I heard many cries. But I couldn’t a single person see. Though the cries were so close. Before I could ask about this, Dante stopped, and bent his ear East. Then we heard a sound, not groan but melody, as of a Japanese flute – piping from so very far away.
Now our boat’s journey across the slough, or swamp, had become very bumpy, and I thought that perhaps some rocks our path obstructed. But looking down taught the truth: Our boat bounced along shields, swords, bullets, wings, bursting flak, fishhooks, beartraps, all the weapons of man, and worst of all, men and women, of all kinds, warring in the water.
As soon as he took it, I was in real trouble. As soon as he took it, there appeared in my hand a large and heavy bag of change – quarters, nickels, pennies, dimes, and other ancient coins – so heavy my shoulders slumped forward, and strained I was to keep my head up.
We moved up through the ward of the castle and into the keep. There was a fine and shady garden in its midst. Where men and women were arranged about, lounging on the green, with faces somber and voices quiet – sad and longing in soft cold light.
The people were everywhere slumped on the ground. I could bear it no longer. I stooped and asked one of the men – who was very plain and dull – what he’d done. He only sighed. I asked another, a woman – also unremarkable – and again I heard no word.
We found a man had hauled himself, by his fingertips, to the lip of one of these flaming crowded cluttered graves. He hanged there as over a precipice and peered up at Mr. Dante and I. I thought then I knew him.