Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jack Steel: The Walls

Every night they shut down the tournament for an hour.

No Lights, barely air to breath, nothing to do but sit and wait. They did maintenance then, or so we thought.

In the maze everyone felt lost, except Jack. I never knew how he stayed so sure, even when backtracking into dead ends, till he told me.

The walls, they moved them in the night. All of them except the ones too close to shooters. Jack knew the ways so well he knew how the walls would move, which way they swung. Could do all but move them himself.

He took us to the edge of the maze. Waited till dark so he could set to work.

Waiting for dark terrified us all. We never stayed still before then. You couldn't know what would come down a tunnel at you. Every time we hunted, if the prey were still we won. Yet that time we waited. No clock to tell us how long it could be. Even Jack won't speak of the waiting, drove us halfway round the bend.

But the lights slammed off eventually and we went to work. Moving in pitch black, lungs burning for more air, we heard the walls moving. Strained our eyes to find a wall that would open up an exit from the maze. We searched blindly, knew time was against us, till suddenly it all happened and we stood outside the maze.

A man met us. Pale and diseased thing. Said he tried to escape too. But the maze was sealed off here. He could see the way out but couldn't reach it. Nothing to eat but the slime on the walls and the rats on the floor. Nothing to drink but boiled sewer water.

We saw the exit from there. A raising bridge that could move to any position on the mazes edge. We watched as the bridge went down to allow new shooters over a huge cavern and into the maze. It was too far away for us to reach in time, and we could never predict where it'd land next. Each of us stared longingly as it raised back up, closing any chance of escape.

Jack didn't even watch. His eyes just fixated on the ground. The kid looked crushed. The plan didn't work.

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