She looked forward at Dravidian, who was also a mere shape in the night, and her heart pounded as she watched him draw upon his oar. Beautiful, undead stranger, who bid you welcome into my heart and made me feel for you almost as a lover? Will you not still deliver me to your Lucitor if you survive? Will you not use your key again to open the gates of hell at the processing terminal only to row away from me forever with your humane, dreaming eyes and your thoughts and quotes of Montair? Who are you to me, ferryman, and who am I to you? Is it selfish of me to want to live even if that means you will surely die? And are you not doing the same? Life is selfish, only a fool believes otherwise; passion is selfish, and above all, love is selfish!
She looked toward Valdus and saw that he was close enough to make eye contact with, and she did so lingeringly, seeing in his face something she had never seen there before, something eager and pure and almost innocent; he was as a child to her in that instant, and yet he was also as a stranger, like something from another life altogether, whereas Dravidian somehow shared her time and space and interiority, had done so, somehow, even before she had met him, and as she turned away from them both to ponder the extra oar she wondered how the word “love” had even come into her mind.
You try so hard just to make do and to get by, she thought, You try and you try and you try. And some days, you succeed! But then comes a black coin to first your husband’s palm and then your son’s, and finally your own, and everything you thought you knew is suddenly up for reinterpretation. Then comes a lover who is obsessed for all the right reasons but still obsessed, then comes war and rebellion and the Hour of a Thousand Paths in which anything and everything is possible. And then, just when you think you can peaceably say goodbye to it all, when the numbness finally becomes libation instead of pain, then …
Comes a ferryman.
And it was at that moment and none before that she realized precisely what she had to do.
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Wayne Kyle Spitzer (born July 15, 1966) is an American author and low-budget horror filmmaker from Spokane, Washington. He is the writer/director of the short horror film, Shadows in the Garden, as well as the author of Flashback, an SF/horror novel published in 1993. Spitzer’s non-genre writing has appeared in subTerrain Magazine: Strong Words for a Polite Nation and Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. His recent fiction includes The Ferryman Pentalogy, consisting of Comes a Ferryman, The Tempter and the Taker, The Pierced Veil, Black Hole, White Fountain, and To the End of Ursathrax, as well as The X-Ray Rider Trilogy and a screen adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.”