View Full Version : The Hitchhiker's Guide to Paradise Lost

JX Valentine
February 13th, 2008, 2:02 PM
Author's Note: Written for a class I took last semester. The dialogue, I admit, comes completely from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The characters, meanwhile, were borrowed from Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy. The idea, unfortunately, was completely my own, so I will therefore take complete responsibility for this atrocity.

Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw
Heav'n ruining from Heav'n, and would have fled
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall
Through his wild Anarchy, so huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin…
Paradise Lost, Book VI, lines 867 – 874

For the past nine days, the angel known only as Lucifer, Satan, the Adversary, et cetera, plummeted through Chaos towards an unknown destination. There wasn't much to see, naturally, except a black, primordial sea of nothing and everything at the same time. As far as the eye could see, contradiction flowed. Fingers of the Adversary spread to feel it, but when he touched it, his flesh met no resistance and nothing again except ice cold nothing.

Naturally, by day five, it drove him as neatly mad as a creature could possibly experience. It was a madness that came very logically, like the feeling one would get if a sea-green elephant paraded nonchalantly through Times Square. The sort in which the mind grows so half-dead with ennui that it decides to generate within itself a haze of normally-opium-induced hallucinations because it seemed like an entertaining idea at the time.

So, when the black space below him flared with red spots that strangely gave no light at the same time four days after descending into temporary madness, Lucifer, Satan, the Adversary, Anything Other Than an Actual Name quickly accepted this as yet another figment of his imagination – not that he was in any state to acknowledge anything much at all anyway. He was, after all, far too preoccupied with a completely different matter altogether.

"Ah! What's happening?" he said to himself. "Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life?" He hesitated for a beat. "What do I mean by who am I?" The question lingered in the air (or whatever Chaos happened to be) as the Enemy, Antagonist, and Really Bad Fellow took a deep breath. "Calm down. Get a grip now. Oh!"

He wiggled his fingers. A tingling sensation ran through them, as if each tiny muscle in each finger only now learned how to operate. However, the sensation that currently possessed his mind came from a spot much lower in his body, from underneath the smooth flesh of his torso.

"This is an interesting sensation. What is it? It's a sort of… yawning, tingling sensation in my… my…" He frowned. "Well, I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let's call it my… stomach!"

Unfortunately, he had indeed lost his capability of remembering names. His world was nameless, for names were power in those days, while the objects around him had no power.

Although, on a less pretentious perspective, it could be that sheer boredom had burnt a hole through his brain like battery acid through the lining of his newly dubbed stomach.

"Good. Oh, it's getting quite strong. And hey, what's this whistling roaring sound going past what I'm suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that… wind!"

There was, in fact, no wind, but one simply does not tell the Source of Ultimate Evil that when he happens to be senseless. When he had his wits about him was worse, but when he was delirious, one could never expect the mercy of the father of wrath himself after being corrected.

"Is that a good name? It'll do. Perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it's for. It must be very important because there certainly seems to be quite a lot of it. Hey!"

He looked over his shoulder to extend one of his snow-white wings. The familiar tingling sensation that was in his fingers transferred through the muscles of his wings like an electric current, but the dull pain received no response except a happy one from their owner. Frankly, the muscles, too, would have been happy if they had emotions, mostly because remaining immobile for nine long days was nearly impossible for things designed for movement.

"What's this thing? This… let's call it a wing! Yeah, wing!" Both of his wings flexed gingerly, the muscles aching from spending nine days in a single position. "Wow! Wow, that feels great! They don't seem to achieve very much, but I'll probably find out what they're for later on. Now, have I built up any coherent picture of things yet? No? Never mind."

He looked up, closing his eyes as he felt the newly named wind pass him. The demented smile lingered on his face as he stared at the backs of his eyelids in wonder.

"Hey, this is really exciting – so much to find out about, so much to look forward to… I'm quite dizzy with anticipation!" He opened his eyes. "Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now, isn't there?"

His gaze shifted from his newly named (or, rather, so he thought was newly named) wings to the red beneath him. Vaguely, he realized the red spots grew closer, although they were still some distance away.

"And wow! Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very, very fast. So big and flat and round… It needs a big, wide-sounding name like…" He opened his mouth into a large O shape to test a sound that just now fluttered through his mind. "Ow. Ound. Round…"

The red spots resolved at that point into irregular shapes. Anyone sane would have seen rivers and lakes made of fire, but thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on one's perception of the fallen angel in his present situation), He Who Shall Not Be Named (the Other One, Not Voldemort) was not of sane mind. For that reason, he found himself at a loss of words over what to call such a sight.

That is, until the perfect word came to mind.

"Ground! That's it! That's a good name! Ground!"

As soon as he managed to name the thing below him – the ground – a giggle bubbled from his sinful throat. Slowly, a broad, friendly smile (friendly like a vegetarian serpent grinning at a rabbit) crossed his face as he regarded the newly named being. It, meanwhile, approached rapidly without paying much attention to the fact that the formerly divine creature above it now named it something other than the word it knew in its own language, which itself was so incomprehensible that for the sake of consideration for human eyes and ears, it would be best not to mention it to avoid the risk of inducing the brain to implode and leak from the ears.

Thus, the ground ambled upward in obliviousness while the Father of Sin, Death, Anguish, Lies, and Therefore Politicians happily greeted his new companion.

"I wonder if it will be friends with me. Hello, ground!"

He had no real time to dwell on his contemplations, however, for moments later, the ground came to meet him. That is, he landed face-first into the rocky surface, which was still happily oblivious to the (formerly) plummeting angel. It was vaguely aware, however, when the rest of the army, similarly mad with ennui, smacked into its face.

Eons later, sometime in what Earth called the twelfth century, a middle-aged scholar walked through Hell alongside his spiritual companion. Casting his eyes around his horrific environment, Dante eventually found himself staring at a small, wet mound of something disturbingly unidentifiable. Shifting uncomfortably on his feet, he elbowed Virgil, his guide, in the ribs and pointed to the pile.

"What do you suppose that is?"

Virgil shrugged. "Angel meat."

Dante gave his companion a horrified look.