Today’s theme: explode.
At the end of all things, Charon stood in his ferry and smoked a rollie as he watched the world burn. When the dead came lurching across the horizon, he cupped his hands like a megaphone and bade them all shut the fuck up and line up orderly-like or they weren’t getting on. The ones at the back were starting to sizzle a little, so he sent back a bucket with the waters from the river, which never got any emptier, no matter how often it was sloshed. He collected the money from the ones who’d come with it, slapping a few on the back til they coughed it up into his hands. They stared at him mournfully for an instant or two, until they fell down the staircases inside his eyes to the deep well of nothingness waiting inside. They usually stopped moaning after that. He shunted them onto the ferry like cattle, piled them body-on body to make them all fit. Most hadn’t come with cash. You need a living hand to lay a coin on a tongue, and there weren’t any left to do that gentle job now. The dead lined on forever, rustling a little where their flesh was starting to curl. The fire bellowed from the bridge between worlds. Charon gave it the finger. A toddler flopped out of the queue at his feet, sat drooling on a dolly whose hair had melted to its owner’s lips. He massaged his temples. Across the wispy grey water, Hades was bursting at the seams. Charon wondered about redundancy payouts. The air smelled of piss. The boat groaned louder than the corpses who filled it. Charon stubbed out his cigarette on the heel of his shoe, took up his pole and drove it into the mud of the one river that never makes it back to the sea. Somewhere, the Earth slipped inside its own stomach and winked its way out of the sky.