(4 minute read)
by Ajala David
I was born at the bottom of the pit with many others like me. A massive writhing pit that churned us out in our millions. Some don’t make it more than a few seconds before they dissolve into dust and ashes. Some make it a few minutes. They develop limbs, their eyes are aglow with wonder and purpose and just like that, their string is cut and all that is left is ashes.
I was born in a particular group of seven. In the first moments of my birth, I huddled with my brothers and sisters expecting our eventual demise. The first minute, the second and then at the fifth minute, our youngest gave a gasp and we mourned him as he returned back to dust. Like our elders say, from dust we were born and from dust we will return.
We are called Ideas.
I look nothing like my brothers or sisters and they look nothing like me. As a matter of fact, no two Ideas look alike. Some are big. Others are small. Where some have slender curves, others are cut from sharp angry lines. I’ve seen ideas with skin shades darker than the pit and others with skin so pale they could be luminous. We are all distinct, different, separate yet we share the same curse. The same burden that we must all bear – the curse of the Labyrinth.
To survive the first moments of the Pit-shore is simply the beginning. Those who survive must walk the Labyrinth of the Mind. It is home to us all. Narrow halls and tall concrete walls. Wide passages and thin paper walls. The Labyrinth is beyond huge. It lies just beyond the pit-shore; an architectural marvel. From the pits, there is no other destination for any survivor but the Labyrinth.
It is in the Labyrinth that we mature. We become even more distinct. It is in the labyrinth that we have the chance to prove ourselves. It is in the Labyrinth that our fates are decided but even though the Labyrinth is home, it is also a battlefield. And the only true way out is the Light.
Many have seen the Light but few have gone into it. The Elders tell us it is a transition into another realm, one higher than the Labyrinth. I have never experienced the Light myself but I have been told that it appears for a few moments before an Idea and if that Idea does not take his chance, the Light disappears and it is gone forever. I have never heard of an Idea getting a second chance at the Light. If one misses the Light, all that is left is the darkness of the Labyrinth.
The Labyrinth is alive. It moves. It constricts. It changes. It expands. There is no end to it. I have seen many Ideas waste away walking its halls. I have seen many Ideas simply go mad and stop being. My sister was one of them. I held her in my arms as the madness consumed her and she became one with the dust once again. It is different from wasting at the Pit-shore. There is something even sadder, more visceral about it. When I lost my brother at the Pit-shore, it was painful but it was the loss of a stranger. Someone I never knew. My sister and I had survived the Pit-shores and we had walked the Labyrinth hand in hand for ages. Losing her felt like losing a part of myself.
But wasting away is simply one of the dangers in the Labyrinth. There are traps, pit-falls and many unmentionable things but one danger stands separate from the rest – Ideakillers. Ideakillers are monsters that invade the Labyrinth from a world beyond. They only have one purpose – to hunt and to destroy Ideas. They are unnatural and they carry out their assignment with an unnatural thirst. The Elders tell us it is impossible to stand up to an Ideakiller. The only option is to run. And so we do.
And so I should have done.
Or so I would have done if not for the fact that behind the Beast was the Light.
The hallway was narrow and the Beast covered any pathway to the Light. The Light, a beacon of hope that it was, cast a long shadow of the Beast and made it even more of a nightmare. It was made of dust, ashes and shadows and adorned with claws and fangs made of the darkest of nights. Its growl sent shivers down my spine and sent every Idea in the mile radius running for their lives. They were smart to do so. I would have joined them if not for the beautiful song that drowned out the sounds of the Beast and chased fear from my mind.
The Light was almost magnetic in nature. It drew me in like a moth to flame and it filled me with courage like never before. The Ideakiller was no longer a Beast that had killed many of my brethren. It was simply an obstruction on my way to the Light.
I searched around for a weapon with which I would face my opponent but there was nothing but a branch of rotten wood. As soon as I picked it up, the Beast was upon me; a flurry of fangs and claws. I dodged to the left and right and then to the left again but the Beast gave me no reprieve. It scratched and clawed and roared, dark spittle flying everywhere but the song of the Light filled my bones with just enough power that I managed to stay a moment ahead of it.
But then the Light began to dim and its song with it. The weariness returned to me and the Beast at long last managed a hit; a slash at my chest. The pain knocked me back. My blood seemed to calm it for a moment and it snarled at me. But my focus was not on it, I looked beyond its terrifying façade to see the Light. Where it had been a massive beacon of salvation, it was now dwindling. Time was wasting.
I hardened my grip on my weapon and rushed at the Beast. As soon as I was within range, I threw the branch with all my strength directly at its eyes. The branch sailed across the space between us but I did not wait to see if it would hit its target. While the Beast was distracted by my makeshift projectile, I bolted past it towards the Light. It realised my plan and rushed after me; its hulking footstep haunting me as I reached for the Light but it was too late. I had won.
I stepped into the Light and everything changed.
Copyright © 2022 – Ajala David. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Ajala David is a student in the Ukraine who loves writing and world building.
He is a huge fan of the fantasy and sci-fi genre.
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