In Neil Gaiman’s highly acclaimed Sandman series of graphic novels there’s a chapter where Lucifer decides to abandon Hell. He evicts all of the residents, locks all of the doorways there and gives the key to the series’ titular character, Morpheus.
Many characters descend upon Morpheus to try to buy, cajole or take the key from him. At the story’s conclusion two angels, Duma and Remiel, reveal that the creator of Hell – the traditional Abrahamic god – has decided that the ownership of Hell is too important to be given away and that they will assume responsibility for its running and reopen it as a place of eternal punishment.
By the end of the arc Hell is exactly as it was before except, as Remiel informs one of the damned…
There will be no more wanton violence; no further suffering, inflicted without reason or explanation. We will hurt you. And we are not sorry. But we do not do it to punish you. We do it to redeem you. Because afterward, you’ll be a better person … and because we love you. One day you’ll thank us for it.
I’m not sure what made me think of this today.
The answer that the damned sinner gives to Remiel, as he flies away, is the title of this post.