Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hollow World Book 4 Chapter 10



Clink.  Clink.  Clink.

He was unaccustomed to have nothing to do.  Seizing the opportunity, the Pennyman found himself upon the shores of the river Acheron, his ferry a hundred yards distant, the line of souls waiting to cross stretching out of sight.  He ached when he set eyes upon them, but was certain not one of them would have made it this far in this war had he not been where he was, doing what he was doing.

He walked along the length of the line, exchanging a nod with the souls where it was appropriate.  He knew each of their stories.  The front of the line was occupied by the thousands that had died during the initial onslaught, when gasoline had begun to explode.  Others had died when they had become curious, or had died fighting for their lives.  Others still had just been unfortunate, such as the man before him who’s home had collapsed on him during a winter storm.  The day went by him, step by step, face by face, and not once did he hear the call of the dead.  It was late afternoon before he found the one face he was looking for.


The face looked up at Charon and smiled.  The brown beard, unkempt hair.  “Nice to see you son,”  He said.

“I just wish it was not under these circumstances.”  The Pennyman said, taking a step away from the line, distancing himself from the dead.

“I knew there was a chance when I got here of this happening.  Tartarus had always wanted what I’ve had.  I’m surprised that it took him so long.  Had I brought my souls back with me, it would be I who was up there and him down here.”

“You would go to war?  Even after all you have seen?”

“No, but there is plenty of space up there, we could have found somewhere.  Will it be much longer?  The line does not appear to move.”

“It does not, and it will not until this war is over.  I will be back when it is and then I will begin the process of shuttling you all to Hades.”

“Ever the dutiful one.”

“Someone has to be.”

“Yes they do, don’t they.  It was nice to see you again son.”

“You too.”  The Pennyman walked on, nodding and waving.  He finally reached the man who had been blown off the side of the mountain and the pair of torchbearers that marked the end of the line.  He kept walking after the end of the line and ended up at the edge of the killing field outside of Boulder City.  A pair of fuel tankers now rested opposite the city gate, and the scorch marks still remained.  A few people could be seen on the walkway, and they had pointed their guns at him when he had appeared, but a shot has yet to be fired.  With nothing to do but wait, the Pennyman sat down, his bag on the ground beside him.

Clink.  Clink.  Clink.

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