A Midday's Dream: The Dusk Labyrinth

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    I walked through the ruins with my older brother, orange-tinted sandstone walls criss-crossing the verdant lawn in every direction, forming countless thousands of rooms. The sky was azure, filled with lazy puffy clouds, and choked with a strange orange dust. As I inhaled, my lungs filled with dry, old air, air that had not been breathed in centuries. A dusk sun was beginning its transformation in to a blood red disc as it hurtled toward the far side of the labyrinth, although I knew better. I knew, or perhaps felt, that this place was timeless. It was beyond the boundaries of day and night.

    Dust motes floating and dancing in the thick streams of golden-orange light, I continued on, forgetting my brother completely. Wall after wall passed me, and I rounded many sandy corners. A warm and sleepy wash of muted sounds washed over me. My breathing quickened.

    I went around the last bend, only to find a large, rectangular area filled with printers, fax machines, photo copiers, modernesque desks and rolling computer chairs, and many LCD monitors, wrapped in a thicket of tangled wires. Many men, all with distinctness that I could not remember on moving my vision from one to the other, wore uniform white dress shirts with long, black ties, black dress pants, shiny black dress shoes, and a black belt with a chrome buckle.

    Wordlessly, they pointed me onward, through a gritty archway lined with leafy vines jiggling without the presence of wind, and chimes softly jingled from far beyond the threshold. Both fear and loathing entered my chest, constricting it. The dusk was reddening.

    As I began to pass through the archway, I saw what begot the eerie symphony of mismatched, metallic tunes: Frail flowers trailed from the vines, which consumed the wall to either side of me, flowed down like formless icicles. As they were caught by an unfelt wind, their dainty white blossoms' golden stamens struck their interiors, and gave of an unearthly-

    Storming. The sky, everything, is tainted with a sickening grey-green. I wait in a house which, though it feels so, is not my home. Droplets trickle down the windows, and the windowpanes, wine glasses on the hutch, and hanging pictures rattle furiously with each hammering blow of thunderous lightning. Sweat trickles down my brow, though the building is as cold as ice. Something is with me, but I cannot see it. I feel it down my back, its baleful presence offsetting some harmony in my soul. A chorded phone, technology which has not existed in my home for almost a decade, is clutched in my bone-white knuckles. The answering tone of my mother's cellphone carry's on in the thick silence, broken only by peals of thunder:

    "...is not here right now. Please leave a message after the tone. When you are finished recording, you may hang up, or press one for more options."

    Its polyphonic, hastened beeping speeds the thumping of my own heart. My arms shake, my hands shiver, and my eyes spread wide and glossy. I am suddenly struck with an out-of-body experience, and as my sight flees from my body, it turns slowly, fretfully, to my shivering frame. Something - someone - tall and covered in blackness stands behind me, its chest heaving. I am suddenly able to hear its deep, menacing breathing rattled from its unseen lips. Thunder pounds once more, lightning fills the sky outside, the wind howls against the plastic urban siding, thick clots of rain pelt the roof, and the windows shatter open from the force of the storm. In that single moment of chaos and power when all things were laid bare in a blinding flash of electric light, the Beast was overlaid in lines of light, forever burned in to my vision and memory, forever haunting me when I think to turn my back to the darkness-

    I am driving in a pacified storm, though the atmosphere is still a shade of grey-green. My Subaru Legacy plods along faithfully through the storm, a car I know I totaled almost half a year ago, but not faithfully enough, not fast enough. I have to find my mother. I could feel that she was in danger. I could feel the Beast hunting her.

    I look in the mirror and I am no longer myself, but my father. In a quick flash of lightning, the terrible visage of the Beast is highlighted behind me once more. My mother - no, my wife - screams over the phone-

    In the deep red light of an eerie dusk, a sandstone monolith rises high in to the sky, its edges crumbled. My brother stands beside me, smoothing over its surface. In a flash, he disappears. In panic, I stretch for the void he used to exist in, but it is now filled only with red light and floating dust. I cannot stop myself before I, too, touch the monolith-

    As if in third-person, but without any sight of my body, I watch as the Beast is there, in the cold, grey-green night, with my mother.

    "Don't trust it!" I yell in vain. She could not hear me. "It's evil! Get away! Run!"

    I reached for her, but although I believed that I was extending an arm, I had no body. Light drained from the room in a split second. Scream.
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