Thursday, November 17, 2011
Yes, I know, I thoroughly apologize for my absence -- time has simply slipped away from me. However, I am here, this Friday, cheating a bit for my Flash Fiction in offering one scene from Release. It can stand alone, but do you really want it all by itself?!?!!
I do not know how long it took us to reach the charon, for time in Hell doesn’t pass in the same manner as on earth. My first time I visited, it seemed as if only three days had passed, yet it was indeed over a year that I had stayed in this realm. On the contrary, my sister, when she came to rescue me, was gone from the earthly realm for only a week, though to her it seemed as if no less than five sun-cycles has passed. After what seemed about an hour of mortal time, weaving our way in and out of the condemned souls, parrying questions from a few of them, avoiding others, slipping on the snakes and skulls beneath our feet, and enduring the stings and bites of wasps and spiders, we were finally standing before the great Acheron River.
At first glance, the Acheron resembled nothing more than molten lava flowing through a wide chasm. Upon closer inspection, however, one could see the tortured souls who were condemned to swim in its fires, at least for a time, before their true punishments occurred. Demons and dragon-fish lurked in the fiery depths as well, tormenting the souls floating within, even grabbing some off the boats of the charons. I did not think that we had anything to fear from the Acheron, but having waded in its torments once, I’d no desire to waste my energy in it again, or chance that the demons wouldn’t come after me this time.
“Denny, the obols please,” Mirrie said as we stood before the skeleton, his bony hand held out to us. The bones of a dead man, reanimated to life through the magic of the Fallen Ones. The charons had no souls or personalities of their own, being more akin to what mortals may term robots, though I thought I spied a glimmer of …something… in the dark sockets of their eyes. After all, Denny and Ness were Nephilim spirits tied to human flesh through Fallen magic, and they had definitely developed personalities and wills of their own throughout the centuries.
“Of course,” Denny said as he reached into his leather pouch to retrieve the obols, the three bronze coins we’d had made specifically for this journey. Gold would be too soft for the heat of Hell, silver too, though iron would not be precious enough to be accepted as quality fare by the charon. Bronze it was, though we had mixed our copper with iron instead of tin. The charons did love the look of gold things moreso than silver. As Denny placed the coins in the charon’s hand, I breathed a small sigh of relief when the bones closed greedily over the offering and placed it in the purse that hung off its hip. We wouldn’t be forced to wade through Acheron and its torments.
Yet we would be, very soon, in front of the Gates of Hell, and all that lay beyond them. Thankfully, we would only have to go through the First Infernal Realm, or Dis, before we could reach Tartarus, where the Fallen Ones resided, watching the torments going on in the other sections of the damned abyss.
“Come along, Brother,” my sister said, bringing me out of my thoughts of what lay in wait for us on the opposite shore of the Acheron.
Posted by Nicole Hadaway at 8:41 PM