Part Thirty-Two:

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Part Thirty-Two:

Ahead of the group was ground so hilly and rocky, it was pretty much impossible to continue. "Right," Sammy announced as they came to a halt at the banks of the river. Water gushed past at their feet, but instead of regular water, this stuff was a murky grey and brown colour. "We're here."

"How are we crossing, again?" Charlie asked.

Alex was just about to reply that they were going to swim when a figure wreathed in shadows materialised in front of them. She couldn't tell much about him besides the fact that he was completely covered in darkness. He was still a figure, except everything was blacked out by shadows.

"You wish to cross?" The man's voice was deep and scratchy, and as he took a step closer, Alex took a step back and let out a small gasp. The only thing that she could make out on his face was brilliant, golden eyes. But they weren't like Sammy's kind and gentle ones, they were more harder. Colder.

"Can you get us across?" Sammy asked. Alex wasn't sure whether she admired him for his bravery to speak or for not running away in alarm like she was about to do.

The man waved his hand and a small rowboat boat appeared on the shore. "I can get you across, yes. But only three people can fit in the boat at a time, including me."

There was a pause as it sunk in that one person would have to be by them self. Zoe started to speak, but Alex quickly cut her off.

"I'll go on my own." She offered, trying to sound braver than she felt.

Sammy gave her a look of concern. "Are you sure?"

"Sure as I can be." Alex tried for a smile, but it seemed to be more of a grimace.

"It's settled then." The man clapped his hands together and Zoe and Charlie jumped, then started towards the boat. Alex watched as the man got in and started pushing them across with a long pole.

It took the boat five minutes to return. Seeming more relaxed, Michael and Sammy got in and Alex stood waiting impatiently. When the boat finally came back, she clambered in and immediately tried to settle down on one of the small boat's benches but she was still on edge.

The man pushed them out from the bank. "Such a shame." He murmured.

Alex swung around to look at him. "What's a shame?"

"Oh, nothing." The man had no face, only the golden eyes so Alex couldn't tell whether he was smirking or not. His tone definitely sounded like he was.

The boat moved across the river. Alex made the mistake of peering over the side. The grey water was murky and mud-like, but through the stream, she could make out a person. A writhing hand reached up to her, and she quickly looked away and shuddered.

"You don't want to go in?" The man asked. Suddenly, the boat stopped. Alex felt a brief sense of panic as she realised that they were in the exact middle of the river.

The man pulled the pole out of the water. "Alexandra Valdez, it was a pleasure to meet you."

"W - what?" Alex stuttered, unable to comprehend what was going on. "Wh - who are y - you?"

"I am Kronos, except my true form has been killed. This is my weakened version. I seek to destroy your quest. Have a nice swim." The man jammed the pole into the side of the boat and the wood broke. Water gushed in and Alex watched the man disappear before the boat started to go under...

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