Psyche and Eros, part eight

“your final trial shall be thus,
i feel my beauty wane, you shall
travel to the underworld, there
you will ask Persephone a boon,

“ask her to place a portion of
her beauty into this special box,
but do not open the box, or you
will never see Eros again,”

Venus held an ornate box out to
Psyche, who stood without truly
understanding, “how shall i
journey to the land of the dead”

Venus nodded towards the
decanter, “bath yourself in the
ebon water, it shall open a door
to the land of Lord Hades”

Psyche nodded, this last task
seemed to be more frightening
than the flying ram and the
dragon combined in her mind

“and then, at last, i can see my
beloved Eros” she asked softly,
Venus laughed mirthlessly at her,
“if you return, you have my word”

Psyche tucked the carved box into
her dress, then lifted the pitcher
abover head, Venus stepped back
as Psyche let the water pour

the black covered Psyche, she
held her breath as the small
amount became a great torrent,
far more than the decanter held

after what felt like an eternity
the flood ended, Psyche gasped,
her lungs burning, and stale hot
air filled her lungs

ahead of her she saw the vast
expanse of flowing water, the
same as she had just soaked
herself with, the river Styx

souls gathered at the riverbank,
wispy forms still reeling from
their deaths, or staring dully
after a long swim in Lethe

without Apollo to light the sky,
the darkness swelled, Psyche felt
the weight of it pressing against
her and rushed to the ferryman

Charon stood, implaccable, on the
rocky shore of the Styx, his old
boat rocking on the gentle
current, creaking slightly

Psyche let a brief cry ring as
the skeletal face of Charon turned
towards her, his bone hand held
out, eagerly awaiting payment

Psyche carried no coins, she had
nothing with which to pay the
silent ferryman, so instead she
told him her tale of lost love

the ferryman listened, his robes
flowed around him, as if they
hung on her every word, the
waves steadily hitting the shore

when she finished, her throat dry
and tears running down her face,
Charon stood stoically, his hand
still held out for the coins

Psyche turned away, she
considered diving into the river
letting the current drag her
body to her final resting spot

then she felt the rough bone
hand upon her shoulder, she
spun in fright, and Charon pointed a bone finger toward the boat

Psyche rushed forth and
embraced the ferryman of souls,
thanking him, sobbing on his long
robes, he patted her awkwardly

she climbed into the boat, Charon
followed and used the long ivory
pole to push them from shore, the
steady current carried them out

the trip was silent, just the
sound of timbers creeking, and
the clack of bone on the pole
keeping their course straight

it did not take long to cross the river to where a large yellowed
wall of jutting bone stood with
a heavy malignant foreboding

the boat stopped, Psyche turned
to Charon and bowed deeply,
“thank you for the kindness you
have shown me this day, truly”

Charon cocked his skull, and
stared at Psyche silently, Charon
shrugged his shoulders before
pushing off from the shore

Psyche watched him as the
darkness swallowed the ferryman
and his boat, bitterly alone in
the now silent land of the dead

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