Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 5


The bag slung over his shoulder was, indeed, heavy. He walked for another few miles before adjusting it, swapping it from his right shoulder to his left. When he had seen Sarah and Amy there, while he was leaning over Mark Lloyd’s body, he hadn’t known what to expect. Yes, he knew their names. He knew all of their names.

When he had finished with Mark’s body, he had not said anything, he hadn’t needed to, all he had to do was make his deposit and move on. His pack clinked beside him as he heard the call. At the next intersection, he turned right and began to walk east, looking for Justin Graves, a knife wound to the chest. The initial chaos had not left many bodies intact for him to work with, but as society chose sides again, he found that his services were needed even more. He had been in Buffalo, New York a few days before, and they had started calling him the Pennyman, which he liked, although it was not quite accurate.

New York had been as quiet as Dallas now was. Both sounded like the deserts of the west. The occasional sound of some creature, a screech or a bark, and sometimes the sound of the wind, whistling through concrete canyons, across unmoved cars, only a few of which remained. Panic had gripped the country, and the Pennyman had seen it all first hand. He heard the occasional gunshot, the occasional explosion. He saw the smoke curling up from fires still raging, the only motion in the Metroplex.

Clink. Clink. Clink, his pack went, the coins, although the color of pennies, were actually much older than that, and were actually silver, heavily tarnished, but silver nonetheless. Obolus they had been called by the Greeks, although the English had taken to calling them obols. These had the head of Demetrius engraved on them.

As he approached a small side street he turned left, back north, and began to look for the off shooting alley where he knew he would find Justin, or what was left of him. He walked another mile before he found the right alleyway, and there was the body. Laying on the ground in the middle of this back street, Justin had been stabbed, most likely by the knife that lay on the ground next to him, the wound entering his chest and piercing the heart, killing him instantly. The Pennyman approached the corpse, and kneeling by it, opened its mouth before opening his pack. Clink. He reached in and pulled out an obol, placing it on Justin’s tongue before closing the mouth again.

Standing up, the Pennyman knew his work was not done today, not done by a longshot,
and he began to walk, heading back south and west, into the heart of town.

Clink. Clink. Clink.



alphabete said...

Oh-ho-ho is he giving them fare for Charon? This is a turn for the unexpected, and I'm sort of wondering if he's going to be more involved. I would say perhaps put the "clink"s in italics maybe, though I don't know that it's necessary. It might kind of set them apart. Otherwise this is damn good. You know how to keep me hooked!

Thalantyr the Wizard said...

Clink Clink Clink, the ferryman of Bucaneers' Den said.

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