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by Jonathan Bishop

I have been entombed for ages in this God-forsaken place with no visible exits, it seems. I travel around the twirling, turning, twisting maze that is my prison, looking for one, but I never find one. Searching for an exit out of here is what takes up most of my day. Then, I retire to a quiet corner of the maze that is my unwelcoming, uninviting, sometimes evil, but always dark home; and I eat. Food is scarce in this maze — this Hell — but I always can find it. It’s placed behind walls and underground (they have put it there to keep it from me, the bastards), and once I retrieve it, I bring it with me back to my resting place and dine on it. After I have finished my meal, I lie down and go to sleep for the night. It’s always the same thing; every damn day of the week.

I don’t like the maze, but they have placed me here, forcibly, and have threatened me with death if I don’t comply, so I stay. Inside the maze, there are demons and monsters that jump out at you from every corner, every wall, every turn, and every doorway. Shadows creep along the walls, waiting for the right time to attack, but then when you turn to look, they slink away and wait until you are unaware again.

I had a confrontation with one of those monsters once. I was traveling through the maze, searching — always searching — for food, and it came down from the ceiling. It was a sizeable, fierce, spider-like creature that was constantly moving, trying to grab at me and pull me away, out of the maze, and into its lair where it could devour me for its evening meal. If I had known then that I would have been imprisoned in the maze for as long as I have, I would have gladly accepted being taken. I did not however, and I fought it off, spilling its blood and causing it to retreat. I myself then retreated back to my resting place for that night, soaked and stained in blood, and when I arrived there, I screamed in agony.

I am already on my search for my morning meal when I hear a slam that is so loud, it tears through not only my ears, but through my soul with such force that I feel I will never be whole again. I pause for a brief moment, waiting to hear if the noise had returned — will return — and it has. It grows louder by the second until it is all I can hear, for the Noise has invaded my mind, taking it over, making me its prisoner.

And then after the noise, come the shadows — the oh so numerous, but oh so terrifying shadows. They creep along the walls, slowly, menacingly, powerfully — waiting for the right time to make their move, for they know if I let my guard down for a second, they will be upon me.

Once the shadows recede, and the hellish Noises of the maze quiet down to nothing but a whisper, come the beasts. They chase me through the halls with blinding speed and agility and quickness, but I am just slightly faster than them so I can outrun them, if only just a little bit. I never see the beasts, however, I only hear them. They growl at me, roar, talk and chatter amongst themselves; they want me to die, they want me to fail, they want to capture me.

And so they chase me. Through the maze, through the soul, and through the mind we go, passing by those dark, dark corners where no light enters, those ominous walls, those open ceilings with the blinding light way, way off in the distance. While I am running, I think about my life here, and how I have survived for this long.

The beasts corner me. They’ve chased me forever, it seems, and now they’ve cornered me, and it looks like they’re hungry. But because of their closeness, I’m able to get a good look at them. It’s the spiders again, those strange looking, gigantic spiders that are peach colored, and there are four of them this time. They slowly move towards me, and I let them catch me, because I’ve given up living this way — I want to leave the maze.

The spiders pick me up high into the air, high above the maze, high above the darkness. I see that they are not spiders at all, but part of a larger creature, a huge thing, wearing a white covering over its peach colored skin. It has no fur on its body, only on the top of its head, and some on its arms but not too much. It also has a white square thing on its chest that has some letters inscribed on it; “Gnz Hrudz” it looks like, with a face just below the letters. I try to escape from its grasp and run to freedom and safety, but can’t; it has me by the tail and it won’t let go.

Another one comes in and they talk.

“Greg, what do you think we should do with this one?” the other one asks.

“I don’t know Dan. The experiment’s finished and I can’t recall if we need the mouse for anything else. We have enough substantial knowledge in order to produce our report. So, unless you have any other ideas, I would say get rid of it.”

The one called Dan nods his head, and takes me through this huge building, through hallways, through corners, through doorways, and while he does this I am shaking.

We finally reach another door, but this one is the final one. Dan opens it, and he tells me, “You’re OK little buddy. You’re free to go now.” I look back at him and sniff, and then I run away from that place that held my dark home.

I run and run and run, until I get away from the Place and until I arrive at the woods. It is night outside, and the darkness envelops the sky, the trees, the ground, the world, and me. I run as fast as I can into the woods, running as I have many times before, with the darkness still enclosing me, but this time, however, there is hope. And it is shining through the darkness, splitting it in two, and helping me find my way.

Copyright © 2005 by Jonathan Bishop

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