Title: Jessica vs Elizabeth
“Oh, Lizzie, isn’t it romantic?” Jessica squealed.
Elizabeth gaped at her twin. “They’re expecting us to kill each other.”
“Yes, but we get new clothes and we’re paired with a boy!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I am going to post this, unbeta’d as it gets written for NaNoWriMo2017. I will post a clean, edited (hopefully coherent) version when it is finished, but if you want to see the raw, error-laden process of my word-vomit, here it is.
Jessica found herself in a spacious dark room with wood panelled flooring, black or dark grey walls, low lighting and a window that seemed to look out on the inside of a volcano – some kind of fiery lake with stalagmites and stalactites bordering it.
Standing beside her was Elizabeth, looking clean and tidy, with no evidence of bruising, cuts or missing teeth. Jessica checked herself – her Hunger Games uniform was clean and tidy, she didn’t feel any of the injuries she had sustained, her skin was smooth and unburned. She patted her hair, and that seemed tidy too.
On looking around the room, there was a desk at one end with a very pretty but stern looking woman sat at it. Around her were all her fellow tributes, as far as she could see.
“Where are we?” she whispered nervously to Elizabeth.
“I don’t know.” Elizabeth made her way to the desk. “Excuse me?”
Jessica strode over and elbowed her twin out of the way. “Where are we?” she demanded.
“Name?” the stern woman asked.
“Where are we?” Jessica yelled.
“Name?” After a moment of waiting, the woman turned her attention to a small funny screen. It was flat and shiny, and about the size of a book, covered in glass. There were words and pictures on it, and a picture of an apple on the back. What a loser, she played video games.
“Elizabeth Wakefield,” Elizabeth supplied.
The woman looked up immediately. “Wakefield?” she said. “So that makes you Jessica?” She gave them both a full smile, that made her very beautiful. She held up one finger and picked up a smaller version of her video game, touched the screen a few times and then held it to her face. “Yes, the Director please. We have the Wakefield twins in reception… yes. I understand. Of course.”
Was it a phone? That was amazing. Where was the wire? Maybe it was a cordless like Lila’s? Jessica started looking around for the base, but could not see any wires anywhere.
She took the phone away from her face. “I apologise, I didn’t realise you were the Wakefield twins. We’ve been waiting for you.”
Well, Jessica thought, that was more like it.
“Have a seat, and the Director will be with you shortly,” the woman said. “Can I get you anything to drink? I’m Belladonna, by the way.”
Janet Howell pushed forward. “Wait, why are you being nice to them? You’ve completely ignored me! I gave you my name and you told me to wait.”
There were angry murmurings of agreement around the room. Jessica gave them a smug smile. Of course they weren’t as important as her. It was right they should wait. Although she was interested to know why she was regarded as important – maybe these people, whoever they were, realised that she should have been president of the Unicorns. Or maybe they wanted to give her some kind of award or something.
Belladonna ignored Janet and went back to her screen thingy. If the little one was a phone, maybe the other one was a TV. “Are you watching All the World?”
Belladonna gave her a snooty look, and then forced a smile. “That show has been off the air since 1992.”
Jessica smiled back. “So?” Belladonna might be pretty, but boy was she stupid, with her video games and her stupid blathering about the future. It wasn’t like she was Randy Mason and actually cared about that kind of nerdy stuff.
Belladonna looked down at her screen, made a few swipes and some notes came up. Jessica didn’t have time to read them all, but she caught “Sweet Valley” and “time bubble” in there. Nerd. She was doing her science homework.
“If you take a seat, Jessica, the director will be down shortly to brief you on everything.”
Grudgingly, Jessica took a seat – the only one was beside Elizabeth – there was a space either side of her, so she suspected the other tributes were still sore about her doing so much killing.
Everyone should be dead.
“Are we dead?” Jessica called over to Belladonna.
“Leave her alone, Jess, she’s trying to work,” Elizabeth said.
“Oh, shut up Miss Perfect!” Jessica snapped.
“Jess! Don’t be so rude!” Elizabeth’s voice took on the patronising and disappointed edge that Jessica hated so much.
“Rude? You tried to kill me! I hate you!”
“I hate you more!” Elizabeth yelled back.
“Ladies, what seems to be the problem?” A deep elegant British voice broke in.
They both turned to the source of the new voice. It was a tall man, dressed entirely in a black leather dress/coat thing. Jessica did not approve of boys wearing dresses, but given his accent, he was European, so maybe it was very fashionable there. Another thing Jessica didn’t approve of was how pale his skin was and his face – it was scored into with scars in straight lines, forming squares all over his face and nails had been driven into each corner.
“He looks just like my baseball,” Billie muttered.
For once, Jessica had nothing to say. She elbowed Elizabeth, feeling sure her perfect twin would come up with something to say. She always surrounded herself with the ugly and afflicted.
“Hello, sir,” Elizabeth said in a tiny voice. “What do you want with us?”
“Nothing at all, I’m here to welcome you. I’m the director of Hell. You can either call me the Director, or Hell Priest. It may occur to you to call me Pinhead, but I really don’t like that,” he said.
“Hell?” Jessica asked.
“Yes, you both are VIPs. We’ve had your names down since the moment you were conceived.” The Director took the larger screen from Belladonna, and touched the screen. “Now, I see we have some other high achievers here too. Janet Howell, your torture of every new girl at school is outstanding. I find it impossible to believe that nobody has killed themselves on your watch so far.”
Janet blushed. “I do my best.”
“And Bruce Patman, your relentless torture of Lois Waller for her size has been wonderful to watch. An insecure twelve year old needs all the berating she can get, otherwise she might be happy.”
Winston stepped forward. “Um… what am I doing here? I’m a good person.”
The Director checked his screen again. “Yes, well, clerical errors and antiquated rules… these things happen. Now, can I do a quick roll call?” the Director asked. “And then we’ll move on to our induction of Hell.”
The Director went alphabetically by first name, and skipped straight from Elizabeth to Grace. “Wait!” Jessica called out. “Where’s Ellen Riteman?”
The Director checked his screen once more. “Ah, yes, Ellen. She went to heaven.”
A gasp of surprise went around the group. Only one voice was positive. “Good for Ellen, I’m pleased for her,” said Billie Layton.
“But why?” Todd Wilkins burst out. “She was a horrible person! She bullied Ginny-Lu Culpepper for being country.”
“Yes, but she was thinking of kittens and rainbows when she died,” the Director replied. “Kittens, rainbows, flowers, puppies, the smell of freshly-cut grass, happy memories, things of that ilk, tend to get you into heaven.” The Director leaned forward. “They’re rather judgemental in heaven. They make snap judgements and stick to them.”
“Oh,” said Todd. “I was thinking about how hungry I was.”
“And here you are.” The Director continued down the list, and he went from Kimberley Haver to Patrick Morris, without stopping.
“Wait!” Jessica called again. “Where is Lois Waller?”
“She’s still alive. She won the Hunger Games,” the Director replied. “And her name is not on our list. Patrick Morris, where are you?”
“You didn’t say Lila Fowler’s name either,” Jessica said. “But you said Lois won.”
Janet stepped forward shaking her head. “Oh no, do not tell me she went to heaven! That spoiled brat killed me!”
The Director checked his screen again. “Her name has also been down for Hell since birth. She was an obvious choice, all that wealth, privilege and entitlement.”
Jessica glared. “So where is she?”
Note: Yes, this chapter was stolen from a pitched idea to the end of Freddy vs Jason, where both titular characters arrived in hell, still fighting, and Pinhead was supposed to step out of the shadows, and say, “Gentlemen, what seems to be the problem?” This never got off the ground, not least of all because neither studio owned Pinhead. So I stole it.