Sophie Dore from Thomas Deacon Academy won second place in the Flash fiction section of the University Centre Peterborough Literary Competition, with her short story- Maze of Malice.
Maze of Malice:
Every maze has its own solution. Unfortunately, they aren’t all as simple as a child’s puzzle,
solved with only a few scratches of a pencil.
For instance, my maze has more turns than a spring could have coils. Every few metres, the
vast structure offers me a series of choices: at “Twelve y-o” there was left and right;
“Eighteen y-o” six different routes; and then there is my current point with four.
Upon my initial arrival, I discovered the capabilities of the maze. With walls stronger than
steel (and just as painful to hit), there was no way to avoid making a decision. Perhaps that’s
the point of this place. Although, torturing people into making choices didn’t seem like a very
pleasant purpose for a structure. But, of course, very little in this world has ever proved to be
With each choice, a new pathway is created and a new memory pushed away to make
space for the emotions that inevitably arrive after a single step. All it takes is one wrong turn
and the blood-red wave of anger will drown you. The tsunami of sadness will knock you off
of your feet. And, it will hurt. More than anything. And not just you.
When the flood arrives, you will lash out. You will fall upon your sword only to pull it from
your chest and lash out with it.
With every swing, my arm gets heavier; yet, I never stop. I never think to control the blade.
The wave washes over me and it's peaceful at first, calming even. But then the rain arrives.
Burning, crimson, vicious, droplets that will destroy anything I care about. No boat will allow
escape. No sailor will get you out alive. And no temperature will ever freeze these waters.
Everyone will be condemned because of one decision. Or twenty, or thirty.
Consequences follow every action and they can no more be predicted than the day we will
die. Years ago, I was swept under the waves and into the crushing depths of the burning
ocean; and yet, I barely noticed. It greeted me with a gentle smile and a welcoming embrace
as though I were an old friend. In a way, I suppose I was. We had met many times before,
exchanging a few words. Still practically strangers.
Despite the pain, I couldn’t say that I missed the time when we were strangers. Like all
drugs, there is an allure to them that you will not find in the moral or the true. The lies, the
addiction, the desperation. It all reels me back into the maze until I can never get out.
Another path conjured every second to torment me until the day I die.
My maze is built from the thoughts of “what if?” and “why did I do that?”. Maybe that is why I
will never escape.
After all, a wall built of cognizance will always be eternally stronger than one built of bricks.