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The River Styx

Dark was all I could see, a feeling of cold stone lay beneath me as I slowly sat up from the hard floor. It took my eyes a few minutes to adjust to what just looked like a wall of black, no color nor light, that is until my eyes had fully adjusted.

I stood in a long tunnel, what stood behind me was just a wall, no door and no hole above to see. It was like I was simply placed here, not falling from above nor stumbling down an unknown route. I was simply here.

I took a minute to gather my thoughts before I began to walk in the only direction I could, my hand placed against the wall for not only support but as well as a way to know I was still going straight ahead. It didn't smell musky, didn't really smell like anything you would think a tunnel to smell like. There was nothing, no sound or scents to aid me, just a void that absorbed everything.

The further I walked the more things came to me, the quiet drips of water dripping from the ceiling, the scent of wet stones and pebbles, now it was beginning to seem more like a tunnel.

I couldn't tell you how far I walked, could not tell you how much time had passed because the darkness simply kept me from knowing. No landmarks for aid or sun to tell the time.

At some point a bright light began to shine from what I could only assume was an exit, it slowly turned into a flickering torch, not just a light from a lamp or flashlight. The sound of a rushing river filled my ears, loud enough to hear but not to make my ears hurt. Walking out of the tunnel I appeared in an even larger tunnel, one with a river of green rushing towards my left. The water seemed strange, more solid then water should be and with strange light of blue popping out here and there.

I looked to my left, then to my right, but no other pathway laid before me, simply the river. A stone pillar stood next to the river, a small circular hole was carved within and in that hole was a bell. It was a simple golden bell with a metal string within that ended in a small ball, it looked very out of place in this large open cavern.

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I stood still for several minutes thinking on what to do and with no path to walk and a simple bell to ring I pulled the string, a soft chime ringed through the hall as the bell shook. Waiting for something to happen I looked around, soon I began to see a dark object floating across the glowing waters of the river, it soon turned out to be a boat.

A simple wooden boat with no oars, nor any way to push the boat further. But it had stopped perfectly in front of me, with no other option I manned the boat and set sail down the river. The waters rushed but the boat neither shook nor bounced.

I sailed for only what I could assume was a hour before I began to hear voices, but nothing frightening, they were the voices of my family. Glancing around but seeing no walls or hidden pathways one could be on I looked down into the water, seeing the faces of so many people I cared for weeping.

"Mother? Sister? Father?" I questioned, there was no physical forms in the water and the only thing I could see of them were their faces.

"I can't believe he's gone." My mother cried, soon the images became wider so I was able to see my father hold my mother to comfort her, "What is going on?" I questioned, I felt no fear or anything but a light sadness.

The further I sailed the more I saw, more friends and family members upset and sad of something but I could not tell what. Twas only when the river showed me, well, myself.

I laid in a coffin, a black suit on my figure and my hair combed back quite nicely. The river showed that I was dead.

"Is this Hell?" I asked, from all the stories I have heard of Hell this did not seem like quite the spot that he thought it would be, but it was simply a river and could not speak.

"So, I am dead.." I stated, I could not remember how I died or anything else really. I simply remember sitting down with my family around the dinner table, eating a meal that my father had cooked and smiling as we all talked about going on a trip out of the country for a family vacation.

Soon the waters stopped showing me these images, the only thing remained then was the glowing lights.

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Soon the boat thudded against a stone wall, a small set of stairs led to yet another pathway which I had little choice but to walk. Soon coming to a wider open area with two doors, one had bright golden accents around the frame and a light blonde color, the other black with grey coloration around the door instead of the vibrant gold.

I looked between the two and saw an old man, he wore a simple robe and looked friendly despite the strange place he called home. "Welcome." He spoke, "I am dead aren't I?" I asked, he shook his head in approval ever so slightly. "A drunk driver I am afraid, you had passed immediately on impact." The old man spoke. "My family?" I asked, "Sad and grieving as they should." He answered.

"What door do I choose?" I asked him, the old man pulling a paper from his pocket and glasses from his pouch. "That is for me to decide isn't it?" He asked as he began to look at the paper. "My my, quite a way to leave the living for such a simple soul." He said as he continued to read, "Will I ever see my family again?" I asked hoping that I would not be trapped alone in these rocky walls forever by my lonesome.

"You shall, it is written." The old man said and handed me the piece of paper, but nothing was on it. "I don't understand? It is blank." I told him. "Many things are blank my child, a simple bland piece of paper can become a masterpiece given the chance." He answered and looked at both doors.

"The land of the living is harsh, so filled with pain and hate by many people. But you have looked past all that didn't you? Yes. Your family is quite proud I am sure." He said and took out a key ring which held only two keys.

"A simple life is not a bad life, not when one has such a loving family." He said and opened the golden door, "Fear not my boy, the sun has not yet shed upon you." He spoke and motioned for me to walk through. Hesitantly I did, but what I saw before me, well, I was happy.