Victoria Bridge, CBD Side

She stops you just past the pedestrian crossing. The Casino is behind you, tourists snap photos of the river and the city behind you, there’s a cold wind blowing down the river. Busses pass you by, rumbling and grumbling across the bridge. A crow is flying overhead, the tips of its wings feeling at the air like fingers, and you wonder if it is one of her helpers.

“There’s a lot of walking in this job,” she says. “If you’re a Pomp you’ll always be on the ground, finding souls. Obviously, these days we’ll text you locations, and your phone’s GPS (Global Pomping Service) is highly accurate. But none of that means you can avoid walking. Walk a city and you’ll learn to love it, learn to love it and its people and you will be a compassionate Pomp. And that’s what I want. That’s what I expect.”

She gestures at the Brisbane Square Library and Council building to the left of you, and then at the Cultural Centre across the river. “This is a great, living, breathing city. Which means there is always work for us. Where there’s life, there’s lots of death.”

You must look a little daunted because she pats your arm. “Sorry if I gave you a hard time back there, I just didn’t want you to quit. Everyone has their first day on the job,” she says, “even me. And you’re doing fine.”

You try and imagine her, just starting out. “I thought Death was eternal,” you say. You know she wasn’t the first, not by a long shot, but you can’t help wondering why. That never came up in your reading.

Lissa smiles. “Of course, death is eternal. Death, the incarnation, I’d guess you’d call it. Not so much. For one, there’s thirteen of us spread throughout the world. Thirteen Regional Managers. I’m Australia’s Death. I wasn’t always. Once, I used to be a Pomp like you.” She gives you a smile, and a dark, dark stare. “Don’t get any ideas. I’ve no intention of retiring for a century or two.”

She sighs.

“I can feel some death along the river, not to mention, other curious things. I want you to direct this day, though. Where do you feel we need to go?”

You can sense something just at the Art Gallery Forecourt, it feels cold and dark, and it is waiting for you. Maybe it’s time to get to business. Another force is drawing you towards the footpath beneath the bridge on the South Bank side. Less menace there, but there’s something not right about it either.

Do you:

QAG Black Sculpture: Follow your inclination towards the Art Gallery Forecourt just before the bending black sculpture known as Offshoot? It’s across the river then right via the overpass at the Cultural Centre Bus stop, then turn right at the Museum, passing the gallery, when you get to the edge of the gallery facing the river, turn right again. The sculpture and suspended art will be in front of you. That’s your destination. This job involves a lot of exercise!

Or

Footpath River: Cross the bridge, turning right at the base of the bridge, and right again, and descend to the riverside promenade, turning left so that you are almost under the bridge near the light post there?

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