Flash Fiction by Emily Deibler
Updated: Apr 2, 2019
The eyes of the river were moving again.
Satan and Judas, fishing, sat on the bank of the Styx. Honestly, Satan wasn’t really a fan
of this whole thing; his suit was white, and the dirt really cramped his style. But Judas insisted
fishing was “relaxing” or something; and he liked Limbo, which was the only place in Hell
where suffering was almost completely absent. It could be pretty with the asphodels blooming and spreading across the once-ashen meadows like dove wings. Also, The Stygian Home for Cats, Goats, Human Spawn, and Miscellaneous Sacrifices had kittens and little goats with pool noodles on their horns if they didn’t stop headbutting the obsidian furniture. So, it was okay, Satan guessed.
To the left of them was a shack where the ferryman, Charon, hummed and crocheted
socks for the wandering children. Unbaptized children—even newborns—were common in this part of Hell. Some were killed to protect their parents from shame. Satan hated it; he too had been thrown out by his Parent.
Satan was ready to complain. It had been six-hundred hours and the only things in the
water were stupid, big-eyed catfish with their dumb whiskers. Why did Hell have catfish,
anyway? He threw them all back. Like he wanted fish. He had hoped for something a little more grotesque, something cool to mount on the palace wall. All the ice in the ninth circle was dull, and the palace was always shifting, and yet always the same with its pulsing mercury-eyes creating an impasto of mirrors everywhere.
He looked over to Judas, who was frowning, face turned slightly away.
“What, catch another baby?” Satan asked. It was a mostly serious statement.
His husband showed him his bounty: a silver coin.
“Oh,” Satan said. There was nothing else to say, but as always, he tried. “Maybe someone dropped it when they were going to pay Charon . . .”
Judas tossed it back into the water.
A native of North Georgia, Emily Deibler is a published poet and author. Her short story “Deer in December” was published in TL;DR Press’ Halloween 2018 Horror collection, NOPE. She has also published her poems “Turkey Hunting,” “Patty,” “Samantha,” and “Daughters of the Sun.” Her debut novel, Dove Keeper, came out in October 2018. She can be found on Twitter at @emilydeibler. She is a regular contributor to Marías at Sampaguitas.