"Where am I?" Sarah panicked to herself. Realization crept up on her like an old school friend that you didn't want to see, yet always seemed to bump into.
"Welcome to the Underworld. My name's Jane and I'm a deadaholic," a girl peered down at her.
Sarah's mind raced, trying to remember just what had happened yesterday.
"Wait, what? The Underworld?" Sarah exclaimed. "I can't be dead. Tomorrow. It's my wedding."
Jane watched half-amused, half-concerned, as Sarah scrambled to her feet, hysterical by this point. Tears streamed down her face like rain on rubber.
"This is a joke right?"
This went on for some time before Sarah calmed down. Jane approached the heap of a woman and opened her arms, offering an embrace. Sarah gladly accepted as she squeezed the stranger tightly. Jane patted her softly on the back.
"There, there. Could be worse, you could be dead. Woops" Jane let out an awkward laugh. Luckily for her Sarah didn't seem to hear her last comment. After a few minutes Jane broke the embrace.
"Thanks," said Sarah as she wiped her nose with a sniffle, taking in her surroundings for the first time. Sarah blinked as she realised she was standing on a giant book.
It was quite peculiar, as she viewed the pages, she could see images flash before her eyes. Images of her life, up to the very point where she kicked the bucket. After being lost in those images for a time, she noticed the still, silent, river.
"So how did you end up here Sarah," Jane pondered, half inquiring, half letting her vivid imagination concuct gruesome and extraordinary deaths.
"You know, I'm not really sure," replied Sarah, a perplexed look had formed on her face. "The last thing I remember was relaxing at pool side with some take-out. Then I got all light headed and it all went black. Then I woke up here."
"Bummer! Oh well at least it painless. Just be glad it wasn't 'Jellybomb!'" Jane retorted.
The river was dead. Metaphorically and literally. Fred hated his job. Ferrying souls to the Underworld was a boring job, tiring and bothersome, but until he could find something better it would have to do. He swam at a decent speed as the river offered little resistance.
A few moments later he arrived at the book, letting out a sigh as he stood up to check the 'numbers'. He had to fill his daily quota of souls ferried.
A bunch of noisy commuters shouted at Fred. He turned his hollow skeleton skull in response to the hecklers, peering down at them as he leaned in.
"What do you want?" Fred's voice boomed over the crowd. "Bloody mortals, wanting everything done at the drop of a hat. That's what Fred hated about mortals, even after they were dead they never failed to still be annoying. With a frown he lowered himself back into the water.
"Well hurry up and get on before I die of old age,' Jeered Fred while laughing as the loud bunch climbed atop his boney back.
"Next stop the Underworld," exclaimed the ferryman as he swam off into the distance.
"There must be something more to it!" Jane's voice startled Sarah.
"What do you mean?" replied Sarah, her eyes scanned the horizon for the giant skeleton. "And who was that?"
"Oh that's just the ferryman. He takes the souls of the dead in and out of the Underworld. Well, just in I guess, and I mean about the way you died. That last group was the natural death lot. So I'm guessing you didn't kill yourself 'cos doing that the day before your wedding just ain't cricket!" Jane grinned.
Sarah looked at Jane with a pained expression.
"Murdered me?" Tears had begun to well up in her eye's. They threatened to explode, unleashing the hysterical woman again.
"Oh come on, not this again! Don't start crying again," she patted Sarah gently on the back. "I know what, I'll tell you a story! That's bound to cheer you up."
"So there once was this young girl right, and well, she got in with the wrong crowd. She thought the world was her oyster, her eye's sparkled with the gift of life. Her heart soared with every new experience. But alas. One thing lead to another and she was hooked on drugs. Not just any old drugs, 'Jellybombs'!