Styx & Stoned (The Grim Reality Series Book 2)

Styx & Stoned (The Grim Reality Series Book 2) by Boone Brux

Book: Styx & Stoned (The Grim Reality Series Book 2) by Boone Brux Read Free Book Online
Authors: Boone Brux
six thousand,” Mara said. “I’m
definitely too old.”
    “You’re six thousand years old?”
    “Give or take a century.” She
started down the path.
    “It’s so unfair,” I mumbled,
following her.
    When we passed under the arch a
loud gong rang, followed by several clicking sounds, like a ticking clock.
Without warning, the bowl of gold tipped, dumping its contents. The coins
rattled and clanked, reminding me of the good old days in Vegas when the slot machines
paid out in real money. A minute later, the bowl tipped back and settled into
place.
    “I think Charon just got paid.”
Mara propped her fists against her hips.  “I’ll help you kick his ass when we
find him.”
    “Deal.” I smiled, happy to have a
partner in crime.
    The whole electrical vetting
process must have changed our physical presence. Though spirits still passed
through us, they no longer felt like blades of ice. It was a welcome relief,
especially since I was having serious concerns about freezing to death before
we delivered a single soul. The other change was that the souls could see us
now, and seemed to recognizing us as figures of authority. Plus, it was as if
someone had tuned the radio to a clear station. The low murmurs crystalized to
understandable conversations. I cringed against the sudden noise increase.
    The spirits watched us pass, some
attempting to follow us to the shore, but the crowding made it difficult for
them to move much beyond where they were.
    After passing through the last layer
of spirits at the edge of the river, the ferry came into view.
    “Whoa,” I said, trying to take
everything in. “That is something you don’t see every day.”
    “You can say that again.” Mara took
a step toward the water. “I’ve never been this close before.”
    “I doubt many people have.”
    The ferry was like nothing I’d ever
seen—or could have conjured up on my best creative day. It sat on top of the
water, as if hovering. Two giant pontoons measuring at least a fifty yards in
length stretched underneath the body of the ferry. Made of wood, an intricate
pattern had been carved into each float, and where the pontoon curled upward at
the front, figures sprouted from the wood. On the right an angel rose from the
tip, its wings curling above his head, and its right hand extended. On the left
a demon stretched upward out of the wood, its left arm outstretched as if
reaching for someone.
    To me, the ferry looked like an
ancient catamaran. The glass dome of the hull bowed over the top of the floats
and wide worn steps descended into the belly of the vessel. I assumed that’s
where the spirits sat, though there was quite a bit of room on the deck. Toward
the front another set of carved stairs wound upward to what was probably the
helm, and from where I’d steer the ferry. The only thing that didn’t look
mystical and ancient were the numerous strings of party lights hanging along
the outside of the hull. Charon’s personal touch, no doubt.
    “Excuse me?”
    I turned to see the spirit of a
middle-aged woman shouldering her way to the front of the line. “Yes?”
    “Do you work here?” she asked.
    A ray of light broke through the
cloud and glinted off the numerous sequins decorating her jade green running
suit, blinding me. It seemed even in death women of a certain age gravitated to
this apparel. My mom had three such warm-up suits—or cruise-wear, as I called
them. Every time she wore one, her thighs made a shush—shush—shush sound
that could be heard a mile away. One time I told her she needed to slow her
power walk down or she’d burst into flames from the friction. She didn’t think
it was funny.
    I shielded my eyes with my hand and
glanced at Mara, silently asking her what I should say to the spirit. She
shrugged, which was no help at all, so I pasted on a smile. “Yes.”
    “Finally.” The woman reached behind
her and pulled a short, round man to her side. “My husband and I have been
waiting forever.

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