Winner of April Challenge Week Prompt Two: The Maze
Written by ravenwood666may
The moment I opened my eyes, I knew that something was wrong. The air was stale and much colder than it should have been in my bedroom.
It took my brain a moment to realize that the hard surface I was lying on was the farthest thing from my cozy bed. There were also goosebumps covering my skin, but I wasn't sure if it was from the cold or something much more ominous.
Thinking it was just another vivid nightmare, I decided to keep my eyes closed. If I didn't see the danger, it might pass me by. Now that I think about it, I understand that it's a five-year-old's logic. I blame it on being incredibly sleepy, wanting to be somewhere warmer.
"Wake up! We need to move!" A familiar voice screamed, picking me up from the cold ground.
Not wanting to argue, I shuffled awkwardly with him as I pried my eyes open. It didn't help. The darkness was closing in on us. The only reason I knew my friend was next to me was because I could feel his hands pushing me forward.
"Marcus, come on, we have to move! It's catching up!" Tyson yelled as I dashed to action.
I had no idea what we were running from, but I could feel a scared note in his voice. Tyson didn't get frightened, ever. The fact that he was so terrified, had my adrenaline pumping and I was finally able to move on my own.
We were running on, into the darkness and the longer we ran, the more used my eyes were to the darkness. There wasn't much to see except for the uneven walls, closing in on us, but that didn't stop me. I followed my friend because I was sure he knew something I didn't and that we were in danger.
"Come on, our shelter is close now," he started encouraging me upon noticing that I was losing my breath.
'Our shelter?' I wondered.
The last thing I recalled was going to sleep after the party. As far as I knew, we didn't have a shelter. Yet, I didn't hesitate. I allowed him to lead the way, following close behind.
Suddenly, he came to a stop causing me to almost crash into him. He crouched, feeling around the pitch blackness that grew even darker towards the edges of the walls.
"What are you looking for? Shouldn't we be running?" I asked.
He turned swiftly towards me, measuring my answer. Then he shook his head and went on with what seemed to be a useless quest while his muted voice barely managed to reach me.
"Were you hit by Time Eraser, again? I told you to be more careful! This is the third time. I swear to God..." He started saying.
Before he could finish his sentence, we heard a loud grow echoing off the gloomy walls. It sounded enormous.
"No time. Come." He said.
Without thinking, I clasped his hand as he pulled me down. Only then did I notice a crawl hole that led downwards to who knew where.
"We've been here before, it's safe. You just can't remember. I'll explain when we are away from it. Deal?" He asked, noting my hesitation.
"Deal," I said, terrified.
We crawled much faster than I thought possible, and it felt familiar. Yet, I couldn't remember it. As far as I knew, we had never been in that place before, yet my body seemed to know the way, like muscle memory.
Finally, I could see Tyson had reached a bigger cave-like opening. I could see because he lit a torch to light our way. Having in mind how long we had crawled, I was sure that we were safe, yet that didn't stop me from shivering in fear.
We might have been safe from whatever was after us, but I still had no clue what was happening or where we were. It was utterly disorienting.
"Dude, are you okay? I thought I lost you for sure this time." Tyson said.
"I don't know. Where are we? What's going on? What do you mean 'this time'?" I asked in confusion.
"Ah, this is a time I wish I hadn't lost my cell in this whole mess. I could have played you the video of you explaining this to yourself." He said tiredly.
"Huh?" I asked.
"Okay, what's the last thing you do remember?" He asked.
"The party..." I said uncertainly.
"Oh, no... Full Wipe. Man, am I getting tired of those. You need to learn not to trust attractive women." He said exasperated.
"Okay, so I need you to shut up and listen to me. I am explaining this for the third time, and your questions are getting tiring." He said.
I started to remark something, but he hushed me.
"After the party, I came to your window, and we decided to take a swim at the lake. We were drunk and crazy. As luck would have it, we fell through a time portal and ended up here, in the Time Maze. As far as we've been able to piece it together, it is a maze that prevents any idiots, such as ourselves, from doing any premeditated time travel. The last time we tried to escape, we ended up in some castle, I don't know when, sixteenth-century maybe. Anyway, that's when we figured out we are not the only ones looking for a way out and that the first ones to find it survive. That's also when the charming girl, appealing for help, whacked you with the first Time Eraser, making you forget everything.
You see, we need to remember the maze well to chart it out and escape. Until now, I have been doing all the heavy lifting, and I am sick and tired of it.
"How will we ever get out of this maze?" I asked, earning another exasperated sigh from my friend.
"If you stop playing the hero, we'll figure it out." He said.