Meker walked out on the little islet, sat down and looked at the river flow by. It had been a hard day. Too hard. The sound of the stream took the problems a bit further away, made tomorrow less real.
Something moved under the water. It was too big to be a fish, too big even to be human. He took a step away from the river bank.
It came closer, moving into the shallow water in front of him. It had a purple glow and swam almost like a human, only better. A face came up, staring at him with big, sparkling eyes. She was beautiful. Soft, mild, looking at him with curiosity. Another one came swimming behind her. Yet another came up on the other side.
She made a purring sound, a sound of pleasure and joy. She looked happy, friendly. They were all around him, looking at him, studying him. He felt small, they were more than double his size.
-Hello, he tried. They looked intelligent enough to speak, but he doubted they would know his language, or any other human language.
Her mouth moved back towards something that resembled a smile. Her eyes deflected, just for a moment, then she stared at him again. She held her hand out, slim and gentle. He hesitated, felt like an intruder.
He took her hand. She pulled him out, into the water. He felt unsafe. Intrigued. The others came closer, smiling, laughing, playing. They took his clothes off. He didn’t object.
They played in the water, passing him around between them, kissing him, using him. It felt strangely good. Something inside him told him it was wrong, they weren’t human, but their touch felt divine, like they had come from a higher place, deeper than nature, above, beyond
They pulled him under water. He panicked, fought to break loose, to get up. He got his head above the surface, gasped for air. They laughed, touched him, kissed him all over.
He was under water again, once again he panicked. The stream was getting stronger, or they were swimming faster. He got weaker. He hardly breathed any more, even when he had the chance.
He was lying on sandy ground in darkness, not knowing where he was. He remembered pleasure and pain, lust and fear. It all felt like a dream, but there he was, wet and naked.
He sat up. Where was he?
-Hello? His voice echoed between walls he could not see, a roof high above.
He got up on his feet. His eyes adjusted to the light. There was water beside him. It had a glow, like if light came out below somewhere, far away, too far to swim. The walls shimmered from the moving water.
The cave was huge. He could see the shine from the water on some walls, others were too far away.
He walked further into the cave, hoping there would be some kind of exit on the other side.
He followed a dark tunnel. He could hear water dripping from the walls, his steps echoing through endless caves.
The shine from the water was gone, darkness took over completely. New shadows emerged on the walls, shadows from a warm light further down. The tunnel was getting smaller.
The light got stronger as he walked. The shadows moved, flickered like the light from a fireplace. There were sounds. Roaring, sniffing. Horrible sounds from from somewhere ahead.
At the end of the tunnel the light was strong. He moved by the wall. Anxiety came crawling up his spine.
There was a hall. A hall so big, he had never seen anything like it. A gate at the same proportions, giant torches lighting up the walls. In front of the gate stood a dog, a monstrous hound. Tall as a building, with three heads growling, roaring. The snakes on its mane crawled and hissed.
The gate was half open. Something moved behind it.
Through there, Meker thought. Through there must be the exit.
He waited, waited for a long time. The dog seemed to never tire, never rest.
Meker pushed himself in between some big rocks to hide, and soon he passed out of exhaustion. When he woke up, the dog was gone.
Meker moved over the floor, ran towards the gate. He jumped in between the doors. Strange ghosts were flying in the air around him, moaning, screaming. Further in he saw two enormous figures sitting on a throne, waiting for someone. For him. This was not the exit, but the entrance to somewhere he didn’t want to go. He turned around, ran towards the door.
The dog was back. staring at him, waiting for him to come close enough. There was no way out. Behind him the giant was laughing. The dog was not there to keep him out. It was there to keep him in.
-Welcome! the god said. – There ‘s been a long time since anyone ever came down here, ever since the ferryman vanished. I see my wife‘s nymphs have led you the way. Finally they’re useful for something.
Meker realised where he was, who he met. Hades. The underworld.
He had been dead all along.