They had been riding for about an hour and Hunter was starting to feel the effects. Hunter was about to ask for a break, when his centaur looked back and said, “Where specifically in LA do you need to be?”
“Valencia Boulevard, I think.” The centaur thought a second then got a strange look on his face.
“Are you going to the underworld, little one?”
“Yeah that’s the plan.”
“Well good luck with that.” In the next few minutes the four of them arrived in LA and stopped in front of a tall black marble building. Stuck onto the door was a sign that read, ‘NO SOLICITERS. NO LOITERING. NO LIVING.’ The four campers got off of the backs of their vehicles and stretched their stiff bodies. “Alright. This is where we leave. Stay safe little ones.”
“Thanks for the ride!” Marina waved goodbye to the centaurs as the rode off toward Seattle. “My butt hurts…” Marina said as she walked toward the building and leaned on it. Hunter walked up to the door and looked in. It looked relatively nice for being an entrance to the Underworld. The four of them walked in and looked around. The lobby was full of people pacing and looking agitated. Hunter turned around.
“Let me do the talking, okay?” Hunter walked up to the security guard standing at a podium. Hunter looked at his nametag. “Charon? Is it?” Hunter knew that the others in his party were actual demigods, meaning that they were both dyslexic and had ADHD. Hunter was always good at thinking quick on his feet. He figured that it might be better if he did the talking.
“Yes it is. You actually got my name right. And on the first try too. So what can I do for you four?” Charon looked at Hunter with an expressionless face.
“We’d like to go to the underworld, if you please.” Charon raised his eyebrows.
“Wow. How polite. Well how did you guys die?” He gestured toward the group.
“Well, Charon, the four of us got a little drunk and a party and Marina, here, thought she could drive us home. You know teenagers….” Hunter gave Charon a toothy smile who flashed a forced half-grin in return.
“Indeed.” Charon looked down at his podium and scribbled something down. “So we accept all major credit cards or we can tack on the fee to your next cable or cell phone bill. However since none of you seem to be old enough to do that, you can wait here in the lobby for the next few…centuries or so. Thanks, bye now.” Charon put on a fake smile and stared at Hunter.
“Would it change anything if I gave you this?” Hunter reached into his pocket and pulled out a drachma and placed it on Charon’s desk. Charon eyed the golden coin greedily.
“A golden drachma. Now where did you get that?” Charon stared at Hunter in a way that looked like it was burning a hole through him.
“I found a few of these on the ground. I thought they looked valuable so I kept them. Obviously they’re valuable to you so why don’t you keep them. And in exchange you get us into the underworld? What am I going to do with a bunch of old coins?” Hunter put on his most persuasive smile. Charon eyed him very suspiciously. Hunter reached into his pocket and pulled out three more drachmas and placed them on the desk. Charon couldn’t take his eyes off the golden coins. He finally looked around and then motioned Hunter to come closer.
“You’re not a dead teenager. None of you are. So this is a secret between you and me, okay?” Hunter nodded. Charon picked up the coins, put them in his pocket and then led the four of them into an elevator. He got in and put his card into a slot on the elevator panel. The elevator started to descend. Hunter had never been in an elevator before. It seemed so daunting to him. Hunter closed his eyes for the whole time. He felt the elevator whirr downward. All of a sudden Hunter felt the elevator moving forward and starting to sway back and forth. Hunter slowly opened his eyes and saw that he wasn’t standing in an elevator; he was standing in a boat. He opened his eyes completely and looked around. He was in the Underworld.