This is Hell is a strange and disturbing story about violence and the way it is passed down in a family from father to son. It’s also about life and how tough it can be for some people. I don’t know what you will make of this story because it’s really quite horrible and depressing. It was inspired by some parts of a Japanese manga by Hideshi Hino.
My grandfather was a chronic gambler. He never did an honest day’s work in his life. Instead, he traveled all across the country, roving from one gambling den to another. Sometimes he won, sometimes he just broke even, but most of the time he lost.
Of course the family was very poor and never had enough to eat. My grandmother worked in the fields and barely earned enough to keep her children alive.
My grandfather was a violent and brutal man and he had bad reputation. Those who knew him called him “The Snake” because he couldn’t be trusted. Perhaps it was due to his nickname that he decided to get a tattoo of a large serpent on his back.
Gambling was my grandfather’s entire life and he had little time for his family. The only time his children ever saw him was when he came home now and then between gambling sessions. Whenever my father and his sister saw him coming down the road that led to their house, they would rush out to greet him.
If he had been on a big winning streak, he would come back dressed in fine clothes and carrying a huge bag on his back. It would be stuffed with presents for his family. There was food, new clothes and sometimes even toys for the kids. After they had opened their presents, he would show them the wads of cash neatly stacked in the bottom of the bag.
However, more often than not, he would return having lost all his money. On those occasions, he staggered down the road in ragged clothing, looking like a pitiful zombie and smelling like a homeless person.
Whenever he returned after a losing streak, he would be incredibly depressed and angry. He always got drunk and would often beat my grandmother in front of her children. The family lived in fear of him.
In a drunken stupor, he would hurl abuse at his wife and kids. Many times, he told my father and his sister that he wished they had never been born. As time went on, his behavior grew worse and they began to hate him more and more.
One dark Winter’s night, as the snow was falling outside, my grandfather got into a dispute with some other gamblers. They accused him of cheating and a fight broke out. My grandfather pulled out a knife and the other men drew their swords.
It was three against one and even though my grandfather was a strong and hardy man, he didn’t stand a chance. he managed to wound two of them, but the third took him by surprise and slashed him right across the middle with his sword, slicing my grandfather in two.
As my grandfather lay there in the snow, his life slowly ebbing away, they say he started laughing. The other gamblers couldn’t believe it.
“Even though we cut him to shreds, the man is still laughing,” they exclaimed.
They stood there watching as he breathed his last, his crimson blood seeping out into the crisp white snow.
The following Spring, my grandmother died of an illness she had contracted and my father and his sister were orphaned. They were sent to work in different places.
My father was sent to work for a rich family who lived in a mansion. Their son was insane. He had been driven mad from too much studying and they kept him locked up in the attic. It was my father’s job to feed him.
The crazy son was afraid of his parents. If he left any food on his plate, his mother and father would come upstairs to yell at him. So, he always forced my father to eat his leftovers.
The crazy son drooled all over his food and my father had to eat leftovers that were covered in spit and snot. It was disgusting, but if my father ever refused, the crazy son would threaten him with a hammer.
One day, the crazy son got sick and threw up everything he had eaten. There was a steaming puddle of vomit on the attic floor. He was terrified that his parents would come up and yell at him, so he ordered my father to eat the vomit. Of course, my father refused
The crazy son suddenly flew into a rage, leaped on top of him and began beating him with his fists. My father tried to escape, but the madman was holding him down and he couldn’t break free. Just then, my father spotted the hammer lying on the ground. He saw his opportunity and took it.
Minutes later, he had beaten the crazy son to death with the hammer.
Afterwards, when the mother and father came upstairs and found their son dead, they didn’t question him at all. The incident was hushed up and my father was asked to leave. He figured that their insane son was such an embarrassment that they were probably glad to be rid of him.
So, he went to visit his sister who worked at a factory, but by the time he got there, it was too late. They made her work so hard that she had contracted pneumonia and died. She had always been sickly and the stress on her body had been too much for her.
After losing his only sister, my father became a vagabond and a thief. He gambled away every penny he stole. On his back, he got a tattoo of a large vampire bat.
Before long, he realized he was following in the footsteps of my grandfather. He knew that if he continued on the same path, he would wind up dead, just like his father before him.
So, he moved to a new country to seek his fortune and make something of himself. There, he found work on a pig farm. It wasn’t well-paid, but it was an honest job. He met a young girl and eventually they got married and had a baby.
When war broke out, he was forced to join the military and fight for a country that was not his own. He killed so many people in that nightmarish war, he couldn’t keep count. After a while, he started to think that the more enemy soldiers he killed, the sooner the war would be over and he could return to his wife and child.
When the war finally did come to an end, he returned home to find that his baby had been killed in a bombing raid and his wife had gone out of her mind. He was forced to leave her to her fate and flee the country.
Whenever my father talked about this period of his life, he always said the same thing… “This world is hell”.
Eventually, his travels brought him back to the town where he was born. There, he met my mother and they got married. Before long, they had two children, my elder brother and I.
When I was a child, I remember how my father would sit at the kitchen table, drinking himself into a stupor every night. He always had a vicious scowl on his face. He had had a very hard life.
My father hated my guts. Every time he drank, he got violent. He often beat me until I was black and blue all over. Sometimes I feared he would kill me.
One day, my mother told me to go to the slaughterhouse and bring my father his lunch. When I got there, I found him killing pigs in the yard, under the blazing sun. He was naked from the waist up and was beating the pigs to death with a baseball bat. It was a horrific scene.
The pigs squealed and grunted as they were killed. In horror, I watched my father at his work and I saw his vampire bat tattoo. Its eyes glowed red as it danced back and forth on his sweaty back. His face and torso were smeared red with blood and he looked like something from the depths of hell.
One dark Winter’s night, as the snow was falling outside, my father had not returned from work. My mother sent me out to search for him. I found him floating face-down in the river. His bloated body lay in the icy waters among the garbage and the corpses of dead animals. He looked just like one of the fat pigs he had killed in the slaugherhouse.
My older brother was another alcoholic. He used to sit at the kitchen table, drinking himself into a stupor, just as my father had before him. He grew into a violent and sadistic brute. Whenever he drank, he would pick fights with whoever was unfortunate enough to cross his path.
He got a tattoo on his back also. It was an enormous dragon.
He showed nobody any mercy and would always beat people until they were unconscious. Everybody in town was afraid of him and he made himself a lot of enemies. Night after night, the violence within him grew and he fought like a madman.
On one occasion, I was with him at a local bar when a fight broke out. When I saw my brother beating one man senseless with his bare fists, he reminded me of my father. It disgusted me.
One dark, Winter’s night, as the snow was falling outside, he was found beside the river, lying in the snow. One of his enemies had finally caught up with him and had almost beaten him to death.
His skull was cracked open and he was lying in a pool of blood, just like our grandfather all those years before. He was lingering between life and death, his crimson blood seeping out into the crisp white snow.
An ambulance rushed him to hospital where a team of doctors operated and managed to save his life. They had to saw open his skull and perform emergency surgery on his brain.
When I went to see him in hospital, he was almost unrecognizable. His head was bandaged, his face was grotesquely swollen and distorted and there were tubes going up his nose. He was a complete mess.
The doctors said he was paralyzed from the neck down and had serious brain damage. He would never be able to live a normal life and would require constant care. He would spend the rest of his days in a hospital or a state mental asylum.
As I sat at his bedside, staring at his sleeping form, I started to remember how he had been when we were children. When our father had beaten me, my brother would always come and try to save me. He tried to protect me and our father often wound up beating him instead of me. I was too weak. All I could do was watch him being beaten.
My brother was so kind to me as a child. Even when the neighborhood bullies attacked me, he would jump in and try to save me. He always seemed to get beaten up instead of me. I wondered why he had changed so much. I asked myself what had happened to turn him into the monster he had become? What changed a kind and caring child into a violent and abusive brute?
Just then, my brother stirred and woke from his coma. His eyes fluttered open and he turned to me. His eyes were vacant. I could tell he didn’t recognize me.
“Where am I?” he asked weakly. “Is this hell?”
Tears streamed down my face. I reached out and patted his hand softly.
“Yes,” I replied. “This is hell…”