Archie pulled the baseball cap low over her head. Her frizzy dark hair peeked out from under it.
She wiped her tan face nervously as her caramel-colored eyes darted over the line of boats strung up near the harbour. The early morning sun painted them with golden light. The blue sea glittered invitingly as her eyes picked out the island in the distance. Tall palm trees poked up on the front end where she glimpsed a thin line of the shore. The rest of the island was shrouded in green bushels.
Archie studied the map the man had given her. It annoyed her that in this age of GPS navigation the man had chosen to give her a paper map with an establishment known as “The Border Shack” marked in a red pen. “Remember you must journey in a red boat or else they won’t accept you.”
A red motor boat did bob peacefully near a buoy. Looking for a job hadn’t been this secretive or shady before but Archie had exhausted all options. She needed whatever she could get. When the roar of the motor shattered the silence and she journeyed towards the island she noticed the figure standing in the harbour. It was the same man! He waved back cheerfully.
“Work hard in my place!”
Archie found it creepy. What was he doing there?
Suddenly there was a crack like that of lightning, and the boat capsized. Archie shuddered at the impact. However, she was a good swimmer. She made it to the island breaking above the water with a gasp, panting and shivering. The boat still floated like a red tongue in the middle of the sloshing waves.
A woman in an orange apron stood on the shore staring at Archie.
“Uh…so…you’re a living person right?”
Archie nodded in confusion.
“Uh…didn’t Charon tell you that when you replace him, you have to…uh…. die?”
“WHAT!” Disbelief broke across Archie’s face. “Yeah, it’s a rule. At the Border Shack, we only serve spirits. And you are supposed to ferry them.” The woman said with a deep sigh.
“So you’re telling me… I have to die to have this job? That since I can’t qualify a job when I’m alive I am supposed to die to get one?”
“Don’t yell at me. I don’t make the rules. We are in a recession and a war… jobs are so hard to come by that I had to die too…but think about it you’ll never feel tired again.” The woman mumbled. Clara was the name that flashed on her nametag.
“Well, CLARA, I’m not dead but I want this job…although it makes no sense why I would need a job after I am dead…and even if I don’t get tired you realize I’ll be stuck here for an eternity!”
“Look even I don’t know. See what you can do about it. I’ve to get back to my shift.” Clara shrugged as she made her way back.
Archie stared at the shimmering sea.
What a pain.
I wrote this slightly humorous, wacky tale for Sadje’s What Do You See #138
I try to write in every genre I can so you shall be seeing quite a range of stories that don’t quite fit in one niche. As always thanks for reading 💕