The four ladies. I've known them all, except the fourth. One never hopes to meet her, I think. I think if there's a river Styx it is this fourth lady who will be standing there. Sure, the ferryman will be nearby, maybe admiring the view. Been when you're in this fourth lady's crosshairs, there is no view to admire.
She will take your memory and toss it like a stone into the oily waters to float forever. She might let you dive in, feel the heat and crushing weight of that water for as long as you can stand it. When, and that's if, you break the surface again, lying on the banks of Styx, she will be there.
This is now you, she will say, holding the round stone out in the palm of her hand, and you are the stone.
I never hope to meet her, this fourth lady, who will make all that I am a stone and turn stone into something the likes of me. Anyone who would do that to a stone, I cannot imagine.
"What’s got you down?” he asked her. “Tell me the story—I’ll give it a happy ending."
I've published for the last couple of years an online journal called The Airgonaut . I've placed a submission closed update there t...
Best Small Fictions 2017 Guest Editor Amy Hempel Series Editor Tara L. Masih Braddock Avenue Books (September, 2017) $13 (Braddock Av...