Your Story: the Maze

Your+Story%3A+the+Maze

Image by L. Uba

This story is interactive with the reader. Readers can choose different paths that are in bold at the end of each section (ex. Path 1). To go to your chosen path, find the path name (ex. Path 1) at the front of a section. Choose only one path to continue the story. If ends are shown (ex. End 1), that means your story path ended.

Those sensitive to blood, please be warned.

After entering the endless white abyss, defeating the maze’s monsters, and obtaining your sword, you’ve reached the final obstacle: the giant maroon dragon that blocks your path. You can see the bright light, your assumed prize, hovering above a white podium behind your challenger. So close, yet so far. All you have to do is slay this dragon to have a new life. You think about what led you here, what tempted you to take on this journey. Ah, yes. The old man in the alleyway. 

You were walking from school, towards the alley you call home. It was between two apartment buildings, which outlooked the busy street in front of you. A quaint little place, filled with mice and occasionally stray cats. Next to the dumpsters that lined the brick walls, was a sleeping bag and a discarded pillow — otherwise known as your bed. You sighed as you plopped down, snug against a dumpster, coldness filling your body. It was getting chilly.

Today was another day of getting beat up and made fun of for being a reject. Abandoned, they say. Discarded. Useless. Trash. Those words were all familiar to you. Even the teachers would help your tormentors. Not blatantly — of course — but would ignore your bruised face when they pass by. It was the same outside school. While you would walk home, no one helped you out. They either ignored you or looked the other way. You were invisible. But you were used to it. You were used to your sore body. You were used to your purpled skin. You were used to the blood. You were used to this. It was normal.

As you pondered about your food and health for the upcoming winter, you saw an old man waddling towards you. He was shaggy-haired, clothed with a worn-out t-shirt and baggy pants. The man was wrinkled and had a crazed look in his eyes.

“Hey, kid,” he said, smiling with crooked teeth.“Come with me.” 

You were hesitant, of course, because who would want to? This man looked like he chugged a gallon of soda based on his frizzled hair and stature. And stranger danger.

You were about to say no, yet the man later frenzied, “I’ll take ya away from here.”  Thoughts exploded in your brain. All suspicion dissipated and you could only think about the positives. You imagined your future if you agreed. It was filled with happiness, joy, and good health. This man could make my life better. This man could get me out of here. This man could be my savior! Elated, you agree and crawl towards him. You were desperate. 

“Glad ya agreed. Makes my job tons easier,” he said, placing a hand on your forehead. Like a pup, you awaited what happened next. But it wasn’t what you expected. He raised his free arm up and muttered something under his breath. Sound became muffled and wind blew around you. As he continued, his eyes started to glow and the dumpsters started to levitate. It was so overwhelming you started to cry for help and with a plop, it stopped and you were here.

Just white blank space. No alley, no oldie, nothing. There seemed to be no end and no beginning, like a white floor with distant white walls. You looked down and around, finding that floor was reflectable and smooth. Fumbling around, you addressed the elephant in the room: the giant cement maze. Right in front was a square-shaped and light grey maze with a rough texture, standing around two stories high and no roof. In the front was the entrance, slim and foreboding. After inspecting this new territory and uselessly shouting for help, you decided to enter the maze. As soon as you stepped in, the walls behind you merged, causing the entrance to disappear. Frightened, you looked back and tried to pry a new doorway… but to no avail. You sighed, I can only go up from here, and continued your trek.

You found interesting things on your journey. One: goblins exist and they live in dead ends. You tried to run away once but realize they have a knack for picking fights. Two: weapons are available once you defeat a goblin. You can only hold one weapon at a time and weapons have a time limit before they disappear. The remaining time is found on the hilt of a weapon. Three: exhaustion, hunger, and… outputs are nonexistent here. Four: there’s no day nor night, minutes nor hours, months nor years so you’re not sure how long you’ve been here.

And after all that, you made it. Peeking behind this cement wall, holding a recently obtained sword, peering at this big ferocious dragon. This is where it all ended up. Now what? 

To stay and fight the dragon, go to Path 1.  To run away, go to Path 2.

 

Path 1: Determination fills your mind. You can do this. You can do this, you repeat. Sword at hand (collected by defeating that last pesky goblin) you plan your fight strategy. 

To sneak attack, go to Path 3.

To charge, go to Path 4.

To make peace with the dragon, go to Path 5.

 

Path 2: Scared, you run away. True, you could get a new life by defeating the dragon and getting your prize. However, you realize that the dragon is too tough for you to defeat; you could die trying. So, you live the rest of your days trapped in the maze, endlessly defeating goblins and swerving away when you see the almighty dragon. End 1

 

Path 3: You decide to sneak attack the dragon. Hugging the wall, you try to avoid the beast but to no avail — you caught its eye. Its paw slams you against the ground. You try twisting and turning and even so, you can’t get out of the monster’s strong grip. Only your arms are free, still holding onto your weapon. Starting to get light-headed, you start tasting iron in your mouth. Drats, you think. I must’ve taken massive damage. Luckily I still have my sword to get out. But how?

To stab the dragon with your sword, go to Path 6.

To scream for help, go to Path 7.

 

Path 4: You decide to charge. Grabbing your sword, you swing it at the almighty dragon. The beast sees your plan at the last second and dodges. Fury ignites in its eyes as it swings a claw at you. It misses — barely. The dragon growls and starts prowling around you. Starting to get scared, you try to keep your eyes on the monster. What am I doing? I never had combat training. How did I have the courage to defeat it? True, I killed many goblins, but they had mindless techniques. This is the real deal. I could be eaten here, trapped within those ferocious teeth. I could burn here, crumbled into ashes. I could die here. I. Could. Die. Here. Caught up in your thoughts, you get dizzy and fall to the ground. In your moment of weakness, the dragon pounces and traps you with his paw. Luckily you still have your sword, except you can’t move your torso.  You’re stuck. What do you do? 

To stab the dragon with your sword, go to Path 6.

To scream for help, go to Path 7.

 

Path 5: You decide to talk to the dragon, you know, make peace. 

“Hey, man,” you say, walking out of hiding. “Look, all I want is a new life. I didn’t know I would be brought here. I just assumed that I would, poof, be brought into a womb or something and be a baby again. You get me?” 

The dragon looks at you wearily. You bet that it’s thinking about gobbling you up. Stop thinking that. Stop thinking that, you chant. Everything is going to be fine. 

Sweaty, you drop your sword. “See? I’m no threat to you. All I need you to do is to step aside so I —” You get eaten; good try, though. End 2

 

Path 6: Grasping at your sword, you try to puncture the dragon’s paw. Despite the overwhelming deliriousness, you succeeded. The dragon lets out a screech of pain while releasing you. Crumpling to the floor, you glance up at the dragon. In its paw, you left a gash that was glazed with black blood dripping down its scales. Your eyes follow a blood trail that plops on the ground. It sears through the floor cement causing the bottom to bubble and dissipate. If you were to have touched the blood, you would have bubbled alongside it. Scary… But, you got out of its grasp. Hooray! Now, the dragon hates you — no — loathes you and your entire existence. Hooray.

With such animosity, the dragon swipes at you with amazing speed and throws you against the wall, making you release your sword. By the strength and power of the dragon, you realize it was playing with you before. Struggling to get up, you try to spot your weapon which lays a few feet in front of you. You crawl towards it and at the corner of your eye, you see the dragon’s snout coming at you. Quickly snatching the sword, you try to dodge. You’re too slow. The dragon’s snout lifts you in the air and into its mouth.  You’re covered with saliva yet you’re still alive and with your blade. However, there’s no way out and you can only go down the throat. Plus, the time is running out. What should you do?

To stab the mouth with your sword, go to Path 8.

To slide down its throat, go to Path 9.

 

Path 7: You try to scream for help. 

“Someone, please! Save me,” you shout. Suddenly, you see a blue light flashing above you. Swirling around for a moment, it takes form into your guardian angel. “Oh, help me,” you plead.

Without speaking, your angel scoops you up out of the dragon’s grasp and up in the air. You dance around with your guardian, grasping hands and swinging around. Lights surround you and shape into the cats and mice that you saw in your home. Everyone is smiling and… haha. I apologize. 

I’m jesting.

Everything isn’t fine. You get so delirious you fainted, becoming instant food for the dragon. Great job. End 3

 

Path 8: Woozy, you decide to stab the dragon’s mouth because who would want to go down the throat? You want to survive. But what about its blood? You saw what it did on the ground. It sizzled through and it can do the same to you. However, either your dizziness or your pride shrugs it off.

So you raise your arms up and push the blade into the dragon’s tongue. Black blood squirts out and burns through your clothing. The pain is something indescribable. It’s as if you were tissue and a part of you was dissolved by water. Except a hundred times worse. You try to back away except you can’t. You don’t want to go down the throat and you can’t go through the mouth. You throw your sword, hoping it’ll act as a barricade but to no avail; the blood engulfs the blade. You just added oil to a fire. Drats. And the worst part? Synchronously, you and the dragon both scream in pain, causing more blood to gush. It gets to a point where blackness pools around, making you disintegrate feet up until you’re nothing. Curse your light-headedness. End 4

 

Path 9: You slide down its throat and latch onto the end once you realize what’s below. Underneath your dangling feet is bubbling green stomach acid. You realize one touch will destroy you so fear makes you climb back. What to do? What to do? After looking around, you plan to slice through and around its neck with your sword, decapitating the dragon from inside. But what about its blood? You saw what it did on the ground. It sizzled through and it can do the same to you. However, either your dizziness or your pride shrugs it off.

Determined, you stand up in the dragon’s throat, grasp your sword, and swing around. The insides are harder than you expect so you first try to puncture through and then swing. It works. The dragon roars, making your eardrums shake. But with two might 360s, the screams die out and the dragon’s top slides off. The monster is gone.

Relieved, you look up and whiteness fills your view — not the disgusting throat you saw moments earlier. But it’s not over. The dragon’s body is falling to the ground and the black blood gushes out. You can either jump or crawl down. Although, if you jump out from this height and speed, you might die. And if you crawl down, you might get burned by its blood or smashed by its descending body. Lady Luck has been on your side, but will she stay? 

To jump out of its throat, go to Path 10.

To crawl down, go to Path 11.

 

Path 10: You take your chances and jump, rolling once you touch the ground to lessen the impact. With disbelief, you look at the fallen dragon and you look at yourself. Your sword is gone, due to time running out, and you’re covered in dragon spit. Still, you stand there with shock on your face. I’m alive. I’m alive! I. Am. Alive! Taking the moment in, you fill with joy, excitement, and relief. All these emotions cause you to cry happy tears and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. It’s finally over. Now, to take your prize. You walk over to the column and touch the bright light hovering above. It’s warm and feels like you’re holding mist. Your eyes close as the warmth engulfs you, blanking out.

Go to Path 12.

 

Path 11: You decide to crawl out. Leaping onto one of the dragon’s leg, you swing yourself onto its back and bear hug until the dragon’s body thumps on the ground. You survived. With disbelief, you look at the fallen dragon and you look at yourself. Your sword is gone, due to time running out, and you’re covered in dragon spit. You stand there with shock on your face. I’m alive. I’m alive! I. Am. Alive! Taking the moment in, you fill with joy, excitement, and relief. All these emotions cause you to cry happy tears and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. It’s finally over. Now, to take your prize. You walk over to the column and touch the bright light hovering above. It’s warm and feels like you’re holding mist. Your eyes close as the warmth engulfs you, blanking out.

Go to Path 12.

 

Path 12: You wake up in whiteness, different than the other whiteness. It’s somehow glowing and no maze is seen. Quite peaceful, actually. Just waking up, you feel groggy but quickly become alert. You glance around you, making sure there’s no danger.

“At peace, kid. No harm will come here. Unless, of course, ya consider me as harm.” Searching around for the voice’s owner you spot an old man limping towards you. Instinctively, you reach for your sword but your hand passes through the air. You worriedly look at the old man and back up.

“Oh goodness,” the man exclaims. “I told ya I won’t hurt ya!” He waddles a bit more until he’s inches away from your face. He looks in your eyes and smiles with crooked teeth. “Now. How are ya, kid?”

You stutter to form a response when you see something familiar: those crazed eyes. Stammering, you say, “You! You… you put me here. You left me alone. You almost killed me! What are you here for this time?”

Oldie cackles and slaps you on the shoulder. “Ya got me! Listen, kid. I’m just here to present your prize. You won after all didn’t ya?” He continues before letting you answer. “Follow me.”

The old man limps past you and disappears into a cloud of light. You hurriedly follow through the cloud and appear on a lush green hill. Overhead, you see a beautiful view with a variety of landscapes, animals, cultures, and people. From the mountains to the tropics, the sheep to the dolphins, it’s breathtaking.  People are bustling around having a jolly ol’ time. It’s almost someone hit copy and paste on Earth and, in some way, made it better. Whoever created this must’ve been a god to create something as dazzling as this.

Taking in the view, Oldie pops by your side and holds out his hand. “Isn’t it a beaut? Well this, kid, is your new home. Welcome.”

 

You’ve been in your new home for a while. You stay in a well-off apartment in the city. At first, it felt weird living in a better place than you did before. But you got used to it. When you first got in, you were greeted by the Elders, Oldie being one of them.  They explained that they ran the place and were the “government” of this area, also explaining that currency, hunger, nor exhaustion exists here — though some partake for enjoyment. You asked some questions about the maze which they replied that mazes were set because our creator likes to have some fun. You weren’t sure what that meant but you shrugged it off. Later, they showed your new home and area. As they showed you around, you asked about the unconscious scattered bodies laying here and there. Some were splayed on the ground and some were inside buildings. But most were on the ground, limply holding homeless cardboard signs. When you’d try to shake their hands as a greeting, it went through air. You were confused because obviously, there was a person in front of you but you couldn’t feel them. The Elders waved it off saying that even our creator couldn’t get rid of us and we’d just have to deal with it. By now you were a bit wary about this place but didn’t complain. And thank goodness you didn’t.  You love it here.

The community is so kind and caring. All the people you meet were from Earth and lived a rough life before. They tell stories of their poverty days — scavenging for food, kicked by their peers, and shivering in the winters — then feeling excited when an Elder came and transported them to their maze. You felt at home because you were the same. You would scavage for food, be kicked by your peers, and shiver in the winters. You went through the maze, too, feeling elated at the start. It felt familiar.

As for your apartment, it’s comfy. Textured with popcorn walls and a carpeted floor it’s cozily placed with matching furniture. The area you live in is quite similar to your own home since there’s an alley below filled with familiar green dumpsters; it makes you feel at home.

You love this place. You love your new friends. You love your new shelter. You love everything about this… So you don’t mind the ever-lasting coldness and your limp body slumped against the alleyway below. End 5