The Gate

My head hurts again. I need it to stop. Blood everywhere. Hands drip with it, hair matted. I’m darting in circles. Pounding against the tall, tall walls. Panic takes hold as I keep colliding with dead ends and dry leaves. My horror erupts in a litany of entreaties as the exit continues to elude me.

I start to run again, taking random lefts and rights. My mind focuses on my one salvation.

Black iron, immense. Bars thicker than my wrists. The relief washes over me as I touch it in awe. But there is no way to open it. No way to climb over, and beyond the gate the world is dark. The looming maze behind me appears more safe and familiar. Out there more danger and sorrow lurks. I slowly back away, still looking for a way to bypass the gate, but in my heart reluctant to make a closer inspection.

Abruptly, I freeze. I’m no longer alone. No one is behind me, but I’m certain someone stands before me, beyond the gate, bathed in the shadows that frighten me so.

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