Here’s the third instalment of Bad Company for your reading pleasure. Things are starting to move a bit faster in terms of plot, as Diane and E head towards an entrance to Hades near Jasper, Alabama.
Walker County Lake sits outside Jasper, on its south-east tip, tucked in amongst a large array of conifers. A peculiar opening rests near the north side of the lake – a circular patch of flattened grass, surrounded on all sides by clusters of misplaced Corsican pines. Everywhere else there are firs; tall, towering firs. However, this small section north of the lake is covered in Corsican pines.
“Looks like it’s just flattened grass, not dead grass,” Diane indicates snidely. E simply rolls his eyes.
“Do you see the difference in trees though, Diane?” he quizzes as they approach the area on foot. The Impala’s been left at the car park next to the fishing hut, just down the east side of the lake.
“It’s the oddity in the vicinity then, is it not?”
“As ever, your enthusiasm throws me,” E drones sarcastically, “This is an entrance to Hades.”
“Why these trees? Are they a symbol of the god of the Underworld?” Diane inquires.
“Not as far as I know. My only guess is because Corsican pines are considered a wilding conifer – and are, therefore, an invasive species – there is then some symbolic connection between the entrance to Hades being this uninvited entity in the area just like the trees. Either that or they just happen to, coincidentally, thrive at the very entrance to the Underworld. Like a lot of things, I just don’t fucking know.”
“So they are the oddity in the vicinity but they’re also possibly not at all connected to the fact that this is an entrance to Hades despite them being the oddity in the vicinity which suggests they are almost definitely closely tied to the presence of an entrance to Hades?”
E’s mouth forms a thin line.
“I think there’s almost certainly an unwritten fifth rule between us and that’s definitely a violation of it,” he chides reproachfully.
“All of our rules are as yet unwritten, E.”
“That’s a fair point. Right, whatever, forget the fucking trees. This is still the entrance to the Underworld regardless of the species of nearby vegetation. If anything, the flattened grass gives it away.”
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