This week’s rerun is a new one for me. I was away for its original version. I’ll post my story below and welcome your comments; my own thoughts follow it so as not to pre-influence yours.
I take their silver coins, these travellers, and I carry them, one by one, to the teeming world on the other side. A few of them know my name, most do not. A few of them thank me; most barely notice the ferryman taking them from living shore to dead.
One day, a coin will spill from your jaw, and I will take it, open palmed, for my labours. Will you see me? Will you know my name, my parentage, my history? Will you take the hand that aids you aboard, or shun it in one final push for independence?
I had originally planned to write something a little more subtle, linking the Staten Island ferry with Charon on the Styx, but leaving it up to the reading to decide which it was.
Then I wrote the line in bold below, which gave it all away, but which I loved. It didn’t make it into the final edit of the story, but once it had crept in, I felt the piece needed me to be clear. The Ferry fell away and only the Underworld was left.
Darkness and the Night, Father and Mother, Uncle and Aunt… all a single unholy coupling that made me fit only for that endless grind of conveyance.
So, in the end, there is very little of the picture left. I would like to edit longer, but the little boy who was one when this image first appeared is now three and a half, and is pretty peeved that I took even half an hour out of his day to write this. Charon isn’t the only one who would appreciate a bit of appreciation and a break 😉
24 responses to “FF – All Aboard”
Hey that’s so neat!
I’ve always really enjoyed mythological/Twilight Zoney twists in a tale
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, Larry
That’s very thought provoking, with resonances like a stone dropped into a wellshaft. Please do more work on this, It would be worth it
I’d love to, Neil! Maybe in a few decades 😉 Thanks for the vote of confidence in the meantime
Ah, yes. I kind of figured you aimed for that great legend. No problem, Jen. You made it happen and I loved the rumination on it, too.
Thanks, wmq, it’s not one I conside my most polished piece, so I’m pleased it’s gone down OK anyway
It went down fine, Jen. Just fine.
This is a great take on the photo. Slow build to a good finish that will make your reader contemplate his or her own mortality.
In the scalpel end of things I felt that the words aid and independence in the last sentence could have been replaced with two of a more archaic and darker bent.
That sentence should hammer home the finality of the journey’s end and those two words were just too light for me.
I hope this finds you and your family well and prospering.
Long time no see, Doug! I hope all’s well, and it’s angels not devils that are keeping you away from FF.
Thank you for the scalpelling – don’t get much of that around here these days. I will give those two words in particular, a little more thought. I quite like “aid” because I wanted to Charon to see himself as a good force, not as death itself. Independence, I completely agree with you could be stronger, need to have a think about what would be better though…
I thought it was passage from bondage to freedom but see it is from life to death!
Ooh, I’m going to have to read it with that in mind now, spiced one!
Oh I do like a mythology take… as a matter of fact I have written one myself once on the same myth… I think that there are those that will fight, there are those unwilling to pay and those who go willingly in the end… maybe that depends more on what you’re leaving than where you’re headed… great take.
Yes, I ran out of words for those who wouldn’t pay, Bjorn. They might actually be the most interesting of the lot!
There’s a rhythm to this that drew me in. The pace of words, the thought of death. Well done.
I love this. The feeling and tone of it is just right, and the steady buildup of details builds a very strong picture of the ferryman and his duties. The last sentence is terrific – turning the focus on the passengers and how they might accept or resist this final journey.
I suspect one might resist for a number of reasons, Margaret. Thank you so much for your kind words
It took a couple of reads for me to realize the ferryman’s identity, but that speaks more of my lack of mythology knowledge and less of your writing. I know how it is to have an impatient three year old boy. Nicely done.
I’ll miss him when he’s an at-school three year old, Rochelle, but I will also appreicate the break at times!
I’m glad you re-read and/or researched for the deeper meaning, Rochelle. Thank you!
The river styx, charon etc was one of my favourites at school, thanks for bringing it back to me. Superbly written
Pleased to hear I’m not the only one who liked this bit of mythology, Mick
I read Charon as soon as you mentioned the coins. Great piece of mythological fiction and I, too, like the different reactions of the passengers. It’s like throwing a bit of Karma in with it. Learning to be accepting isn’t easy.
Enjoyable read and you’ve made me smile remembering my own boys when they were three. It goes by quickly.
Interesting take! I loved the second paragraph especially. Now, I really want to know about Charon’s background.