Cocytus and Phlegethon, swollen with tears and fire, aid in the judgement, and Styx accuses the gods of perjury. - Statius, Thebaid 8.21
"Gale! You came back!" It's impossible; Fred knows that even as he calls his name. Even there as they are, standing under the blazing sun with no fear, the stone remain stone and the dead remain dead and Gale is not coming back.
But Gale's lips twitch in a faint smile. He holds out his hand. "I do not have long," he says. "Fred, may I have your attention for a moment?"
This is it, then. They'd said their goodbyes at the airport; Fred doesn't know why Gale came back. Maybe a second goodbye isn't so bad -- he'd never had a chance to say goodbye to his real dad, so twice over to Gale is something, anyway. He's glad, though in a way that chokes in his chest and tightens his throat. He reaches out, nabs at Gale's hand. "Do you really gotta go?" he asks.
"Yes. That's not why I'm here," Gale adds, and steps back a bit until they are around the corner, out of the way of the celebrating crowds. "Stand back a moment."
His hand falls away and Fred finds his heart beating too-fast in his throat. This is it; it's over, there isn't any more. He wants to cry. "Gale?" he asks, and hears his voice break.
"Hush," Gale says, and throws his arms out.
For a long moment nothing happens, and Fred shifts from foot to foot, wipes traitor tears from his eyes. "What--" he begins, and then the temperature is rising.
Ash swirls around Gale and explodes into fire. A hot wind picks up, tugging a few strands of Gale's slicked-back hair free from his hood. The heat hits Fred in the face; he can feel his lips go dry and has to squint against the burn of it, the prickle in his eyes, the curls of fire which caress his cheeks and don't burn.
And then, behind Gale, there is a dark figure, looming huge -- a dog easily the size of a small building, with three heads, made almost entirely of fire. Its heads lash this way and that, just barely keeping from striking Gale; the middle one rears up over Gale's head; Gale's eyes openfirey red, and the dog's head tilts like he is seeing though his face is eyeless.
Fred's throat feels dry. He says, "Dad?"
The dog throws all three heads back and howls; fire wreathes Fred without touching him and dries the tears on his face.
And then he's gone, and Gale as well, smiling as he dissolves into a pale gold light.
Those again who have committed crimes, which, although great, are not unpardonable ... these are plunged into Tartaros, the pains of which they are compelled to undergo for a year, but at the end of the year the wave casts them forth - mere homicides by way of Kokytos, parricides and matricides by Pyriphlegethon - and they are borne to the Akherusian Lake, and there they lift up their voices and call upon the victims whom they have slain or wronged, to have pity on them, and to receive them, and to let them come out of the river into the lake. And if they prevail, then they come forth and cease from their troubles; but if not, they are carried back again into Tartaros and from thence into the rivers unceasingly, until they obtain mercy from those whom they have wronged: for that is the sentence inflicted upon them by their judges." - Plato, Phaedo 112E