Tale #82: Ariadne’s Web

There is, of course, the story of Ariadne and her ball of string. It’s always told as if that was her way of keeping Theseus from getting lost. But really it was to tie him in place.

Just as her brother was half bull, she was, as her name alludes, half spider. And with every adventurer she lured in with her tricks, with every length of twine she gave them, she slowly remade her brother’s labyrinth into her web.

And, despite what the stories say, no-one ever escaped.

How many entered that labyrinth? How many in good faith took with them her wool? Unspooling it behind them, each loop they left behind a comfort to their terrified hearts, a protection against disorientation, despair.

In reality all it did was lead her brother to them. He left no trail, yet his victim’s always did. In his fury he tore those poor men limb from limb, ate the hearts from their chests, sucked the marrow from their bones, watched in the dark with demented glee as the last lights of life left their dying eyes.

Ariadne lay her eggs in the bodies he left. When they hatched, her children feasted on the rotting flesh in which they had been born, before, eventually, they scuttled down the delicate trails of her web that stretched out around them.

Out from the dark, towards the light of the town.

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Notes:

1. Written in January 2016
2. One final thing
3. For that maze
4. Of ours

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Tale #81: How to escape from every maze in the world

I listen to my dad. Not always, but often. He’s my father and I don’t want to let him down.

He told me once how to escape from any maze in the world. You just hold out your left hand, let it touch the wall by your side, and then, no matter where in the maze you are, you just follow it until you escape.

It might take a while, he said, but it’ll never let you down. Try it. Put your hand here, and start walking. Trace your fingers along the wall and follow them to freedom.

And so I tried it. I held my left hand out and placed my palm against the wall, and then stepped forward, one step, then two. On and on.

In this way I followed my father’s advice. Followed the path my finger traced along this wall. Followed the path like he said I should.

I have followed and followed and followed his loop forever. Have, in all my years, never found my way to anywhere at all.

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Notes:

1. Written in January 2016
2. For that Maze
3. Again

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Tale #79: Trail Of Breadcrumbs

We knew our way in, and we knew our way out. And we wanted so much to show everyone what we knew. To show them what we’d found, to show them everything we had. But telling would diminish it all. And asking, well, that would diminish us.

We waited and no one ever came. We left a trail of stones to mark the way, but no one ever thought to follow. We left a trail of breadcrumbs behind us, yet all we attracted were sparrows. We left a path of flowers, and they brought us nothing but bees.

So now instead we used coins we’d stolen from the machines by the pier. And we laid them down on our path as we walked out of town and down into the woods, our way twisting here and there between the trees and through the undergrowth, taking half-forgotten paths along river banks and across nearly-broken bridges, until our trail reached the hidden clearing we loved so much, and the forgotten lake where we always swam.

There we took off our clothes and stepped into the water and waited. Waited for whoever would follow their greed and come to us.

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Notes:

1. This was originally written in July 2014
2. As part of what became An Escape
3. But this version was written in January 2016
4. For use in the Maze
5. That I have mentioned before

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Tale #72: Our paths trace out behind us

There was a woman who lived in the woods. Every day after breakfast she went for a walk, carrying a tin of paint. She made a hole in the bottom with a nail and let the paint drip out where she walked. When the paint ran out she would stop, eat her lunch, and then follow the trail back home.

Every day with her paint she traced a new path. And every day her paint ran out before she found a way out of the woods. She wondered somedays whether she just needed a bigger tin, needed to take a longer route.

And other days she wondered if there was any way out at all. That even if she kept walking forever the woods would never end, she would never be free.

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Notes:

1. Written in August 2014
2. And re-written in Jaunary 2016
3. For use in a maze
4. Which was called “A Maze”
5. And existed briefly in Stroud

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