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The Maze

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The last thing I heard before entering the maze was a warning,

"Don't stop, don't waste time, and whatever you do, don't follow the growls!"

I would've just stopped right there and left the Carnival all together but since my girlfriend Amy was in there, I had to nut up and venture on. I guess I should explain myself; a couple days ago Amy had won two tickets to the local Carnival in a contest. Since she was a huge nut for Carnivals she jumped around for nearly an hour and dragged me along with her the day she went.

The thing was however; I hated Carnivals I mean I just couldn't stand them! They just seemed like torture chambers in disguise, what with all the fun houses, haunted mazes, and shooting galleries. I just felt uncomfortable walking around in them but since Amy wanted to go, I had no choice in the matter.

When we first arrived, I had successfully managed to avoid most of the rides, food stands, and funhouses. All we mostly did was do shooting galleries designed to drain wallets out of stubborn idiots and eat cold hotdogs on stale buns.

Yeah, it wasn't the best date we ever had but remember I was trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. After a while Amy started to get bored and just as my hopes of leaving this crap-hole were finally being paid off, she saw it.

It was a medium size circus tent with a wooden sign nailed on it that read: "Monster Maze!" At the center was an oddly dressed clown with megaphone shouting: "COME ONE, COME ALL TO THE AMAZING MONSTER MAZE! Inside this very tent you'll be able to match your wits with an actual T-REX! Only 10 measly bucks is stopping you from a truly amazing time!"

Even right now I was wondering what drew me to this place, it didn't seem that different from the rest of the shabby tents and the Clown's speech certainly wasn't convincing. But one way or another we were both fascinated at the little sideshow attraction, so much so that we both approached it, money in our hands.

However one thing I noticed was that the clown looked...odd, to say the least. He was wearing a top hat, a blue jacket, and orange with red stripes suspenders. His feet were hidden under two large brown shoes, whereas his nose was blocked under a round green ball. Yeah I know that was normal for clowns, but there was something very off about it, like it was a sort of disguise.

His green makeup didn't exactly help either. It looked so real, like it was actually his skin color but that couldn't be true, right? As my girlfriend walked closer I heard her say, "So, what do we do in the maze?"

The Clown laughed a rather cold laugh and said in a voice that sounded like a combination between a poorly done Ed Wynn impersonation and a beast growling,

"All you have to do miss is survive the maze. If you survive all 100 levels of the maze then you win the grand prize!"

By then I was getting rather skeptical as I put my money back in my pocket but Amy just traded her 10 dollar bill for a little orange ticket as she entered inside. Before I could say anything she had already entered. Not knowing what to do, I proceeded to enter myself before the clown grabbed me back.

"Sorry sir," the Clown said, "But you have to pay in order to play." He finished that sentence with a very creepy grin.

I just grunted as I threw the 10-dollar bill at him and grabbed an orange ticket. As I went in I heard that warning, "Don't stop, don't waste time, and whatever you do, don't follow the growls."

I just swallowed my spit and ventured on, doing so had me enter into a dark hallway with an odd metallic door at the end. As I walked I could hear growls and roars and screams, wondering what the hell was happening inside.

As I approached the door I heard the Clown's voice say, "A new player has entered." Jesus, how many players were in here? I opened the door and before me were several passages. Some led left; some led right, and some just led forward, all I knew was I had to get moving. I first turned left and then right, so far so good. There was nothing immediately disturbing just a dark blue cobblestone wall with the occasional torch planted on it. It was about 20 seconds in when I heard a slight growl.

At first I thought nothing of it and continued onward but the next thing I heard was the Clown's voice that said: "Rex lies in wait."

I didn't know what to think, as I was walking faster and faster trying to find the exit and find Amy. The passageways were becoming more and more confusing. Each time I turned I thought I was already here before and each time I thought a heard a growl with the Clown's commentary of "Rex lies in wait".

It was getting a little annoying to be honest; I was actually wondering when this rex would finally spot me. Well as I turned once more I got my wish, this time the growl seemed a bit louder and the Clown said, "Rex has seen you."

While I wasn't exactly scared I was a bit intimidated, as I had just assumed the whole "lies in wait" commentary was merely a self motivator for the player to get going. As I continued to venture on in the maze, I started hearing other noises as well.

Sometimes I'd hear a hiss but other times it would be large footsteps to my left, or a small growl to my right. I just whistled, telling myself there were just sound effects from the speakers to make people scared.

In a rather foolish move I decided to shout Amy's name in a vain attempt to find her but of course got nothing in response. However just as I was about to give up hope I found a key on the floor. Picking up led to the Clown saying:

"Congratulations! You found the key to the exit!" I felt relived that I found the key first, especially when I had a vision of me finding the exit only to realize that I needed a key. However that feeling of relief turned into horror as a terrible roar traveled across the maze along with a disturbing message from the Clown: "Rex has seen you."

I quickly turned right and kept going, I looked behind me, to the left of me, and the right of me, praying to God that it wasn't close. That whole thought of this being a fake kept fading away with each roar as I roamed across the maze hoping to find an exit.

At last when I had given up hope, a metallic door with the words exit planted on it caught my grasp, a smile was coming across my face as I ran to it and used the key. Never before had the clicking sound of an unlocking key sounded so satisfying.

As I opened the door the Clown's voice echoed throughout the second level:

"You've reached the next level!"

Hearing that just felt good to me, unfortunately as soon as I took a left that feeling went away. Blood was smeared on one of the walls along with a mangled hand lying on the floor. Ok, this was real, there was no use trying to act in denial, I couldn't act anyway as I remembered what the clown had said about wasting time. I saw that the blood seemed to be pointing to the left, it wasn't entirely trustworthy but it was a lead nonetheless so I went left, not knowing what was coming next.

Turns out I was correct in my instinct, that turn led to a shotgun on the floor. I checked it out, the safety was off, and it had 2 bullets left. A key was also on it, which I put in my pocket as I walked on. The scenery was mostly the same aside from the occasional splatter of blood. The roars became more frequent, the footsteps were getting louder, and the constant messages of "Footsteps approaching" and "Rex has seen you" really didn't help my nerves.

I kept going, turning left and right and even going backwards to see if I missed anything. I then saw the exit door shine magnificently, with a small click from the key, the door opened and I ran inside hoping to find Amy. Instead I found a small boy lying against a wall; there was a look of madness in his eyes as he cradled what looked like a large knife in his hands.

I thought about confronting the kid but decided against it as I continued to walk on. As I left him, the kid said "You won't win you know." I turned back as I said, "What do you mean?"

"The maze doesn't end. You're better off trying to find the entrance."

"Look, I have a girl I need to save-"

"She's probably dead you know. They're always bound to lose sometime."

Anger rose in me as I grabbed the kid and said, "You don't know that. She could be killing the beast by now!"

The kid just smirked, "If you really believed that, then why did you enter here?"

The kid had a point, he also wasn't worth it, so I put him down and continued onward not caring if he died or not. By this point I was used to the growls and footsteps, what I wasn't used to was a mauled carcass.

I did a brief inspection, this was real alright. Fortunately from the looks of it, the victim was a male so there was still a chance that Amy was alive. However, what small sense of relief I had ran away when I heard heavy breathing that was about 5 ft away from me.

I didn't turn around, I didn't turn my head, I didn't even breath. I just stood there, hoping it didn't spot me. At first I thought it hadn't, the breaths kept getting quieter and quieter, as if the thing was walking away. When I ran however, it turned out the thing was only bluffing.

I ran, I ran for hours, every time I'd think I lost it, it appeared out of nowhere, ready to eat. I only caught glimpses of it from time to time, I'd see a finger here, an eyeball there, nothing that would warrant a full description.

Luckily while running, I happened to find the key to the nearest exit. With a quick grab, I was halfway to the exit. I saw it, that amazing lovely door that would buy me more time to live, and it was only a block away. As I ran, my heart raced like it hadn't before, the creature's roars were becoming more frequent.

And then with a turn of the key, I was on to the next level. Unfortunately, this is where I gave up. Not even two turns later I finally found Amy, lying on the floor, a key in one hand, and the other hand torn off. Her face was mutilated so much I almost thought it wasn't her. The hair gave it away.

As I sat down and gracefully touched her hair, I realized that the kid was right. Getting out of here was impossible. I barely escaped death at the last room, the one person who kept me going is now dead, and who's to say I'd even find the exit this time? I finally said "Screw it" and laid against the wall where I'd remain for the rest of my days.

My only hope is that no one else will be suckered into the maze.

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