Southbank CityCat Stop

There’s a presence by the CityCat. You feel it as you approach. This isn’t a dead person, or a stirrer or even an Inkling or some statue come to life. Its life-force blazes. You reach for your knife.

“Put it away,” Lissa hisses. “This guy gets offended very easily.”

Charon, and it can’t be anyone else is leaning against the timetable. He’s tall, stick thin, he’s wearing black leather thongs, and jeans about two sizes too big. He’s grinning a very toothy grin.

“Hey, kids,” he says. “Beautiful day for it.”

His eyes are luminous, and you notice that Lissa’s are too. It’s as though they’ve decided to show their true aspects to each other, their power, and you’re caught in the glow of all that psychic energy. You wonder if you shouldn’t just slowly back away – actually, not slowly – but then they’re both looking at you, and you feel stuck in their gaze. Frozen, betrayed by some deep part of your back brain – stupid back brain!

“This the new one?” Charon says.

“Yes, not that you’d know it. Great from the get go.”

“You Pomp like a boss, eh?” Charon says.

Lissa looks at him oddly.

“What?” Charon says defensively. “I’m trying to modernize my speech patterns. I’ve been around since before people started grinding wheat for bread, I used to go drinking with Orpheus, I taught Merlin how to trim his beard: I like to keep it fresh.”

“You’re doing it like a boss,” you say.

Charon looks at you flatly. “I see what you mean.” He mumbles something in what you imagine is Ancient Greek, but it could be even older.

“So why are you here?”

Charon frowns. “I have portends and such, the usual, and I thought I wouldn’t mind a coffee, too. You have time for a coffee?”

Lissa laughs. “I never have time for a coffee. But I can make time.” She turns that luminous, and slightly deadly, gaze back on you. “So, what do you think? Do you want the job?”

It’s been a busy day. You’ve seen a city that you never expected, that you thought you understood but didn’t. And now it’s blown right open.

“Is that what it’s like every day?”

Lissa smiles. “Sometimes it’s worse. Sometimes it’s really crazy.”

Really? You could always go for that accounting job in the city?

“I’m in,” you say.

“Fancy joining us for a coffee then?”

Coffee with Death and Charon: how can you say no? No choice, no choice at all!

“I think I’m going to like working here,” you say.

END

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