Once the Minotaur decided to take its labyrinth with it wherever it went. Over the years it had grown attached to the place and had difficulty picturing itself anywhere else. All its memories were here. In the shadowy recesses of the labyrinth, they provided the Minotaur with unwavering companionship. If it sank into melancholic torpor, they lightened its mood. Or if it grew too excited, they restored it to calm and discretion. Over the years, the Minotaur had come to rely on their comforting, faithful presence. And it kept faith with them in return. It did this despite the fact that it was seldom free of alluring visions from a world beyond the labyrinth. These visions wandered down the dim passageways and slipped in among the familiar company, danced their seductive dances, whispered in the Minotaur’s ear, urged it to follow them back out. They were as persistent as its more constant companions. And they filled the labyrinth with strange, intoxicating perfumes. One day the Minotaur, unable to resist their enticements any longer, rose to follow these visions back out of its prison and into their world. The way out was longer than it had imagined, much longer, but the closer it came to the exit, the more the visions beckoned it on. Whenever the Minotaur stopped to catch its breath, its heart pounding in anticipation, they paused too and waited for it to catch up. And each time they disappeared around a turn, it could hear their voices drop a moment and then rise again as if to encourage it by shortening the distance that seemed to remain. Finally, on the threshold, they called one last time to the struggling Minotaur and strode out. When the Minotaur itself reached the opening and took in the broad vista stretching away in every direction, it stood in dazzled amazement. What could have prepared it for the range of lush possibilities to be explored? And yet, for all the allure of the scene before it, the Minotaur hesitated to take the next step. Might everything be merely an illusion? What if, once out of the labyrinth, the Minotaur discovered a life unequal to the promises made by the visions that had found their way down the endless turns and into its affections? A world less inspiring than their whispers—what then, with everything that would have been given up for such uncertain gain? Troubled by these doubts, the Minotaur made the only decision it thought it could. It hoisted the labyrinth onto its back and set off into the world, prepared to exchange a lifetime of creeping snail-like here and there for the security of knowing it could always withdraw into its maze again if need be. Always retreat and wait among the shadows for the visions to return.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans