Every night Jacob got up from the dinner table and walked down the hall. His bedroom was at the other end. There, in his own private world, he imagined things he couldn’t see.
For the rest of his life Jacob would walk down halls. The halls themselves became more impressive as he got older. They took longer to walk down, and when he got to the other end there was less time for imagining.
Once another boy named Jacob had imagined things before he went to bed. But this Jacob was never to walk down hallways. This Jacob would lead a life of struggle, a hard life. He would struggle with sorrow, nature, even God himself.
When this Jacob was a young man he was chased into the woods and laid his head down on a rock. Looking up at the sky he saw a ladder that reached into heaven. Angels moved up and down on the ladder, coming and going between heaven and earth.
Ladders are hard to climb. They are steep. The rungs can be slippery. There is no railing to hold onto. You could get tired and give up, or you could fall thousands of feet. In the time since Jacob walked this earth many have told the tale of Jacob’s ladder. It is true that heaven lies at the top of a treacherous ladder, and many assume that hell is just as difficult to reach.
This is not so. Hell does not lie at the base of a staircase. It is on the same plane as this earth. One can slip into it and scarcely realize one is there.
Hell is just down the hall.
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