcome to Hell, let me get your file to know what to do with you, you sorry lot.” With a single step forward, he was now holding Arthur Donnellan’s head in his bird claws, as Bournael extended his hand and his will out. “Sorry, this takes a minute.”
Bournael stood there awkwardly in the same pose for exactly forty seven seconds before a file flew into his hand. He cleared his throat and opened the file. “Let’s see, Arthur Samael Donnellan. 48 years old. Unmarried. Biological Father of Lily Sadie Donn- oh no wait she’s abandoning that last name and claiming her mother’s last name of Dawncat. Handy that stuff changes in real time.” Bournael snapped his fingers, summoning some chains to hold Arthur down, stepping back while looking through the file. “Neglectful abusive parent once handed legal guardianship of Lily. Oh wow, you didn’t let her see her mom in her final days? That gets you on my personal shitlist.” A page turn, a hum, two more page turns, a hiss. A tut and a headshake. “Right. You fucked up, Arthur. You fucked up royally. In fact, you fucked up so hard, you’re not getting one of the established punishments. No.” Bournael lifted his hand and Arthur up, letting him hover before him. He moved so that he was inches away from Arthur’s face, blinking each of his eyes very slowly and meticulously in a random order. “You, Arthur Samael Donnellan, are getting a Personal Hell. Let me prepare it for you.” With a quick tilt of his head, Bournael summoned a coffin to store Arthur in while he worked. Arthur didn’t get a chance to protest, with a ball gag in his mouth, his wrists and ankles bound, tossed into the coffin like a sack of potatoes. The lid shut and sealed itself, and Arthur, ever so stoic and emotionless, panicked.
If he had the physical capability, he would have been banging on the lid of the coffin to be let out. With his wrists tied that was impossible with the space he had. But it began getting even more cramped. Too tight for his large frame. But his frame shifted with the coffin. He was relieved to no longer feel the pain or wetness from his crotch. He was relieved his ribs no longer felt broken, only bruised. And when he could close his jaw at last, why, he was about ready to cry tears of joy. All expressions of emotion he hadn’t done since he was 3 years old. He was unsure how long he had spent in that coffin, time seemed to have lost meaning. But he was surprised when a source of light showed up. Three thin slits, through which he could look out. Three thin slits that let him know, he was no longer in a coffin.
He was in a locker.
He hadn’t expected lockers to be roomy enough to fit him. Not much longer after the realisation had hit him, the door to his locker got opened and he was pulled out. The man who did so was dressed as if he was on the set of Grease, with the physique of a circus strongman, and Arthur? Arthur was looking up at him. He didn’t have to look up at people since he was 13. Everyone he encountered tended to be shorter than him. But the man who pulled him out was a giant. “Donnellan how many times are you going to let Gordon shove you in the locker. Stand up for yourself you damn coward!” The guy shouted at him, before walking off, leaving Arthur to observe his surroundings. His surroundings of a school hallway.
He knew he definitely shouldn’t be in school, that he was way past school age, and so he began looking for an exit. And he did manage to find one, leading outside to an early autumn campus. He figured he could follow the main road until he found which city he was in, and then hitched a ride. Unless he was dreaming. He must have been dreaming. The situation was too crazy to consider. Peter’s apartment must have had a gas leak or something that was making him hallucinate everything.
And so he walked. He walked to the school gates, walked through them, and found himself staring at the back of the bleachers. Confused, he made his way over to the gates again, and found himself once more staring at the bleachers the moment he crossed them.
“Yeah you’re not escaping Arthur.” Bournael was leaning against the bleachers, currently presenting as an art student looking individual. “Sorry, still working on populating the place. But I’ll spoil the fun for you. Here, you’re powerless. Systematically, socially, financially. You’re a nothing and a nobody that will be a punching bag for the jocks. Marty McFly’s dad if he never punched Biff. Except worse.” Bournael stepped forward and grabbed Arthur by the collar. “You’re stuck as a Freshman, without a home to hide in and get an escape from the torture. Any attempt at getting help will be shot down and ignored. Nobody will want to be around you. An outcast. An easy target. Be glad I didn’t make it worse and changed your body so that you’d be a trans man and would have to face transphobia and learn to understand dysphoria.” Bournael leaned forward, inches away from Arthur’s face. “But I’m not as cruel as you. Enjoy your torture.” With the sound of flapping wings, and a small explosion of feathers, Bournael was gone, leaving Arthur alone.
He hoped he would wake up soon.
But, yet unknown to him, he’d never get to sleep again.