The Shine Journal

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Toll For The Ferry




Heather Anastasiu



The metal tastes rusty in my mouth, but without the saltiness of blood.  The coin is nestled under my tongue while I walk on legs that have no mass or matter.  I see through sockets without eyes.  They tucked me tight in death cloths and then buried me in the catacomb.  The dirt there tasted damp and decayed, like my flesh.  And then I sank down, down through the layers of the world and silt and underground streams, all the way through the ribbon of shining magic fiber that separates the worlds.  


And now I find myself at a shore.  I look into the murky, churning black depths of the marshy-river.  I file behind the others.  When I see the hulking troll row near on the ferry, I step forward and lift my chin, putting forth the offering on my tongue like a delicacy for him to taste.  Dirty troll fingers are in my mouth and the metal coin is gone.  I feel oddly naked without it.  It was the one tangible thing I carried down with me.  The rest of me feels like a ghost.  How long have I been dead already?  Now that I have paid the toll, I may join the shadow figures on the boat.   As I step onto the ferry, I wonder: Is time the first thing to go?


Bio:  Heather lives just south of Austin, Texas.  She has a  Bachelor's in Theology and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Literature at Texas State University. She has work forthcoming  in the literary review Mud Luscious.

Motivation:This piece was motivated by my long time  interest in mythology and the different ways that belief systems depict the passageway to the afterlife.

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Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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