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“I hate navigating around this place,” James muttered to himself. His grandfather’s home was labyrinthine, and despite his heritage (his father and grandfather had both been legendary puzzle masters), he despised mazes, and the idea of making a home within one tormented him.

He found himself in front of the family’s sculpture of a young man holding a sword in one hand and a ball of twine in the other. The statue itself was one that his grandfather had commissioned decades before, after he’d decided to take up permanent residence on the island that had once merely been a vacation spot. That was long before James had been born. Long before his mother had died, leaving him in the care of his father.

“Okay, twine-boy statue, then three lefts, a right, another left, and the second hall on the right.” James was consulting a paper that his grandfather had given to him to help him find his way.

“I promise not to tell your father,” the old bull said. “I know that you don’t have the gift, my boy. It’s quite alright. There are very few of us left, after all, and a life filled with puzzles must seem dreadfully dull to a young one such as yourself. There are so many new things in this world. I’ve lived a long time, and I’ve seen a great many things. This home is the greatest puzzle in the world, and someday it will be yours, no matter how you feel about that. Some day, I’ll be gone, and there’s a hidden room with my greatest treasure inside. Those directions will get you there, but you must promise me that you’ll wait until after I’m gone…”

James’ grandfather had passed away almost a year ago, and he’d finally built up the courage to visit the old house. That same old-people-smell still lingered, though it felt almost stale now. He tried not to think about all the visits to see the old bull before he’d passed, but memories lingered in every one of the near-identical passageways. Finally reaching the end of the sheet of directions his grandfather had left him, James found himself facing a dead end.

“DAMMIT!” he bellowed, slamming his fist into the wall. “I followed them perfectly! What did I miss?” He punched the wall panel again, making contact with a fresco of the man who’d once ruled the island. Suddenly, a hidden door slid open in front of James, revealing a room he’d never seen. Glancing inside, he spotted a single box sitting on a table in the otherwise empty room. James opened the box cautiously, lifting out a photograph of himself as a young boy, an older minotaur beside him. On the back of the photo, in a labored scrawl, was a note from his grandfather.

“I will always be proud of you, James, no matter what. You are my greatest treasure.”

James wiped a tear away as he pocketed the photo, and walked back into the labyrinth.

 

6 Comments

  1. Philip, I totally can’t wait to see your work published, you really have a way with words. I’ll be waiting in line to get you to sign copies of your book, just wait.

    • Thank you, Angela! I’m still a long way from being comfortable with publication, honestly. I’m not even sure how I feel about doing this blog, but I’ll keep it up as long as people keep reading, even if it is just a handful of my friends.

  2. I thought for sure I’d commented before! I must have forgotten to hit “post comment.” I’ve been doing that lately. *grumble grumble*

    Awesome story. I love the twist at the end!

    • Thanks! It happens all the time. I’ve posted entire entries only to realize that they didn’t go through.

  3. I finally read it! Yay! And it was super awesome! Double yay!

    I hesitate to use the word “cute”, but it totally was. It isn’t often that I can appreciate something for being warm-fuzzy inducing, so well done. The bit about the statue was also very well handled; clear without belaboring the point.

    As I said, super awesome.


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