The River’s Rain, Lightning, and Thunder

A dark night. A stormy night. The sort of night where the dead walked and the shepherds lost control of their herds.

Thud. Thud. Thud. An off beat, with every other step, the captain slowly left his ship. A more hated business he did not have, but he had to meet with Him. His tattered, black beard dripped in the rain, though most of the water was caught by his hat. His skin was pale and clammy, rotting in places, but that didn’t matter.

The rain didn’t bother him, no, the captain was a creature of the sea. His coat was always soaked, and his hair always wet. His sword hung at his belt, but the captain remained without other armaments, just as He would have no more than that one, haunting blade.

The shore of the little island under the bridge was stony and empty, precisely the way it was intended. A strip of land in the midst of the river, the bright lights of the urban sprawl around the water, but not touching this one stony strip of land. Except for the trash. How the captain hated filth in his waters, but no matter. They’d all be dealt with in time. His ship withdrew the walkway, and he stood alone in wait for his fellow, all the time, the lightning lighting the bridge, and the thunder shaking it. That bridge. So many beggars lay beneath it, all the ones who knew the truth. The bridge was not his domain, however much it ought to have been. It crossed the waters, but was not part of them. How the captain hated bridges.

“You’ve come,” whispered the dead whisper. He appeared in his black, tattered robes. They covered his body, but that one skeletal hand wrapped around the scythe betrayed the monster that lay within.

“As we agreed,” spat the captain.

“As we agreed,” He said with a slight nod.

“The dead are walking,” stated the captain.

“Shouldn’t they be swimming for you?” He whispered. The captain hated Him.

“I haven’t come for jokes. I assume you’ve got the same business in your ratted city?”

“Something like that,” He agreed.

“Bloody specific, you are. Fine, then. I take them. I do the task with which I was set. I take those who’ve passed and bring them where I ought to, but they aren’t staying, ya’ bastard. And I’d like to know why.”

“As would I,” He stated. “But I have no answers. The dead of my city rise, as do their numbers.”

“I thought as much. My crew,” the captain gestured to his ship, “they think it’s you behind it.”

“Why would I do such a thing?” He asked.

“I don’t think it’s you.”

“I’m glad I have your trust.”

“I think it’s your sick little monsters. The ones you send when you can’t be arsed,” said the captain.

He cocked his head, “What would make you think such a thing?”

“I think they’ve found a better employer. One that gives them lives, in exchange for sharing them.”

“My reapers serve me well,” He stated as firmly as a whisper might.

“I’m bloody sure,” scoffed the captain. “I don’t care what you think, Death. It’s not me who’s behind all this. You raised me up from the sea to do your bidding. Give me an extra long death and all. Well, if you can’t be arsed to do the killing, why should I be arsed to do my job, eh?”

“Because you agreed. And I’ve told you, I have naught to do with this.”

The captain spat on the ground. “I don’t care what you’ve told me. And I don’t care what I agreed. I help the damned, ‘cause that’s who I am. You’re supposed to be something too, now bloody act like it.” The captain signaled his men to drop the walkway again. “This is a bloody waste of time. When you’re ready to accept the fact you aren’t perfect, find me. It’s your reapers, Death. They’ve found a better employer.”

Death nodded. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, and rain fell. “You’re a hard man, Davy Jones. May we meet again.”

The captain raised his hand in the middle finger, and his ship sailed off under the bridge. And into the shadows, He too, disappeared.

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