The Ferryman

When I was young, I always used to look upon the stars as I pushed myself down river.

One by one the stars twinkled their path through the cosmos. One by one they shone. One by one they lit my path as I toiled below.

They were my constant companions through long nights and interminable days. Always there by my side, their glow a reflection of the warmth above as I wend my way.

But then the stars began to flicker…

And then they began to fall.

Love was the first to die as the hearts of men corrupted. Then the Hearth’s flames were extinguished, as if doused by a heavy rain of tears. As those waters turned to steam, it was time for the Harvest to fail as her light withered. The Queen was next as her heart was broken one last time.

A mighty storm broke the Seas as they boiled away. Then the King was toppled from his throne with the greatest peal of thunder the world had ever heard. The Wise died leading her warriors against those the King had once safely imprisoned. The spear and shield of the Commander could not protect him much longer.

The Twins fought valiantly and brought down many titans with bow and chariot, their steel glinting in the sun’s rays. Yet, as they were overrun, the forges still burned bright. Mighty defences were raised to protect the few that remained. Pillars of iron and stone, great weapons that spit torrents of fire down from the mountain on high. But it was still not enough, and the Blacksmith’s walls were torn down, his automatons ripped asunder, and the mountain siege was ended.

The Messenger tried to outrun his fate, but even he was not fast enough to evade the three hundred hands that clawed. And that just left the Reveller, who drowned his sorrows until he too was naught but stardust.

And then the stars of men began to falter too. It has been sad to watch them fade. One by one.


I miss them….

And now, as the last of my stars are winking out, I suppose I should start explaining this all to you.

“Welcome, I see you are new. My pantheon’s time is drawing near, and soon I must depart. A new era is dawning,” I say, with a voice like rumbling thunder.

They stare quizzically at me.

“Take this oar. May you have many starry nights…”, I exhale as I begin to fade.

“I must be on my way.”

“I hope you will find…”

“your course as I have.”

“I don’t know…”

“if they told you my name?”

“It was…”

And then I was gone.

Tom Wilkinson

Tom Wilkinson is a physics researcher in London, UK. They enjoy reading, playing RPGs, photography and podcasting. Though they have dabbled in creative writing, this is their first published piece.

Hailey Renee

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.