Searching for the Ferryman

Where the mountain side and river meet there’s a fissure in the rock and the river disappears deep into the belly of the earth.

It was right by that fissure that he sat atop a stone, a battered tin cup in hand. His bony knees were drawn up to his chest and he eyed the river greedily.

Catching sight of me his large gray eyes lit up.
“A human? Yes, a human it sees! Perhaps it is a nice human? Perhaps the human will fetch it a drink o’ water? It’s so very thirsty, so very very thirsty.”
He leans towards me, trembling with excited energy. I’m reminded of a puppy.

I hesitate, then taking the cup I dip it into the river.

“I’m looking for the ferryman,” I say as I hand it back.
He takes his cup, squealing with delight.
“Human must follow the river inside, there human will meet the ferryman. But human beware, the ferryman doesn’t like living ones.”

I ignore his warning, stepping inside.

Behind me, he moves to drink, but as he lifts his cup to his lips he finds it suddenly empty.
He howls, frustrated again.

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