Monday, March 5, 2018

The Maze

The three of them ran down the corridor as the medieval-looking walls closed in on them further and further.

Trace, Chad, and Melody gradually moved from a three-abreast to a single-file formation, desperately trying to make it to the opening at the end of the long, ever-narrowing passageway before being crushed to death.

Ahead of him, Chad watched Trace as she reached the opening and disappeared around its edge moments before he made it himself and leaped around the corner of the opening.

Once around, he found Trace stopped dead in her tracks in front of another opening and barely had time to stop before ramming into her.

From behind he heard Melody's guttural shout as she leapt out of the opening just as the walls slammed unforgivingly together.

Not slowing, she kept right on running passed him and Trace, but snapping out of her gaze, Trace snatched Melody's arm just before she careened straight off the edge of a deep chasm that led into darkness below.

"Whoa, there!" Trace shouted as she held onto the still yelling Melody and pushed her back against the pockmarked stone of the wall that connected to the ledge they stood on; no wider than a few paces.

"Oh, shit!" Melody exclaimed as she realized what was in front of her and her eyes bulged at the seemingly bottomless void they now were faced with. "What's with this place!? I just want to get the hell outta here!"

Trace gripped the panicking Melody by the shoulder and tried to calm her.

"It's okay. We're okay." Trace tried to placate her. "We'll just figure this one out like the rest and we'll be on our way out. Just calm down and take a breather."

Chad strained his eyes to look across the expanse and could see another ledge and opening on the far side. Tracking the opposite side to the left and right, he could see no way across.

"I don't know." He stated in his unperturbed voice. "I can't see any way to get to that other side, and..." Squinting to focus further on the far side, he continued, "...I think, Trace, do you see what I see over there?"

Trace looked from Melody to follow Chad's outstretched arm to where his finger pointed across the wide gorge. To the other side where she could just make out three figures standing on the ledge opposite them. One of them pointing back to where they stood.

"Oh no." Trace said in a downtrodden voice.

"What?" Melody asked frantically as she looked across at what the other two were staring at.

"Great." She exclaimed once she finally saw the others staring back, "a giant mirror wall! So there's probably nothing over there at all to even get to; a trick to make us try and jump or something and just fall forever into this bottomless pit!"

Her voice echoed across the expanse as she slid down the wall to a crouch, holding her head in her hands as she began to rock back and forth.

Chad continued to watch their far reflections as Trace tried to comfort Melody again.

"It's okay, Melody." Trace soothed, "we'll figure something out, maybe we'll just go along the ledge here until we find another opening. What do you think, Chad?"

Before he could respond, Melody laughed derisively.

"Ha! Chad is probably loving all of this!" She huffed accusingly. "An endless, mysterious, and ancient maze, full of deadly traps, all hidden below a legitimately haunted house that he goaded us into exploring! He's probably having the time of his life!"

Starting to laugh hysterically, Melody pushed Trace's arms away and continued to rock on her heels.

"Hey!" Chad's booming shout jolted both women's attention to their usually mild-mannered and good humoured friend.

"Stan is dead!" He cried out. "We evoked the wrath of the spirit of the evil necromancer that built that house up there, when YOU red aloud the inscription on that ebony orb I might add, and have been wondering this ghost-riddled maze for who knows how long. If we don't get killed by the maze's puzzles, or a ghost of one of that guy's victims, we'll probably starve to death because I haven't found anything to eat down here, have you?!"

Calming a little, Chad shivered and continued in his regular voice as the other two stared in shock.

"So, no, Melody," he said with a sigh. "I am not loving it down here."

The three stood in silence for sometime before Chad stomped at a loose stone with his foot.

"Sorry." He said mildly. "I'm hungry and tired and scared. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I just want to get out of here too..."

He stopped as he kicked the loose stone over the edge of the ledge, and instead of falling down into the void of the pit, it seemed to just roll over the ledge and continue on.

"What a second." He said as he peered over the edge.

Trace and Melody looked at each other with mutual puzzlement and then to Chad just as he was stepping over the edge.

"Chad, no!" Trace shouted as she moved to grab him, but it was too late, he had disappeared over the ledge.

She scrambled over to where he had stood and reared back with surprise as his head popped back into view from beyond the darkness.

"It's corner, not a ledge!" Chad told them with glee. "Just step around and the ground is beneath you! Come on, there's an opening just down there!"

He pointed off to a direction hidden by the ledge.

Looking back at the flabbergasted Melody, Trace was flummoxed herself.

"I think we'll be out of here in no time!" Chad reassured in a chipper voice as he stood at an impossible angle.

Later, after escaping the soul survivor of the necromancer's accursed maze, though he would never admit it to anyone aloud, Chad was indeed having a really good time!

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