Fiction logo

In Between

by Lauren Triola 7 months ago in Fantasy
Report Story

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge: Story #20

In Between
Photo by Robin Schreiner on Unsplash

Here in the in between, many souls pass through, but none of them stay. This is merely a weigh station, a place for them to be herded from one world to the next. Limbo, purgatory, whatever you wish to call it, this is a place where no one stays for long. This is not a place where people live.

Except for me.

I am the guardian, I am the ferryman. I guide those who come here toward their final destination. Many are not happy to learn that the afterlife does not work the way they had been raised to believe. There is no moral judgment, no weighing of the heart against a feather. Simply different roads to walk down, roads that even I do not know the end of. I guide them toward the path that looks most appealing to them, but each path looks different to each person who observes it. There are those who think they must be punished, so they take a path they see as dark and full of flame, but to me all I see is a white void. Some think they deserve a reward for the life they lived, so they choose the path that looks to them like it is paved in gold. But it is just the same path the one seeking punishment took before them.

None of them quite know what to think of me. I am ageless, genderless. I appear different to each person just as the paths do. Some see me as a demon, but I do not act like one. Some see me as an angel, but they are always surprised by how non-angelic I seem. There was a time when the travelers coming through expected someone to ferry them to the underworld. That was a better time. More accurate. Still not completely, though, for I require no payment. I am simply here to do a job.

I am always doing my job.

There is no break from herding the dead. They are always coming. People die all the time, every moment.

Or at least, that had been true.

I received a sudden influx of travelers one day. Old and young, healthy and ill. I did not understand where they all came from or why. But it was not my duty to learn this. I guided them as I had guided all others before them. Some seemed terrified, some shocked. I did not pester them with questions. I let them go on their way.

It took a long time to guide them all to their paths. But as the crowd of travelers dwindled, I noticed there were no new ones arriving behind them. When the last traveler chose their path, I was alone.

It had been a long time since I’d been alone.

Now, I have no more travelers to guide. I stand by the paths, looking at the voids, not seeing what they saw. There is nothing here except for me.

I do not feel the passage of time, my life endless, but I know it has been a while since I last helped a traveler. I wander from path to path, looking down the blank roads. I look back at the door where the travelers used to arrive.

Empty. All of it empty.

I never knew boredom until now. There is nothing to do. I stand, I wait, but there is nothing to wait for anymore.

I do not know what occurs outside of my home here, but something must have happened, something terrible. There are no more travelers. There are no more living.

And I am left here, to wait.

Fantasy

About the author

Lauren Triola

I'm mostly a fiction author who loves Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but I also love history and archaeology. I'm especially obsessed with the Franklin Expedition. Occasionally I write poetry too. You can find me at my blog or on Twitter.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

Lauren Triola is not accepting comments at the moment

Want to show your support? Become a pledged subscriber or send them a one-off tip.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.