Today’s prompt: Winchester
I wasn’t sure if I was going to get this written today! Life has been crazy lately for a number of reasons, but I really want to keep my momentum going cause the challenge just started. This is part of the 31 Days of Art Challenge [#31DaysOfArt2020]. Go check out the tag on Instagram to see all the cool artsy things getting made!
For today I wrote a flash fiction piece titled The Maze. Check it out below!
Up the stairs, to the right, through the doorway and down another flight of steps. Mary could never remember her way around the damn place. Each hallway looked new, every door the wrong one, and despite her best efforts she couldn’t seem to find the woman who owned the place.
Mary didn’t recall when she came to this place, only that she was here now and the only way to escape was if she found the one responsible. It was a game she didn’t ask to be part of, but was locked in all the same.
She came to a space with three arched doorways before her, and Mary hesitated. Which path did she take? Which would send her on another wild path? Down one hall with a plush crimson rug she saw a man leaning against the wall, an unlit cigarette clenched in his teeth and a dusty Stetson on his head. She ran over to him, so grateful to see another person in this endless maze.
“Hello there!” she cried, but he only glared at her as he clenched his jaw. “You’re lost too?”
He grunted and avoided looking at her.
“I feel like I’ve been wandering for ages,” she gave her kindest smile, but it didn’t shake him. “Have you had any luck finding her?”
His eyes went wide in outrage and Mary could see dried blood glisten on his temple.
“Do you think I’d still be in this hell if I had?”
She unconsciously took a step back. “No, I suppose not.”
“I figure there is no escape from this. That’s the answer. We’ll roam these hallways until we don’t know our right from our left.”
“That can’t be true. There has to be a way out. I don’t belong here.”
He smiled and showed off his yellowed teeth, “Sure you do. You’re here, aren’t you?”
She shook her head and retreated to the archways and take a different path. The man was outrageous.
“It’s no good,” he called after her. “You’ll never find her. You know that.”
Mary balled her fists as she walked down the hall with the blue rug, putting as much distance between her and that coarse man as she could.
Mary refused to stand still and just fade away. She couldn’t listen to him; she knew there was a way out of this. There had to be.
Time passed, she had no idea how long. She had no way to tell time, and she couldn’t recall where she had been and where she hadn’t. Still Mary walked, determined. She refused to give in to his lunacy.
One day she came to a window that let her see the trees again. The sky was a beautiful clear blue and icicles hung from the tree branches, dragging them to the ground. A thin layer of powdery snow covered the ground. She had never seen snow before. It never snowed where she used to live. She looked at the icicles glisten in the beautiful sunlight. She pressed a hand to the glass and felt nothing. It was false, just like the rest of the wretched place.
Stumbling backward, she sat down on a stool and let her tears finally fall. They slipped down her cheeks and between her fingers. She cried for so long that the tears didn’t come any longer, so she wailed instead.
“Come now,” a woman spoke from beside her and Mary turned in surprise. “There’s no need for all that fuss.”
She was an old woman with wispy white hair and dressed all in black. Her skin was frail and pale, like old parchment. She smiled and Mary knew who she was instantly.
“You’re her,” Mary sniffled. “You’re the one who built this place: Mrs. Winchester.”
She beamed, “I am. Though I’ll let you call me Sarah, dear. And I promise there’s no need to be carrying on so.”
“Please, Sarah, you must release me, let me leave. I don’t belong here.”
Her smile hardened. “And what makes you think I’m keeping you?”
“The others, they told me you control us.”
“Others,” Sarah grew pale at her words. “You can see the others then?”
Mary shook her head, “Why does it matter? Please, I beg of you.” She dropped to her knees on the hardwood floor, toppling the stool behind her.
“There’s no need for this! Don’t beg!” A sternness entered the woman’s voice.
Mary reached out, trying to take her hand, but Mary went right through her. Sarah shivered and stuffed her fingers into fox fur muff in her lap.
“I hate that feeling.”
Another sob was coming, Mary felt it, but she pushed it down, knowing that this could be her only chance at freedom and peace.
“Fine,” Sarah snapped, reaching into one of her many pockets. “If you’re going to be so insistent, then I suppose I have no choice.”
She pulled out a vial, smaller than a finger. Inside, Mary saw a lock of her own red hair and a red ribbon she had worn the day she died.
“I’ve had you for a while anyway,” she said as she uncorked the vial.
Mary felt a lightness filling her, bright and more beautiful than anything she had felt before. “Thank you so much! You truly are a kind soul.”
Sarah shrugged, “Don’t be too hasty, child. I’ll just have to find someone to replace you.”
Mary gasped but couldn’t form words as the brilliant light enveloped her.
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