Paying the Ferryman is a collection of stories where the authors to bring us their take on what the afterlife might look like. The forward written by Hal Bodner is really entertaining because through his fascination with the macabre and being expelled from school, he explains how his views changed over the years and invites the reader to jump in and enjoy the tales of pushing daisies crafted by these authors. Please climb in and see where the river takes us!
Death Blossoms- Brian W Taylor starts our trip with a story about limbo. Styx likes to play games with those who cannot pay Charon for passage and the encounter Armando has is no different. He, along with other recently deceased people, are told if they can make their way to a coin, something good awaits them. Human nature at its finest ensues, but Armando proves that while we all make mistakes, basic human decency is not totally gone. Although you really shouldn't stop to smell those flowers.
Thirty Days In Hell- Rick Scabrous asks to to consider for a moment that Hell is real and is a giant game show that you have to survive. Damion chronicles his journey through this game and once he gets his reward, he does something a little unexpected. Just how did he pull that off?
Side B- Silas Green shows death has a sense of humor about technology. Aaron tries to remember what happened that night. What happened to Lora. All via cassette tape. For all eternity.
Afloat- D.S. Ullery introduces us to Steven. Steven is revealed to be an alcoholic jackass who's been beating his family. Imagine his surprise when he wakes up not understanding what's going on around him and learns he's died. Imagine his surprise when he learns just how much of a bitch karma really can be.
Malefactor- Melodie Romeo's serial killer, Mick, decides he doesn't want to be dead. He wants to live on and keep killing. Satan isn't happy about this and sends minions out to collect Mick, who decides screw that and finds a new body. Bad idea.
There Will Always Be Hell To Pay- Diane Arrelle gives us Hilda, a miserable wretched excuse for a person. Good thing she's just doing what she's paid to do while climbing the corporate ladder.
Purgatory- Bryan Best's wanderer in the Void is doing their best to survive in the afterlife the best way they know how- meeting interesting characters and their ulterior motives. Run!
Pandemonium- Tanya Nehmelman's is trapped in a loop involving a car, a blond kid, weird people on porches and spiders. Wait.....what was that noise?
Seven Minutes- Mariesa Inez guides us through the last moments of Gretta, who is seeing herself in a way she doesn't understand. When the realization sets in, she has only seconds to get out what she needs to say.....and it's certainly nothing about that darn cat.
I Am Human- Rachel Hogan lets us meet Grady Harman, who straight up tells us he's human. However, he soon learns otherwise, but does not embrace what he learns. Regardless of what his future is supposed to hold, he is Grady Harman and he is human.
The Memory Remains- S.H. Roddey's Sarah is stuck in a bad day. She loses control of her car during a storm and goes into the ditch. Luckily there are people kind enough to take her into town......
Maze Walker- Jenner Michaud is pursued by Them. They like to remind about the evil that is done daily. They won't let anyone forget. You keep going, but can never get away.
Eden In Spring-Scott McCloskey shows a garden, but it's not the type of garden that Derric ever thought he would be a part of, he believed, he thought he would be saved. Derric will be waiting the longest for what he's done. Everyone else has disappeared.
Eternity- Heidi Lane presents her version of the afterlife via Rowan, an addict who has recently overdosed. The reaper tells him to pick a tunnel to see what his version of hell will be. His version involves clowns with an uncanny ability involving balloon art.
Black Tooth Grin- Armand Rosamilia spins a ghost tale about Gilmartin, a musician with killer taste in music. Gimartin becomes aware of what he's become and what he needs to do to make it back on the stage, but first, learn about what Dimebag taught him.
Above The Pay Grade- Brian Fatah Steele talks about those who guide us to where we need to go, so long as we don't give into the despair of those who surrendered themselves. If you can keep your hope and heart, then you can make it, but reminding those of their own situations might be above someone's pay grade.
The Boatman- Eric I. Dean has a conversation with Sharon.....er.....Charon while riding in the boat. They discuss many topics- Charon's career, what happens to the various people who try to cross without Charon's help and other topics. By the end, what needs to happen becomes clear and the life of the boatman continues.
Repetition- Herika R. Raymer wants us to consider that when it's time that we don't necessarily learn anything new. We have what we learned in the existence that we completed, but we reset so we can continue to learn and the madness it can create.
Two Coins- Lee Pletzers has limbo taking place in a desert where Charon has minions and they're really a bunch of assholes. All Dion wanted to do is survive in limbo, but the minions couldn't leave well enough alone. Hope it was worth it!
The Mai'Tas Prophecy- Jerry E. Benns wraps up our journey with the idea there are creatures hunt the things that go bump in the night and those creatures have a chosen one to protect them. Instead, we get Michael, a run of the mill garden variety asshole.
And with that, our journey has come to an end. Did you pay? Oh my.......