‘It’s a long story,’ said Joe.
‘I know, but we’ve got time,’ she said.
But, where did he begin? ‘I don’t know how it’s all got to this point, to be honest, but, to cut that long story short, I need to find Death’s scythe -‘
‘Here, in the Underworld?’
Joe nodded. ‘Yes, Death’s sister stole it from Death, my boss.’
‘So, that’s what you’re here for,’ said Hel, ‘totally makes sense now.’
‘And you’re a human? And still alive?’ asked Agnes.
‘Yes,’ said Joe, but, he was starting to wonder whether he was actually dead and this was Hell.
‘And Death’s sister is…?’
‘I don’t know but I need to find her.’
Agnes’s covered her hand with her mouth and shook her head. ‘There’s no way,’ she said, her hand still covering her mouth.
‘No way to what?’
‘To get to Death’s sister.’
‘Because Death’s sister lives in the Iron Fortress deep in the Valley of the Dead.’
‘Oh,’ said Hel.
Hades, who at some point, had woken up, sat up and gave a loud gulp. He stood up, stretched his back legs out and went over to Joe. He placed his head on Joe’s lap and began to cry.
Joe began to stroke Hade’s thick warm fur.
‘And?’ asked Joe.
‘And no person EVER has made it through the Valley of the Dead alive.’
‘I have the Book of the Dead to help me,’ said Joe.
‘That’s not going to help you, Joe, that’s written for dead people.‘
‘Well, it’s got me this far.’
‘Except, that’s not very far at all,’ said Hel.
Silence fell upon the room. He didn’t know why but suddenly he was feeling really grumpy. He grabbed at the Book of the Dead from where he’d dropped it on the floor. He opened the front cover and looked down the contents page. He found the section he was looking for, called The Valley of the Dead. ‘Page two-hundred and eleven,’ he said to himself as he flicked to the section.