The coach, commanded by the Hunter with Shannon in tow, peeled down the dust coated trail! Quickly, the Hunter noticed plums of smoke in the distance! It was the Circus! The judgments were in motion! As they pulled up, the air was thick with heat! All the tents were ablaze! There was panic! Lost souls were running aimlessly, screaming for forgiveness, as they burned to a crisp! Their charred bodies sinking into the ground! Destined to drop down, down, down, to their level of hell and degree of punishment! The Hunter grabbed Shannon's hand! She was still dazed and confused, as she followed him like a lethargic rag doll! The Hunter noticed the circus performers were on fire as well! The knife dodging Zoe had a look of complete confusion on her face, as she quickly sank into the ground! Libby just stood, mouth agape, as the flames consumed her! Dogen bowed down in a final moment of Zen, as he slowly sank from view! Michael and Sayid seemed calm. Both accepting, maybe even welcoming, their fates, as the fire obliterated the smiles off their faces! Even Ringmaster Chang knowingly nodded to the Hunter as he ran past, headed back into his side tent that was already consumed by the flames! The Hunter and Shannon moved away from the carnage, back through the entrance arc, to the river bank, where Frank had already started the barge and was steadily pulling away! They leaped high into the air, landing hard on the stern of the barge's wooden floor! The Hunter glanced up. "Permission to come aboard?!" he gasped. "Permission granted!" Frank called back, "hang on! I'm throttling up to full speed!" The barge leapt forward, cutting a large wake as it headed back downriver, taking them further and further away from the cries of anger, panic, fear, and finally acceptance of the souls that had sunk into the depths of hell! Next: Chap. 33 "The Owl"

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