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The Hunt

Seashell. Phoenix. Claw

By Natasja RosePublished 9 months ago 3 min read

To either side, the labyrinth stretched as far as the eye could see. If I tried to venture around, it would take far too long, and any trace of my quarry would be long gone by the time I found the exit. No, going through was the only option.

Cautiously, I ventured in. Three paths lay before me, each marked with a different carving. Once I chose, there would be no turning back.

The scallop seashell

The phoenix.

The claw.

In a world of logical conclusions, the choice would be easy. My world was not logical. The seashell could mean any number of marine horrors, while the claw could be something as harmless as a Pomeranian. The Phoenix was a symbol of rebirth, but the one I was hunting was just the sort to twist that by having something even more lethal than usual down that way.

In order to be reborn, the old self must first die. after all.

The Phoenix, then. The enemy I hunted was entirely too fond of mythological metaphors. I drove a small stake into the ground, and tied a string to it, unspooling it as I went. I kept the thread close to where the wall met the ground - no need to make it obvious - and gripped my sword tightly in the other hand.

Time was running out.

By Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Sounds echoed, distorted by the walls, daring me to follow. One sounded almost like a motorcycle engine, another like a siren song.

I ignored them all, and continued turning left whenever I could. The poor sap who built the maze had to have some rhyme or reason, and the majority of mazes had that solution.

The walls were too smooth to climb, just too far apart to parkour up, or I would have happily free-run over the top of them and avoided whatever lay within.

Doubtless my enemy had considered the possibility of an opponent as intelligent as they were. Give me a stupid enemy any day; they may be frustrating, but at least they didn't think in concentric circles.

By Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

Something leaped down, and I reacted just in time, my longer blade deflecting their knife and disarming them. A kick knocked them away from me, but they kept coming, a gaunt face bereft of reason, twisted into madness.

I didn't want to strike the killing blow, but I did.

As they fell, a bright orange feather drifted down. As long and full as a peacock plume, but coloured like fire. A 'phoenix' feather. I was on the right track.

Grimly, I ventured on.

By Dan Asaki on Unsplash

The version of me who entered the Labyrinth was a very different being to the one that eventually stumbled out, battered and dirty. Even moving as fast as I could, the journey had taken at least one day, and several deadly encounters. I had not dared to camp, but pushed on, accumulating a full fan of Phoenix feathers.

Before me was a straight path to the exit.

Only a single step from freedom, I stopped, something catching my eye.

On the wall was a large white mosaic, each tile a seemingly random letter. Upon closer inspection, there were words hidden in the jumble. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the words, no hidden message, but my enemy was too clever for that.

Pinned next to the mosaic was a message, short and simple. "The next clue is in the puzzle. Choose your words carefully."

I had no doubt that those words would soon become very, very relavent...

If you liked this story, leave a heart or a tip, and follow me on Vocal and Medium! Or check out my published works on Amazon at the link below.

Short StoryYoung AdultMysteryFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Natasja Rose

I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).

I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.

I live in Sydney, Australia

Follow me on Facebook or Medium if you like my work!

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (7)

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  • Rosie Ford 9 months ago

    Interesting use of the prompt! Loved the cliffhanger ending too. Great job!

  • Canuck Scriber9 months ago

    I loved the idea of a labrynth and the hunt! well crafted.

  • Dana Crandell9 months ago

    Nice cliff-hanger! Lots of places tt go from here. Great job!

  • Phil Flannery9 months ago

    A good tease for an interesting series

  • Babs Iverson9 months ago

    Brilliantly written!!!! Loved your story and left a heart!!!♥️♥️💕

  • Heather Zieffle 9 months ago

    Ohhh, very suspenseful! Can't wait to read more!

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