Dream: The Labyrinth

I awoke in a labyrinth.  It was not just a maze, but the kind of network of twisting tunnels, magically augmented, to qualify it as a labyrinth.  Voices whispered and shrieked from the darkness, threatening all kinds of terrors, but for some reason I felt no fear, as had been the case for several months leading up to tonight.  What I felt instead was rage.  Rage that someone or something would be bold enough to trap me.  Rage that these voices, as obviously fragile as stalks of wheat would attempt to scare me.  Rage unchecked welled within me.  I could feel myself transform into The Minotaur, metallic hooves and horns growing, along with the dark chaos of the mobeus wing beginning to sprout from my back. These wings hold within them the impossible angles by which one might collapse the universe, spiraling us back into singularity. Sheathed as they were by equally impossible angles, they instead became the tools by which I could alter dreamscapes, and over the last couple months I had become quite familiar with their use.  As soon as the wings formed, the voices stopped, apparently not looking for a fight they could not win today.

I charged forward into the darkness, finding myself able to see inherently as I moved.  Everywhere I went was deserted, save for one full length mirror at the dead end of a corridor.  I looked at the literal monster I had become, and went to give it an overhand smash to destroy it entirely, but missed. As my hand lay in the partially crushed wall beside the mirror, I considered the fact that I never miss, and what that might mean of this strange companion of sorts.  I backed away, once more looking upon my warped form, unfurling my wings with a howl, still enraged at the apparent trap I had fallen into.

Time seemed to pass slowly here, and even with that adjustment, hours came and went. The corridors that once seemed to shift were now static, and quiet.  If only these wings actually allowed me to fly, but they seemed only capable of slight alterations here, nothing that could actually manufacture my escape.  I had decided to line the walls with torches, and I sat in the relative center, poking at a fire I had set up to pass the time.

I heard a noise behind me and I stood with a start, finally a challenger had approached!  But standing there was what looked to be an eight year old boy, with red hair, and scraggly clothes. My rage began to fade, even though I was The Minotaur, and the rightful champion of The Labyrinth, a beast to be feared, there was no way I was going to hurt a child.  We stared at each other for a few seconds, I was impressed at his bravery, given my appearance, he had not looked away or turn to run.

“How’d you get here kid?” Despite my best efforts, my voice still had a growl to it.

“I’m Ed, and not rightly sure, I was in the car with my family, and then I was here. I vaguely remembering getting to choose a path, and this was one of them.  You seemed lonely, so I decided to join you.”

He wasn’t wrong about that last part. My rage had clouded my vision of things, almost acting as a shield to the loneliness that was now sinking in.  “Pull up a chair by the fire, you can call me Minoas.”

I conjured him a chair, and we sat in silence for a while before he finally broke it with the elephant in the room, as children often do. “So how do we get outta here?”

“Not sure we can kid. I’ve been stuck in here by myself for what feels like forever.” I noticed his presence had altered some of the features already, there were a couple of voices again in the distance, a few corridors had gone dark, and the chair was harder to manifest than it should have been. Perhaps this reality was generated by its inhabitants, which meant there might be hope after all. “Worth a shot though, let’s go take a look around the maze.”

There were a few new features. Nothing big though, a pit trap, some giant rats, a clown for some reason.  I handled them pretty easily, knowing the labyrinth like the back of my hand came in handy whenever it had changed. We scouted the whole thing, avoiding only the mirror’s corridor, I thought it might have been a little too much for his first go.

And then somehow, suddenly, we were there.  That mirror stood taunting me, and I had somehow been drawn right to it as we scouted the place.  “Stay away from that mirror, it’s the only thing in here I couldn’t manage to get rid of from my time alone, I don’t know what it might do to you.”

I could see him squinting to try to see it more clearly. “Actually, it doesn’t look like a mirror at all, maybe a window of some kind? I see a woman waving at me. We should go check it out.”

Before I could protest, he was running down the hall, with me several steps behind. As we got closer I realized he was right, it was the same wood sided mirror that I had all but memorized in my time here, but now it was reflecting another world, and there was an elf like grey haired woman beckoning to us.

“Don’t try to touch it” I warned, he was standing inches from it now. I caught up and stood by his side, from this distance it was clear she was beckoning to him, not me.
“I think she wants me to take her hand.” He wasn’t wrong, but everything I had seen about this mirror had been a trick so far, sometimes I’d come over here and throw rocks in its direction just to have it conjure some monsters to fight.

“I don’t think that’s a good move, that mirror has got teeth worse than mine, kid.”

“But were you trying to destroy it at the time?” For eightish this kid was pretty insightful. I guess I had always taken an adversarial stance with it, and it had clearly changed, but there was no way of knowing if it wasn’t a trick or illusion.

“You’re right, but there’s no way of knowing if anything does happen, if it’s a real effect or one of the mirror’s illusions.”

“We haven’t found any other way out, and I have a good feeling about this. I want to try.”

I nodded, I could tell he was resolved to do it, and it wasn’t my place to stop him. He reached out and placed his palm on hers, and just like that he was gone, as was she, and the mirror was a mirror once more.

I stood starting at my reflection, not sure if I had freed or doomed that kid, and realizing now I may never know. She was clearly not there for me, for worse or better. I resisted the urge to try smashing it, more because I didn’t feel like a fight at the moment than anything else. I slowly walked back to my fire, in a labyrinth that had once more become static, and empty, more so now for the spark of hope that had just gone out.

I sat starting at the fire, noticing that even that hid a repetitive pattern that revealed itself after watching for long enough, kind of like a fake fireplace that never actually burned the logs within, another illusion when it all came down to it.

“Minoas!” I nearly fell out of my chair as I stood to face the familiar voice. It was that same kid!

“How… How did you…”

“It was amazing! As soon as I touched her hand, I was reborn into another body. I lived out my life, which was unfortunately fairly short, as I had cancer real young, but I remembered you  and your help getting through the maze, and was able to tell all my friends about this place before passing back down here. I figured you wouldn’t mind.” He flashed me a grin.

“Now, I’m hoping to get a run longer than seven years this time, so would you mind?”

He told me all about his life, how he had gotten a wish, and met his favorite celebrity, how it hurt a lot less than he thought, and how he was happy to see my again, and hoped the word would spread about this particular path through the darkness.”  He hugged my leg as we got to the mirror, this time it seemed like the woman smiled at me as we were walking up, but it was hard to tell from that distance, and after saying or goodbyes she disappeared just the same.

At least now I knew that I had made a difference in one life, and that I hadn’t allowed him to doom himself to some dark fate in that mirror. I began to hum greensleeves as I walked back to the fire, then singing it as the words returned to my memory.  I turned the last corner to see a dozen children huddled around the fire, and I stopped singing, suddenly remembering what it was to be embarrassed as they all started giggling. The kid had done it. “I’m Minoas, guardian of this place.” I could hear the labyrinth springing to life behind me. “Come with me, I know the way out”

“Tell us a story first! One of the younger kids yelled from the back.

“Yeah, a story!” They all cheered.

I tried to keep my stoic exterior as I could feel my heart beaming within me, and a smile starting to creep into my face.  “Let me tell you about Ed, a little redheaded scamp, the unlikely hero who managed to save a monster no one else could reach.”


~ by songoflove on April 6, 2017.

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