So far tonight you’ve been trapped in a face of yourselves, chased by a variety of demons, and are currently staring down a hulking monster with bloodlust in its eyes. As scary as this son of a bitch is, the idea of losing an opportunity to get the fuck out of here is even more terrifying. Who knows how many doors you’ll go through before you find another home, or what will be waiting in the world’s between? No, strange as it is, trying to run past a minotaur is actually the less deadly option before you.
You try not to let the utter insanity of such a statement drag your mind into the depths of inescapable panic and madness as you start racing forward, your own gaze locked with the minotaur’s. You surprise him, and that’s good, because as soon as he regains his mental footing it becomes evident that this guy is as nimble as he is big, which is very. Clearly you aren’t going to be able to outmaneuver him, and outmuscling him has never been on the table from jump, which means all you have left is trying to outthink him.
Pitting frantic hope against mad ingenuity, you barrel forward, making for the moderate gap in his massive legs. As you run, you twist your pitchfork in your hands, so that the blunt end is pointing forward. He growls as you draw near, claw extended, sure you won’t be able to fit between his legs. Too bad for him, you haven’t seen a single television since you entered this camp, which means he is probably way behind on his slapstick.
“Three Stooges mother fucker!” You scream as you go into a slide between his legs, thrusting your pitchfork up and catching him right in the loincloth. His next roar comes out as a whimpered moan while you scramble to your feet as dash toward the door. True, you could have put him down in a more permanent fashion if you used the pointy end of the pitch fork, but dude code is dude code, and that is way off limits.
Slamming the crystal doorknob into the door, you fling it open and leap through, not even bothering to look behind you. Still, you can hear the rage filled roar even as you pass into the inky darkness, followed by the shuddering of the ground under powerful steps. For the first time you consider that if Virgil was lying, you’re going to be in deep shit as soon as The Warden catches up to you.
Thankfully, you arrive in a familiar clearing surrounded by fog. Behind you, the door slams shut, and you’re back in Tortured Terror Town. Victoria and Jim are already there, looking slightly bored in fact, with Jim munching on a massive soft pretzel and Victoria holding a small dragon that looks like it’s carved out of jade.
“Where the hell did you go?” Victoria asks upon noticing your arrival.
“Um, hell, actually. Then a study. Then a garden. Then back here.”
“I went to a food court where the food tried to eat me,” Jim tells you helpfully.
You cock an eyebrow. “How did you escape that?”
Jim shrugs. “Killer food is still food, and I’ve had the munchies for like an hour and a half now. Law of the jungle.” Jim finished off the last of his soft pretzel, and you’re almost certain you hear a small scream that ends all at once.
“You both had a more interesting time than I did. All I got were some hills full of monsters, and a few rooms filled with traps. I was rather hoping for the minotaur,” Victoria says.
Briefly, you consider telling her that you actually did meet the hairy guardian, but you decide against it. Necessary or not, you find it impossible to take any pride in a story where you hit another guy in the stones. Doing it is one thing, reveling is another. Instead, you change the subject.
“So, what do we do now? I still don’t see a sign post.”
“Then you should really look harder,” Victoria says. She points behind you, where you can clearly see a new sign post has materialized into existence.
“Great, guess we pick another one,” you say.
“That would be how the game is played,” Victoria agrees.
The three of you walk up to the sign and see three different arrows. They are: “The Cove,” “The Farm,” and “Safe Zone.” Before anyone else can speak, you turn around and look Victoria in the eye.
“Okay, look, we’re playing along pretty cheerily with all this, but I need to know something. How long are we going to do this for? This place is clearly trying to kill us, and while yeah I sort of expected that a little, the fact that we keep plunging deeper into a massive death trap seems like not a great long term strategy.”
“Though it might seem we’re going deeper in, we’re actually nearing the exit,” Victoria replies.
“Ohh, like how once food passes a certain point in your stomach its’ closer to being a turd than a meal?” Obviously that was Jim. And also: Ew.
“Despite the fact that I would never put it that way, yes, the analogy is somewhat apt,” Victoria says, letting out a heavy sigh as she does so. “I realize your patience and courage are growing weary, and after that last trial I don’t blame you, but this will be our final event. You have my word.”
“If it’s the last one, then I guess that’s okay,” you tell her. Victoria might be a lot of things, including a possible sociopathic monster, but you’ve never seen her break her word. This far deep into a crazy nightmare town, you need to trust someone. Might as well be the one who brought you here in the first place.
You look back up at the sign and steel yourself to choose the last destination of the night.