Written by twelve year old Mark Dornan, this story takes us to the depths of hell and back as he explores the morality of the choices we make.


1. Part I



‘’Right Mark?’ Jordan asked me.

‘Na, not really, my hayfever’s really bad today.’

          I’d just walked through the door into my registration class and sat down on the seat next to Liam and in front of Jordan and Lewi. I turned on my seat to face them.

           ‘Why weren’t you at fives yesterday?’ I asked Liam.

           ‘Oh, I had to go out.’ We all looked at him waiting for him to carry on.

           ‘I was looking for a puppy.’  he finished.

          ‘How’ve you lost one?’ I asked. Lewi detected a hint of sarcasm in my voice and deflected it,

           ‘Shut up Mark.’

          ‘No, we decided to get one and so we went into town and looked in some pet shops. There was one puppy in particular that seemed dead nice.

          ‘What kind?’ I asked.

           ‘Black lab,’ he replied.

          ‘Who drives a black cab?’ asked Kieran having totally misheard the conversation.

          ‘Get back to your own desk!’ Jordan said, ‘No-one wants you here!’

          Kieran, a.k.a. Kiwi, was the type of bloke who wanted friends but just wasn’t liked by anyone. Well, except Euan, but nobody really liked him either. Together, they were like two penguins in a flamingo cage.

           Euan, having heard us being rude to Kiwi, came over to his aid,

          ‘Hey! Why do none of you like Kiwi?’

           ’For the same reason none of us like you.’ I said.

          ‘And that is-’he began but was cut off by the bell for first period.

           ‘BAIL!’ Jordan said and we all sprinted out of class.

           ‘Ach, stuff them!’ Euan said to Kiwi.





   ‘Mr Merristead?’ I asked.

           ‘Yes m’boy?’ he replied

           ‘Can I go to the toilet?’

           ‘Oh but it’s only a short while ‘til lunch,’ he said checking his watch, ‘Can’t you hold it in?” I considered this for a moment,


          ‘Okay then, but be quick.’

           ‘I will,’ I said and shot off.


I’d just escaped History class. Boring old Merristead had been explaining to us how William Wallace hadn’t actually been known as Braveheart when alive. And I’d had enough. So going to the toilet provided a good excuse to get out of there and listen to my i-pod.

          I passed some people on my way and smiled at a few of them I knew. As I was just outside the toilet I realised that I actually did have to go. Walking in, I noticed something strange, but it took me a few moments to realise what. There was only one cubicle and one urinal on opposite walls parallel to each other. Okay, maybe not that strange, but yesterday there were four or five of each and I thought it highly unlikely that they had taken that many away in one night. So I approached the cubicle first and saw that the door had been changed to one of great magnificence. The wood was dark brown and had clearly been polished many times. I beheld a shiny golden handle with a surprisingly small, silver lock underneath the handle. It had a big brass knocker above which was a single three-digit number: 666.

          The number rang a bell in my head. I’d heard that specific number before but I couldn’t remember where.

          ‘I’ll come back to that,’ I said aloud to myself and headed towards the urinal. The two were different in almost every single way. This white tub was actually sore to look at. There was mould growing up the sides and half the paint had been ripped off. The pipe coming down from the ceiling and into the urinal was smeared with a thick red liquid.

          Blood, I thought. 

          ‘Oh Christ,’ I said, and at that moment the great door to the cubicle swung open and a hole in the urinal was made, revealing a great stairway down, down, down… A hallway lit by torches was now visible through the open door.

          A voice boomed from nowhere saying:

          ‘Son of Christ, you must either take the stairway to heaven or the hallway to hell.’

          ‘Ahh, err… no thanks.’ I said, and turned towards the door through which I had entered, but it was gone! Instead, I was left staring at a wall, a wall which was now moving, closing in on me.

          ‘CHOOSE!’ the voice cried. I looked back and forth at my options. Hell looks better but Heaven should be better, I thought.

          ‘I choose Heaven!’ I yelled ‘Which one is it?’ And at that a yellowish glow escaped from the urinal so I dived headfirst through the small hole.







































There was little light in this place I had entered. Stairs went down as far as the naked eye could see. A single torch was attached to the wall. If only I could detach it, I thought. So stepped over to it and grabbed the handle. I gave a slight tug but to no avail. The torch stayed where it was. I pulled and pulled again until I saw a switch just below the torch. Naturally, I flicked the switch, but as I did, the torch fell rapidly to the cream, carpeted floor. Quickly realising I swooped down and picked it up. The flame hadn’t spread onto the carpet. Curiously, I bent over and cautiously touched the torch onto the floor and again, nothing was set alight.

          There was something way not right about this place. ‘This place?’ I thought; where was ‘this place’? Yes, the creepy voice from the toilets had called it Heaven but did I really believe that I was in Heaven. I wasn’t sure.

           I turned back the way I had come only to see a dead end, nothing more than I had expected. So, having nothing else to do, I decided to walk onwards. Every now and then I ripped off a small piece from the paper I had in my pocket and dropped it onto the ground so I would know if I’d been there before.

          A short distance away I could see another torch on the wall directly opposite me. I panicked. I thought I had come to another dead end. So I picked up the pace and realised that it wasn’t a dead end but my first turn, a left one. And around this corner was a smooth path without the burden of stairs.

But around the corner wasn’t just a smooth path. There, lying spread-eagled in front of me was a man of pure white skin and hair. He was definitely an albino, I thought. Gathering my courage, I decided to approach him. His eyes were firmly shut over. And his clothes matched his pale appearance. He was wearing a ghostly white tuxedo with an out of sorts black tie. I looked at his feet and saw he was minus a pair of shoes. This made me chuckle for some reason until I saw in his left hand a note - scrunched but clearly written in black ink. I bent over to try and get it. Without waking him. I shifted his middle finger and pulled the note out of his hand. As I did so he snorted and his livid eyes were opened. I quickly hid the note behind my back and snuck it away in my back pocket.

          Randomly, the albino got to his knees, looked up at me with a frown on his face and said,

          ‘Hello.’ Then he got to his feet and began walking away from me. 

          ‘And where do you think you’re going?’ I asked boldly ‘I expect some sort of thanks are in order.’

          ‘Thanks? Thanks? And, might I ask, what for.’ he said before starting to walk away again.

           ‘Well, I dunno. I mean clearly I just helped you or something,’ I said and shrugged.

           ‘Oh right. Thanks,’ he said and began walking away again.

          ‘Hey you!’ I shouted and he turned to look at me. ‘Yeah you, seeing as there’s no other goddamn person in this place. You’d better help me get out of this place because I just woke you up. And if it weren’t for me, you may never have woken up again. But, you know, that’s okay. If you don’t want to help me then fine, walk away,’ I proudly crossed my arms and turned away.

          ‘Right, I’ve got two things to say to you,’ said the albino. ‘Firstly; you never asked for my help but had you done so, you might have got it. And secondly; who the hell do you think you are, venturing so near the labyrinth?’

          My eyes widened in shock.

          ‘The…the labyrinth?’

          ‘Yeah, that’s right, you heard me!’

          ‘Okay, I’ve got three things to say to you.’ I said. ‘Firstly, where am I? Secondly, why were you lying down in the middle of nowhere? And thirdly, can you help me. Please.’

           The albino smiled.

          ‘You’re in heaven, I was merely having a nap and of course I can help you.’

           I didn’t exactly know what to say, so I tried:


          ‘Just follow me,’ he said.
















‘You, my friend, have entered the realm of heaven.’ After about five minutes of talking and sharing names the albino, whose name I had discovered was Frederick O’Ghastly, had decided to tell me of the Labyrinth.

           ‘Heaven… Right. That is what that mad voice in the toilet said. But there’s one thing that’s not right … where’s God?’

‘Oh young boy, how wrong you are. Okay I’ll explain, have you ever heard of the Greek myths and legends?’ asked Frederick.

          ‘Yeah, I heard that Zeus trapped Kronos and banished him to Tartarus, the sort of jail for Titans.’

           ‘Yes sort of. Right, now use our God and the devil to re-tell the story.’ he said.

          ‘So God trapped the Devil?’ Frederick nodded, ‘And God banished the Devil to Hell?’

‘Absolutely! Now switch God and the Devil round.’

‘So God was trapped by the Devil and sent to Heaven?’ I was so confused.

‘All right except for that last bit, God was trapped by the Devil and sent somewhere but the exact location is unknown. Here, where we are now is Heaven. I know most people think heaven is in the sky but it’s not. You asked, ‘Where’s God?’ Correct?’

  I nodded.

           ‘And I told you, but what I haven’t told you is who runs Heaven in God’s absence. Can you guess?’

          ‘Yeah, the Devil,’ I said.

          ‘Yes, but can we both start calling him ‘Satan’ please. Just a superstitious thing.’

           ‘Sure,’ I said.

          ‘Right then. Now you know the basic facts, let’s get you to the centre of the labyrinth.’ he said

          ‘Why the centre?’ I asked.

          ‘You’ll see.’ he said and after I asked that question any trace of a faint smile that he had on his face, was gone.

           So I followed him as he led me through the large gate and into this maze of monsters…


Time in this place was particularly difficult to follow. Minutes seemed like hours, hours seemed like days and so on and so forth. Right now I would have guessed that I’d been in this place for about two days but somehow I knew that wasn’t possible.

          Suddenly I realised that if we took much longer here then school will have finished and I wouldn’t return home and my parents will be worried sick.

          ‘How much longer?’ I asked.

          ‘Not long.’ he replied.

          I sighed and continued to follow.


I decided to begin counting in my head. I reached 724 when I heard it. A low grunting sound coming from around a left turn about twenty yards away. Frederick came to a halt and stood frozen on the spot.

           ‘What is it?’ I whimpered. I half expected him to say, ‘A Balrog, a demon from the ancient world,’ but instead he said,

           ‘I have a hunch. I just hope I’m wrong.’ I gulped and watched as slowly edged forward and peered around the corner. Quickly, he backed away against a wall of the maze.

           ‘Run!’ he yelled. And I began to obey his orders.

           ‘Quickly!’ he screamed and took a right turn. I followed not daring to look back. But behind me I began to hear thunderous footsteps, quickly gaining on me.

            At first, I had thought that Frederick would’ve been the sort of guy who would stand up to anyone or anything. But my opinion had most definitely just been changed. Now he fled from this beastly mystery with sheer terror. But really, no wonder. Because whatever was following us was now right on our doorstep. In front of me I could now see a great shadow with horns poking out of its head and suddenly I knew what it was: a minotaur. Creatures of before even Satan’s time; gods of all mythical creatures. And all hope was drained from me. My will to go on was lost. My lungs felt like they were being crushed together by two massive Orinco trucks slowly reversing into a parking space. And I wanted to stop and accept defeat. My eyes and I actually wanted death.

But then my ears were met by a new sound; the sound of water rushing down-stream and true enough, I turned a corner and saw before me a huge waterfall about fifty metres away. I hoped to God that Frederick was going to jump. But he didn’t, he took a right turn. I quickly took a glance behind me and saw that minotaur had extended an arm and was just about to grab me.  I did not follow Frederick. Instead I gathered all my strength together and ran straight at the waterfall. I felt the slight grip that the minotaur had on me release and then felt ice-cold water scrape the hairs on the back of my neck as I jumped down this steep fall. My last thought before dropping was: why on earth did that voice say I was the son of Christ? And then, I was gone…





The drop seemed to go on forever. I shut my eyes, and then opened them again having not decided which I preferred. Suddenly, I broke the surface of the river below me and fell deep through the water. My legs and arms had so little strength left, my lungs were weak and I could not for the life of me swim back to surface. My eyes were sore from some sort of chemical that was in the water and so they began to slowly close over. Little life was left in me but that was soon destroyed as water entered my open mouth and I sank to the earth of the sea. I was finished. My whole body had stopped working and only my thoughts kept going. And then, everything went dark and I became cold.





I heard voices inside my head. Where was I? I had no idea whether or not I was alive. I tried to move but couldn’t.  I listened intently to the voices and then realised that they weren’t inside my head at all. They were coming from around me. People were speaking! People very close to where I was.

          ‘Look! He’s wakin’ up!’ a voice said. And true enough, I felt my eyes slowly creep open and I could see blue sky above me. I tried sitting up but my back was far too stiff for that.

          ‘Here, let me get that.’ A different voice said and a pair of hands grabbed under my arms and helped me to sit up and lean against a large tree-trunk. I began to take in my surroundings. I was sitting on the dock of a bay. A beautiful village filled with kind looking people and wooden houses was in front of me. Three tallish men with black wavy hair were sitting on a log. Each was looking at me with gazing wonder. I slowly edged away from them.

          ‘Who’re you?’ I asked them. The one in the middle answered.

          ‘I am Sontago, these are my two companions Westley and Sadreyo. And this,’ he said extending his arms and introducing the village, ‘is our home, ‘Huntington.’

          ‘Right, err, okay. First things first. Where did you find me?’ I asked.

          ‘‘bout two miles away from Heavens fall. Actually, we thought you were  you were dead when we fished you out of the water but then we found a pulse. You see, we, are Hunters of Heaven.” he said proudly.

          ‘Cool,’ I said. They looked disappointed at my lack of appreciation. ‘Actually there’s something I need to ask you,’ I said, “ I have to get to the centre of the Labyrinth . Do you know the way?’ The shock on their faces at this point was just what I thought the definition of priceless to be. It was just so unique that it I actually found it quite funny.

          ‘The centre?’ Sadreyo said, ‘but why?’

          ‘I don’t know.’ I replied truthfully.

          ‘And what are you planning to do once you reach the centre?’ Sontago asked.

‘Actually, I don’t know that either.’ I said, ‘Look, I know it’s not a lot to go on-‘

          ‘No it’s absolutely nothing go on,’ Westley replied plainly.

          ‘Right, I need to get home. Okay? And I’ve been told that the centre is the place that’ll get me there, so if you lot aren’t going to help then –’

          ‘No it... It’s not that.’ Sontago said, ‘Do you know who lurks in the centre of the labyrinth?’ I shook my head.

          Sontago sighed. ‘The boy has been tricked.’ He whispered to the others.

          ‘Hey. I’m sitting right here, you know!’ I said getting quite agitated. 

          ‘Who told you to go to the centre of the labyrinth?’ Sadreyo asked.

          ‘What? Why does it matter? Just tell me who lurks there.’

          Sontago bent over and whispered in my ear.


 Now the shock was transferred to my face. Had Frederick been planning on given me over to Satan? Would he have betrayed me? All of these horrible questions rushed through my head. I didn’t notice the rain begin to lash down until the hundredth drop hit me and I heard the roar of thunder sound, like the footsteps of a whole herd of elephants. A flash of lightning struck a nearby tree and it caught fire before falling to the ground and spreading the fire. So fire does spread here, I thought.

          A huge rain cloud became clearly visible in the sky, because it began to do something so unusual. It began descending towards us. When it got within clear sight, I could see two figures standing on it. I couldn’t make out who they were, though.

          ‘Looks like I won’t be going anywhere.’ I said to the hunters and gulped.

Panic erupted from the village. Cries of help arose while everyone waited to see who would step forward on the rain cloud, and reveal themselves. And then someone did step forward. I had really expected it to be Satan but this person couldn’t possibly be him. He looked completely, well, normal. He had short brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing jeans and a dark blue t-shirt.

          ‘Satan?’ I asked.

          ‘Yes, why?’ His voice was didn’t match his appearance one bit.

          ‘I dunno. I mean you aren‘t quite how I expected you.’

           ‘Oh, really. Well I expected Jesus’ son to be a bit taller.” he replied.

          My eyes widened in shock.

          ‘I…I can’t be Jesus’ son. You must be mistaken. I’m just Mark, Mark Dornan.’ I sounded exactly like Harry Potter ‘I’m just Harry, Harry Potter.’

          ‘No you’re not just anyone and that is why you have to go to hell and live with your dear old grandfather.’ And I realised who he was talking about.

          ‘God? He’s in Heaven?’ I asked.

          ‘Of course. Where else would he be?’ I shrugged.

          ‘Not that I want you to or anything,’ I said changing the subject, ‘but wouldn’t it be easier if you just killed me?’

           ‘No.’ he said.

          ‘Why not?’ I queried.

          ‘Reasons,’ he replied. Okay, this guy’s weird, I thought.

 ‘Fine then,’ but as soon I’d finished saying that, I figured out why. If one dies on Earth then they go to heaven or hell. So if one were to die in heaven or hell then they must go to Earth!

 I turned to Sontago.

  ‘When I tell you to, I want you kill me.’ I said.

  ‘What? I don’t even know you!’

  ‘Just do it!’ I cried and he unwillingly nodded. It was an extremely risky plan but it was also all I could think of.

  ‘How did you find me?’ I asked. The rain was now heavy and thunder sounded often.

           ‘Shall I introduce my helper? Is that what you’re asking.’ He turned round gestured for the other person to come forth. And then he stepped forward. Frederick O’Ghastly looked at me with a face that was almost ashamed.

            ‘How could you? How could you side with that monster?’ Satan laughed at my petty remark. ‘I trusted you! And all the while you were leading me to him.’ I was absolutely devastated. Just seeing him once more made sick to the stomach.

             All plans of finding my way home had evaporated. I sat down on the damp grass and held my head in my hands.

            ‘It’s a shame really, just how his malice and vulgarity has cost you eternity. Because after all, only I can live forever.’ At these words of cruelty, from someone not even brave enough to come down and face me, I remembered my plan. I stood up and gave Sontago a nod. He clutched his bow and grab hold of an arrow.

          ‘You’ll live forever. And I might even live to be an old man, But not in Hell! NOW!’ I yelled, and Sontago released his arrow. It struck me in the chest and I lost all life for a moment. I could just faintly hear the anguished cries of Satan…





I was standing in a corridor. I looked around and realised I was outside my History classroom door. I looked through the glass panel and saw Mr Merristead boring the class. I placed a hand on the handle, took a deep breath and walked in.

          ‘Ahh, just in time,’ Mr Merristead said, ‘the bell’s just about to ring-‘ And he was cut off by the bell that signalled lunchtime. I smiled at him and went to get my bag.

          ‘Are you alright, Mark?’ Mr Merristead asked me when everyone had left. ‘Just, you look a bit stressed.’ I considered this question for a moment and said:

           ‘Never better.’ I replied. And it was true!


          I walked out the class and saw Kiwi and Euan standing there isolated on their own.

          ‘Hey Mark! Liam shouted down the corridor. ‘Hurry up!’ I looked back at Euan and Kiwi.

          ‘Hold on.’ I said and approached Euan and Kiwi.

            ‘Hey,’ they looked up at me, ’I was wondering…you see we’re going to KFC for lunch…err… maybe you’d like to come along?’

They looked at each other and Euan said:

           ‘Sounds good to us.’

          ‘Great,’ I said putting my hands  in my back pockets. A frown spread across my face as I felt a piece of paper against my fingers.

          ‘Listen, you two go and catch up with the others. I just have something to do.’ I said.

          ‘Okay, see ye.’ I nodded, smiling.

          ‘Yes you will,’ I said to myself, and they ran off to catch up with the others.

I quickly snatched Frederick’s note out of  my pocket and stopped before unfolding it. I told myself not to be disappointed when I found out it was from Satan.  But it wasn’t from Satan at all.


     You know what to do.







 I looked up at the sky and smiled.



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