1 January 2009

Morva House Fiction: "Walking To Lethe"

It wasn't like he needed a coin. What was he going to do with it anyway? Down there in the underworld where the earthly needs are forgotten, what could he be planning to buy?

It never occurred to you that he might want the moon. Down there beneath the earth, where the light was red, he might look upon the discs of silver and, using like to call to like, entreat the moon. Up on earth the moon waxes and wanes and pulls the tides of the ocean about. You never thought to wonder what tides it pulls when it goes into the shadows. If you had thought about it properly, you would have wondered what he did with the coins.

On your left is the Styx. They told you she winds nine times around Hades, and you thought that was all right, that you didn't need a boat, you'd walk the sacred spiral instead and come that way to the final dreaming. Only, you have found out now that there were a few things they didn't tell you. They said drinking from the Styx would confer immortality, but they didn't mention the souls crying, eternally drowning in the water. Those cries frighten you. If you could help those souls you would, but you can't help and you can't stop hearing. You would run from the water but you can't because the river has a lover. That was another thing they forgot to tell you in the world above. They never mentioned the river of fire that flows beside the Styx with just enough light to make a ruddy glinting on the water and red, sweating shadows of the rocks.

The water murmurs, the fire whispers. The rocks are shadows and you wonder where they came from but you don't expect to find an answer. You are just a shade yourself. All you can remember is that you must keep moving, and unless you come to Lethe how could you forget?

You can't come to Lethe because you are on the wrong path. The cries of the drowning souls have deceived you. The water is where you need to be. All it needs is surrender. Those souls would not be drowning if they floated instead of fighting. If you cannot cross cross the river as you would in a boat, still the moon calls in this shadow world and all you need do is let yourself float in those warm, dim waters and let the murmuring take you in at last to the goddess's salty womb.

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 "Walking To Lethe" copyright by Morva Shepley 2009

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