#55 Labyrinth

by Amy Gettinger

Okay, don't look down. I can do this if I don't look down. Crap. I looked. Black and white linoleum squares, moving, heaving like living things. Endless shifting rhomboids, slicing their way down the long hall. I look up, yet feel the tile chess board seething under my feet. Am I rook or pawn?

My knees wobble. Gotta sit. Yeah. Grab the wall, ease myself into a chair. If that lady would just get up. Please, lady, get up. I'll fall. I will.

Maybe if I turn my head. Oh, God. Stairs. And lines, lines, crazy, stupid lines. Parallel. Diagonal. Crooked. Sharp. Hide my eyes. Why's that bannister snaking and twisting so much? And the risers diving like fish? God help me, if they make me climb those bloody things, I'm out of here. On hands and knees.

Oh, finally. Finally. Off she goes, and I sink down, sit, shut my eyes. Please, head, stop rocking, spiraling toward the ceiling. Whose dark, tilted beams are NOT falling. Yet.

"Want a mint?" a guy says.

"Huh?" I'm so queasy a mint would send me crashing down to hug those black and white gorgon tiles, which just might swallow me whole. Egad. Will they never stop pitching?

"Miss Jones?"

Huh? My turn already? I stagger up, follow the woman through the door, and gratefully take a seat. I try to still my swaying head.

"So Miss Jones. I see you've got acrobatic experience with Barnum. And how are your high-wire skills?"


Deb said...

This was a fun read. Your take on the prompt (and the prompt itself) made me think of those "fun houses" at carnivals, which I never found to be fun!

Good work.

Amy said...

Thank you. It felt like that to me, too.