Far off in the west, near California, was a peculiar speck of land. It was a large strip of green, slowly turning brown. One area, from afar, looked to be a sports stadium surrounded by…helicopters? Not a normal sight. Past the enormous stadium was a great square wall, and inside were a group of completely identical apartment complexes. Past the square wall was another great stadium, reflecting the great beams of light that came from the Sun.
The Special Institute for The Chosen had never been so quiet. The great apartments that cast long shadows against the floor had once been filled to the brim with rowdy, excited kids waiting to discover what the meaning of life was. But now, only the dust crawled across the floors and entered the old, creaky elevators. In the great Cafeteria, where the dome-shaped walls grew high up and bent toward the ceiling, there was once a great chatter about as young individuals munched on delicious meals. Now, there was dead silence. It might seem pretty odd that there was all this free space, but if someone were to explore the Auditorium, and find the tall, grey iron door in the left-bottom corner, they might find something…mysterious. Or even something horrifying. For past that door, down the dimly-lit stairs, one might as well be entering Hell itself.
Screams. Screams, and blood splatting on walls, and unknown creatures roaring into the darkness. This is a nightmare, a never-ending spiral of black and red, one of those monsters under your bed; this is the Labyrinth.
. . .
It was once silent in one of the many halls of the Labyrinth. But that cloak of silence was now pierced by someone panting and gasping for air.
“Hahhh, hahhhh, hahhh.”
She had done it. She had killed one of the hideous monsters that the Institute had created and sent out to kill her. The girl had killed a Screecher. She had stepped over its dead body, with the huge, muscular arm draped over its thin, bony one. The face was still covered with a paper plate, with a crudely drawn smile on it. The hideous beast, the murderer of children, who had once been filled with the breath of life, now remained now and forever silent.
Killing the monster had cost the girl many things. For instance, blood. A ton of it. The horrible creature had screeched and tore at the girl’s arm, piercing the skin and sending blood gushing out and pain exploding in the girl’s arm. Killing the Screecher had also cost her another wound; on her left thigh. The Screecher had also scratched at it, not too deep, but still enough to create blood dripping down, down, down. Her head was filled with tiredness, nausea, and she desperately needed to vomit.
She put one bloody hand on the wall.
“Need… to find… the checkpoint,” she puffed to herself through gasps of air. And then she began to limp. Down the hall, past the dead, lifeless carcass of the hulking Screecher she had killed. There was an intersection in the hall; it split with another path leading both left and right. The girl went down the right path. Blood kept dripping down her thigh, so she ripped off her sweater arm and tied it around the dripping wound.
The path led to a set of stairs, ending with an iron sliding door. Climbing up the steps, the girl felt a wave of warm, friendly calm wash over her. She smiled. The iron sliding doors at the top opened up, leading to a brightly lit area that released a fresh gust of air.
The girl known as Autumn Falls sighed, and entered the Labyrinth’s checkpoint.
. . .
After hearing how one of my best friends had survived and reached the checkpoint of this deadly maze, known as the Labyrinth, I realized that Autumn Falls was probably one of the bravest people I’d ever get to know. Other than her intimidating light blue-grey eyes that paralyzed you on the spot, Autumn also had unbelievable strength, as told from her fight with the Screecher. Finally, Autumn definitely had guts. A lot of them.
Let’s backtrack. I’m Hillburn Sunblight, a kid who was kidnapped alongside many others and put in a private school created by a man known as Tomhall Williams. Little did we know, we would be educated by some of the most gifted teachers ever for six months, then put in a great maze known as the Labyrinth. But that’s not all. Lurking down the corridors and halls of this gigantic puzzle were monsters called “Screechers”, genetically mutated and enhanced creatures that had the ability to chomp your head off if they wanted. During this span of six months, I had befriended two other people about the same age as me; Autumn and Andre. We had equally gotten to know each other, and we were like siblings.
We were all presently in one big room that was like a forest. We were sitting on the dirt floor, and Autumn had just finished catching us up on everything that had happened on her end.
“So, guys, how did you two make it this far?” she asked.
I looked at Andre, and he read my mind. Autumn had just gone through a great multitude of events. She was probably still recovering from the shock of encountering a Screecher, as well as recovering from her severe wounds. It probably wasn’t a good time to make her worry even more.
“Hillburn and I ran into each other running madly about, but other than that, nothing much.” Andre tried his best to look calm and collected.
Autumn wasn’t deceived. “If so, then why do both of you have cuts, scrapes and bandages?” She raised a suspicious eyebrow.
“Well, I bumped my head, scraped my arm, and damaged my leg by running into Andre,” I replied to her new question, but soon I realized that lying wasn’t going to help me anymore.
Autumn fixed us both with her infamous cold-eyed stare. The intensity had risen, and I broke into a cold sweat.
“Look, I ran into a Screecher, and it tore at my leg. My other wounds were also given by another Screecher,” I said quickly, and then, I took off my bandages. The gash on my lower leg had healed, not fully, but the skin had closed. It was just a small faded-blood-red mark. The other wound on my leg had fully healed, now just a slight bump near my elbow. Thankfully, the small scrapes and scratches on my head and arms were healed, and now there was no memory of them remaining on my skin.
Autumn had slapped me twice, across each of my cheeks. Tears had begun to form under her pale-colored eyes.
“You… you idiot.” Autumn had also slapped Andre across his face, for he had taken off his bandages, revealing a large cut on his arm, a slight gash that had formed on his forehead, and a scrape on his elbow. “You idiots. You call that ‘nothing much to know’?”
Autumn had fully turned on the waterworks. Water gushed from her pale greyish-blue eyes, racing down her cheeks, and dropping down onto the dirt floor.
“Why’d you have to lie? You’ve only made me worry more!” Autumn then launched off the dirt floor. I closed my eyes, expecting her to punch Andre and I out of anger, but I didn’t expect her to tackle us both in a tight bear-hug. It seemed she was trying to say something, but it was murmured and we couldn’t determine what words she was saying.
“Easy there, Autumn.” soothed Andre as he patted her back. “We’re all in this together. Hillburn and I were also worried. Really worried. But hey, what matters is that we’re all together again.”
The three of us lay there, on the cool dirt ground, and I wished we could stay like this forever. No deaths, no losses, no pain, no Screechers, just the three of us.
. . .
“So, we’re doing this?” asked Andre, nervously as the three of us stood in front of the Forest-Room’s exit.
It had been three hours. We had just sat there, talking, chilling out, enjoying each other’s company.
“Well, we’re all together, we’ve got each other’s back, so let’s do this,” assured Autumn. There was also a slight waiver of nervousness in her voice, meaning that she was also hesitant to leave the comfort of this room.
“Oh what the heck. Here we go!” I murmured as Autumn opened the door.
It opened and led to a dimly-lit sewer hall. The only light that lit the path came from a row of lightbulbs, hanging on the ceiling. I stepped first into the hall, and immediately hated the place. The floor was wet. And water began to soak my clothes, my shoes, and began to slowly climb up my leg; tickling the hairs on them.
“Yuck.” I stuck out my tongue.
“Tell me about it,” groaned Autumn. Andre said nothing, but his face was akin to the one of a farmer who has discovered that a rat has infested his potato garden.
Walking down the sewer hall was no easy feat. The water stuck to my shins, pulling down like wet cement, making me put my full strength into moving my two legs. Also, the light was very dim, so I had to walk (or struggle to walk) towards the left wall to get a better grip on my surroundings. When pressed against it, my hand felt something slimy and snot-like on the stone surface.
The three of us stopped. What was that noise? Could it be another monster?
“Are you sure the Screechers are efficient in wiping out everyone?”
Sigh. Somewhere above us was Mr. Tomhall, the Institute’s founder and creator of the Labyrinth. We kept sloshing towards the end of the hall.
“Yes sir. Remember, the kiddos must be scared outta’ their guts. They’ll be petrified, unable to move, making it easier for the Screechers to get at ’em’.”
That unmistakably grumbly-like voice belonged to one of the Agents who guarded the Institute and kept us in line. Hinfield. Or, as I would like to call him, Honeybeard (because of his grumbly, bear-like voice).
“I am beginning to question whether your statements contradict reality,” grumbled Mr. Tomhall. There was a “clack, clack, clack,” that usually comes from walking on metal floors, and we heard the two mens’ voices no more. It had been a while since we heard people from the outside world, and it was a relief to know that this nightmare would eventually pass, and we could return to the norms of life, away from pain and misery inside this rotting place.
The norms of life. No more being afraid, living in a safe, comforting home where monsters were just a myth. That was what Andre, Autumn and I were striving for.
By the time they had finished speaking, the three of us had made it to the end of the sewer-hall. Suddenly, the water began to drain, and the lights grew brighter. We were standing in front of a large metal door; not sliding, but old fashioned with a shiny silver doorknob. I grasped the knob, and turned it. It was locked. I tried again. Again, it was locked.
“Looking…for…THIS?” rasped a voice behind us.
It was an Institute Agent, clad in SWAT armor and all. However, there was something wrong with him, like he was ill. His face was sweating furiously, and his eyes kept darting back and forth, left and right, up and down. Suddenly, the agent crouched, and let out a growl.
The agent’s body began to bulge. His arms started to grow, ripping the shirt he was wearing, and his pants began to tear apart, revealing large, hairy spider legs.
The agent’s face was no longer human. It was in the shape of one, but the eyes changed and mutated into four wolf eyes, each with lined pupils. His mouth had changed to the one of a crab, and it began to chitter loudly. Finally, the agent’s arms had become akin to a crab, only with small, spiked objects running along the elbow and below.
Then the newly mutated Screecher took something from behind its back, and revealed it to be a key. It then swallowed the sacred item.
“Oh boy,” sighed Autumn. Andre was frozen with fear. I tried my best to keep calm, but I couldn’t stop my heartbeat from beating like a loud drum.
The Screecher let out what seemed like a laugh, then dived towards me. I quickly stepped to the side, letting the hideous beast slam itself headfirst into the wall behind me. It then kicked me in the stomach, still on the ground, sending me flying across the hall and banging my head on the metal wall.
“Hillburn!” cried out the two of my friends as they rushed to my aid. But the monster wasn’t done yet. It got up, and rushed toward Andre.
“GUYS, HELP!” Andre was being lifted in the air by his left leg, and it seemed to be causing him a great deal of pain. He let out a howl. Then the Screecher lifted his right arm, while he held Andre’s leg in the left, and made a slicing motion at Andre’s left knee. The hit impacted the knee with a loud “Crack!”.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The Screecher had broken Andre’s left knee, severing connection with his leg below the kneecap.
“Hillburn, get up!” Autumn grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me forcefully. I nodded my head, still a bit dazed. “We need to kill it. It’s either it or Andre.”
I was now fully awake.
“You distract him, and I’ll take off the caps off the light bulbs. Then when I give a signal, lead him towards the lights. You should close your eyes when that happens,” whispered Autumn to me, hastily.
I nodded. Then our plan came into play. I started to shout at the Screecher, still holding Andre by the leg.
“Hey, you idiot! I bet a baby could cry a much louder howl than you! And, I think you’re as weak as a worm!”
The Screecher looked at me, mouth foaming and twitching madly. Then he dropped Andre (thankfully on his back) and ran towards me, all spider legs cluttering and sending small clicking noises echoing on the floor. I nodded at Autumn, and she dove past the monster and began to unscrew the lightbulb covers, while shielding her eyes from the light.
The Screecher had made a punch toward my chest. I ducked, and rolled to the right. It then turned around and slammed at the floor. I thanked my reflexes from learning martial arts again as I jumped away from the beast’s strike. But then, the Screecher pounced on me as I jumped and tackled me on the floor.
“I’m gonna bite your sorry little face off, you brat!” The Screecher howled. I pushed its face away from my eyes, feeling the foam of its mouth wet my fingers. But then, I began to scream in pain, because the foam was slightly acidic. It burnt my skin. So then, I dove my fingers into its four wolf-like eyes. Blood spewed as the creature howled.
“Hillburn, get away and close your eyes!” hollered Autumn from behind the Screecher. I tore away from its body as Autumn stabbed an uncovered lightbulb in the back of its head, in its wounded eyes, and in its disgusting mouth.
“GRAWWwwwWWWwwWWwwww!” howled the Screecher as tons of foam poured down its mouth. The acid started to mix in with the lightbulb’s electricity, and soon, small sparks began to appear near the mouth.
“Autumn, run!” I screamed, and then my body began to move on its own. I jumped forward, tackled the girl, and heard a disgusting “BloorGhh!”. I quickly got off Autumn, who had closed her eyes, and then turned around and saw a great cloud of smoke.
After the smoke cleared, there was truly a disgusting sight to behold. The Screecher’s head had blown straight off, sending little bits of flesh and blood to everywhere in the room. The body was still intact, except for the area near the collarbone, which had also blown to bloody bits. I thought I could see the burnt remains of a heart and lungs in there. And then I spotted Andre, lying just a few feet away from the dead carcass.
“Andre!” I crawled towards him, and sighed. He was just knocked unconscious, slightly snoring.
“How is he?” asked Autumn, who had just gotten up and walked over to where I was.
I smiled and gave her a thumbs up. She sighed. Then looked disgustingly at the dead Screecher’s body.
“It swallowed the key, so…” Autumn coughed and wrinkled her nose. “Disgusting.”
After rolling Andre on his back, I stood up, and stood beside Autumn. “Here we go,” I muttered as we both used the Screecher’s limp right claw-like arm to cut open the stomach and search for the remains of the key.
. . .
No luck. Cutting open the stomach had only let loose stomach acid, both Autumn and I had both pounced back to avoid. After the stomach acid had dribbled out, Autumn and I had dove into looking for the key, grabbing at guts and intestines that squelched as we touched them and set them on the floor.
There was also, as expected, a ton of blood. The strange thing was that it should have been red, or at least brownish-red, but instead, the blood was green.
“Any luck?” asked Autumn while trying to stop herself from barfing at the dead carcass.
“No, as I can see from how you’re doing, you don’t have any luck, either?” I replied. Autumn looked at me with her cold eyes, both fiercely gazing upon me in annoyance. “I guess not,” I shrugged, and sighed.
Just then, the two of us heard someone cough. We turned and saw that Andre had just woken up, and was trying to stop himself from crying.
“I can’t feel my left leg.” whispered Andre when he saw us both looking at him, mournfully.
Just then, I felt something touch my fingers from inside the Screecher’s body. It seemed to have the shape of a pencil; a cylinder-like shape, but at the very end of the object was a much thicker, more squarish end. I grasped the mysterious object and pulled out the remains of the key. It still had its key-shape, but it was softer and would probably break if we ever tried to push it into the lock of the door.
“Nice one, Hillburn,” groaned Autumn, sarcastically. Andre looked at me quizzically, then remembered that the Screecher had swallowed the key and that we were searching through the monster’s body for it.
“You guys are gross,” muttered Andre.
Autumn’s pale-grey eyes suddenly flickered, and she began to tug at the Screecher’s arm.
“We’ll use the arm of this thing.” she said, eyes shining with excitement. “We can tear it off and ram it against the door.”
She then proceeded to tear off the arm. I began to hold down the opposite side, so that she could tear it off even easier. Soon, the flesh began to make the sound of paper ripping, and blood spurted out.
After we had successfully completed our plan, we both carried the limp, crab-like arm to the door, and began to slam it against the door.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
The door fell down with a Clunk! And then, I thought about how we could get Andre moving again.
I decided to wrap his left leg up with mine, and put his arm around my right shoulder. He smiled, sadly, and we both limp-walked over to Autumn, who sighed and gazed at me, almost saying “Thank you,” .
Past the door was a large set of stairs, and above, light peered through. It was near the end. And with that, the three of us began to climb up the stairs to our freedom.
. . .
Light had greeted us at the top of the stairs. It wasn’t the cold type of light; the one that you see after being woken up abruptly. It was the warm, calming light that only came from scented candles and the Sun.
We had finally reached the End. The End of the Labyrinth. It was a huge relief. This was our reward for our hard work. And I was enjoying it as slowly as time would allow me.
“We’ve finally made it,” sighed Autumn, her pale-greyish-blue eyes glinting in the Sun. I looked at Andre, who smiled at me with relief. We could return to our normal lives; going to school, eating at restaurants, making new friends while cherishing our old ones, and finally, just knowing that we were safe once more.
We were mostly surrounded by endless green grass and bright green hills that cast long shadows on the ground. The wind whispered, and it kissed our hair and touched our cheeks with the familiar warmth of home. The grass was just like my hometown; bright green, cut short, and soft. Very soft. It was like the clouds that you see in cartoons and fantasy movies; filled with fluff and quite comfortable.
The sun was bright that day. Nothing escaped its warmth, and the Sun’s bright light cast shadows almost everywhere.
I looked around. There were the endless strips of green, which made everything look like something drawn in a picture book, and there was also the occasional hill that was slightly raised above the ground. To the right of us was a large, blue pool of water. I limped with Andre over, and helped him kneel down while I sank to wash my face smeared with blood and grime.
Water never felt so good. It refreshed me, and from the look on Autumn and Andre’s faces, it was like they hadn’t had it in forever. The wet liquid soaked into my skin, making me fully awake and alert. It also wet my hair, making me feel cool and refreshed.
“Hey, what are those?” asked Andre with curiosity as he looked into the distance. I squinted where his eyes were. In the distance was a group of black blobs, evenly spaced. I helped Andre get up, and nodded at Autumn. She understood my face and got up as well. Together, the three of us began to walk towards the mysterious objects in the distance.
The black blobs were helicopters. They were sleek, and aerodynamic. Their paint glimmered in the sunlight. I touched the surface of one and immediately regretted my decision. The metal was bruning to the touch, and it singed my fingertips. I cradled my hand before walking past the first row of choppers with my friends.
The rows of helicopters seemed normal, until we passed one that had been streaked with something colored brown-red. Autumn sniffed the unknown substance, and covered her nose in disgust.
“Blood,” she murmured. Andre looked at me worriedly, but I kept my expression blank. And then we walked past that row, and saw the carnage.
Bloody remains of Agents covered the grassy floor, staining the green and the metal of some nearby choppers. Some were clumped together, in mangled positions while some were lying alone on the floor. There were shoes, arms and hands all torn across the surrounding area.
“What…could have done this?” whispered Autumn with fear. But she already knew the answer. A Screecher. But how could it have gotten up and out of the Labyrinth? And how could it kill its own creators? Then, just to answer my question, someone behind us spoke.
“Well, my dear child, I did.” It was Mr. Tomhall. He wore rimmed-glasses, and he was also donning his classic black suit, even in the humid weather. Sweat was pouring down his forehead, and his eyes were wide open, amused. Beside him was a large, black dog. It looked like a greyhound, but much fatter and stronger. Something was off with this dog. It looked more muscular, and its eyes were blood-red. And then, the dog began to transform.
Something was moving within the dog’s great black belly. The unknown thing inside was moving around, and then, the dog’s back burst in blood. The dog had revealed large, spiky, white bones protruding from its spine, and the dog bared its teeth. The teeth, of course, were covered in blood. Then the dog’s arms grew into large, reptilian columns of scales and slime, and the dog let out a growl.
Two things began to poke out of the mutant dog’s collarbone. The skin ripped apart, revealing two large wolf heads that had each had one bulging, menacing eye that fixed upon my friends and I.
“This…is Rosie. Our newest and most dangerous Screecher up to date,” said Mr. Tomhall, stroking his perfectly trimmed beard like nothing was happening. “Get ready for an anatomy lesson in Screechers, children. This one,” continued the man in the suit, with an English accent, “is made up of three different creatures. Anyone up for a guess?”
Andre shook his head fiercely while Autumn locked her eyes on Mr. Tomhall. “Idiots, stupidity and a grain of salt?” she guessed, clearly joking while giving the man her classic-cold glare at the same time.
The man beside the drooling Screecher shook his head, with a face of false pity. “No, no, darling. This girl right here’s made from canines, certain reptiles, and,“ he smiled a toothy grin, “stegosaurus.”
Autumn laughed. But it wasn’t a hearty laugh- no, it was nervous laughter. “Stegosaurus? You gotta be kidding me.”
But Tomhall wasn’t joking. He smiled a grin that was akin to the Joker’s (Batman), which showed all his pearl-white teeth and giggled manically. “You really are stupid, don’t you know that? Which is why I’m going to end your lives right here and now!” He then snapped his fingers, and Rosie dove toward us. I pushed Autumn and Andre out of the way, and, with Andre attached to me, the three of us ran into one of the rows of black choppers. The Screecher barked behind us.
We first went straight, then took a hard left into another row. We then ran (or limp-ran, with Andre) hard down the hall of vehicles. Finally making a turn right, we dove into a helicopter, crawled to the cockpit, and crouched, hopefully hidden from view. It was cramped, but hopefully, it would help save our lives.
“You can’t be saved, not now…” sang Mr. Tomhall, sounding like a sadistic killer in one of those horror movies. We could hear Rosie’s quiet growling, slowly getting closer and closer. Andre began to silently whimper.
“We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die,” Fear was growing in his dinner-plate sized eyes. Tears began to trickle down, hitting the metal floor and evaporating from the heat. I patted him on the back, and Autumn hugged him.
Suddenly, a faint growl sounded off nearby. The three of us stopped making noises, and froze. Time stopped. We could still hear Tomhall’s footsteps, trodding on the dirt and grass. He began to chuckle.
“You do forget,” he said, footsteps trudging near our hiding place inside the helicopter, “that Rosie was created from canines. Particularly wolves. And what do wolves do best?” He asked rhetorically. And then, placing his face against the glass windows of the chopper we were in, staring at us with a cheshire-cat smile, answered his own question. “Hunt.”
Growling came from behind us. Andre looked back in fear, but Autumn grabbed his chin and forced him to not look back. She stared at Tomhall, her eyes looking fierce and full of bravery. Tomhall laughed. “You three, out, now.” He gestured his right arm, pointing to his right, and snapped his fingers. Autumn cast a hand over Andre and I, and shook her head.
Tomhall’s smile seemed strained and forced. He closed his eyes, and breathed deeply. “The three of you, out. Now.” Autumn still kept her arm over both the two of us, and now, the kind persona of Mr. Tomhall had disappeared. Mouth frothing, hands fidgeting, head reddening, Mr. Tomhall looked like a child about to throw a misfit. “You bloody children. What part of ‘out, now’ don’t you understand? Get. The. HECK. OUT OF THIS VEHICLE!” There was a thud, and Mr. Tomhall yelped in pain. He had kicked the metal nose of the helicopter, and had unfortunately broken his toes. Rosie growled behind us. Autumn, then satisfied with Mr. Tomhall’s pain, walked out of the chopper, beckoning us to follow her.
“I guess you brats are evil, enjoying my pain.” murmured Mr. Tomhall, who was crouched over his broken foot. We trembled forth as Mr. Tomhall gazed upon us, like a serpent ready to dine on three, young mice. Rosie was panting behind us, sending large waves of heat down our backs, causing each of us to break into a cold sweat.
“Now then, we shall commence your execution,” said Mr. Tomhall with a hint of victory in his voice as he wiped the dust and dirt from his clothes. “I really do feel sorry for you three, you know? You could have grown up, gotten married, raised a family, those shenanigans. But sadly, fate has chosen you three to be sacrificed and sent to Heaven at an early age. Such a tragedy, really.”
Rosie circled us, her mouth drooling and craving our inner flesh. We stood still. Andre’s eyes grew back to the size of plates, and my heart began to pound like an engine. Time seemed to freeze. It had begun to rain, and each drop descended and fell on the dirt, making a soft pattering sound. It seemed the sky was sad; it was crying; didn’t want us to die.
“I really am sorry for the three of you. But hey, life isn’t a rose garden! So that’s that! Adios! Sayonara! Goodbye! ‘Hasta la vista’, see you all up there!” Mr. Tomhall grinned, and made a mock wave of farewell. But then, an ear-breaking blast rang through the air and the once grinning man in front of us yelped in pain. We turned to the right, where the sound of a gun being fired had come from.
It was Honeybeard Hinfield. An agent sent to abduct children and deliver them to the Institute; he had captured me and was the cause of all my pain, all my sorrow. I wanted to jump at him; to punch him until he was bleeding and on the brink of death. But he was the one who shot Tomhall, so I kept quiet.
“You killed all my bloody crewmates, you even betrayed my trust and sent a Screecher, which was my own creation to kill me? What kind of boss are ya?” The agent was wounded. There was a horizontal cut across his forehead, which was colored dry red and had remnants of blood that was once there. Honeybeard’s camo jacket was torn, and it looked like he had encountered a tiger.
Mr. Tomhall gazed upon his hand, which was now bleeding furiously. Then he looked upon Rosie, who was now panting with hunger. Then, the great beast tackled the horrified man and began to slowly, and painfully kill its victim.
“The flaw in Rosie is that she’s attracted to fresh blood,” grumbled Honeybeard, and he helped the three of us get up. “Best not to look.” I cast an annoyed look at him, but Honeybeard didn’t notice.
The four of us had exited the many rows of helicopters, and out into the bright green fields. It was almost sunset; the golden Sun was sinking into the horizon, enjoying its break as the pale Moon rose high into the dark blue sky semi-blanketed by clouds. The air was cool and crisp, and now, in the small pockets of sky that were uncovered by clouds, stars were beginning to blink at us.
I sighed, enjoying the moment that was unfolded before me. I turned to my two friends, while Honeybeard walked away, eying us from a distance.
“I guess this is it then,” said Andre, sadly.
Autumn then gazed upon both of us; silent but yet telling us something telepathically. Her eyes switched between Andre and I, saying; “don’t worry, we’ll see each other again”. And then she squeezed us both into a bearhug. Tears seemed to be streaming down her cheeks, but she covered her face with her hair and tried to fool us into thinking she was fine.
“Alright lads, let’s get a move on,” Honeybeard walked toward us, but his face showed the slightest bit of concern for the three of us.
We began toward one of the large hills in the distance, with me leading in front of the other two. The grass softly crunched beneath us. Then, out of the blue, Honeybeard asked me a random question.
“What was your motivation during the maze?”
I thought of the answer. My friends. Maybe. My family. Too vague. My father’s cooking. Could be an answer. My mom’s sweet 80s music. Arrgh, too many choices!
Then, it hit me. “Nothing much, really,” I answered, putting my hands in my pockets and looked at Honeybeard glumly. “I just wanted to live,” Honeybeard looked at me, his face unreadable.
“I also just wanted to go home.” And then I smiled.