This week’s prompt from Terrible Minds was to choose a title at random, from two lists of words. 1000 word limit.
The lists were:
|17||Flight of the||Story|
I rolled 13 and 17. Wordcount – 759.
The Minotaur Story
It was a faint sound, but enough to wake me. My ears swivelled toward the door – there it was again, the scrape of a sandal on the dirt floor.
I opened the closest eye and spotted a shadow in the doorway. “Do come in,” I said. “Don’t lurk around the corner, come in to meet your death.”
As I stood and readied my blade the warrior strode in, brandishing his own short sword. In the dim light he looked to be Athenian, like the others, and wearing only light armour of leather and linen.
“Make your peace with the gods, monster.” he said. “I am Theseus, and have come to slay you.”
“I know,” I said, “it’s part of the annual tribute. You’re the third this week, sent for me to slay and eat.
One again I cursed my father, King Minos. Ashamed of me, angry with his wife, he’d banished me to this underground maze years ago, and trapped me with a spell. My only purpose now, in this nightmare of a life, was to kill.”
As Theseus readied his sword and shield, I turned my head to keep him squarely in sight, and prepared to meet his charge.
“I’m curious though,” I said. “If you do kill me, how will you get back out of the maze? Some warriors. panicking at the sight of a creature half bull, half man, have dropped their sword, and fled back down the corridor. I always find them, eventually, in some side passage. Sometimes in hours, sometimes in months – dried up and chewy as an old sandal. They never find the right path, as the same spell that leads all right to the centre clouds the vision on the way back.”
“I was given a ball of thread, by my true love,” he said. “I will just need to close my eyes and follow it back by touch, then claim my prize.”
“What prize might that be?” I asked. “What has the king offered you?”
“The hand of the princess, Ariadne. I love her dearly, and would take her back with me to Athens.”
I snorted in astonishment. “My sister? You would rescue her from this foul place? From our wicked father Minos? For that you have my blessing.”
Theseus stepped closer and raised his sword. “I’ll pass on the news that you died a valiant death.”
“But wait,” I said. “You said that you’d left a trail, a length of thread. But what of the mice? They are quite voracious down here. You might kill me, but then be doomed to never see our Ariadne. Please, go back a few paces, follow your thread past a couple of turns, just to check. I’ll wait.”
Theseus paused for a moment, then turned back. I heard his feet scuff down the corridor for a few minutes, then pause. There was a muffled curse in the distance, As he stepped back through the doorway I smiled and looked up at the top of the wall, taller than two men, but still far short of the roof of my prison.
“No matter,” I said. “My father would have never kept his end of the bargain with you. But there is another way out. The king uses it when he comes to taunt me. The path out is clear from up on top of the wall.”
“But it’s too high,” he said. “I could never reach it.”
“On my shoulders you could,” I said.
He shook his head. “Why should I trust you, a monster.”
“Because you are the salvation of my dear sister,” I said. “All I would ask for you is a small favour. My father balanced my sister’s life against mine, so I had to stay alive just for her, trapped in this hell. Now that I’m free, I would like to die at the hands of a warrior.” I smiled. “Even if it’s an Athenian.”
I lowered my sword and shield, and stood against the wall. “So, Theseus, before you leap for the top of the wall, bend quickly and stab me, right in the throat. Then jump - hopefully you are as agile as you look. Could you do that and give me peace?”
Theseus nodded. “I could do that.” He leaped up quickly, steadied himself, paused, then bent. I felt the pain in my throat and push on my shoulders as he jumped. As I slumped into darkness I heard a shout of triumph. “Thank you my friend,” he said.
I gave one last smile. “No, I thank you.”