Making a Heaven of Hell: A Comparison of Nerinx Hall to Dante’s Inferno


Photo Credit: Jeroným Pelikovský from Pixabay

Nerinx is a second home to many, and lots of spots in the building feel like a slice of heaven. However, a good portion of the school was built in 1954. Therefore, some rooms and areas around the Hall are a hell in and of themselves. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Good luck— you’ll need it. A quick note: this is obviously just a silly little article that isn’t meant to be taken seriously.


Limbo– The west stairwell. We begin our trek by entering the school from the east drive. Overhead a kelly green awning reads “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate/Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. Oh wait, no. It’s just the logo. Many a soul linger here, waiting for their parents to pick them up and standing silently on their phones. Once in a blue moon, a car pulls up and someone looks up. It’s their lucky day. They scurry out of the doors and into their parent’s car, free at last.

2nd circle– The U rooms. We continue our journey upwards, all the way upwards. The smell of the cafeteria wafts up the stairs to the U rooms, igniting a rumble of hunger in your stomach. But ha! It’s constantly freezing and there’s nothing you can do about it. Unless you want to turn off the AC, of course. But that’s a long and daunting journey, and who really knows how to work it, anyway?

3rd circle– The lower W rooms. Always cold, when it pours outside the water taps against the windows like it’s trying to get inside. The lack of lighting gives the rooms an isolated but strangely homey feeling. Heat rises far, far up from this lonely cavern, so bring your warmest SLUH hoodie.

4th circle– The vending machines. With a five dollar bill in hand, one would think that a vending machine would accept it, give you your food, and return your change. And that it does, but not in the way you expected. Quarters topple out of the machine, drowning you in a lake of silver. What will you do with them? That’s for you to decide.

5th circle– The gym. People battle it out in gym class, much like the wrathful in their perpetual underwater fistfight. Something about rolled-up gym shorts and loose ponytails erupts a sense of competition in them. Near the bleachers and far from the sight of teachers, others happily volunteer to sit on the sidelines, floating to the bottom of the River Styx like the sullen.

6th circle– The costume and prop rooms. Before you can even scooch your way over to the light switch, you find yourself tripping over a dress, several hangers, two faux plants, and hit your hip on a side table. Moving from one side of the room to another is nearly impossible, and the lost souls of theatre kids that mysteriously vanished in there reach out and grab your ankles from time to time. It isn’t too hard to get rid of them, though. Just tell them the cast list is up and they’ll squeal and sprint in the other direction.

7th circle– The hallways. People push each other with their backpacks, girls crowd around in front of lockers only to be pushed to the side. Slow walkers are shoved aside without mercy. Crumbs scatter all over the carpet, bugs of varying species swarm the hallways like rats scurrying away from the light of day. Cockroaches, silverfish, you name it. And you find that if you smush one, three more appear where the first stood.

8th circle– The west hallway bathrooms. Nearing the end of your journey, you make a quick stop in the little girl’s room, a place that should be safe for all. Little do you know, this is your eighth stop. When you try to flush, the toilet gurgles, swishes your leavings a bit, and nothing more. You’re doomed to wait until the bathroom is empty to sneak out and hope whoever follows isn’t too judgemental.

9th circle– Outside. Panting for breath, we finally make our way out into the cold air. Cocking an eyebrow and glancing back over your shoulder to the school, you count on your fingers. I’ve only visited eight circles, you say. Then it dawns on you. You’re parked in the church parking lot on Big Bend, and a cold, heavy wind is stirring in the air. A maniacal laugh echoes from the building. Foolish mortal, you thought Nerinx was hell? Let’s see how you fare without your precious indoor heating now.