Chapter 1: My Date in Hell.
My day was pretty much shitty from the start. My hair was a mess, there was no hot water, my shorts got torn and I had no money for the ferry to the Underworld.
The last thing I remember is seeing a soldier with brutal scars on his face with a cliché and stupid crew cut while wielding a giant sword. He looked pissed off at me, which made me think of two things: one: who got his camo panties in a bunch and two: oh great, I’m about to die. After that, I woke up in a lobby of sorts, it looked like a waiting room but the only inhabitants were the dead.
My first thought was: Hell has terrible music. A calm elevator-style music filled the lobby, which felt like an insult considering how I got there.
Spirits, ghosts, apparitions, whatever you wanna call them filled the room. They weren’t exactly scary but sad. They looked pale with a greenish hue but was completely see-through, some of them wore modern clothing while others wore old fashion robes, armor, I could’ve sworn I saw someone dressed as a pharaoh. At first I thought it was just a weird costume party until I looked down and noticed I was see-through as well. Well shit.
These ghosts didn’t do anything, they sorta just sat there on the couches or paced the room, some of them were scratching at the walls randomly and others just laid down on the ground waiting for death to come.
Mustering up my courage (I wonder if ghosts can have courage) I stepped up to the desk where a handsomely dressed man sat. I’ll admit, he was kinda hot. He had dark bronzed complexion, a completely shaved head, sunglasses and an Italian suit that matched his skin tone. He was reading a huge book that I figured was like the book where every name of humanity was written on along with their accomplishments in life and their sins, but on the cover was some kid with black hair, round glasses, and a weird scar on his forehead.
That wasn’t very comforting that the ferryman of death was into children’s books.
On his right breast pocket was a name tag, CHARON.
“A-ah, excuse me Chiron,” I stopped afterward only realizing I stupidly mispronounced his name.
He calmly set the book down and glared at me. He pointed to his name tag and spoke with a silky smooth voice, “Excuse you miss, but my name is Charon, say it with me: CARE-ON.” Charon had a weird accent, it sounded like a British one but I had a feeling it was older than that.
I felt silly but I said his name just as he pronounced.
Charon nodded, satisfied, and leaned back on his chair. “I hate it when kids like you can’t even read properly, last kid who mispronounced my name was-“ he stopped himself and looked at me, as if I just lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Oh,” he purred, it sounded like a guttural growl, “It’s you, been hearing a lot of rumors about you. Causing a lot of trouble for all of us, good job kid,” I blushed as best as a ghost could, “Looks like your luck ran out.”
While I was a bit flattered handsome gods knew who I was, it still sucked that I was dead. “So,” I said, surprised at my voice; it sounded like someone crinkling a paper bag, “This is the Underworld huh? Not very impressive, you guys suck at interior design,” I muttered as I gestured towards the ugly curtains, the uglier couches and his mahogany desk. “I mean, a mahogany desk? Lamee!”
Charon smiled, it felt like looking at a snake before he strikes, “You are interesting, it’s a shame you met your demise so early.”
“If you really feel that way you could always let me live, I’ll be out of your hai- er, out of your mahogany desk.”
Charon looked at me skeptically, looks like I can’t charm an immortal god that well.
“Right, so how does this work, you just beam me up to Hades himself or we take a ferry like it is in the stories because uh,” I looked past Charon to notice there was only an elevator behind him, “Not much of a river.”
Charon raised an eyebrow and took out a black tablet, from here it looked like it was made out of granite but when I focused on it more it looks like an iPad. That’s kinda creepy knowing that an immortal creature uses modern technology, reads modern books and wears modern clothes.
He tapped on it a bit then after a few seconds his eyebrows raised even more, they looked like they were escaping his face. Looking away from the tablet he focused on me and his brows ruffled up.
“Usually you pay a fee to get across, these uh, people over here,” he said distastefully gesturing to the room full of dead people, “Are the ones who don’t have the money to get across and have to wait until I’m feeling generous.”
“And how often does that happen?” I asked nervously.
“Oh, every century or two, if I’m in a particularly good mood,” he answered darkly. I shivered in spite of not having a spine. I couldn’t imagine staying in this little room for another minute much less a century.
I patted my ghostly pockets, “Well, I happen to be broke, forgot to bring my allowance when I died,” I said jaw clenched. I didn’t like where this is going.
But to my surprise Charon smiled, stood up and stepped in front of the desk, “That’s fine, your fee has been paid through, and you can get in for free.”
I blinked. I didn’t know whether I should be happy or a little annoyed, someone was willing to pay my way into Hell but not enough to safe my stupid life?
Charon held his arm out, gesturing me towards the elevator. I walked past him and he looked at the lobby as the spirits began to get restless.
“Right, touch the dial on my radio again and you’re all in here for another century got it?” He said to the listless crowd. As I stepped in the elevator I could’ve sworn I heard some of the ghosts mumble insults to Charon.
I felt the elevator go down, it was a bit unnerving standing next to Charon like this. Partially because despite the situation I still thought he looked kinda cute and partially because the gravity of the situation hit me. I was dead. I’m on my way to eternal damnation that someone paid for, I can’t see anyone again, I can’t even live a full life. I died at the ripe age of fourteen for gods’ sake!
Suddenly I felt dizzy as the elevator somehow… shifted directions? As I tried to recover from my vertigo I realized that the elevator was moving forward, but the elevator didn’t look solid. Blinking I saw two images – like a hologram, one was of the elevator and another was of a boat! I looked to my right and nearly jumped off the boat.
Charon was staring at me but his image was fuzzy too, like I say two of him. One was Charon wearing his Italian suit and the other was a skeletal figure wearing a black robe and holding a giant oar-like thingy steering the boat. He wasn’t a full skeleton because I could see his “human” face underneath the skull. He smiled which was especially creepy to look at.
“What’s wrong?” He asked. I swallowed nervously and looked away, mumbling a quiet answer. He seemed satisfied at how my witty nature just suddenly disappeared.
We definitely weren’t in the lobby anymore but were cruising alongside a gloomy pale green river with mist seeping from nowhere and clinging on the top of the river. But the weirdest thing was the junk in the river. There were things like deflated basketballs, torn up diplomas, worn out wedding gowns.
I turned over to Charon to ask but he must’ve read my mind or something.
“It’s polluted because of you annoying humans, always throwing your dreams into this river as you cross over,” Charon scowled, which was even creepier than the smile, “And because of how congested the Underworld has gotten lately we don’t even have the money to clean up the river.”
I then began to wonder how one would fund the Underworld, maybe have a bake sale to profit Hell?
I remained quiet for the rest of the ride, Charon was humming a song that sounded a lot like Justin Bieber’s, a passage to Hell and I have to go through Bieber? Kill me now.
The ferry stopped, thankfully, before Charon could hum another rendition of Baby. I didn’t see anything other than coal colored sand and a sickly shade of green coloring the skies. He stopped at a shore it seemed but I thought it was a bit too early. I’m not sure how I knew it but it feels like he should’ve dropped me off elsewhere.
“Here ya go,” Charon said as he turned towards me. I grimaced slightly and gave Charon an annoyed expression.
“Wait, this can’t be it? I thought I had to like, go through something else, like you know the Gates of the Underworld that Cerberus was guarding?” I didn’t know why I was complaining but sue me if I don’t want to get trapped on an abandoned island in the middle of Hell.
“Don’t worry, she’ll be here to pick you up. Not very often when she makes a personal request to see a soul. You must’ve touched her heart.”
I wanted to ask who he was talking about but I got the feeling he wasn’t going to give me any answer, it was above his payroll or something. I stepped off the ferry and felt a little shell-shocked when I realized how solid the sand felt. I shouldn’t technically be able to feel anything being a spirit and all but when I looked down my hands were solid! My entire body was back and I couldn’t see through it anymore. I was alive?
Turning around I waited for Charon to get mad and kill me again but he was gone, actually, the entire river was gone. I was standing in the middle of a garden with a nightmarishly black castle looming over it. The castle looked fancy but it looked strangely familiar, I didn’t have to guess who owned this castle: Hades the Lord of the Underworld.
But the garden was kinda nice I guess. The plants glowed against the monochrome landscape, they came in a wide array of colors. Red, green, purple, blue, all on the flowers and even the fruits. There were a couple of fruits that stood out from the rest. They were pure golden apples – not like the ones you’d find in the store, and they hung so precariously on the thin willowy tree that I just had an irrational urge to pluck one off to eat it.
I reached out to touch one then a voice rang out from behind me.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” I turned to see a woman materialize behind me. She wore an elegant pure white dress with beautiful long black hair braided with a gold ornament; she had startling stormy gray eyes and a firm expression on her face. I didn’t have to look at her to recognize her, I heard her voice before. “This is Persephone’s garden. Beautiful isn’t it? If you consume one of her cursed fruits you won’t be able to leave this place.”
Glaring at the woman I scoffed, suddenly really annoyed at this pretty lady, “What the hell are you doing here?”
The woman didn’t seem too irritated by my attitude, she should know by know how easily angry I get.
“That isn’t the proper response to the person who saved your life,” she said smartly. She looked at me as if she were expecting me to bow and say, “Thank you for leaving me in this literal hellhole.” I didn’t say anything but continued to glare at her.
“Hmph,” she laughed softly, amused by my actions apparently, “I do suppose you have reason to dislike me. It can’t be helped, I had no choice but to delay your revival Iwasaki, Ares does not take lightly to me interfering in his… personal bouts.”
I scowled; she wanted to spare the War god’s feelings? The dude who killed me? “It would’ve sucked if you hurt Ares’ feelings huh Athena?”
She smiled, as if she heard people trash Ares before, “We wouldn’t want to have him throw a tantrum. But I am glad you understand Iwasaki.”
“Now then, what’re we going to do here? I’ve already challenged and beat the War god? I don’t want to do it to another god in the same day.”
“Unlike Ares, I am not too impudent to charge into battle ignorant of my opponent’s skills, you could give it a try Iwasaki.”
“I get to whoop two gods’ sorry asses in one day, let’s test my luck.”