“Are you … alive?”
It took me a minute to really answer. My body felt like it weighed exponential tons. I couldn't see who was inquiring because my back was to her, still hanging from the branch.
“No,” I finally said.
“What... what's going on?”
“Let me down and I’ll tell you,” I told her.
The girl climbed up the tree and after struggling with the firm knot I’d made, released the belt's hold on me. I collapsed to the ground in a heap, my arms and legs tingling. I looked around and found myself at that accursed ocean still. But now there was a pull … a longing. I saw the boat and reached for it weakly. I had to get on that boat. The urgency of it was strong.
“Where are we?” the girl asked. I could see her now as I sat up, weak as spaghetti. She was young with long brown hair and dark eyes. It started to click.
“On the shores of Styx,” I answered, taking off my mask as Marcus did before me. I handed it to her, who looked both confused an intrigued. “Here.”
“You are my replacement. Just bring them here. They know the rest.” I rose, still shaky, but that goddamned boat was calling to me. Like not getting in it was not an option.
“Where are you going?” the girl asked.
I thought about that answer as I boarded. “Where I belong.”
“Wait, am I supposed to do anything? I’m so confused.”
“I was too at first, but now that I’m dead it makes more sense. Here.” I handed her my keys.
“What is this?”
“My apartment and car. They're yours now, do as you will with them.”
“You killed yourself.”
“As my predecessor did before me.” I started to row. “See you.”
The girl waved wistfully, as if she were trying to sort the whole thing out. I didn't care. I knew where I was going, and nothing was going to hold me back anymore.
“I'm coming, Airian.”