“This is most unusual.” The ferryman, standing at the head of his riverboat, guided it steadily, pull by pull, across waters darker than pitch.
“It is allowed. I have Persephone’s blessing.” The voice from beneath the ashen robes and hood was deep, husky, even coarse, but still unmistakably female. It was the only sign of her identity besides a vague shape, for no part of her flesh was visible to him.
While the waters of the Styx were liquid obsidian, the mist surrounding them swirled white as smoke, perhaps belched out between the Underworld and the living by the furnaces of Hades.
“Sisyphus had Persephone’s ear, and you chose your timing well, what with the winter solstice coming upon the land above.” The old man took another stroke, and then listened as if someone might call. Even to the cloaked figure, he looked unkempt and foul, his stench could have been rotting fish, the breath of rats, or gangrenous flesh. His long, stringy hair and beard dripped an unsavory substance.