Jack led me through the city to a door. "Does that lead to the prison?" I asked.
"No," he said. "This door leads to a city. A wonderful, terrible city. A city that never ends. And at the end of that city, at the very bottom, that is where you will find the prison."
I looked at him, saw his smiling face, and then looked away. "How can there be an end to an endless city?" I asked.
"Everything has an end," Jack said, "even something that is infinite."
"Come on," Jack interrupted and opened the door. He gestured and I walked through it.
The other city looked much the same as the one we had come from, at first. Then, as we walked through it, it began to change, slowly and subtly. The buildings grew taller, the streets grew wider, everything became more...grand. When we stopped, I looked up and noticed that the buildings seemed to stretch higher and higher and there didn't seem an end to them.
"How far do they go?" I asked.
"All the way," Jack said. "Come on."
He led me through alleyways and down side streets that I swore changed directions. We passed shops and stores and theaters, all with signs written in incomprehensible letters. They hurt my eyes to just look at, so I looked down at my feet and followed Jack.
Finally, we reached a dock on a lake. There was a ferry. We both got on and Jack pushed us off.
"Where does this lead?" I asked. I had so many questions, but I knew he wouldn't answer them.
"The ferry leads down," Jack said. "Today, I play the part of ferryman and you the part of the dead. But we go farther than the underworld, my friend. In the middle of the lake is a hole, made from a piece of nothing at all. And this hole leads to the bottom of everything. The Singularity Cell."
"A hole?" I asked. "If it's in the lake, wouldn't it create-"
And then I saw it. The water swirling around, turning us in circles. The whirlpool.
We were caught in Charybdis.
"This is where I leave you," Jack said. "Good luck."
"Wait!" I shouted. "How do I break the chain?"
"Remember what I said," Jack smiled. "Metaphors tend to become the thing they represent. It's a real chain, Jacob." Then he snapped his finger and faded away like a ghost.
The whirlpool pulled the ferry faster and faster until it tipped over and I fell