Watching people burn in coffins is weird. But not as weird has having to talk to them. The number of so called “heretics” Virgil forced me to speak with was not necessary. None of them have any idea about the present day. One even asked me if his son had died! Turns out everyone who dismisses the rules of High School generally only sees the future, where GPA, class rank, and SAT scores don’t matter. And no administrator would want children with foresight, obviously.
“Here we are,” Virgil said as we approached the edge of the circle.
“We’re done then?” I said, breathing heavily. “No more talking to random burning people?”
“Nope,” Virgil replied, looking down the crevice. “Although, what comes next is likely much worse.”
A horrible stench hit my nose as we approached the next circle. Hiding behind a coffin, Virgil and I discussed the smell.
“What is that?” I said, holding my nose.
“The next circles are for people who were, like, really bad. So we punish them with bad smells in addition to the normal punishment.”
“Excuse me,” the person, apparently a former Pope, said from within his coffin. “Some of us are trying to repent in silence.”
“Oh,” Virgil said, ashamed. “Our apologies.” We quickly moved away from the old man’s casket and descended to the next level.
This time, when we jumped, Virgil explained the following circles to me as we fell.
“You see,” Virgil yelled over the air rushing past us. “The next main sins are violence and fraud. It might sound weird, but they get split up into different sections, so it’s more like ten circles down there. By the way, God hates loans.”
With that, we landed among a pile of strewn boulders. Brushing ourselves off, we walked towards the center of the circle, only to find someone else here with us.
“You know,” Virgil said, quietly. “I may have forgotten about this guardian.”
The guardian he mentioned, of course, was none other than the Minotaur. Very large and very angry, it stood before us, blocking the entrance to the next circle.
“How are you?” Virgil asked, stepping in front of me. “Long time no see, yes?”
“Is that… Theseus?” The Minotaur replied.
“No, no,” Virgil replied. “Theseus died a long time ago, remember?”
The Minotaur looked confused, and then suddenly raised his axe.
With that, Virgil grabbed my hand as we ran past the Minotaur. His rage was so great against me that he forgot to swing. Luckily, we reached the next circle before he could come after us.
As usual, things only got crazier as we advanced. Soon enough, we stood before a raging river of boiling blood that held those who had committed violence against others. Basically, Saturday school.
Walking past the sets of bullies, we neared the end of the river, only to be accosted by Centaurs. And you’ll never believe what happens next…
Actually, you probably can if you just read the Inferno (or the Sparknotes). Whichever fits your fancy.
And thus ends the eighth part of the Erudite Comedy, or otherwise known as, The Commedia Erudita!