Walking into the mouth of hell is something I will never get used to. The smell, a sulfur-and-incense mix, tries to be welcoming and falls short into creepy at best, nauseous at worst. There's a humid quality to the air, which is weird considering the volumes of fire and magma in the place. My intent steps tread over layers of bone that cross together tightly, a sturdy bridge of death from one world to another. Above me I can feel the ghosts of damned souls reaching for the bright light that is my living being.
I keep my eyes fixed on the bone bridge, skulls and femurs of all things, not just human. The deeper I walk, the darker they become, as if they've been charred by the heat. A spectral hand brushes through my short hair like a breeze and I repress the urge to glance up. I know full well what the guardians of the bridge do to living things that meet their eyes. I don't have any interest in making my visit a permanent one.
Not yet, anyway.
The bones give way to ancient lava flow an