(Content Warning: Language, Violence, Blood, Murder, Crude humor.)
“Where I come from, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping, but this evil place is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Nonetheless, a hero must always look on the bright side of things. My mission is of the utmost importance!”
The guardians of the black gates looked at each other in bewilderment. They didn’t know if the stranger before them was talking to himself or them directly.
Anok merged his spear with Trella’s to form an “X,” effectively blocking the black iron gates to the Underworld. Through shaded cowls, their venomous yellow eyes burrowed deep within the hero’s soul, searching for a weakness they could exploit.
The hero walked towards the dark figures with his head held high. Confidence is a virtue, they say. He was wearing his fan-favorite uniform—blue tights with black underwear and a light-red utility belt, dark boots with ruby lacings, and a crimson “H” embroidered boldly on his masculine chest. The man’s perfectly sculpted face was like a majestic mountain, and his long blonde hair was silky smooth. His black cape ruffled behind him with every step, and the guardians knew he meant business.
“Why are you here?” Trella hissed.
The hero smiled, flashing his sparkling teeth, and boasted, “Greetings, evil ones! My name is—”
“We don’t care what your name is!” growled Anok, rudely interrupting the hero’s deep booming voice. “Do you even know where you are, Do-gooder?”
“I’m right where I should be.”
“You must be blind,” Trella said. “These dark iron rods are The Black Gates of Hell, and no one is allowed to enter without a key or invitation from the master himself!”
The hero reached into his belt and removed a black key that seemed to tremble in his hands.
“Where did you get that?!” Anok gasped.
“The League of Heroes, of course,” the hero prattled. “You’ll find this key will unlock those hellish gates, and by all means, I pray you let me pass, for I have business with your master.”
“What makes you so special?” Trella roared.
“I’m special because I have powers, and you don’t. You’re just a lackey and a poor one at that!”
“Lackey?!” Trella barked. “Who do you think you are?”
“Take it easy,” Anok said. “You don’t want to defy the master’s rules, do you?”
“No,” Trella snarled. He grabbed the key and unlocked the gates. As the metal barrier creaked open, Trella hung his head low because he knew Satan had a mean streak, and to cross his master was a mistake no soul ever lived to talk about.
The hero nodded, signifying his approval, and marched through the gates. He had no fear of this dominion and was eager to speak with the Lord of Destruction.
As he passed the cloaked guardians, Trella raised his head and asked, “What is your name, so I may have my vengeance later?”
Anok gasped. He couldn’t believe his friend’s boldness and defiance.
The hero halted just beyond their reach and stared straight ahead into the hazy fog. With his back turned, he said, “My name is Humorous-Man, you bag-of-dicks, and I shall deal with you both upon my exit.”
“Humorous-Man?” Anok snickered. “What kind of superhero name is that?”
“It’s a modern superhero name,” said the hero. “It was that or Fart-man. My mother wasn’t keen on either choice, but I believe Humorous-Man suits me well, especially with my unique sense of humor!”
Trella laughed so hard that he had to kneel over to catch his breath. Humorous-Man had a high tolerance in dealing with arrogant idiots, but these two dimwits were stretching that limit.
“I guess that explains the horrible costume,” Anok chuckled. “I mean, it looks like your mommy made it for you, ha, ha, ha, ha!”
That was the last straw. Humorous-Man scowled, bent over, and unleashed a fart so foul, the entire realm shuddered. His cape flapped like a flag trying to hang on against a raging tornado. The green gas surrounded Trella and Anok, and despite their best efforts, they had no choice but to breathe it in. The gas ate away their insides, and soon, they were literally coughing up their lungs.
“What treacherous evil is this?!” Anok screamed.
“I-I can’t breathe!” Trella stuttered. He was on his knees coughing, and despite his agony, he inched his way closer to Humorous-Man. Vengeance would soon be his.
Humorous-Man turned just in time to see Trella reaching out with his clawed hand and unleashed a mighty burp that shook the black gates. The putrid stench that lingered made Trella and Anok hack up a strange green goo. The once proud guardians rolled over and melted into slimy puddles.
Humorous-Man curled his lips into a mocking grin and swaggered, “Phewie, that was a good one! You guys are gonna need a mop and a really big bucket!” After a quick salute, Humorous-Man left Trella and Anok to their horrible fates.
The path ahead was paved with broken skulls and a red mist that gave him limited visibility. The hero didn’t mind that as long as his mission was successful. The League of Heroes was counting on him to carry out his sacred quest no matter the cost.
In the distance, a black castle pierced the red horizon like a splintered tree that had been struck by lightning. Humorous-Man narrowed his eyes and saw little black specks flying around the castle like bats, but they were not flying rodents—they were gargoyles. The stone beasts smelled the foulness from the black gates and took flight to guard the castle. Their only purpose was to protect their master.
Our hero knew there was no way he would enter the castle without a fight. The black gates no longer held sway over him, so he took flight. The air was humid and made his throat dry. He desperately yearned for some ice water, but alas, a hero can only hold so many things in his/her utility belt.
Flying high, Humorous-Man got a better look at the terrain. The Underworld was nothing more than a jagged rock valley carved by a million tortured souls. A river of blood flowed to the east and was surrounded by skinned human bodies crucified to upside-down crosses. A bit further north, our hero saw reapers cultivating the rocky soil with human flesh, perhaps to grow more atrocities.
A cold shiver raced down our hero’s spine and almost disrupted his flight. He spun around to shake the heebie-jeebies loose because he was approaching the stone gargoyles and needed to focus. The Underworld was not a place to question your faith because the entire realm feasted on desperation and the incredulity of greed. It was a succubus of human souls, and that hunger would never be sated. This was the curse that Satan bestowed upon the land.
The gargoyles spotted Humorous-Man approaching from afar like a white dove in an ocean of blackness. The stone beasts flocked together like a pack of wild ravens and stormed towards our hero. The sweet temptation of blood was hot on their tongues.
“You must have stone balls to come after me!” he yelled.
The stone monsters snarled as they broke off into two different swaths to cut off their target. Humorous-Man laughed and kept his course. Nothing was going to stop him at this point. The flock of gargoyles looked like two mighty chains heading toward our hero, and soon they would have him.
Humorous-Man saw an opening when the two branches of stone creatures were on his left and right side, coming in to crush him. He waited for the right moment and swooped higher into the air, causing the gargoyles to crash into each other like two runaway freight trains. The stone beasts crumbled and fell to the red sand below like a monstrous rain storm.
“Sorry, guys!” Humorous-Man chuckled. “You all look a little shattered!”
Now our hero’s sacred quest could continue. The black castle stood unprotected, and Humorous-Man flew as fast as he could. He used his X-ray vision and discovered that Satan’s chamber did not lie at the top but in the depths below. He balled his fists and flew faster until he hit the ground like a lightning strike and burrowed through the blood-stained soil. The only thought in his mind was the fight ahead.
Humorous-Man kept his eyes closed which was just as well because he couldn’t see anything anyway. Every inch along the way, he would let out a ferocious sneeze that hindered his progress, but his allergies would have to wait until the mission was completed. A true hero knows their limits and ignores them, and Humorous-Man was not the exception.
At long last, our hero emerged in Satan’s chamber like a missile exploding into an empty river bed. When the red dust settled, Humorous-Man stood like an unmovable mountain—strong and defiant.
The hollowed chamber was vast and carved like an empty oval egg. The red walls were polished to a shine, with exquisite paintings of grotesque images hanging as far as the eye could see. The path ahead was lit by a never-ending flickering light from torches protruding from the ground. Our hero knew his role and followed them to his destination.
Further down the chamber was a long black ivory table resting in the middle of a great chasm decorated with candles dancing on twisted tree roots. Plates full of fresh meat and bottles of red liquid were resting just before a dark silhouette. There was no doubt who this horned shadow was…
“SATAN!” shouted Humorous-Man. “I found you at long last!”
The evil lord leaned forward just enough to allow the light to catch his face. His skin was like a black serpent, and his curved horns were dark red. He snarled to show his elongated crimson fangs, and Humorous-Man couldn’t tell if his teeth were red or just stained that way from eating the raw meat.
“You’re an ugly bastard, aren’t you?”
Satan curved his black lips into a wry smile. “Mmm… What do we have here? Fresh meat in a land full of rotten carcasses. How I hunger for something sweet!” His serpent tongue slithered out to taste the intruder’s scent. “Your smell arouses me, stranger. It’s been a long time since I felt orgasmic delight!”
“Eww!” Humorous-Man shuddered. “Do you kiss your momma with that mouth?”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha!” Satan laughed. “A jester come to jest. Tell me, underwear man, did you come here to make me laugh, or is there a greater purpose for your visit?”
“My name is Humorous-Man, and I’ve come to destroy you!”
“Yada, yada, yada,” mocked Satan. “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? Couldn’t you come up with something original, at least?”
“Original?” The question caught our hero off guard. “Very well then,” he said with a smirk. “Enough of this gander! I’ve been sent here by The League of Heroes to kill you! We believe that with your death, the world will be cleansed of all evil, thereby making our jobs easier.”
Satan balled his hand into a fist and smashed it on the table. “The League of Heroes sent you?!”
Our hero could tell that the Lord of Destruction was mad. “Yes, my quest is simply to murder you to restore the balance of good vs. evil.”
The evil lord was visibly shaken. “How dare those sadistic heroes send you to do their dirty work! They’re always interfering with my good work! Do you know how angry this makes me?!”
Humorous-Man scrunched his lips and replied, “Oh, I have a pretty good idea, but I don’t care how angry you are. Wipe away those crocodile tears and get ready for a beat down!”
“Forgive my anger, hero,” Satan growled, “I’m not mad at you. For centuries The League of Heroes has tried to kill me. You are just another imbecile they found to do their bidding. Tell me, hero… Are you a man of faith?”
“I am,” Humorous-Man gloated. “My whole existence would be nothing without our all-mighty God. He created all of us in his image.” He paused and lifted his right eyebrow. “Well, almost all of us. There are some that don’t have awesome powers like us, and that my evil ass-hat is a shame indeed!”
“Indeed,” roared Satan. The phrase was long and drawn out. “You heroes are nothing more than fake Gods as our lord father and I have all been forgotten. You are wrong about one thing; however, God did not create humans in his image—I did! I created them to win his affections, but once he discovered that evil hid within their hearts, he created you superheroes to spite me!”
“Blasphemy!” Humorous-Man fired. “You don’t expect me to believe that do you?”
“Believe what you want,” grumbled Satan. “I don’t have time for you to contemplate the truth.”
Satan rose and snapped his fingers. Humorous-Man felt the ground beneath him rumble, and before he had time to think, a swath of hungry roots sprang forth and held him hostage. “What are you doing?!”
Evil laughter filled the chamber. “You don’t know? Why this is the part where evil wins!”
“N-no, you can’t do this to me! I swore an oath that must be upheld!”
“An oath to die for a pack of wild false Gods,” scoffed Satan. “I shall make an example out of you like all the others!”
“Please, let me go!”
“I don’t think so. I know what you’re thinking, The League of Heroes will come for me eventually, and when they do, I’ll be ready to unleash my fury upon them. God himself will have to pay me a visit, and then the real war will begin!”
Satan sat down and snapped his fingers once more. An evil smile crept upon his angular face as though it was born for that singular purpose. He reveled in delight as the roots holding Humorous-Man bit deeply and drank his blood. Our hero was in disbelief because, up to this point, he was invincible. His screams echoed so loudly that the entire realm heard his agony. The roots pulsated like thriving veins from a greater artery and soon, there was nothing left of our hero.
The following day, Satan took his seat at the table and watched his demented slaves dressed in tattered rags bring him his feast. He noticed one wretched soul staring at a new painting that hung on the wall. It depicted a superhero with a bright crimson “H” emblazoned across his muscular chest entangled in a patch of blood-thirsty roots.
“Ah… I see you like my new masterpiece,” boasted Satan.
The slave shivered without making eye contact and ran away to fetch another plate of raw meat. Every cursed soul knew that you should never engage with the master. To do so would be worse than death. Hell is repetition, after all, and bad things never end—they just linger forever.
“Yes… I think it’s my favorite painting too! Humorous-Man indeed… Ha, ha, ha, ha!”