Tuesday 14 November 2023

The Maze by Kevin Wood, white chocolate liqueur

 I walked at a good pace down the long road that led straight through to the town ahead of me. Mysteriously that town was not marked on any map. This puzzled me. Above the sky was an eerie red glow as it looked down onto the sand- coloured cornfields that lined the road.

I stopped for a moment to look back on how far I’d walked. I was trying to see back to where I’d started from and then estimate my location. I felt lost.

The town stood on the horizon perched on the top of a hill at the road’s end. I looked around once more trying to see if I could spot any signs of civilisation in the town but I was still too far away. I continued to walk.

On one side of the road there was an old railway track. I hadn’t noticed it before. Nor had I noticed the steam train that was now approaching. Had it come from the town? I wasn’t sure, but it seemed likely. The train moved towards me and passed. It didn’t make a sound. It’s funnel pumping smoke into the blushing sky. Then after it moved by it disappeared into thin air as if a wizard had waved a wand and decreed that it should be so.

I saw old fashioned telegraph poles that lined the road into the town. I followed them until after an uncertain amount of time I arrived and looked in awe at the tall buildings that gleamed in the reflected light. To one side of me an old church stood majestically singing praises to the heavens and the buildings around. Then I spotted an old derelict cottage at one corner of a nearby junction. An old crumbling brick building opposite the church, struggling to stand firm as it swayed in a silent wind.

I walked further through the town and came upon another old house. It was painted red and exuded a grandeur of better days many years ago.

Beyond the town there was a small cottage. It stood away from any of the other buildings. Empty and deserted. It was also from a bygone age. Its walls peeling with old memories. I looked back towards the town whilst standing beside the cottage. It occurred to me that all the buildings were pictures of different ages of history. Very strange.

But behind the cottages were two odd looking black oblong shaped buildings. They were hiding in the shadows. They were out of place from all the other buildings I’d encountered so far. I was curious and drew closer to them leaving the road to walk over on perfectly cut grass as I approached. Each of them had a cross prominent at the front and overlooked a valley on the other side.

An open door on the left-hand building beckoned me in. I chose not to go. Instead, I called down the valley.

‘Hello, is there anyone there?’ My voice echoed across the valley and back again. I thought I heard a quiet reply from inside the open door. Despite my earlier caution I walked in.

Going through into the building I found myself in a long corridor. The door behind me creaked and slammed shut. I began to walk along the corridor wondering where it might lead.

As I continued, I called out again trying to hear where the noise had come from that I’d heard outside earlier. The bright white walls of the corridor echoed back my calls but there was no reply.

On I walked. Walking for hours. Calling out intermittently to the empty building. The journey took me to a series of further corridors and I continued on until I was hopelessly lost. The walls in the maze of corridors surrounding and suffocating. Hours passed. On I walked. Wandering on aimlessly. Wandering and wandering… 

About the author

Kevin Wood is based in Basildon, Essex. His first novella, a collection of short stories titled "The Search for Ellie Babble" was published in December 2022. He writes mainly in the English Urban Noir and Science Fiction genre. 


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