After a brief introduction from a Lycan welcoming us to his island, I zoned out in a state of utter bewilderment. Only when the other women ran forth to choose an entrance, did I snap out of my trance-like state, and took my place at one of the entrances. After the sound of the horn, we all ran blindly into the abyss that awaited us.
I pressed my palms against the rough sandstone wall, that I'd almost collided with. I could have sworn the passageway led straight on, but it seemed I was mistaken.
Or had I been?
Perhaps it was a just trick of the moonlight, casting shadows, or maybe I had just witnessed the walls move, all on their own.
The Labyrinth couldn't possibly be changing, could it?
I looked both left and right in confusion. It looked as if there was an opening further along to the left of me. So I raced towards it, only for it to move farther away.
How could that be?
The more I ran towards it, the farther away it seemed to get. I broke off running out of frustration and screamed in temper. I twisted around to face the opposite direction, to see if that way looked any better. My eyes narrowed as I acknowledged something that wasn't there before.
I sucked in a sharp breath as my eyes widened in realization.
There was an opening in the wall, right beside me. It wasn't noticeable from the opposite angle. Instead of rushing towards it, I approached it with caution. It was so strange, appearing to look like a solid stone wall, but when I narrowed my eyes, I could see an opening, just like an optical illusion!
It stayed as it was, enabling me to pass through it, with ease.
My mind filled with so many questions. I had to shake my head, in order to clear my thoughts. I had to maintain a level head. God knows I had an overactive imagination, so I didn't want it to get the better of me.
The passage led me down a short flight of stairs. I recognized strange symbols that had been etched into the sandstone walls, however, as I looked more closely, I observed there were similar markings on the pavement too.
One particular symbol stood out from the rest. It was exactly the same as the one over the main entryway that I chose. It was made up of three spirals. It made me wonder whether it held any significance to the type of obstacles I would likely face. It was just a theory, so I could be wrong.
I wondered whether I'd have noticed it if I hadn't held a level head. Perhaps what I needed to do, was to remain calm. It would serve me no good to panic and make silly mistakes along the way.
This maze was proving difficult to solve. It was so hard to find each opening. I resorted to patting along the walls in a desperate attempt to put myself as far from the beginning of the Labyrinth as possible. I doubted that I'd made significant progress, especially as it took me long enough to figure out how to find the openings.
I worried about running into a dead end and becoming lost. There had been a few split-second decisions about which route to choose. Many times I attempted to double back, only to find the way behind me barred. Each time I doubted myself, the less confident I felt.
I narrowed my eyes as I approached, what I would've thought, was a dead-end, only to discover that it was some sort of optical illusion.
The way ahead appeared as a solid sandstone wall, just like the rest of the passages, only it wasn't. I could see the image distort, ever so slightly, as I squinted my eyes. There would be no way I would have noticed this if I had raced past in a hurry.
I reached out to touch the image and felt a strange tingling sensation as my hand passed straight through it. I quickly snatched it back and inspected it for any damage, turning it around in front of my face. It looked perfectly fine, and it didn't hurt.
I took a deep breath and plunged headfirst through the wall, realizing immediately that it was a hidden doorway. I stepped through it, looking around as I went.
It hadn't occurred to me to keep track of the time. My fingers brushed against the shaving knife that was securely tucked away in the band of my underwear. I wondered if I'd have the courage to use it if the opportunity presented itself.
Could I commit murder?
Thou shalt not kill, was the worst of the ten commandments to defy. It wasn't in my nature to inflict harm, but my situation was desperate.
I thought occurred to me, that perhaps I could reason with the warrior that hunted me. I immediately thought of Konrad and how he had been so considerate. Maybe he wasn't the only one that was capable of showing compassion. I cringed as I thought, 'here I go again'. Naïve Amara, who was so eager to trust.
Just as I was lost in my thoughts, I stepped on a paving stone that sunk into the floor. I cried out in shock, having not been watching where I was going.
I stopped still, holding my breath and waiting with trepidation as what was going to happen.
There was a low rumbling sound of stone moving against stone. I then shrieked in fright as the corridor began to close in on itself.
There was no time for hesitation. I needed to run! And run fast!
I moved as fast as my legs could carry me. My lungs burst ablaze as the cold night air tore its way down my throat, as coarse as jagged ice.
I could see the way ahead, clearly. The opening narrowed as the walls closed in. I let out a determined scream, as I leapt through the end of the passage and into another section of the Labyrinth.
As my shoes made contact with the ground, I slipped on the smooth flooring which caused me to fall backwards. I slid across the tiled surface and crashed into the opposite wall with a thud.
I heard a crunching sound as the stone walls collided together, and strained around to see that the moving corridor had completely sealed up behind me. If I hadn't been quick enough, I would've been crushed to death.
That was not an illusion of any sort. That was real. I lay slumped, panting on the floor as my body shook with adrenaline.
I couldn't believe how close I'd come to being killed. All because I was lost in my wandering thoughts. I needed to stay alert in a place like this. It wouldn't do me any good to daydream.
The tiled floor beneath me felt cold and smooth. I leaned up on one elbow, bracing myself as I struggled to stand. Using my best effort, I winced as I pulled myself up to my feet. As soon as I applied weight on my right foot, I hissed with the pain. Things had taken a turn for the worse. I'd twisted my ankle, and would be captured in no time.
My right thigh felt as if it would bruise badly, having taken most of the impact. I used the wall for support as I limped along the dimly lit corridor, groaning through gritted teeth.
The clouds parted in the night's sky overhead, allowing the silvery light of the moon to illuminate the Labyrinth. I jumped, startled, as the surroundings began to manifest into something else once more.
I let out an anxious breath as the passages ahead transformed into a maze of mirrors.
"Quel genre de sorcellerie est ce?" (What kind of sorcery is this?)
I gave out a slight sob as I'd just had one of my fears confirmed. The labyrinth changes. It's as if it has a mind of its own, or that perhaps it was enchanted.
That may explain those strange incantations on the outside walls. It led me to wonder who had built this place and whether dark magic had been used to bring it to life.
It was in this very moment, that I actually feared that I would die in here. My heart sank as I realized what I was up against.
A frantic gasp escaped my lips as I looked around, seeing my reflexion everywhere I turned. It became almost impossible to find my way around the maze. All I could see were mirrors and my own pathetic image, staring back at me.
I resorted to feeling my way around, patting each mirrored panel. The deeper I went, the more frightening it became. I started to hear voices and menacing laughter.
My own reflection began to take on a more gruesome appearance. I spun around full circle, completely terrified as I became surrounded. The faces staring back at me began to laugh mockingly. Their features began to distort into something that I'd only ever faced in nightmares. Demonic, onyx black eyes, cracked, pale skin, sharp teeth and pointed nails.
I screamed, squeezing my eyes closed and covered my ears with a desperate attempt to muffle the horrific sounds. Then suddenly it all fell silent.
I trembled whilst anguished sobs left my lips. I'd been too terrified to open my eyes through fear of what I would see.
As I began to open my eyes slowly and remove my shaking hands from my ears, I blew out a relieved breath, discovering they'd all gone. Only to turn around and come face to face with a demonic looking version of myself, staring back at me in only one of the mirrors. The other surrounding mirrors held no reflexion at all, not even my own.
I jumped back, screaming, as I watched it step towards me. It hadn't been a reflection at all. It was standing in front of an opening. I felt my back hit a mirrored panel, behind me. I desperately reached for the knife I carried against my thigh.
The demonic image advanced towards me, slowly making a rough crackling sound from its throat. I held the knife out in front of me, so once it came close enough, I could swipe at it with the blade. I did just that, only to watch wide-eyed, as the blade sliced right through it as if the grotesque figure was made of thin air.
"You're not real," I whispered.
Hot tears spilt freely down my cheeks as the image slowly faded into a light mist, then disappeared completely.
I slid down the mirrored wall, clutching my hair in my hands and shaking as I cried in hysterics.
I couldn't tell what was false from genuine. I was certain that these illusions had the potential to drive you to the point of insanity.
It was only when I heard the low rumbling sound of the second horn being blown, that I pulled myself up to my feet. Pain shot up my leg and bile burned as it rose up my throat, threatening to spill the contents of my stomach onto the marble tiles.
I wiped my eyes with the back of my left hand, as I kept the shaving blade clutched firmly in my right.
I limped through the gap where the frightening image once stood, outstretching my arms and patting each side of the passage as I struggled to walk.
As I placed my left palm on one of the mirrored panels, I felt it give way. My heart leapt with hope as I pushed my way through, now finding myself in an extravagant dining hall, filled with food.
In front of me was a large grand table, laden with a lavish mouth-watering feast, fit for a king.
I jumped in shock as the door behind me slammed shut. Then watched in amazement as it transformed itself into part of the new scenery, becoming a tapestry that was hanging from a wall.