[WP] You're the boatman for the River Styx. You've ferried millions of souls to the land of the dead. You've been offered every bribe and payment to not take the person to their death. This, however, is the fist time you've take someone across who is too dumb to realize they're dead.

In a realm between realms, near the shores of Hades, a small vessel heaved itself forward on the river of death. The ferry lurched forward on the black waters, groaning softly on the steady current. A lone figure stood at the bow, taking in the silent gloom all around him. Or, what would have been silent if not for the piteous lamentations of his newest passengers.

There were six of them. All were naked and cowering in their shame and grief, huddling with each other for some small comfort that their ferryman couldn’t provide. By now most had finally given up with their pained protests and bribes and outrage, and seemed to meekly accept the private doom that awaited them. *Which is just as well,* the ferryman thought. They had nothing to offer him but misery and despair, and he had no use for either. The gods had taken everything away from him and had left no room for anything but the long, slow knife of ennui. 

The ferryman heard a slight creaking of the ancient wood of the deck, and he turned around to notice one of his passengers approaching. The man was tall and thin, with awkward limbs and eyes that darted every which way. He was the most sedate of the group, and so far he was the only passenger who hadn’t resisted on boarding the ferry, hadn’t struggled against truth. He moved cautiously as if unsure of his footing, walking with slow, timid steps. 

He stopped a meter or so away from the ferryman. “Excuse me, but could you tell me where we are? It’s a little hard to see out here.” he said, squinting out into the soft darkness of Styx.

The ferryman paused for a moment; he had expected an appeal from the man, one final petition for the freedom he would never see. *The man’s eyes still carry the spark of life,* he mused. *Denial, then.*

“We’re travelling from the land of the living to the land of the dead. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.” he said, smiling sadly.

“Okay, but where is that? And why’s it so dark here? I didn’t think I was out this late.” said the man, grinning apologetically.

The ferryman sighed inwardly. If this man thought his jokes would reserve him some sympathy, he was sorely mistaken. His brothers had often teased him for his lack of a sense of humour, but the ferryman had never understood the point of comedy. There was, after all, little laughter to be found in his duty. 

“We’ll be reaching the harbour soon. Once we’re there, you’ll be taken to a place of rest. Your eyes will adjust to the light soon enough,” he said softly, consolingly. All passengers should have been informed of what to expect on their journey to death before boarding the ferry, but some still felt as though they should be exempted from fate and they clung to their tattered hopes. *This man’s jests will end soon enough.*

“I hope you don’t mind if I stick around for the trip back; I have to get back home to feed my dog. I really didn’t think I’d be out this long.” he said, sheepishly.

The ferryman’s patience evaporated. He wheeled about and fixed the man with a hard, piercing gaze. “You are dead. You’ve died. I don’t know how, and I don’t care to know. Your pet is the least of your concerns right now. In a few moments, you’ll be carted off to Hades-know-where, and you’ve be left wondering how it all happened. What you need to understand is that this is a one-way ticket, and there’s no going back.” His tone was venom. 

The man looked abashed and the ferryman instantly regretted his outburst. Ignorance was to be expected from the newly deceased, but he had misjudged the magnitude of it in this man. 

The man let out a long breath, shifting uncomfortably. “I don’t even remember buying a ticket,” he muttered weakly. The man frowned, opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it and left to rejoin the other passengers.

The ferryman watched him depart, dumbfounded. After an eternity of enduring the violence and bitter tongues of the dead, of suffering their sadness, their hatred, this man’s naïve stupidity felt oddly refreshing to him. He had ferried countless restless souls across the river, yet none have been as painfully oblivious as this wondrous idiot. It had been eons since he was last surprised, and he found himself reveling in the feeling of it. Despite all intentions, the ferryman was curious to see where the Judges will place him, and whether they will be as baffled with this man as he is. 
/r/WritingPrompts Thread