Hellraiser: Beyond Elysium – Chapter 5 – Kirsty

“Between us and Heaven or Hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.”
– Blaise Pascal

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“That’s just it,” Kirsty responded, speaking up for the tape recorder, “I don’t think it is biblical. It’s spatial, maybe – dimensional – something…”

“People got the notion of Hell from somewhere.” Joey Summerskill adjusted her small recorder, moving it closer to Kirsty over the top of the coffee table.

“Myths or rumors of it could have inspired or solidified the biblical description of Hell, I don’t know – but the Labyrinth is a physical place. You don’t have to die to get there. If you’re still breathing after the doors are open, you can just walk right in. Innocence and evil, none of that matters, either.”

“So what does that tell us about an afterlife?”

“Nothing, maybe.”

“What if Heaven and Hell, the old reward and punishment idea, is something completely separate from whatever the Labyrinth is?”

“That used to be my mantra.” Kirsty shook her head. “I have to believe that my father is okay – wherever he is. I was told he was in his own Hell but I never believed it. The Labyrinth is something else entirely, though – it has to be. However, I’d rather not study it anymore than I have. The Cenobites can keep it.”

“Why do you think – he – keeps trying to enter our world?”

Kirsty smiled. “No idea. I keep forgetting to ask him.”

“I think about Doc a lot … and Terri.”

“You can’t hang on to the guilt. Trust me, I know. I beat myself up for years over Kyle, telling myself he’d be alive if I hadn’t run him right into Julia. He wouldn’t have stayed behind, though. Besides, he never listened close enough to my story if he expected Julia to stay skinless for long. He was on the lookout for a monster – but monstrosity isn’t always up front with you.”

“No. I can’t imagine the lies that demon told Terri.”

“Tell me about Elliott.” Kirsty smiled as she sat back and relaxed. “You said he helped you.”

“Oh – well, if you weren’t who you are, I wouldn’t have mentioned it. You might be the only person who wouldn’t think I was completely mad.”

“Who says you aren’t? Most people think I am.”

“Not me. I know you’re sane. I haven’t seen the Labyrinth but the Cenobites were enough.”

Kirsty poured more coffee for them both. “So tell me. I never got to speak to him once he remembered who he was; Channard interrupted us… Elliott saved Tiffany’s life … and mine.”

Joey began the tale that she must have been afraid to tell anyone. Kirsty could understand. She wished she hadn’t been so determined to tell the truth to others – especially to Dr. Channard. So many people would still be alive if she hadn’t… Turning away from the guilt again, she allowed Joey’s voice to distract her from the images of the horrors she’d seen. Just having someone else to talk to about these things helped – someone who wasn’t out to institutionalize her … again.

“Elliott chose to be bound to that demon again, to control it, send it back,” Joey said, finishing her tale. “I hope, wherever he is, that he might find some peace – though it doesn’t seem likely.”

“He told you he got into the weirder experiences after the war and that is what led him to the puzzle box. I wonder…” Kirsty mused. “It’s hard to imagine Elliott being anywhere near Frank’s league. Frank was evil, through and through, long before the Cenobites dragged him off. My one sight of Elliott – I don’t know… He seemed so … good.”

“As ghosts go, I’d have to agree.”

“You’re probably right about peace being scarce for him.” Kirsty sighed. “If he’s in the Labyrinth, bound to – him – well, I know I wouldn’t list it as a place to buy a house. Boston is a lot better.”

Joey smiled nervously and reached out to turn off the tape recorder.

Kirsty stood. “I did promise you a snack, didn’t I?” She went to the kitchen. When she returned with a plate of brownies, Joey was staring at her coffee cup. “Where are you staying?”

Joey looked up and shrugged. “I haven’t bothered to get a hotel yet. I got off of I-95 and drove straight to your doorstep.”

“Why don’t you stay here? I have extra bedrooms; pick one when you get tired. Until then, we can just talk the night away – at least until we’re convinced that we’re both sane.”

“I’d like that.” Joey picked up a brownie. “So you moved here after the accident?”

“Yes. We – my father and I – lived in Brooklyn before he married Julia and got the wild notion of moving into the family homestead. Between my father and what happened later with Trevor, I decided I didn’t want to be a New Yorker anymore. Boston was my way of starting fresh … or hiding – take your pick.”

“Why do you think Trevor did it? If you don’t mind talking about it?”

“I don’t know why. I’m told people sometimes turn to suicide without any prior clues that there’s even a problem. I’ve had my guilt over that, too. How could I not know he was so troubled? I guess I’d like to know why he chose to do it in the car going over a bridge, too. Maybe he wanted to take me with him. I’ll never know.”

“I’m sorry,” Joey whispered.

“It’s okay. That was a while ago. My therapist has me moving on, apparently.”

“Does this therapist know your history?”

“No. That’s why I’m working at a nice boring realtor job and living quietly alone in my house, instead of sleeping with tranquilizers in a straitjacket.”

“An improvement.”

“So, what about you? Married?”

“No, never – career woman, all the way.”

“Not even a boyfriend?” Kirsty smiled when Joey shook her head. “Girlfriend?”

“What?” Joey blushed. “No. Nothing like that.”

“Me either. I guess I may as well tell you – after Trevor I met Tiffany again, before I left New York. We ended up together, for about a year. It was nice – having someone who knew all of the secrets and didn’t judge me.”

“Oh.”

“It didn’t work out, obviously. We’re still friends, but she met someone – a man. She was just sort of drifting anyway; after all we’d been through she didn’t know who she was, let alone what she wanted. So I wished them well and moved here. Been a hermit ever since.” Kirsty picked up a brownie and paused. “I hope I haven’t made you uncomfortable.”

“No! Not at all.”

“Well, I promise to behave, if you aren’t into that.” She smiled again, taking a bite of the pastry.

“I have something I wanted to show you – but it’s still in my car.” Joey rose. “It’s a box.” When Kirsty choked, she amended quickly, “Not a puzzle box. Sorry. It’s just a box full of documents and stuff that Terri helped me get out of an art gallery in New York City. It came from the Channard Institute … but some of it is hundreds of years old.”

“The mystery deepens, huh? Need help dragging it in?”

“No, it’s not heavy.” She paused and looked back at her. “My suitcases are.”

“Let’s get to the grunt work, then.”

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