The Overseer of the entrusted to him otherworldly prison excitedly walked around the reception zone, exhaling tongues of purple flame from time to time. He was incredibly happy. Very soon, several million new freshly disembodied prisoners were supposed to be transferred here. Several million future slaves. The seeds that had been sown by them in souls over several hundred years have finally come to fruition. Grandiose!

A deep-throated laugh, full of rage and triumph, rang out in the room, causing the thin tongues of the braziers lighting the immersed in semi-darkness hall to vibrate in fear. As if in response, the liquid gurgled savorily in the cauldron that was located in the corner of the hall. Sleeping next to the cauldron, Cerberus half-opened one eye and yawned hard with both of his mouths, as if coming out of a centuries-old stupor. Somewhere in the distance, on another plane, horses neighed in anticipation of their riders.

The Overseer decided to interrogate the first few newcomers himself – to remove, so to speak, the cream of the dark flame from their black souls. The rest will be handled by his wards. Time was in abundance. After all, what is death and eternity for those who have never lived?

A light click of the tail on the black stone of the floor – and now the first of the future prisoners is sitting in front of him, looking around in surprise. The time has come for the interrogation of another dead soul. Stretched out on a leather-upholstered bone throne, the Overseer stared with his blood-red eyes, in which the flame tongues had been dancing playfully, at his new newly disembodied slave.

“The Earth ruler,” the Overseer’s imperious tone did not ask, but confirmed, “The killer. I love such ones!”

“Truly?” the ethereal image that vaguely resembled a human was taken aback in surprise, “At the Court, I was told that God abandoned me because…”

“Because he has no need for souls like yours,” the Overseer didn’t let him finish, “And we dote on you. Your soul is so dark and delicious.”

“But I’ve already told all of you that I had no other choice. People have revolted! My very life was in danger!”

“Is that so?” as if with a bit of irony, the Overseer tilted one of his horns to the side, “And why did they act so rashly, I wonder?”

“I have no idea!” The ethereal figure of the former earth ruler bitterly clasped his hands, “Ungrateful commoners always demand something! Bastards!”

“And so you rewarded them with executions and mass shootings…” the Overseer barked, “I love such people! You will descend far! How about working as my deputy?”

“And… is that possible? Perhaps this is too much of an honor for me? I think… probably… considering the circumstances… I must agree.”

“Then it’s a deal of paws and hoofs!” The Overseer shouted, and from this terrible roar the flames of the braziers fluttered again, as if on an invisible wind, “You will replace me in one of the dark worlds.”

A snap of the paw’s fingers, a clatter of hooves on the skulls decorating the foot of the throne – and the outlines of the ethereal figure abruptly wavered, horns suddenly began to stretch out on his head, a tail started growing and forking, and once green eyes began to fill with blood…

“What are you doing to me… It’s not what I… it’s not me…”

“In his image and likeness…” the Overseer finished philosophically for him as if reluctantly breaking into a smile, “Next one!”

“Can I come in?” timidly asked the image of another person who materialized in the place of the disappeared ruler, “Knock, knock, knock?”

“A doctor. Vaccinator. My friend, how glad I am to have this unearthly meeting with you!” The Overseer chuckled, “The doors of my humble abode are always open for souls like you!”

“I think I got a little lost,” shifting from one foot to the other, the spirit of the former doctor confusedly admitted, “I only reached the six hundred and sixty-fifth office, and I need to go to…”

“Our, if I may say so, medical office, will just be your next stop! What are you complaining about, my patient?”

“It’s cold… very… cold here…” said the spirit, shivering, as if there were no braziers in the hall at all.

“It’s true!” the Overseer suddenly sharply agreed with him, “There is no warmth in evil hearts! But we have developed heart vaccines specifically for the ones like you. They, as you guessed it… transform these hearts. I would even say that they genetically modify them. Turn into a piece of ice!”

With these words, the Overseer waved his hand imperiously, and thirty syringes suddenly began hovering over the ethereal figure of the doctor, who was shaking from the cold, aiming their needles directly at his eyes and heart.

“What… but I… we saved them!”

“Saved from life? Well done, I applaud you! Although a small part of them still got to heaven, most of them will soon come to our domain!”

“There was… an epidemic… We cured…”

“N-o-o-o-o!” The Overseer guffawed, “You gave birth to it! Even children were infected. You acted better than the fascists! And all your so-called “Hippocratic oath” is now nothing more than a fig leaf designed to close your insatiable thirst for profit from human pain and suffering! You tried to treat only the bodies, and never remembered about the soul! But you won’t need your soul anymore…”

“But… we didn’t know that it truly…”

“Yes, it does exist! And yours is now at our direct disposal until the end of times.”

“But… our experiments…”

“Better practice on rats for now!”

A new wave of a clawed paw, an imperious blow with a hoof – and the outlines of the doctor’s figure began to rapidly shrink, distort, as if in some rapid mutation, and a few seconds later a huge black rat was running under the Overseer’s feet, feebly squeaking.

“Don’t you forget your vaccines!” The Overseer said a second before pinning her to the floor with thirty syringes floating in the air, “Next one!”

“Wow, that’s cool! You know, the local carnivorous flora and fire-breathing fauna seem to be extremely diverse, the air filled with sulfur and ash perfectly tones my lungs, and the sight of your throne takes my breath away! I could write a wonderful article about this in…”

“Hypocrite!” the Overseer sharply spitted in response to the human image, but not the likeness, that appeared in the hall, “Your name is legion!”

“Yes, yes, so, as I already mentioned, I could write how great…”

“A journalist! A life of lies! Love that!” The Overseer’s hooves clattered in excitement, and his tail split at the end, “You’ve served our cause well, along with the doctors-killers. What reward do you desire for misleading millions?!”

“No, no, you misunderstood me, we didn’t mislead them, we just expressed our personal point of view, which may not coincide…”

“Expressed it?!” and the braziers in the hall again trembled with rolling laughter, and the Cerberus, who was once again immersed in sleep, opened one of his eyes, “You didn’t express it, you imposed it! Lies from your filthy tongues have been pouring into the ears of gullible souls for decades! Tens of millions of deceived and lost souls, a wonderful harvest. What kind of reward do you desire for that?!”

“Well… I… we… don’t even know what to say…”

“Then be silent forevermore!”

The lips and mouth of the ethereal spirit of the journalist suddenly moved spontaneously, his eyes widened in horror, and after a few seconds he spat out his blackened and twisting tongue with a wild wheeze. This tongue, now living a completely independent life, began to wriggle like a worm, crawling away towards the boiling cauldron, where it was soon seized and torn apart by the awakened Cerberus. With his eyes bulging with horror, the spirit of the journalist held his hands to his mouth, unable to utter a single word.

Contentedly shifting from hoof to hoof, this ruler of the ninth circle of Hell put a clawed paw finger to the forehead of his victim, rapidly drawing something on it.

“Ours now,” he confirmed with satisfaction after a short time, “If you have no desire to be children of God, you will become our slaves instead. Next one!”