Thursday, August 27, 2009

A River in Epirus

Her kiss was sweet in a way that it has never been before. The man smiles at the woman and gently places his thumb on her chin.

"Will you miss me?" she asks.

"I always miss you."

Behind them a limousine pulls up, for the man was a wealthy man and his payrolls control much of the city. No driver exits, but the passenger door opens anyway. This shocks the woman and she peers into the compartment, but sees no shape nor movement. The man takes no notice. He smiles again and she returns it, hesitantly. He can tell that something is wrong, but she's just a throwaway, and her emotions concern him not. He enters the vehicle without so much as a wave goodbye.

The limousine pulls away and the privacy barrier lowers slowly. As the man tastes his lips, there's hint of something obscure on them, he realizes that he does not recognize the driver.

"Where's Smith?

The driver turns and winks, he looks friendly enough. "He's sick today, sir. There's something going around. How are you feeling?"

The man ignores the question, but notices his forehead burning up. He turns on the air conditioning in the compartment and shakes his head in the cool air. The driver smiles widely at him. The man hits the button to raise the barrier, but nothing happens.

"Driver," he says, "raise the barrier, if you don't mind."

"I do, actually," the driver responds, continuing to smile but returning attention to the road.

There's an attempt at rebuke, but something catches the man's throat and he loosens his tie.

"What does your wife think of your trysts, sir? She can't possibly approve."

Grunting, the man forces his voice to work. "None of your fucking business, puke. Who the fuck do you think you are? Do you know who I am?"

"Yes, sir." A mocking nod accompanies the driver's words. "But you do not know who I am."

"Whoever you are, you're an insignificant fool. I'll have your job."

"Oh, I doubt that. My job has been the same since before you were born."

A closer examination of the driver reveals the face of a man who could not be older than 35 years of age. The man takes a deep breath, noticing for the first time that he can smell whatever it is that he's been tasting.

The driver laughs. "Sure, the medium has changed, as has the mode. But I still go back and forth to the same place, carrying poor saps like you."

"Poor saps?" The man is barely able to speak. He glances in a vanity mirror: his skin is deep red and clammy.

"Yes. Many men who have crossed the river did so because of poison. You are not the first, nor will you be the last."

River? Poison? That fucking bitch! Did the harlot know he was going to leave her like he did all the rest? The man glances through watering eyes at the driver, who shakes his head as if reading the man's mind.

"Your wife left this for you."

The driver hands the man an envelope. There's something heavy inside. Through struggled breath and clenched teeth, the man opens it. It's a coin. One unlike he's ever seen.

"What is it?" asks the man.

"Just an old piece of silver," responds the driver, not turning his head.

"I see that, you fuck. What's it for?" Left arm heavies and breath continues to labor.

"Your mouth."

"What?"

"Put it in your mouth." The driver turns this time. His eyes no longer human, reminiscent of fire; smile demonic. "It's my fare."

21 comments:

  1. You could probably do a TV show based on this - I liked it.

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  2. Love the arrogance of the doomed man, sounds like quite an ass.

    Wonderful, modern take on an ancient myth.

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  3. very cool. seems we both thought of the styx. remonds we of piers anthony's incarnations series...i too like the arrogance of the man who is no longer in control...

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  4. Slightly Rod Serling-esque. Very nice.

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  5. Your slices of life are all so very intriguing... -Jayne

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  6. Johnny Depp would be brilliant as the driver.

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  7. Superb piece of writing. One of my very favourites of yours.

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  8. why am I suddenly hearing the theme song from the twilight zone...I'm learning to stay away from limo drivers

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  9. Rod Sterling would have truly loved this once. Scary stuff

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  10. I liked it. Of course I wondered who had to test Satan for his drivers license in the first place...that wouldn't have been fun...

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  11. That...was effing cool! Love the reference ;)

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  12. Great story! I love twist endings! Very good!

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  13. ...cue the song 'come sail away' as the limo speeds up wildly and breaks through the rotten wood barriers, plunging into the river Styx...Mr. Asshole screaming the entire way. I forget, what level did those who commited audultry end up in Dante's version?

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  14. Brilliant I love it when cheaters get their cummupence! Or is that cummuppence whatever . .nice!

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  15. His comment should have totally been more asshole-ish if he didn't plan on seeing her again. "Yeah, sure..." He's obviously only saying that to placate her. He should be concerned with placating her since she's a "throwaway" (*love* the terminology, by the way)

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  16. that was great. cheating bastard deserved it :)

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  17. Oh dear. This won't end well.

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  18. Did you write this? It's fantastic!

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  19. Your last two blogs seem to be rather dark, both addressing death. Something you want to tell us? :)

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