‘A Cold Day in Hell (The Night Jack Frost Died)’ by Guest Author Paul Dethroe

Guest Author Paul DeThroe

It was a cold day in Hell the day that Jack Frost died.  The everlasting fires slowly started burning out, the brimstone stopped falling and instead of gnawing of flesh and gnashing of teeth, cold shivers overtook the masses of eternally damned sinners and demons.  Not that this was unexpected, Jack Frost was a notorious sinner and it was well known that if he ever died he would become one of the chieftains of Hell.  He had murdered thousands, if not millions of humans, countless animals, laid waste to entire armies and had been a global nuisance for thousands of years.  But becoming a mere chieftain was far below his boundless ambitions.

Those that were being tortured as they waited in purgatory to be turned into full-fledged demons were pleased for the short reprieve from the eternal flames that licked their flesh with excruciating pain.  Of course, their torturers, the demons of Hell, were none too happy.  Their jobs and very livelihoods were in grave jeopardy because of the dramatic drop in temperatures; they could no longer torture newly dead souls with the former prodigious heat from the lake of fire.  So, the demons formed a lobbying committee and took their complaints to the King of Hell himself, Satan Lucifer.

Satan was not in the mood to deal with the grievances of the whining contingent of demons.  He had enough on his plate already, from being forced to deal with the coming of Ol’ Jack, who was far from your ordinary new arrival in Hell.  Jack Frost was very powerful spirit and Satan knew he would demand much power.  Now, Satan was not a very generous devil to begin with, but who was he to deny the great and famous Jack Frost?  He knew that Jack would be arriving in his Hellish lair soon, so he sent the demons scurrying away to fend for themselves and find their own ways to stay warm.  He simply didn’t have time or patience to solve their problems.  He had to find a way to coexist with one of the most evil souls ever to exist, and he knew time was running out.

No much longer after that, Jack appeared in front of him with brutally swirling, icy winds that made Lucifer colder than he had ever been.  He saw his breath as frozen mist instead of burnt smoke for the first time, and wrapped his naked, red skinned arms around himself to keep from shaking uncontrollably. “W-w-welcome t-to H-Hell, J-J-Jack,” the devil stuttered hatefully.

“Ha,” cackled Jack pompously, “I remember the time you told me that you would welcome me into your Kingdom when Hell froze over.  Well, guess what Satan?  Hell has officially frozen over!  There’s a new sheriff in town and I am he and I am going to shrivel your little, red gonads off!”

“What did I do to deserve this?” Satan asked under his breath as he turned his back on Jack and started watching the security monitors that viewed every nook and cranny of Hell.  He shook his head in disgust as he watched the fires die out in every corner of his kingdom.

“Hey, Satan,” laughed the notoriously smart assed Jack, “Did you know that ice burns flesh just as much as fire does?”

“I never thought of that,” Satan replied as he lifted his head hopefully toward Jack.  “Are you for real and for true?”

“Of course, Lucifer, Ol’ boy,” cackled the old prankster.  “I wouldn’t kid you!  It will take just a little getting used to, but before long, your long suffering demons will be back to torturing hopeless sinners, just like always!”

“Then we might just be able to make this work,” Satan said smugly as he stroked his long, black goatee.  After losing himself in his thoughts for a moment, Satan snapped himself out of his funk and returned his attention to Jack.  “I’ve been expecting you for a long while.  Rumors of your demise have been tossed around in sacred and unholy circles for years now.  Tell me, why now?  What was the catalyst that finally finished the great white, frozen prince off?”

“Global warming,” sighed Jack, who turned away so that Satan couldn’t see the snow flake tears falling from his black ice cube-like eyes.  “Since you helped humans advance into the industrial revolution in the days of the nineteenth century and then the nuclear age that followed, smog and chemicals rose and destroyed the ozone layer.  Earth started getting hotter year by year.  When the poles finally melted away, polar bears weren’t the only things to go extinct.  It also spelled the end of me!”

“I’m not one for apologizing, Jack,” snarled Satan in a deep, growling voice, “but I guess you could say that this is my own damned fault.  I admit that I was the one that helped humanity cause global warming.  I have never been satisfied with the lake of fire that all the dead souls of evil people have been cast into since time immemorial.  I wanted my minions and I to be able to walk about on the face of the Earth again, just like old times.  I didn’t properly think through the consequences.  Now the Earth is hot and Hell is cold.  How could I be so stupid?”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Ol’ Beelzebub,” chortled Jack as he walked over and put a frozen arm around his comrade’s shoulder, making the devil shiver even more. “We both have our fair share of blame here.  Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we must turn this unfortunate chain of events in our favor!  I have a proposition for you:  I will take over as guardian of the underworld and you will be free to harass living humans up above.  You will love it up there, I promise.  I am old and tired and could use a permanent dwelling place rather than having to migrate from north to south and from south to north in vain searches for ever shrinking winter seasons.”

“Perhaps you’re right, Jack,” confessed Satan.  “It really is what I wanted all along.  I have been stuck in this bottomless pit for far too long.  I will allow you to fill in for me down here and I will go above and wreak all manners of havoc on the unsuspecting masses of humanity.  It will be simply, yet sinfully, splendid!”  Satan had played his cards perfectly, or so he thought.  After hundreds of years of planning, global warming had finally hit the Earth full force and he could now return to his old haunt without fear of losing control of Hell.  Satan could not trust any of his demons to run Hell in his absence; they were all too power hungry.  He had confidence that Jack was the perfect choice because his ambitions weren’t to pull rank over him but merely to torture.  And now he had finally succeeded in tricking Old Man Winter into taking his place, even after he had destroyed the last vestiges of Jack’s former stomping grounds.  He smiled slyly to himself, barely able to believe that this was really happening.

So, it came to pass that Satan was capable of walking about the face of the Earth once more.  With his powers displayed in their fullest wicked splendor, he wasted little time making a mess of things by delving an already trouble civilization in total chaos.  He took conflicts that had been threatening to blow up for years and turned them into full-fledged wars.  Countless millions died in the wake.  He used his supernatural powers to ratchet up global warming and as a result crop failures become widespread on a global basis, which of course, led to mass starvation.  More wars resulted as nations used their fading resources to rise against one another for control of food and energy.

Love seemed to disappear from humanity as Satan’s influence took over civilization without remorse or fear of retribution from the religions or governments that had been weakened to the breaking point from within.  It was if the apocalyptic four horsemen were riding rampant and there was nothing left to stop them.  Of course, it wasn’t the four horsemen that were causing all the problems; it was Satan and his handpicked sycophants that were instigating all the havoc, but no humans knew that.  In the ashes of the destruction, humankind began flocking back to the doomed religions with hopes of being saved, but that proved fruitless because all the religions had been overrun by demonically obsessed leaders.  So, what little money the masses had was taken by the religions in exchange for archaic dogma and false promises of salvation.  Satan laughed at the futile efforts of the humans to save themselves from his doomsday plan that grew closer to fruition with each passing day.

As Satan’s plan began to build toward a climax, mother nature began to rebel against all the damage that had been done in the centuries that followed the industrial revolution.  Great earthquakes shook the very foundations of the land, and many of these caused horrific tsunamis that drowned the shrinking remnants of civilization.  Fierce storms blew across oceans, hitting unprepared countries and changing landscapes as they passed.  But perhaps the most devastating event to happen during these days, which could be described as the enlightened dark ages, was the domino effect in the ring of fire.  Volcanoes began to erupt with a frequency that had never before been seen in the age of humans.  Hot lava raced uncontested down mountainsides, but more importantly, or perhaps more frighteningly, huge amounts of ash were fired into the atmosphere, blotting out and choking off the sun.  The results were catastrophic for humanity, but even more so for Satan, who at this point thought the Kingdom of Hell on Earth was near at hand.  That couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Unbeknownst to the coming danger that he himself faced, Satan and his powerful band of demon lords went full speed ahead with his ill-conceived apocalypse.  After he had sown the final seeds for the self-destruction of humanity, nuclear war erupted and modern civilization, as it had been known, utterly collapsed.  The fallout from the radiation slowly killed most of the remaining humans that the explosions and starvation had not previously killed, leaving only roving bands of survivors and lone wolves to roam the face of the Earth, looking in vain for morsels of food to feed their famished bellies.  Unfortunately for Satan, the nuclear explosions sent massive amounts of radioactive dust into the atmosphere, which was already choked with volcanic ash.  The result was a long, drawn out nuclear winter.

Satan, of course, knew that nuclear winter would result, but he did not expect it to turn into a prolonged ice age.  But that is exactly what happened, and was precisely what Jack Frost had planned all along.  He had let Ol’ Beelzebub think that he had tricked him into trading places so that Satan could rule a superheated surface-world, but Jack had known better.  By releasing Satan from his bonds in Hell, he knew that the devil would throw caution to the wind in order to rule the Earth unmolested as quickly as possible.  Jack had bet everything that the same global warming that had triggered his demise on Earth and sent him to the depths of purgatory would result in a new ice age, once mixed with the nuclear catastrophe that he knew Satan would cause.  And he had won that bet hands down.

Once the Earth became frozen once more, Old Man Winter emerged triumphantly from the underworld and danced around his new icy playground with glee.  He now ruled both Earth and Hell and Satan and his demons were left out in the cold, wondering how they could have committed such a tremendous blunder.

In the midst of the eternal struggle between fire and ice, the last remnants of humanity were chased away from their precious technologically advanced civilization and driven back into caves.  They were taken forcefully back to hunter-gatherer stage where they would be forced to start over as a race that once thought that they were mightier than Gods and Devils that had created and ruled them in the first place. The demonic forces that were ruled by Satan were left quite powerless.  Unable to withstand the bitter cold any longer, they gathered their malevolent spirits into a collective entity and fled the frozen Earth for the Hellish atmosphere of Venus.  Satan vowed to return to the Earth once it had thawed to destroy Jack Frost once and for all.

Of course, Ol’ Jack Frost couldn’t have cared less about Satan’s threats or if the Earth was nearly void of humans to rule and destroy; all he knew was that his personal frozen playground was back and he was, because of that, a very happy, evil spirit.