SCALES-56

"No, I don't. Then again, not everyone is subjected to some weirdo pulling them into another dimension."

He shrugged.

"Fair enough. We're in a pocket of your mind."

I stared at him.

"What?"

"The prophecy hadn't had the chance of fully activating your abilities. You were hit too early, and now you're trapped in your own head."

"Abilities?"

Charon sighed.

"A story for another time. One of the perks of being baptized in the Styx."

I looked at him incredulously.

"So...then how do I...get out of my head?"

"Your memory's lapsed. Your subconscious created this fantasy to fill in the gaps. You have to remember, somehow."

Great. A perfectly vague objective.

"What the hell does that mean?"

Charon's pupils dilated momentarily.

"I'm not entirely sure. I can try and trigger your memory to return, but I don't have much time."

"Why not? Is there even a reason for this convenient urgency?"

"The longer I stay here, the larger the risk that I can't take the both of us back. And that your subconscious recognizes me as a foreign element and tries to kill me."

That sounded a lot like a movie. Perception or something.

I sighed.

"Okay. Hit me with your best shot."

Charon sat down, crossing his long spidery legs, and gestured for me to sit.

I obliged, wondering if I was going to get a lesson in Buddhist meditation.

He scooted closer to me and, taking my wrists, seemed to be hunting for a pulse.

"My blood pressure is fine, I assure you."

He rolled his eyes.

"I'm going to construct a vision for you. It might not be perfectly accurate, but there'll be enough elements from your time in Hell for at least one of them to bring something back to you. Your job is to find the trigger."

"How do I know when I've found it?"

Charon laughed dryly.

"You'll know."

I didn't have a chance to ask any more questions. My eyes rolled back into my head and I passed out.

I opened my eyes a second afterwards and pushed myself into a sitting position, reeling in shock when I realized I'd left the mirror room.

I was sitting on the bank of a black, slow-moving river (if you could call it that) and I squinted in amazement to see what looked like Charon paddling away from the shore.

"Hey!" I yelled, "Charon! Get back here!"

He kept paddling and I groaned. I wasn't going to risk jumping in the river to go after him, either.

RECRUIT! SAVE HIM!

I started at the voice, looking around in a panicked frenzy.

"Who are you? What are you?"

BOB! YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD DISEMBODIED VOICE! I'M ALSO GOING TO BE DEAD IF YOU DON'T SAVE THE PRINCE!

"The prince?" 

Things were getting weirder by the second.

I just noticed the body a few yards from me, the soaked suit and bluing skin.

"Um, is that guy okay?"

SHUT UP AND HELP HIM!

I stumbled over, rolling him to face me. He looked vaguely familiar.

I listened for breathing and found nothing.

I struggled to remember what to do. 

CPR? AED? BRB?

In resignation I punched him in the chest instead.

He coughed (okay, wheezed) and blinked blearily.

"Recruit...you saved me."

I got to my feet and resisted the urge to make a face.

"Yeah, yeah. I have somewhere to be. Stop calling me recruit."

I ran down the path away from the river, finding a conveniently-placed unicorn.

Okay, Charon was just screwing with me now.

I quickly pulled myself into the saddle, cracking the reins.

"Easy, mate." the unicorn urged through a thick accent, "It's not like the world's about to end."

"It is for me." I muttered, looking at the odd landscape.

This was going to be impossible.

The End

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