Charon’s Coins, Part II

I felt pity for him. It suddenly became clear to me that he had nothing that he cared about in his strange life, except for those coins. The idea of him losing the only things precious to him while in my kingdom was something I could not stomach or stand.

Book of Hades

The Underworld was huge. You could hide an entire city there with no fear of it being discovered. I was certain many things were hidden in my dominion that I would never see. Quite a sinister thought, but then again, it was quite a sinister place. So many secrets buried deep in the darkness.

I stood with Charon in front of the open chest, where one coin lay at the bottom. I was trying to work out where such a vast amount of coins could go without me seeing.

“Are you certain nobody else knows about this place?” I asked him.

“Of course not.” He still looked like he was about to explode with fury. “But I only keep a few chests here. When this island is full, I move them…somewhere else and start again,” he answered me cryptically, his voice echoing through my brain.

“Right. Yes, of course, you do.” I continued to think hard and realised I had no clue. It was a complete mystery. I hated mysteries and the searching for clues which led to other clues. I heard people found that sort of thing fun! Bloody nuisance, in my opinion. Just give me my answers and bugger off. Make my life more simple. But no, I got this old git scowling at me because his coins were stolen. Coins he did not even need. It was a waste of my time.

“So?” He almost screamed in my mind. The sensation was like a headache with a very loud voice. It made me wince, and I almost told him to return to sign language.

“I thought I told you to bloody calm down?!” I boomed in an explosive moment of anger at having his old shrill voice infesting my brain. “Take me home, and I will check my cameras again.” I walked back to his boat and stepped on it. Charon followed and picked up his paddle before holding out his other hand to me for another coin.

“You have got to be bloody joking,” I growled, still angry. “You wanted me to help find your coins, but you also want me to pay you to do it?” I balled my hands into fists, ready to strike the old fool. He held his paddle higher and just stared at me with that stupid blank expression of his.

“Yes. Of course,” he answered as he turned his paddle sideways, ready for anything.

I chuckled at him and shook my head. I knew it was a waste of time and energy to argue with him. I took a coin from my pocket and flicked it into the open chest from where I stood. I had excellent aim.

“Happy little bunny, now are we?” I said sarcastically as he turned away from me and pushed away from the small patch of land.

We reached the bank, and I jumped out of his boat. I strode towards the gates where Cerberus was sleeping, leaving the old fool standing there, waiting for me to return. We are going to have a big backup of souls soon, I thought. I knew I had to find some answers quickly. Charon would not return to his work without his coins. Although he should because he would get more coins. I knew that argument would be pointless. Charon knew he would have those coins eventually, anyway. My brain was trying to fix the problem by getting around it, but that would never work. He wanted his coins, and I had to find them. I ruffled Cerberus’s ears and entered through the gates.

I reached my office and looked over all of my cameras from the previous 48 hours. Charon could not give me any clear answers, so I spent hours upon hours pouring over footage of nothing. Either I missed something on the cameras, or I was simply missing something. I was struggling to come up with any more ideas. I was worried Charon would go on strike if I didn’t work this out. It was plain to see nobody took them. I had no camera on that island, of course, so I could not see where they went. It was maddening. It was obvious that the Underworld was a mystery to all, even me.

I decided to ask around, someone must know something if they were stolen. There were many secrets in the Underworld, but this was huge. No way would this stay a hidden secret. I asked close to a thousand souls, including Thanatos and Hekate. Nothing. There was literally nothing else I could do, nowhere I could go, nobody left to give me answers. It was a bloody nightmare, and that was saying something when you were in the place where nightmares resided. I had to go and tell Charon the bad news. Fuck!

I opened the gates and walked past Cerberus, who was still sleeping. Lazy bugger. I walked toward Charon slowly, trying to delay the confrontation for as long as possible.

“So?” he said before I was even within 20 feet of him.

“I’m sorry, old chap,” I tried to tell him as gently as possible.

“We go back, and you work out what happened.” He sounded almost desperate. The realisation that I could not find his coins made him worried instead of angry. I could handle worries a lot easier than anger. Well, I could handle both, but I did have a preference when it came to Charon. He could be very difficult.

“Yes, of course. Let’s go back and see if we can work this out, eh?” I felt pity for him. It suddenly became clear to me that he had nothing that he cared about in his strange life, except for those coins. The idea of him losing the only things precious to him while in my kingdom was something I could not stomach or stand. My feelings were coming out as I looked at his now desperate face. What the bloody hell was happening to me? Pity for Charon? So weird.

“Come on then,” I said, stepping aboard and handing him a coin without him asking me for it. He nodded and pushed us away from the bank.

We reached the patch of land and both jumped out of the boat. We looked around more closely this time. I walked over to the stacked-up chests and had a good, hard look at them. Nothing. I looked at the sandy ground and spotted several glimmering coins. They were half-buried beneath the surface. I knelt and dug away some of the sand, finding a few more. It suddenly dawned on me. It was so bloody obvious I felt like screaming. All the bloody hours and time I spent checking cameras and worrying about Charon collecting the souls.

“You found something?” Charon asked, stepping closer.

“Yes. I think I know exactly where your coins are.” I stood and walked up to the wall of chests. I looked into the water but could see nothing. I took my Bident out of my pocket and extended it until it was twice my height. The river pulled at it as I speared down into the black river until I hit something solid. I looked at Charon and gave him a cold, evil stare. He looked confused for a moment before he also realised what had happened. I stabbed my Bident down several times and brought it back up, golden coins skewered on the end. I pointed my Bident at Charon and stepped towards him with fury building inside of me, ready to explode. He made me feel like ending his irritating existence, but of course, I could never do that. The stupid old fool was too important.

“You stupid old git! The huge stack of chests fell over and into the river!? I have just spent hours and hours trying to find out what happened!”

“I’m sorry, Hades,” he said with a small smile on his face. He was happy I had found his coins and knew I would never do anything to him.

“Take me home, dammit!” I shrunk my Bident letting the broken coins fall to the ground, and stepped back onto the boat. Charon followed and once again held out his hand, and I knew my life was a complete joke. People thought I had power, but in truth, I had none. That stupid old git forced me to give him coins to travel around my own bloody kingdom. Welcome to my nightmare.

Hades (John Decarteret)
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