This is my response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt #writephoto-creature.
I watch Charon’s boat journey across the Sea of Night for an eternity; time is meaningless in this place. This is the true horror that awaits the dead in the halls of Hades. They do not relish the gift of immortality, it only brings them misery and a longing for all that they have lost. Little is understood of the machinations of gods and a world that is in constant flux. I am feared as the Hound of Hades and heroes yearn to crush me into dust. Fear is a strange emotion; it opens doors that should really be barred to all except for those damned beyond salvation and the heroic. Few understand fear better than the one we wait on, Nyx. Daughter of Chaos and one of the protogenoi (first born). She is one all bow before. My ears prick up at her approach, the chariot flies across the heavens and Sea of Night. Her veil of darkness floats like mist in the sky. As for her black horses, they are beauteous as their mistress and just as ancient. The Psychopomp is not far off; I can see Charon’s boat now. The shades of the dead disembark, their faces grave and tongues silent. They wait before me, the light gradually fading from their eyes. None that pass through this portal ever escape from these dread realms. Many have tried and were never to be seen again. The Ferryman waits and watches. He has one passenger who is yet to disembark.
The Psychopomp emerges from the depths of the boat with staff in hand, two snakes are clutched in endless embrace around his hand. To the living he is the very epitome of light, merriment and wisdom. To the shades of the dead he is a chthonic deity, filled with knowledge and secrets of the underworld realms. He is their protector and guide through terrain oft filled with danger and paths obscured. We greet each other and await the third member of our triad. Charon departs as silently as he came. This place, with the appearance of a cave holds many secrets. One in particular few will understand, except if their eyes have been opened to realities beyond this world. The Psychopomp and I can be one and the same, also separate and ourselves. I look at those assembled and see the light of comprehension in their eyes. There is hope for them yet.
There is a great sound of beating of wings, then silence. We all turn to the mouth of the cave expectantly. It fills with the presence of night and gleaming stars. She approaches gracefully and is beautiful beyond compare. Such words I must never utter aloud lest Queen Persephone hears my betrayal. The presence of such an ancient one is not without its dangers. The semblance of air in this place distorts and become charged with incredible energy. She fills this immense space, without end and beginning. I show my true form and become the Three-Headed. The whispers of many fills the air, they recount the stories of beginnings and endings. This is a place of transitions and transformations. As for the dead, they are nowhere to be seen. It is done.