Ferryman

Lee Crowley

The scene opens up, the souls of the undead howling in the distance as Lee Crowley, the Mad King, king of the underworld, looks over the River Styx.

“The River Styx.”

He chuckles, leaning over and staring into the eerily clear waters.

“It is said that once you pass through the wretched gates of the underworld, one must take a final journey across the waterway to their last resting place, the ferryman delivering their souls unto Hades, giving them to the king, reducing them from what they once were to peasants amongst the masses, all individuality in life torn from their grasp just as their last breathes were drawn from their lungs.”

He reaches down, the souls leaping from the waves to grab at his arm.

“Just as the taste of death fills their mouth, they become powerless to the king overseeing their new realm. The first step is merely kneeling before the ferryman and allowing him to usher them across the river of damned spirits, giving up to Chiron’s icy grip as he herds the tortured souls aboard his boat.”

And fearlessly, he skims the water, the spirits fleeing in fear at his touch.

“And as those souls look out towards the pits of Tartarus, they will be forced to come to terms with oblivion, an eternity of torment destined to tear their souls to pieces. As the screaming spirits leap from the river and grab at the unfortunate souls, they will realize just how far they have fallen.”

He looks up, to the other side of the gap.

“And the journey into the afterlife all starts with a trip from the ferryman.”

And sitting there, more tortured souls staring at their new king.

“Dear Hades, king of his realm, how far you have fallen, your soul merely another face amongst the crowd of forgotten spirits that writhe upon the tormented soil we call home. Like the many underlings who you once ruled over, you too have lost the throne you held in life. All the power granted by your crown snatched away, the gold upon your head treated as no more than a token to pay the ferryman.”

All of them back away, finding themselves too crowded to flee as Lee smiles at them.

“For too long you sat idly by, allowing souls to be brought to you, weak without a court to cater to your every whim. You watched the ferryman bring you servants and prisoners, never even so much as looking towards the slaves under your heel until you felt the need to punish them. And when you finally felt the call to raise your hand and threaten those shackled in bone, they never truly feared you. You were the unseen eye who kept them in line, but their true fears lie in the men who damned them to this afterlife.”

And then he beckons for them to walk over.

“In the end, those who killed them, the ferrymen who took their lives from them like payment for travel, were the ones that the damned feared the most.”

None of them move, but slowly, the ferrymen serving Lee grab them, yanking them forwards.

“You sat on your throne and watched as people from the outside, people like me, reaped the living, sending them to your gates em masse. Before they even joined the crowds on your cursed land, they were already tormented. Everything they had was stolen from them, everything was taken as payment by the ferryman.”

Some souls fall into the river.

“I have usurped your throne because I saw the call for men of my ilk, the ferrymen who tormented these souls, to take his rightful place on top.”

Others are stripped of their most prized possession as payment.

“I am the ferryman and the king, the madman who took their lives and ruled over them.”

And all the while, the spirits recoil in fear.

“And you are just another peasant forced to live under my smile.”

In fear of their new king.