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The River Styx

The first story in The Deadliest Deceptions, a collection of Miriam bat Isaac stories to be published this fall, is “Believing is Seeing”. In this story, Miriam is called upon to make sense of the death of a sailor lodging in Alexandria during the winter, when the ports are closed. One step in the investigation has Miriam questioning the principal witness, Rhea, the elderly maid of the rooming house:

According to Rhea, the sailor had been late for his morning appointment. So, she unlocked his door, saw him dead on his sleeping couch, and flew out of the room screaming for the bearers to fetch Miriam. Rhea’s legs twitched, her features convulsed, and then clumps of sound gushed out of her in a rising howl. ‘I saw the sailor with my own eyes, but how can you expect me to remember what he was wearing?’ Rhea believes the sailor’s room was cursed and claims to have felt the power of that curse when the sailor’s soul was being ferried across the River Styx.

The River Styx is one of five rivers that runs through the Underworld. If anyone bathes in the Styx and survives, that person will become invulnerable to most physical attacks, excluding a small spot on the body. If that spot is struck, then the person will be killed instantly. That’s how Achilles’s mother, who’d dipped him in the river during his childhood, gave him that invulnerability, except for the heel by which she held him.

Reading “Believing is Seeing” will not make you invulnerable to a physical attack, but it will protect you from being attacked by boredom. So, watch out for its publication date and choose something else to read in the meantime. Just click here.


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