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Cerberus

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

Heavy steps stomp through dense mud, making a squelch beneath the boots. Before us is a large wooden gate, connected to a surrounding wall, with screaming faces merged within. Their moans and groans echo through the dark red sky.

Tombstone approaches the gate. Slowly, it opens.

Ferryman…

A long, hoarse growl emerges from behind the opening gate.

What emerges from behind it is a multi-headed dog with orange eyes and large teeth. His serpent tail motions behind him, and spikes protrude from his skin.

“You dare to come empty handed?”

Fire spews from its open maw.

“That is a long trip to make without a soul. You owe me a soul, Ferryman.”

“I brought you Theodore O’Toole, Cerberus.”

Cerberus roars angrily.

“He is not the one.”

Tombstone relents.

“I’m aware.”

“I do not choose where the souls go. That is not my duty. My duty is to ferry the soul to their destination.”

“Then where is my soul?”

“There have been complications, Cerberus.”

A loud gruff growling bark echoes throughout the land.

Cerberus isn’t happy.

“You talk of your duty; what of mine? I guard these gates for my master, Hades. It’s my duty to prevent the dead from leaving. Drewitt should have passed through my gates twice and yet he hasn’t.”

Tombstone takes a deep breath, inhaling the putrid fumes of acid lake around him.

I know.”

“Drewitt has upset the order of things. I have attempted to ferry his soul on two occasions, but he has evaded the trip. I’m afraid that he is immortal.”

The dog gasps.

“And you knew to come here?”

Cerberus asks.

“I knew that any soul who dared upset the balance of order in life and death would inevitably pass through your gates, Cerberus. There is no denying that one who should perish and does not, would not be allowed entry into Elysium.”

The dog spits fire at the ground at the mention of Elysium.

Enough!

It growls angrily.

“You owe me a soul.”

“You owe me the soul of Drewitt.”

“Do not make me send Hades himself, Ferryman.”

Tombstone nods.

“We are working on it. The balance must be restored. Order must be restored. The Underworld is one less soul because he cheats Death. I came here to tell you that I won’t stop until Drewitt passes through your gates, Cerberus.”

“I will fight him and right this wrong, in whatever manner or order in takes. What must be done, must be done. Drewitt’s immortality must end, and it will be at my hand.”

“It will take time.”

“But inevitably, the books will be balanced and you will have your soul.”

“On that, you have my word.”

Cerberus growls again.

Tombstone heads back towards his boat, docked in the sludge and mud.

“You had better make sure that he meets his end, Ferryman.”

“Don’t worry, Cerberus. Never fear Drewitt meeting his end.”

The end is where we meet.

And I will send him on his way.

Tombstone