The challenge was to write a piece of fiction in under 500 words. This was my first attempt, so it’s not too fantastic!
Graffiti and battered bricks rose around me, as the city that I knew so well became a labyrinth. The alley was occasionally lit by the street light above, which let out its light in unpredictable spasms, just as my fagged eyes flickered in and out of focus. On the ground, among burnt out cigarettes and feasting rats, was two sets of footprints. One set painted the outline of a child’s foot, of my child’s foot, and the other set were much bigger and were printed much more carelessly or rushed. I continued down the alley, reassured by the fact that my own third set of footprints were not beside them, and so I was not following old tracks.
I shivered, even in my many layers, as I had not felt the winter’s chill since Amy’s death. Truth be told I had not left the house much at all since the funeral, aside from picking up my prescriptions, or a bottle of Echo Falls from the corner shop. Chris, who had once been as close to me as Amy, had been driven away by my obsession for freeing her from whatever minotaur kept her in this world. I too questioned my sanity when I first started to see her, begging for me to help her, sometimes running through rooms though being chased, or cowering beneath tables and in cupboards. It wasn’t until recently that I decided that I would not fail Amy’s spirit, as I did her human body, even if that meant pursuing a beast I did not entirely believe existed.
A shadow poured over me, pressing fear and gloom against me until I was on my knees. I couldn’t be sure if any solid being actually touched me, but whatever brought me to my knees kept me there. I stayed frozen until a burst of light revealed blurs of a purple nightgown, which moved quickly away from me until it died under the darkness. I broke free from the shadows, which darted after me as I did my daughter, we danced together through alley after alley until finally it held me where I stood at the opening of one particularly well-lit passageway. Opposite me lay Amy, who waited calmly for the minotaur to approach her. I had wished to find her for so long, and now I wished for her to run one more time, but I could see that Amy had admitted defeat. She hopelessly slunk to the ground.
Shaking, I approached her, wondering if the beast could harm beings in this world too. My eyes watered as I reached out to touch her one last time, and Amy shook violently at something that I thought must have been approaching from behind me.
“Go, move on my love.” I said with a breaking voice.
Amy now addressed the beast directly. “I shall move on when you let me.”