The sound of crayon scraping the floor made young mother awake early in the morning and check the ruckus in living room.
– Adrian! Not again! – She exclaimed as she saw new drawings of strange geometrical obscenities on the living room floor.
Boy, aged 11, was fully taken over by what he was doing. He would not stop at anything until he would finish this strange map of sorts. It looked like some outer space architecture drop out, than a drawing – if you pay a bit more attention to it.
Mother rushed to Adrian. She grabbed him tight and hugged him, but he, with all might kept on trying to escape to continue. He seemed obsessed. His mother would often say that he was “Possessed by some sort of a creature that made him do this.” Doctors would come and go – trying to figure out this strange occurrence. Yet not a single one had the answer why every third night boy would go and draw, with no memory of his actions he’d silently go back to sleep.
– No Adrian! Stop! You’re scaring me! Monster! You’re a monster! – Mother pushed the child.
He fell on the floor.
Like nothing happened he got up, then got back to started drawing – to continue. Crying, she in fear backed away.
-You’re possessed Adrian. You’re a monster. – The cold determined voice of mother condemned the child.
Waking up with his head heavy, Adrian wiped up his face with a palm of his hand – cold sweat. His past memories would haunt him at times in his dreams, as that was not the best sort of childhood one could dream of.
He looked at the time – 7:12 in the morning. “Overslept again” he thought to himself as he got dressed. Right in the middle of buttoning up shirt knocked on the door his trusted butler: “Morning Sir. Breakfast awaits you in the dining room. May I pull the curtains, Sir?” Adrian just nodded.
Breakfast was filling, coffee, darkest and most sour, a soul can find, was just about right to wake him up.
Whilst checking notifications on the phone – he noticed a missed call from David.
Adrians eyes looked up, at the ceiling with paintings on it, the slight disgust from the dreams was still lingering somehow. Like the aftertaste of something rotten.
“Work. Work calls.” He thought to himself as he jumped into black car, dialling Davids number. By the way David calls, there are usually obscure little problems, which if not dealt with fast become the size of the solar system.
Few beeps later David answers and gets straight to the point: “Erick sees her. He’s freaking out again, yet like insane – does the writing. AIO might spike up.”
“On my way”, – was all that Adrian replied, changing lanes on motorway.
Adrian was having the issue each time as he was getting inside the building where David lived. Security was dense in the head to remember him and David being called up by security to verify the identity of the guest. As per regulations – the visitors without the owner besides them – was always quite a “strange” occurrence here.
Finally, getting up to the hell knows which floor – that took quite a time even by elevator to get, Adrian found the needed door to the home of his subordinate. Although it was long since they had any legit communication, Adrian was let in by the opened door. He found in living room the two people closest to him: Erick was having some sort of breakdown, shaking and hitting back David who tried to hug Erick and contain his movements was thrown back, leaving Erick hugging himself, defending himself from unknown.
– How long is he like this? – Adrian spoke, getting his phone out.
– For past thirty minutes or so; can’t get him to calm down. – David breathed out.
– Give me fifteen more. – Typing something on the phone Adrian came up closer to Erick.
Examining the obvious paranoia and fear, seeing the eyes shooting across the room, as if there was someone scouting around for bones, life at steak, Erick covered his mouth and tried not to breathe loudly, dreadful fear frozen still in his eyes, tears falling down. Erick looked at Adrian as if this creature of doom was in Adrians place.
– It’s because of Niko, is it not? – David gave judging look to Adrian.
– Most likely. Knowing how they both are synchronised.
– You sent her again? Did you not promise to stop? What the hell is on with you nowdays?
– I assume that is mainly none of your concern. Just fulfil your role.
Adrian was pacing the room, looking at things new to him in here. It was few years now, yet still it seemed like nothing much had changed.
– Medicine will be here soon.
– If you think that being up there lets you do all this – you are wrong. – David sat down next to Erick, who sat still now – covering his mouth, crouched with his knees close to chest, crying.
– There are changes in the perspective. Data is needed. I need new people. You know by yourself how it gets out there…
– It gets ugly, – David cut in, – and it’s hard, body takes up a dosage of stuff unknown here yet. You do remember what happened to me, to you, to Erick?
– And the only one with tough balls is still going on investigating. Stop whining. You know full well how the updates are vital in here. If not this, we’d be in tough spot all together, if not crucified and “purified” by fire, or what else would come up in ones head.
Phone buzzed, Adrian took a look at the screen.
– Five more minutes wee lass.
– We would be dead or experimented on by others – not our kind. That is for sure. If last of us would not survive, or experience memory loss, it would toss all into the pit of darkness. And comedy matter of finding new pets for experiment? To seek them out loud publically would be suicide. Have you lost your mind?
Adrian said nothing, just went to the door to pick up something from the security. Door shut, Adrian took out syringe from the bag, then in fast motion stuck needle into back of Ericks neck – making the contents pour into his system, calming him down, making drowsy. Off goes the man to the la-la land.
Adrian hands to David pack of pills.
– You know how to use that. I am still sane, if you judge by our type of measure. There are things yet to be discovered, and things yet to be known, I just want us to keep on going. – He looked at Erick, – I still want to be able to submerge in there fully, not the way we still do. Dreams should not die, and there are always sacrifices. The due payment – for what we do. David, you out of everyone, know how everything works. – Adrian took a good look at David, – Don’t forget what you’ve learned, when you had time. And think what might happen if we lose our last resort. We need more people. – Adrian emphasized the last part.
The research was mad, but needed new probe patients to explore. The system is too harsh for many. Only few get ti stay “awake” after the dive.
People are chatting outside his office. Faint voices are heard, but nothing in particular could be made out from that chatter. A glass of alcohol is on the table. Fingers are nervously tapping on the corner of the document pile that just arrived from Kriss. Reading these files comes a bother at times. They remind a lot of things that were meant to be forgotten.
This room now seems more claustrophobic than ever, for the only window is just overlooking small patch of man-made park, rest of scenery taken over by industrialism and grotesque buildings hanging over the head. Doors and walls thick. Perhaps, if he screamed – nobody would hear. Perhaps, that was a delusion. Maybe reality? Thoughts go wandering off…
“I won’t be the monster.” – Mumbled Adrian as he downed the burning liquid, taking bottle and pouring more.
After seeing Erick – there were memories crawling out. From the unfathomable depths of hell one could possess. The childhood memories came back. The horrid pictures and sounds, the face of woman who gave birth to Adrian – in fear, trembling, screaming… “You’re a monster! Not my son! Monster! Get away!!!” – Were the last words he could recall hearing from her.
It was quite a massive burden, then troubles and issues rolled like a snowball – ending with blood.
All what Adrian did was follow the labyrinth – get through the strange land of wonders and in the end – kill monsters to return home. All promised by the Creature that said he’d be forever released from this place and returned back to “normal”. To his loving parents.
But when Adrian returned – he witnessed blood on his hands, two bodies beneath him, stone cold, with frozen horror on their faces.
Shaking madly. Screaming and pleading for parents to return… But nothing helped.
Suddenly Creature spoke in this reality too, saying it was he – Adrian who killed his parents and now was fully capable of freedom. No more scraping on the floor with knives, writing on walls, mumbling the chants from Otherland – all this finished to uncover another nightmare. One that has no end.
He was barely fifteen. He was unsure of everything. But then, all of a sudden, all went to blast, all had to be bombarded by the survival between worlds.
Managing to cover up the homicide of parents, then staying in mental facility for just over a year. Finally getting a hang of how to control “fits”.
The “plus” of being the only son of the wealthy parents had its advantage, so he took opportunity to start figuring these abnormalities out. Later all went off into more and more research.
Through multiple dissonances – finally were found out some other individuals with similar issues. That’s how he got to know David and Erick.
Still, there was one image not releasing his uptight consciousness – the garden where he slaughtered the Creature. That magical place is so vividly imprinted in the memory – the rose bushes blooming red and yellow, white small flowers growing as live carpet all around, wet path stones that just breathed out after rain and the dissolving clouds, leaving sunshine through, unravelling the glittery sight of raindrops everywhere sticking to petals and leaves, then there was blood, flowing ever so gently from the body of the bastard who directed Adrians movements for quite some time, this Creature then started to shed scales and someone else appeared from under the horrid appearance… Adrian murdered his other self, looked at himself laying there, dead, he was struck with shock, the kind of fear he never felt, after that – white noise.
“Everybody had their own labyrinth to walk through and their own monster to kill” – you said, and you died with a smile on your face, bastard.” – Mumbled Adrian to himself whilst downing another glass of alcohol. – “What did you know? What were you meaning to teach me by this? Creepy enough, but I miss you and that long labyrinth. I’m drunk… And such an idiot…”
The shadows of past experiences dauntingly haunting… His face reappearing, happy, yet voice full of conviction, determination… Darn creature…
Taking small steps towards the next room as they are holding hands. Doppel and Niko walked silently passing between snoozing monsters.
– We should be close to exit somewhere, or another “thick wall” room. – Niko whispered.
BTOOM! Whole building shook. Monsters began fidgeting. Then screeching was heard and the flock began their movement towards the cause of disturbance.
“The hell was that?!” – Went through Nikos head, as she grabbed tighter Doppels hand. Both girls were now running. Paying attention to the bloodthirsty monsters is late now. Someone made quite a statement – using such a blast.
Corridors were long enough in this part of facility, yet there was a hustle – opening of few locked doors. Code cracking took time – which these two did not have. By all means in this situation it was just the worst case scenario. Being now cornered by code door – fidgeting with wires and combinations to open up entrance, simultaneously having monsters running towards them.
– They are going to eat us up! Hurry! – Doppel freaked out from pressure, as Niko was the one working on opening door.
– Telling me this won’t help the case you know. – Niko replied with slight frustration.
– Let me help. – calm voice takes both by surprise.
Door is successfully opened and girls get through. They run towards nearest room, which so happens to be thick walled – they hide there.
– Not even a “thank you”? – Voice keeps on going.
Niko now shields Doppel with herself:
– What do you want, you sick bastard? – Cold voice, determined.
– Don’t be so uptight. I am not going to harm you… For now that is. – White hair, rabbit ears. His pleasant, calm fake smile. This man was the definition of trouble. He is the keeper of Labyrinth – White Hare.