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In the Hole

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"Blasphemy!” the crowd shouted not too long ago. The plaintiff heeded their suggestion and threw me in these catacombs, though more a labyrinth so far. The stench of these rotting halls nullified my senses, and fogged my mind. The means of my trial were intangible, accused of counterfeiting, and though it seemed the jury was in a trance, a rather lackluster hex. The utter enigma that someone would want to dispose of me is indeed riveting though discomforting. I attempted to evade the executioner, but some haughty bloke tipped them off to my escape route.

The entrance had appeared to be a large door, inside was a round hatch coated in moss and rust. The executioner unbound me and threw me into the abyss alongside a pack with some supplies, had it not been for excessive foliage I'd have broken my legs. It's gotten darker, and I've wandered around so long I can't remember whether or not I was even supposed to progress. What am I to do? I was given no explanation, just a sentence. Should I sit and wait, is there any food I should try and retrieve? Should I document this punishment? They gave me this notepad and pencil. For what- entertainment, to chart my madness, bureaucracy? As the others are quite dull, I might as well choose the former, God know who long I must withstand this wretched punishment.

(8:29) I've trekked to an area where the ceiling had fallen. This allowed the moon light to shine through the ruined tunnels, my mind eased as the air thinned in the open night. I took time to rest while I could see. I rummaged through the pack they gave me; it held a torch, more pencils, a pocket watch, a length of rope, and a dagger. Oddly flint was absent from the pack, so unless I find something to ignite the torch I'll have to continue in these dim ruins without sight.

(10:42) Deeper into these tunnels I was growing weary with the lack of food. Regarding this daft torch, I had used a tuft fiber from the rope to use as kindling to light the hall behind me. The fire spread quickly through the halls ahead had very little vegetation. I used this fire to light the torch, but it burned dimly and the moisture around threatened to extinguish my precious light. The tunnels, as it seemed, were all similar save the age and condition of some of the caves. Whenever I turn my head, I very nearly beheld someone in the distance. Curiosity drives me towards him, yet I fear he may be mad, or a murderer, locked away for the butchering of his fellow man. Should I keep on his trail, or try some other route through these desolate ruins?

(11:36) He is not human, insofar any being I have ever witnessed. The creature was shrouded in shadows and murky fog; it seemed erect yet it was out of proportion. Its head was missing, in its place was a mound of flesh. It never walked as much as it trudged through the rubble before it faded into the mist. Dear God, what is it? Is this monster a being of your creation? Have the demons of Hell risen to take man, but lost themselves in their own labyrinth? May the Lord safeguard my trek.

(12:52) It fell. The beast may even be unconscious- I'll quickly scale the pile of rubble and see if it is truly dead.

(2:17) Damn me, damn that evil creature, it was still alive and attacked me on sight. I've tucked myself away in a more civilized part of the maze. I have for myself a desk to write and a chair to rest but I must be sure that I am safe. I have to keep on the move. I'd rather not starve to death in this place and must find food. At least the torch dried a while ago; embers are still showing a red glow, so feeding them will be easy enough. I should make an attempt to see if these creatures are even mortal. I saw the length it had fallen and it could shatter nary a plate, so I've yet to see if they can bleed.

(3:34) I need to sleep, but I might be killed if I stay in one place too long. That monster might take me in my slumber, or something may collapse on me. I'll have to sleep sometime, and this is the nicer part of the dungeon so far.

(9:41) Well rested, I feel far better than before. I might have to remember this place for its lockable doors and adequate furnishings. There are years of decay in the surrounding areas, and these things seem barely a decade old. I've found some matches in the drawer of the desk so I needn't waste any more rope.

(11:12) I've reached the main hall, and it's absolutely magnificent. The halls before were destroyed, better than the former section of this place but bless God for bestowing such a grand sight to behold. Age hasn't done more than perfect each detail of this marvelous chamber! The ceiling rises high above the ground, arching supports are lined with extravagant carvings throughout. There is a perfectly intact stained glass window, depicting a large red and orange bird. The sun rose just behind the window and hung for what seemed ages. When the sun rose above the window, I surveyed the rest of the main hall. A saintly portrait of a beautiful maiden hung on the side of a throne Her hair flowed out of the picture, and I still can't look very far past her bright, touching eyes. They radia

(12:34) Well, sitting too long isn't a wise decision- I didn't realize that quivering monstrosity could knock down the door to the main hall. To describe the monster is a sin itself, but I might as well keep it here. Its head was there, but somewhat melded into its torso. Its face was disfigured beyond any horror on this earth. The whole thing seemed loose, like it had nothing but skin. I question how it is even alive. Its arm is replaced by a mass of chapped skin and sharp objects. I should move on, or it might find me again.

(2:10) I've entered a room housing a family of rats. At first I ran back the way I came, but then thought that this may be my only chance of food for a long time. So I took hold of my dagger and slowly inched into the room. I dove at the largest one, blade first, and severed its head. The others backed away hissing. I knew the largest one would be the alpha male, so they nary bothered me save a hiss or two from under a desk. I broke some legs off the chairs in the room and some rope fibers to start a fire in the pot-bellied stove, and toasted the rat. It tasted terrible.

(2:47) Finally, I'm clear of that castle. It was nice, if not a bit repetitive and the next area does look a tad worse. It's a hedge maze- thankfully it is open air so I can breathe fresh air for once, but I don't like the idea of a giant maze within a maze with no contents past corner after corner. I can't go very far just sitting here, so might as well die trying.

(6:23) The monster is in here somewhere, I can feel it. I heard his bellow behind me a little into the maze. I don't know how long it will be before I get out of here. It's gotten very cold. I don't know why- when I was imprisoned it was the middle of summer. It's only been a few days, so autumn isn't due for weeks now.

(6:57) It's starting to snow. I've given up trying to question this place, with its monsters, ruins, and abnormal changes in climate. Nothing sane has come of this venture. I wonder if anyone else has ever been thrown in here. Was that monster one of the last people to be imprisoned in this hellish place?

(7:41) The snow has thickened and somehow I see tracks ahead, one set going ahead, and another that stops at me. I followed the progressing track and the other one faded as I passed. I thought it was just the snow filling the older tracks but now that I've stopped, the tracks have as well. I'm beginning to wonder whose tracks these are- the forward set are somewhat off. Every so often the trail will suggest shoes on both feet, then only on the left foot, then only on the right foot. How could someone be alternating shoes? Is there some winter strategy I don't know about? I have to push on- it's getting far too cold out here.

(9:22) I just discovered the center of the maze, where a huge fire burns under a singing bull. It blazed in a beautiful display, the underside of the bull glowed in a multitude of colors, but under the beautiful singing of the bull I can hear screaming. It sounds quite distant, but I've walked around this court yard quite a few times and it's always on one side of me.

(9:26) The fire has stopped but the singing continues, along with the screaming, although it's still as faint as ever. The underside of the bull is still glowing brightly but is slowly fading.

A structure just arose to the right of the bull. It's a set of stairs. The singing has faded, along with the screaming. I pray to God they were not related in some way.

(9:34) God forgive me for enjoying that wretched song! It wasn't a song made by some fantastic instrument, it was the morphed screams of a human being! I opened the bull from a hatch at the end of the stairs, and inside was a still screaming man. The bull muffled his cries and in turn made them into music using some horn that exited the bull's mouth. His hands were charred and black, blood was dripping from every horrid crack on his body. He was just balled up screaming, until he noticed me. He scrambled around inside the bull then crawled out the hatch, falling into the dead fire pit. I can still hear his ghastly screams, and just the thought of his scorched body still makes me sick. I was very nearly sick right on top of the poor bastard. How did he end up inside that horrific device?

(10:27) I am more than half way out, so the maze is nearly done. I just found a map that I will jot down as soon as I can. Curious, every time I look up it changes. It seems there no point in using this map- damn.

(10:43) The footprints from earlier are gone, but I feel like I'm being followed I hear the crunch of fresh snow behind me. It's not as nice as it sounds, not the crisp joy of winters past, but of this chilling, darkened place I have been banished into. My torch has kept a well-maintained light as night has drawn nearer. I just need to find some food again for later. The little bit of rat I kept won't last very long if not replenished.

(4:17) I feel stiff as a rock. I couldn't keep awake long enough to put in a before-sleep entry, but then nothing really happened aside from this sudden headache. It must be the stress, or hunger. I don't care. I should find a way to get a drink, I can't risk dehydration out here. Alright, I found a single pouch in one of the other pockets among the other things. It's just a bit of lint and strap of leather, which I assume is for sharpening the dagger when needed. I should get out of this snow soo

(5:35) It is alive. I don't know how but the man in the bull is still alive. I can't imagine the pain he must be feeling- he is even worse now than when I saw him inside the bull. He is still bleeding, and the snow behind him is tinted red. His face looked boiled. Massive bubbles of skin are scattered all over his body. He turned the corner nearest me, moaning and mumbling. I don't know if he really saw me, but he howled as he darted towards me. I don't even think the first monster was as fast as him, even with that log impaling his midsection. I can safely say he won't be moving for a while- while he was chasing me, he tripped and his jagged log stuck into the ground. I don't know if I should kill him now or let him be. I should perhaps just end it here- I'd rather not have to deal with two creatures in this maze.

(6:02) I can see a tower from here. I'm almost free of this place, into a warm indoor piece of Hell.

(6:41) There are weapons in here. Past many nearly frozen doors lay this military tower. Bows, swords, axes- I wonder what these were all for. I see this place is a castle- it boasts a main hall, a dungeon- but I do wonder why the armory would be located on the opposite side of a hedge maze. In here, strangely enough, I found a strong box. I can't find the key anywhere but there was a note next to it. It reads:

“So you finally got here. So many have tried- I'm sure you met a few of them on your way- but rest assured, freedom is in this box. You just need to find the key. Oh, and I do urge you to take a weapon with you.”

Who wrote this? Where could the key be? God, what on earth can I do, I've nary a clue where to go. Bring a weapon? What am I to face, the monster from before or some new creature of this infernal place? Calm now, I suppose the better option is to take up one of the short swords and move up the tower.

(7:06) I've been ascending this tower for three stories so far, and in each floor there has only been increasing amounts of nothing. The key must be at the very top, but why make me go through what is nothing more than a stroll around the block?

(7:39) This tower is far taller than it seemed from the outside. An hour has nearly passed and I haven't the faintest idea of how close I am to the top. If the key is up there, I still don't know how thi

(8:32) The monster came back. The sword was useless. I saw it trudging up the steps to the floor I was on and quickly got on the next flight. I stood ready, sword high! As before it charged the moment it saw me. I swung for what I charitably call a chest, but my sword just- stopped. I hit the monster but I didn't even break its flesh. I raised the sword as high as I could and brought it down on its head. Nothing! The monster was no more than dazed after my attacks, so I ran up the stairs as quickly as I could. It kept gargling and roaring, swinging its hideous mass of blades at me. I reached the next floor and looked around. It was a moment before I saw the chair and desk. I ran to get the chair. When I saw the beast I threw the chair at it. Thank God it fell down the stairs. I then didn't hesitate to push the desk to the staircase and push as hard as I could. I should have heard the crash of the desk, bouncing down the flight of stone stairs, but all I heard was my cheering. If it was not dead it wasn't awake, which was achievement enough. I'll quickly make my way up the tower as soon as I can.

(8:57) I see the top of the tower, a light at the end of the stairs. I'll soon be free! I'll try and record every moment of this up until the end. I'm at the top now, but I don't see anything more than a crate at the edge of the tower. Fog surrounds the rim, making it impossible to see just how high I am. The key fits and I will open it in moments-

There is a note. My freedom is- a note. It says:

“You've done it. I'm surprised, really. No one has ever made it this far. Now there is just one more thing to do. Take a drink from the cup on the edge of the crate before reading the rest...”

“...Good. Now you will listen to this. Jump off the tower. End it all here. You cannot run. You cannot fight it. Just fall- like all the others.”

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