Writing Prompt – A Dark Ferryman

You are standing on a river bank when a dark ferry boat comes to shore. The ferryman wears a dark robe and hood. It is Charon, the ferryman of the river Styx. He says that he took a wrong turn and needs your help.


  • What do you do? Do you run away, afraid that he will take you with him?
  • Do you give him directions back to Styx? If so, how do you know where it is? You have never been there . . . , or maybe you have.
  • Suppose he offers you something in return for your help. What will you ask him to give you?
    1. Maybe you need a ride across the river, but can you trust him? Maybe he will take you to Hades instead.
    2. Maybe you want to tour the afterlife like Dante. Who will be your tour guide?
  • Why is he lost? He should know what he is doing. He has been doing it for thousands of years.
    1. Even if he took a wrong turn on Styx, how did he end up on this river? Are the two rivers connected? That would be disturbing.
    2. Maybe he did not take a wrong turn. You did, and you now stand on the shore of the river Styx.
  • Maybe he is nothing like he is portrayed in mythology. You could use this story to completely reinvent him.
  • You can draw from various sources in writing this story, such as Greek mythology, Dante’s Inferno, and Rick Riordans’ Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Be sure to add your own twist.

You are free to use this prompt in your own writing. If you print it or post it online, however, please credit this post.

About henrywm

I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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