Dhruv’s story: ‘The Labyrinth within…’

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They don’t know how lonely it is in here. No one to talk to, to see, to love. In this labyrinth, I feel tiny. Inconsequential. I am enclosed by the walls of this maze, stretching forward into the horizon infinitely.

I am a formidable beast; I see myself in the terror-stricken eyes of my victims and hear my growl echoing in the walls of the labyrinth. But no one gave me a chance. They locked me up – isolated from the rest of the world, so that I am alone. How I dream of living in the wild, dancing and playing in the lush fields, without a care in the world. Instead, I live in the labyrinth. And in my eyes, it is not my home. It is a prison.

Every seven years, the humans come – seven boys and seven girls. I eat them because Minos leaves me ravenous – they are all I can eat. They are my only meals, and I need to survive. I need to survive because I still hold on to the hope that one day, I will be free. That hope is the only thing that keeps me going – it gives me the will to live.

I think back to my birth, being rocked in my mother’s warm arms. I was happy then. But they took my joy away from me – my home, my mother and my family. Minos and his men trapped me in a dungeon. I knew I would be taking the life of men and women who were innocent – like me.

My thoughts are interrupted by rumbling from a distance. A faint one, but a definite one. The humans are coming. After seven years of my heart thumping and beating with hunger, they have come. I will live, but they will not, I realise. At this, my heart sinks like a stone. They don’t deserve to die. So, I will not do it. I will not kill them. Minos can starve me to death, but I will not kill them.

Minutes later, I see children – I can hear the adrenaline racing through their veins. They are mostly dressed in rags, cowering and hiding. But one boy is different. He wears the clothes of a prince and he holds a sword in one hand and what seems to be a ball of string in the other. He stands proud and mighty, gripping his sword tightly, not scared by my monstrosity. Suddenly, I see the anger in his eyes – he will kill me, I know, to seek revenge for all I have done.

A bolt of terror darts through me like lightning. This is the end. I shall not kill him for the will to live has drained from me. I will never leave this prison. So why live? Why live when my body has been conquered by eternal despair, desolation and darkness? Why not be freed from my life of misery, by death?

And then, the boy draws his sword.