The Man (Or Woman)

The man (or woman) in the folded black garb handed Chevron and I both a plate of toast. It wasn’t the best toast I’d ever had, but it suited. It was burnt and charred at the corners. Chevron swallowed his slice whole. I nibbled at mine. 

“Do you have any salt?” I asked. “Or, preferably, pepper?” 

The man (or woman) in the garb said nothing. They just began to paddle. Rowing with the oars. They were not particularly chatty, as it were. 

“Who is he?” Chevron asked. 

“You mean 'they,'” I said. 

“You mean there’s more than one?” he asked, looking up, down and all around, trying to spot how two people could fit into the black garb. 

“No,” I said. “They is the correct way of addressing someone if you don’t know their sex. They is the pronoun you use.” 

“Hmmm,” Chevron said. “Pronoun. I think I had a few pronouns once as an appetizer. But they were too stale.” Chevron, the ultimate taste tester, failed to understand pronouns. But he was right, sometimes pronouns could be a little stale (or misplaced), which is why I tried to respect whoever it was under that black garb. They were not a talkative person, but then, few talked more than our cohort of misfits. 

The water we paddled through was the darkest I’d seen. I stuck my head over the brim of the ship — can you call it a brim? I mean, a boat is cup-like. The water was so black that it reflected nothing, not even my face stared back. It was a lifeless pond. 

“Kinda looks like molasses,” Chevron said. 

“I wonder,” I said, dipping my finger into the water. It was thick and syrupy. The blackness stuck on my finger like honey. 

Chevron could see on my face what I was about to do. He tried to stop me, but my tongue was much too fast. 

“Tastes like chocolate,” I said after I licked my finger. 

Chevron followed suit. He licked his finger.

Excitedly we began to dunk our hands into the pool. Soon we were shoving handfuls of chocolate down our mouths, splashing chocolate all over the boat. The boat began to tilt as we joyously enjoyed the stagnant lake. We moved so much that the boat began to rock, and rocked the dark figure into noticing that the boat was listing heavily on one side. The figure turned to us and finally spoke. 

“You mustn’t drink from the lake!” she said, throwing off her dark hood and showing a face surround by dark, curly, long hair. 

But it was too late. We had drank from the lake and the lake was already filling into the boat.

“It’s so good,” I said. 

“Chocolate!” Chevron said. 

The boat was sinking. We had leaned too far. 

“We have to get out of the lake as soon as we can,” said the woman, who took up her scythe… 

“Is that a scythe?” I asked. 

But before she responded the boat had sunk and she had disappeared into the dark chocolate. 

“I don’t think she knows how to swim,” I said to no one in particular because, apparently, Chevron didn't know how to swim either.