It was time to get moving, yet there was only one passenger in my boat.
“Is this it? Anyone else coming?”
The man’s blank stare told me nothing. What did I expect? They don’t know anything, never did, and once they find their way to the River’s edge, they know even less.
With a sigh I pushed off. If more were coming, they’d have to wait.
Typically the boat was full. Packed to the gills, as it were. This was just odd.
I reached the further shore and let the passenger off.
I was surprised to see The Boss down there at the dock. He waved me over.
Putting an arm around my shoulder he led me from the water’s edge.
“How long have you worked for me?” he asked.
“I don’t know. It seems forever, eons.”
“Yeah. And have I ever told you how great of a job I think you do?”
“Uhm, not lately, but…”
“Well, believe me, you’re the best.” He smiled that toothy smile of his.
“But….?” He was obviously leaving something off.
“But…” He smiled again, which unnerved even me. “But, I have to let you go. I just have one more task for you.”
He handed me a small sign. On it was written the word “Closed”.
“Hang that up on the far dock.”
“Closed? We can’t be closed.”
He stared me down.
“How’s business?” he finally asked.
I thought back. It had been booming for a while, but then slowed to a trickle. And now, this single passenger.
“Not so hot.”
“Right. That last passenger was the last passenger. Ever. No more.”
“But that’s impossible. Where would people go if not here?”
His smile was sad.
“What people? This was the last of them. The last passenger…”
I know my jaw dropped. The last person?
“What am I to do? Where will I go?”
“You can stay here. You are welcome. Or you could join the brat pack up on that stupid mountain of theirs. Ha! Or you can hang out on Earth. Just bring a swim suit.”
“And a gas mask.”
I hadn’t seen Persephone join us until she spoke.
“Gas mask?” I asked.
She nodded, a deep frown on her beautiful face. “Gas mask. And plenty of sun screen – it’s quite warm there these days, you know. At least it was when I last visited…”
I realized that she hadn’t crossed over to Earth in a very long time. Years.
“And that was the last of them?”
Persephone smiled briefly, the first day of Spring flashing through the Underworld for a moment. “You can stay here, Charon. We can talk about old times. And who would take care of Fluffy if you left?”
“Oh, a silly story. You know, Cerberus.” She flashed the winter-ending smile again.
Oh well. I guess it was time to retire, wasn’t it?
“Yeah, I’ll be back in a few.”
I left for my last task, hanging the “Closed” sign at the crossing of the River Styx.
Actually, I was looking forward to spending some time with Cerber.. uhm, Fluffy. Yeah, Fluffy.
Perhaps it was best that there were no more humans after all…
This story is part of this week’s What Do You See? Challenge hosted by Sadje. She provided the image, which came from Pinterest