THE STAIRWAY OF TARTARUS by Miguel Ángel López - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press
The Stairway of Tartarus
by Miguel Ángel López
For my many conspiracies against the Gods I was condemned to the Stairway of Tartarus. I was told that if I reached the top then I would be free, so I began my ascent. The steps were lost in the horizon, where more like me were ascending, but I did not lose heart and continued my advance.
One day I came across another convict who walked the stairs in the opposite direction but moved perpendicular to me, contradicting the laws of elementary physics. I asked him why he was descending and he replied that it was me who was doing that.
I came across more captives making the opposite journey, until one day I found a guardian of Tartarus, suspended in the air in a diagonal position. I asked him why he was floating crookedly and he replied to me:
“Crooked? It is you who is advancing at an angle on this staircase that is supported horizontally.”
And then I understood my eternal punishment, since the Stairway of Tartarus neither ascends nor descends, but lies flat on the ground, and it is its walkers, in impossible senses, who think that we ascend it. May the Gods one day take pity on our wretched and impossible penance.
Miguel Ángel López was born in 1981 in Madrid. He has published stories in Spain. If published, this would be the second story he has had published in English (the first was in Bewildering Stories magazine many years ago). He currently has poems and flash fiction pending publication in the anthologies "Octavos" and "Constraint 280" in the magazine Microverses.