The barge sailed on up river. "What are you going to say to the devil when you meet him?" Frank asked. Eko stared down stream, "I am going to ask him how is business! Then I am going to use this club across his head!" "Who'll be in charge of hell if you kill the devil?" Frank laughed. "Maybe I will take charge and run things!" Eko lamented, "I would be a kinder, more gentle devil!" "How so?" the Hunter asked. Eko smiled, "first, I would send every soul back!" "And why would you do that?" Frank asked. "Because," Eko continued, "when I was a boy, I did things to survive a young boy should not have to do! When I was an adult, I committed terrible crimes that I took responsibility for but was forced to commit! In one of my many previous lives, when I was captured and forced into slavery, I saw things no man should have to see! Just living your life, you are in hell! So this place where we are heading is no longer relevant!" "Relevant or not," the Hunter said, "I've got a job to do!" "What business do you have there, if you don't mind my asking?" Eko said. "I've got to retrieve someone and somehow eliminate the man in charge!" the Hunter answered. "Then you and I are on the same path!" Eko replied, "I will help you destroy that devil!" Suddenly, as the barge chugged around another sharp bend in the river, music could be heard! A type of festive, calliope sound. Eko and the Hunter then saw a river bank full of colorful tents. The calliope music grew louder and louder. Frank slowed the barge. A banner flew across the banks supported by two silver poles. It read: WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS OF LIFE. Along the shore were figures waving. "Right this way, folks!" they called out, motioning Frank to dock the barge by a wooden plank along the embankment. Frank pulled along side. "Where are we?" Eko asked, "some kind of amusement park?" Frank smiled, "no gentlemen, we have arrived! This is the entrance to the Black Rock mines! This is the gateway to hell!" Next: Chap. 24 "The Midway"

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