by Gef Fox
I plucked Virgil from my eye socket and held him in my hand, where he quivered then sprouted his fiery wings, like saplings reaching for sunlight. The delicate flames tickled my palm as he took flight before me. I noticed with my remaining eye he was pleased to be free from his perch in my skull after so many hours guiding me through the caves. Our bond broken, my vision lacked Virgil's uncanny night-sight. I fumbled in my cloak's pockets for my eyepatch and put it on.
Virgil glowed like a small lantern, illuminating my hand and the mist that stretched across what we hoped was the River Acharon. There was no sign of the Ferryman. We needed him to reach Hades and save Beatrice.
"Stay here," he whispered.
I nodded and he was off.
I sat on a stone slab near the water's edge as Virgil dipped out of sight in the distance like a small sunset. Darkness enveloped me in his absence. I huddled under my cloak, shivering--not from the cold, but from the despair. The voices of the damned, adrift in the river's current, called out to me. Some begged me to save them, others beckoned me to join them. I hardened my heart to them all and prayed for Virgil's safe return.
A voice called out some time later. "Dante, I found him!"
I rose and looked out. An orb of orange light approached, a tall shadow at its side. Virgil had found the Ferryman.