Now it's your turn.
All you need to do is follow the red thread.
[[Come with me|Start]]. You already know this.
It’s just that some of it began to drift apart
and deep in these wandering, mazy fissures you have
[[lost pieces]].You open your eyes.
An insistent throbbing prompts you to press your hand to the side of your head. It’s sticky. You inspect your bloodstained palm as if it belongs to someone else. It might well do.
Pain that's somehow both dull and sharp radiates around your right eye socket. When you touch your face with your fingertips, the shifting of your bones make you feel sick.
Your collar hangs loose, half-ripped from your jacket, and your clothes are patched with dirt.
You don’t remember [[how this has happened]].Everything hurts, actually. Your body feels as if it's been repeatedly thrown down a very long spiral staircase.
You're sitting in a chair, in an office, in a large building. You know this because you can see parts of it on dozens of monitors displaying grainy security feeds. It's a wall of disjointed corridors. Most of them are empty but you can see signs of life on three of them.
You can see a [[woman talking|CC-G13]], a huddled group and a man running.
On the screen a woman is talking on her mobile. She has long hair and fingers crusted with jewellery that catches the lights as she gesticulates. She seems at home, comfortable in her surroundings in a way that [[the group of people|CC-B03]] and [[the man |CC-471]] don't.On the screen a group of agitated men and women crowd against a wall that's covered from floor to ceiling with strange cupboard doors. The doors are brushed metal and the handles are horizontal and centred.
Perhaps you are focusing on the doors so you don't have to look at the people?
[[The woman is still talking|CC-G13]] on her phone and [[the man is still running|CC-471]].On the screen a man with determined shoulders and a heroic jaw is running at speed. He disappears, dashes out of the frame.
He reappears on another screen.
The man reappears on a number of screens at random as he runs. Sometimes he runs towards the woman, sometimes away from her.
It's as though he's teleporting.
Everything vanishes into [[blackness|lights out]].You sit very still in the dark for a moment, trying to distinguish between the eyes-shut-darkness and the eyes-open-darkness.
The emergency generator sputters into life and everything is bathed in a ghoulish green light.
You shiver even though it's not cold. You would prefer to be in company, but whose? [[The woman talking|The woman]], [[the group huddling|The group]] or the [[the man running|The man]]?You move closer to the screen with the woman to see if you can work out where she is. She's standing outside a set of double doors. They are narrow and made of a dull metal. If she would just move a little to her left you would be able to make out the sign on the wall behind her.
She moves a little to her right.
She moves a little to her left.
But not far enough.
She moves a little to her left again and you read the sign. It says [[Assessments]].You look at them on the monitor. Their mouths open as they cry out soundlessly. They are clinging onto each other as though they're about to be shipwrecked.
You have another look at the other screens and see if one of them might provide easier company in this gloom.
There is [[the woman still talking|The woman]]or [[the man still running|The man]]. As soon as you fix on him on one monitor he dashes out of the frame.
You'll never find him.
You look back to the other screens, to[[the woman still talking|The woman]] and [[the group still huddling|The group]]. You stand up. [[The world tilts]] but you manage not to slide off.
As you leave the room you notice a long desk against one wall, covered in files and paper. There's a security badge on a tangled lanyard leaning against an empty mug. These observations seem trivial compared to your need to find the woman with the sparkling fingers.
There is a sign on the office door that says Security Office, which [[makes as much sense as anything does]].You hurry through the corridors, passing hundreds of closed doors and a regiment of lifts, until you arrive at a large signpost on the wall. It provides you with directions to a number of places including a mortuary, a refectory and a pharmacy. There's a long list of wards with names like Charon and Danake too. In the dim light you find the arrow that directs you to [[Assessments|meet Ariadne]].You hear the woman before you see her. Her voice pinballs off the blank walls making your sore head ring.
‘I’ll call you back,’ she says and hangs up.
She looks familiar but [[you can’t place her]]. ‘There you are,’ she says. ‘I was so worried about you.’
She puts her heavy hand on your arm and peers into your face with an expression that approximates concern.
‘You’re bleeding,’ she steps back.
You show her your bloody hand.
‘The hospital is empty,’ she says. ‘Daedelus is on his way, so we can start the shutdown soon. It was so good of you to stay behind and help us. Which one did that to you?’ She's pointing at your head. It must look gruesome.
You tell her you can’t remember. For a moment you think she looks relieved.
‘Once we’re out of here, we can get you cleaned up.’
You can’t think of anything to say. Your thoughts are jostling each other as if crowded into a small car about to fly off a cliff at high speed.
[[The hospital is not empty]].‘It’s so creepy like this,’ she laughs, hollow as dead trees. ‘This light doesn’t help. Could you go down to the basement and put the power back on? The storm will have tripped the fuse box or something.’ She giggles as if she's a girl who needs protecting from dark corners and leaping shadows.
Her mobile buzzes making the rings on her fingers vibrate against each other. ‘You know where it is, don’t you,’ she says before turning her attention to the phone.
It’s a dismissal rather than a question. She has finished with you.
‘[[Ariadne speaking]],’ she says into the phone.Ariadne. The name tugs at you without drawing you in any particular direction.
[[You go and find a lift]]. You passed some on the way here. [[Remember]]?The emergency patients’ lift is the only one running. It takes an age to arrive. You can hear the storm outside, or perhaps you can just hear the echo of Ariadne telling you about it.
The lift doors open and you step inside. This lift doesn’t go to all the floors. There is a sign:
Eight floor - Wards and Clinical Administration
Second floor - Operating Theatre
Ground floor - Reception and Way Out
Basement - Mortuary and Maintenance
Only two buttons are working.
Maybe your memories are beginning to come back, like beads of mercury [[finding their way|You go and find a lift]] to each other.The lift doesn't respond.
You're already on the ground floor.
You press the other [[button|-7]].Y
[[to the very bottom|finding the dice]].
The basement is cold and smells of damp and old meat. The lift doors close behind you. You are standing in the middle of a long corridor which is barred by mesh gates every twenty metres or so. Lamps in the low ceiling throw puddles of light on to the concrete floor leaving [[patches of darkness]] between them.
You try to remember where the fuse box is. You can’t imagine why Ariadne would think you’d know.
To your [[left]] the gate is wide open, to the [[right]] it’s closed. Beyond it you can see a set of dark double doors with the word ‘Mortuary’ painted across them in bright white letters.You head through the open gate. There’s a turning on your [[right|meander 1]], but you could [[keep going| main 1]].
You can hear footsteps but can't tell where they’re coming from. Maybe ahead, maybe behind.You turn to your right and try to go through the gate but it's locked. There’s a slot on the side of the door for you to swipe a card through, probably a security card.
[[You go back|left]], past the lift and carry on into the gloom.You walk down the long corridor. It's only distinguishing feature is its length.
You can go [[left|main 2]] or [[right|meander 2]].You keep going down the corridor. There’s a door, wedged open with a fire extinguisher, on your [[left|meander 2]]. It leads to another corridor where the light flickers. This corridor carries [[straight on|main 2]]. You can go through [[a door painted a drab olive green|meander 3]], down a [[corridor|meander 1]] in almost total darkness or [[straight ahead|main 2]]. You carry on along the corridor. You think you can hear voices but when you stop to listen there’s only silence. Or rather, there's a complete absence of noise. Silence might be comforting. To know you're alone.
You reach a dead end. To the [[left|meander 3]] there’s a set of double doors. To the [[right|main 3]], a corridor which leads to an area that's full of machinery and what looked like an enormous fuse box. It's all inside a cage. Perhaps it's very dangerous.You rattle the door on the cage but it’s locked.
You look at the box of switches and cables. It *is* the fusebox but all the switches are in the up position. The storm hasn't thrown the fuses. You look around as best you can. On the floor inside the cage is a long cable with an industrial plug on the end. It looks lonely without its socket. It also looks robust and sturdy. Someone must have pulled it out.
You rattle the door again but it’s definitely locked. There’s a slot on the side of the door for you to swipe a security card.
There was a security card on the desk in the office. You remember that, don’t you?
You need to [[go back and get it]].You can go [[along a corridor|meander 1]] with a mural of a cattle-filled meadow along the wall. One of them is a large, white bull. You could go through a [[half-opened door|main 2]] or [[keep going this way|main 3]].You remember the way.
You turn around and retrace your steps.
The lift is waiting for you.
You go up to the [[ground floor|back to the office 1]].You hurry through the corridors until you arrive at a large signpost on the wall. It provides you with directions to a number of places including a mortuary, a refectory and a pharmacy. There's a long list of wards with names like Charon and Danake too. In the dim light you find the arrow that directs you to [[Security Office]]. You are soon back in the office. You take the security card from the desk and slip it into your pocket with the dice.
On one of the screens Ariadne is walking with a man. He's wearing glasses that look like goggles in the strange light. Oddly, you can hear their voices. And laughter.
As you leave the Security Office you realise they in the corridor outside.
‘Hello,’ Ariadne says, as [[you almost walk into them]].You tell Ariadne you needed a pass to get into the cage in case you’re about to get into trouble for being in the wrong place.
Why are you [[afraid of her]]?
'Hello,' the man says as if he knows you. He doesn't sound particularly fond of you.
He is short and looks like a puppy that’s been left out in the rain. He doesn’t look familiar to you. You are certain of this.
'It's me,' he says. 'Daedalus. Systems Architect. We've met before.'
You nod as if you've remembered who he is.
‘Here,’ Ariadne is shaking something out of a small white bottle. It’s a tiny red pill. She holds it out to you. It rests innocently in her palm. ‘This will help.’
There is something about the red pill that is familiar in a very comforting way. You [[swallow it without water]].‘You look like you need one,’ she says to Daedalus, offering him the bottle. It's not a kind gesture.
‘Doesn’t this bother you?’ he says. ‘There’s a psychopath running around in the hospital.’
‘They’re not after us,’ she says. ‘They’ve got their tributes.’
You feel like they’re talking for your benefit. Or maybe it’s that Ariadne seems a little too bright, too vivid.Everything she does feels like a performance.
‘Tributes,’ Daedalus snorts, then gets an ink-stained handkerchief out of his trouser pocket and attends to his nose.
‘We’ve emptied the hospital,’ Ariadne says. ‘All the little angels are safely tucked away elsewhere so they can’t hurt anyone and the trap is set.’
‘It’ll never work,’ Daedalus says. ‘Every nine years like clockwork. Fourteen people. Dead. Why is this time going to be any different?’
Over his shoulder you can see the man with the determined shoulders and the heroic jaw. He’s stopped running. Now he’s stalking from screen to screen as if he expects to bump into something terrifying.
[[You point him out]]. And then just in case they aren’t convinced you point out the group still terrified, still making themselves [[as small as possible]]. ‘Can anyone follow a simple instruction?’ Ariadne says.
‘None of this is simple,’ Daedalus says. He takes off his glasses and rubs his face as if trying to erase it.
The pain in your head has subsided. It’s like stepping off a ship and remembering what solid ground feels like.
‘You,’ Ariadne is pointing at [[you]]. ‘That’s the mortuary, in the basement. Go back down and bring those people up here and we’ll process them,’ she says, pointing at the screen. She turns to Daedalus. ‘Call Minos and let him know what’s happened.’
Process them? What does she mean?
‘Tell Minos?’ Daedalus says.
‘You know what he’s like,’ she says.
‘He’ll want to be informed, I suppose,’ Daedalus says.
‘And don’t forget your security pass,’ she says to you.
You do as you're told. As you leave you inspect the card. It doesn’t seem to belong to anyone in particular. Unless their name is Master Card, of course.
You want to giggle, even though that isn’t funny. Not even [[a little bit]].Like a sudden miraculous burst of sunlight breaking through clouds, you remember the way [[back to the lift]].
[[Again]].The basement still smells of damp and [[old meat|cold and smells damp]], if anything it's worse than before.
You are standing in the middle of a long corridor which is barred by mesh gates every twenty metres or so. Lamps in the low ceiling throw puddles of light on to the concrete floor leaving patches of darkness between them.
You could go and [[sort the lights out]] or maybe you’d rather go straight to the [[mortuary]].There are more corridors.
You can go along [[one corridor|meander 4]], some [[another corridor|meander 5]] or carry on down [[this corridor|main 4]]. To your left is a [[set of double doors|meander 6]] next to a sign which says Waste Management. To your right there is[[a narrow door|meander 5]] painted the same colour as the walls. It looks like it's hiding. You can still go [[straight ahead|main 4]].If you go left you'll need to climb over a pile of [[black bin bags|meander 6]] but if you go to your [[right|meander 4]] the way is clear. You can still go [[straight ahead|main 4]].You can hear people crying out, distressed.
You can go [[left|meander 5]], [[right|meander 6]] or [[straight ahead|main 5]]. These corridors seem to go on forever. You could go through [[a red door|meander 4]] or [[a blue one|meander 5]] or maybe you'll stick to the [[path you're on|main 5]]. You can hear the sound of footsteps behind you, but when you turn around there’s no one there.
You can go [[left|meander 7]], [[right|meander 8]] or [[straight ahead|main 6]]
Does this look familiar?
You can't tell if you've already been [[left|meander 6]] or [[right|meander 8]]. Maybe you should go [[straight ahead|main 6]]. You don't want to entertain the thought, but there's a possibility that you are lost down here.
In the near-dark.
In the cold.
With these noises.
You can go [[left|meander 6]], [[right|meander 7]] or [[straight ahead|main 6]]. You are [[lost]].You can go [[left|main 7]], [[right|meander 4]] or [[straight ahead|main 7]] where the light, at last, seems brighter.The sounds of people are louder now. You can hear crying but you can't hear anyone [[shouting for help|you can’t hear anyone shouting for help]].
You can only [[go straight on now|main 8]].
[[Or backwards|lost]].The sounds are coming from a closed door to your left. It’s a wide door with a window in it. There is a bloody palm print on the glass.
You try the handle but it’s locked. You look [[through the window]].The group of people you saw on the screen on here. They're young, some of them still teenagers, a mixture of boys and girls or men and women. You can see now that the cupboards doors are the places where they keep the dead bodies while they're waiting to find out what made them that way.
You knock on the glass to get the people’s attention.
[[They look up]]. They see you.
[[They start to scream]]. You rattle the handle again.
The door is locked and needs a key.
The screaming is unbearable.
[[You back away]].
You hear footsteps running behind you. You turn to look.
There’s a man standing in the corridor. He has determined shoulders and a heroic jaw.
And a gun.
‘OK,’ he says. ‘[[Take it easy]].’He’s the one with the gun. He ought to take it easy. [[Right?]]
You're suddenly aware of your fingertips tingling, as if they want to remind you of your corporeal limits. And your aliveness.You can now see that he has a broken nose, someone has quite recently smashed the bridge. His nostrils are crusted with blood, his lip smeared.
‘Listen,’ he says. ‘Let’s not go down the hard road with this. I just want those people. That’s all I want, see?’
The pale face of a young man appears at the window, his mouth hanging open like that of a fish on the deck of a ship.
‘That’s all my cards on the table,’ the man’s voice matches his shoulders and his jaw, it's strong and persuasive. ‘I’m being completely [[straight| main 9]] with you, kid.’If you were quick you could sneak past him and [[make a run for it]], or you could stay and [[find out who he is]]. You take a deep breath. You feint left as if going for the door but at the last moment you slip down the right side of the man and begin to run as fast as you can down the corridor.
You can hear the man coming up behind you, feel his breath on your collar and then his arms are around you and he’s dragging you to the ground.
‘Now, listen,’ he says. ‘I want this to go easy, see? I’m not sure I like what’s going on here, but I’ve got a contract. An arrangement. Damn it, kid, I made a deal.’
He’s sitting on your back making it hard to breath. You lift your head to indicate that you are in a listening frame of mind. He stands up and then pokes his gun into your shoulder blade suggesting you do the same. You do.
You want to know who he is and what he’s doing there, right? [[Ask him|find out who he is]].The man holds out his free hand, the one not full of gun, and you shake it. ‘I’m Theseus,’ he says. ‘I’m an investigator, I guess. Security sometimes. I work for the Minos Trust.’
Minos. Ariadne mentioned him, didn’t she? You tell him you don’t know who Minos is.
‘Sure you do. It’s all in there somewhere,’ he says, tapping his own head. ‘You’ve been here a while, right?’
You don't know how long you've been here. You confirm you work here and [[leave it at that]]. Theseus looks confused.
‘[[You work here]]?’ he says.
You try to think.
You do work here?
[[Don’t you|main 10]]?
‘They’ve done a real number on you kid,’ Theseus said. ‘I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve made a deal, see?’
You look at him. Does he look familiar too?
The red handprint on that door. You look at your own hand. The blood from your head. Does that look familiar too?
Your brain is tired of wading through the thick mud of your thoughts.
[[You can’t run]]. You ask him what the fuck he’s talking about.Theseus waves the muzzle of his gun a little [[as if you had forgotten]] that too.
‘Take it easy,’ he says. ‘Come with me.’
[[You could refuse]] or [[you could just go with him]].'What choice have you got, kid?' Theseus says. 'Where are you going to go?'
There's the matter of the gun too.
You get your dice out of your pocket and show them to him.
If you roll a one, two or three you'll go with him. If not, you won't.
'Sure,' he says. 'Sure.'
(link: "You shake the dice then roll them")[
(go-to: (either: "one two or three", "If not you won't"))]
Following Theseus is a strange affair. You lead the way and he directs you with a nudge of the gun in your back.
He seems to know [[his way around|he directs you]].These corridors are [[interminable]].
Theseus opens a small wooden door at the end of another corridor. He has a key that looks like it might open more doors than just this one.
Inside the room there are rows and rows of shelves full of green cardboard files. You can’t see the end of them, they disappear into the distant dark.
‘These are the records of everyone who's here,’ Theseus says. ‘And who was here. Why don’t you find yours?’
In front of you, a notice pinned to the end of the centre shelf points [[left to human resources records]] and [[right to medical records]].‘Not that way, [[Asterion]],’ Theseus says. 'You know you don't work here.'Doubt nudges you to the right.
Way to go, [[Asterion]],' Theseus says. His voice is blank, flat, emptied of any celebration.Asterion.
You are Asterion.
What a gift a name is.
Even one like [[Asterion|main 11]]. You walk the [[short distance]] down the aisle of medical records until you find your name. Your stomach is full of bait wriggling for a hook. You pull down the file. Its cover is marbled with creases and the corners are furry with age.
‘Let me give you the highlights,’ Theseus, suddenly behind you, takes the file from you and begins to flick through it. ‘The drugs they’ve got you on you’ll be here all night trying to work it out.’
[[Theseus tells you about yourself]]. You would like to put your fingers in your ears.But you don’t, Asterion.
[[You listen|main 12]].Your father is Minos. Chairman of the Minos Trust. He is both rich and powerful. And like many rich and powerful men he has peculiar tastes. Every nine years another rich and powerful man sends him seven young men and seven young women. They are trafficked through secret channels, like money leaking to off-shore accounts.
What he does with them no one is sure. It does not, perhaps, bear thinking about. And yet these are exactly the things we should think about.
Your mother is a woman who has been forgotten. Pasiphaë. Say her name. Replaced at her husband’s side by her daughter. The defacto first lady. Your mother was beguiled, but faithless nonetheless. Deemed unworthy.
But what of Asterion? What has fate dealt Asterion?
Only this. Your father is not your father. He is your adoptive father. Your birth father is an animal. A bull. A rampager and destroyer. And because you are half him and half your mother [[you are perfect]]. ‘The perfect patsy,’ Theseus says. ‘Whatever he does to them kids, and I don’t want to know what it is, you get the blame. And all this is [[your half-sister’s doing]].’ You’re only here because she wants you here,’ he says.
‘Because I know it’s the safest place for you,’ Ariadne says. She’s standing in the doorway as if she appeared out of thin air. ‘We had a deal, Theseus.’
‘We did, yeah,’ he shrugs. ‘I guess we still do.’
‘Not if you don’t fix this,’ she points at you. ‘Besides, Minos will be here soon. He won’t be happy.’
‘Here?’ Theseus says.
‘Of course,’ she says. ‘He’s waited nine years for this to come round again. He wouldn’t miss it for the world.’
‘I always figured you didn’t know what Minos was,’ Theseus says. ‘What he really is. But I guess you just don’t care.’
She does care though. This is just [[a measure of how much she hates you]]. You always remind her of her mother.‘Just get on with it,’ Ariadne says. ‘I’ll be in the car.’
You watch Theseus as he watches her leave. His face is unreadable, as if it’s carved from fog.
‘Listen, kid’ he says. ‘I’m real sorry about this, but I made a deal.'
He comes towards you at such speed his hand is around your throat forcing you against the shelves before you can take a fresh breath.
‘Not here,’ he says and grabs you by your ragged collar, [[pulling you from the room]]. ‘Not among all these names.’Theseus hauls you down the corridor back to the mortuary. You struggle to keep your footing and at times he’s dragging you along behind him like a sack of rubbish. He lets go of you, at last, in the post mortem room with its ominous drainage channels set into the tiled floor.
‘Kneel,’ he says, checking his gun.
You could kneel. It would be easy. [[An end]].
Or [[you could fight]]. Give yourself if not a chance then at least the possibility of a chance.You kneel.
And close your eyes.
You think about that little red pill and imagine it flying around inside your body and this thought is comforting somehow.
You hear Theseus sigh as though the weight of his burden is crushing the air from his lungs.
You wonder about why that might be and then the thought is...where?
[[Gone]].You make as if to kneel but at the last moment leap up and charge at Theseus. You launch yourself headfirst into the bridge of his nose. There is a crack, like a thick branch snapping from a tree in a storm, and he falls to the ground, unconscious.
You wonder if you should search his pockets. [[You could]], or maybe [[the instinct to run is too strong]].His pockets are empty apart from another clip for his gun and the key he used earlier. You remember the archive door? Of course you do.
You take the key.
[[Now you run|free the tributes 1]].You run, leaving the man and his gun lying on the floor.
You could make your way [[straight to the lift|main 13]] or you could [[free those tributes|you need the key]] before you escape.
You get as far as the doorway.
You remember the locked door. You need that key.
You could [[go back and get it|get the key]], or forget it and [[go back to the lift|main 13]]. You stand still for a moment [[to try and remember]] where the lift was. To retrace your steps in your mind but your mind is like an overused net that lets even the biggest fish slide through.
You think you hear Theseus groan. Perhaps he's beginning to come round.
There's only one thing to do.
[[You run]].Theseus is still lying on the floor. You poke him to make sure he's unconcious. He is.
His pockets are empty apart from another clip for his gun and the key he used earlier. You remember the archive door? Of course you do.
You take the key.
[[Now you run|free the tributes 1]].You run, leaving the man and his gun lying on the floor.
You could make your way [[straight to the lift|main 13]] or you could [[free those tributes|free the tributes 2]] before you escape.You run down the corridor. You can hear the tributes. It’s not long before you find yourself in front of that wide door with the window in it. And the bloody palm print on the glass.
When you see the people inside again it’s difficult to see them as tributes. They’re people. Children really. Children screaming and cowering, trying to get away from you. As far away from you as they can.
You terrify them.
You're panting, your breath clouds the glass.
You try the handle. It’s still locked. You open it with the key and[[ go inside|You open it with the key]].You try to speak to the people but they are too frightened to listen. In their desperation to get away from you they are clawing and trampling each other. Fighting to get as far away from you as they can.
Surely all the red pills in the world couldn’t make a murderer of you.
You begin to back out of the room, leaving the door open for them to escape.
As you reach the doorway one of the women leaps forward, rushes at you. She’s making the same noise an animal might make if it was attacking, driven by fear. She crashes into you, knocking you to the floor.
She makes it out of the door.
Her escape inspires the others and soon they are stamping over you on their way out of the door. One catches your cheekbone and your vision flashes white and then [[everything goes black]]. Asterion?
[[Asterion|main 14]].You are only out for a moment. You can still hear fourteen pairs of footsteps as they race down the corridor.
You don't have time to play the injured bird, fallen from the nest. You need to get out of here. You get to your feet, the floor tilting under you.
[[You run]].Your body is exhausted but your nerves are like spark plugs, their energy [[driving you on|meander 9]].You can go down a corridor heading off to the [[left|meander 10]], one to your [[right|meander 11]] or [[keep going|meander 12]]. These corridors seem to go on forever. You could go through a [[red door|meander 13]] or a [[blue one|meander 11]] or maybe you'll stick to the [[path you're on|main 15]]. Does this look familiar? You can't tell if you've been [[left|meander 14]] or [[right|meander 15]] already. Maybe you should just go [[straight ahead|main 15]]?Perhaps this is all there is? Going [[left|meander 13]] or [[right|meander 14]]. Or making these [[endless attempts to move forwards|meander 15]].The strange comfort of a dead end. From here you can only turn [[left|meander 14]] or [[right|main 15]].There's a sign pointing to the [[Loading Bay|main 15]] to you left, or opposite it there's one pointing to the [[Ambulance Bay|meander 11]]. You can ignore both and [[carry on|main 15]]. You're starting to sweat. A cold sweat.
It's possible you'll never leave this place.
Your way out lies to the [[left|meander 12]], the [[right|main 15]] or [[straight ahead|main 15]]. Doesn't it?Was there ever a lift?
You can go [[left|main 16]], [[right|main 16]] or [[straight ahead|main 16]]. Yes. [[Here's the lift|Here it is]].You push the call button and wait for the lift. It gives a cheery chime as it arrives and the doors open.
Ariadne is standing inside. She looks surprised, but only for a moment.
‘Honestly,’ she says, as she steps into the corridor. ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.’
There are things you ought to tell her, but you don't.
You only tell her you know your name.
‘[[Ariadne]]!’ For a moment you are confused.
‘Ariadne!’ Theseus is running up the corridor. He's unsteady on his legs, like a newborn calf.
‘Smashed me in the nose,’ Theseus says, waving his gun at you. 'Knocked me out cold.'
‘Just get on with it,’ Ariadne says. ‘Or the deal’s off.’
‘I don’t like it,’ Theseus says. ‘I don’t like it at all. The kid’s not done anything.’
‘Give me that,’ Ariadne snatches the gun from Theseus and points it at your forehead. ‘This is self-defence. I’ve got 15 witnesses and the medical records to prove it.’
[[She pulls the trigger]].[[There is a dull click]].[[And then nothing happens]].At least nothing you expect.
Your heart beats, once, twice and then you inhale, exhale. It's as if there's a year between each beat, each breath. You can feel your cheekbone throbbing. Blood pulsing under your scalp.
Ariadne screams in frustration. Like a spoilt child.
'It's jammed,' Theseus says.
'I can see that,' Ariadne says. 'This is your fault. You were supposed to fix this, free the tributes and be the hero.'
'They've been freed,' Theseus says.
'We need someone to blame,' Ariadne says. 'We need a guilty corpse or my father will be implicated.'
'Implicated?' Theseus says. 'But he's the one -'
'[[Enough|the blow]],' Ariadne says. You don’t feel yourself hit the floor.
[[You fall into nothingness|There is nothing]]. Except perhaps [[this]].Asterion.
Death then. Again.
At least in death [[you can escape|You could go somewhere else instead]].
Or maybe [[this isn't the end]] after all?But where? Where do you belong?
[[When do you get to tell your own story|Start]]?Give yourself another chance.
You reach into your pocket and find your dice.
Odds you stay, evens you go.
(link: "You roll")[
(go-to: (either: "Odds", "Evens"))
].Fate decides then.
Not that there is much of a decision to be made.
Your story has already been [[written for you|Start]].Fate doesn't need dice, Asterion.
Your story has already been written and [[rewritten|Start]].It's a long way down.
While you're waiting you put your hands in your pockets and find a pair of dice.
They are green with white spots on each side.
You close your hand around them and shake them. It feels familiar. Safe.
There is an incongruous chime as the lift [[arrives at the basement]].You use Master Card's security card to get through the locked gate.
You go through the double doors to the [[mortuary|mortuary 2]]. The worry of what you might find sits in your stomach like a mumuration of starlings crammed into a shoebox.You head through the open gate. There’s a turning on your [[right|meander 16]], but you could [[keep going| lights 1]]. You keep going down the corridor. There’s a door, wedged open with a fire extinguisher, on your [[left|meander 17]], leading to another corridor where the light flickers. This corridor carries [[straight on|lights 2]]. You carry on along the corridor. You think you can hear voices but when you stop to listen there’s only silence.
You reach a dead end. To the [[left|meander 18]] there’s a set of double doors. To the [[right|lights 3]], a corridor which leads to the area with that enormous fuse box. You swipe the security card through the locking mechanism and the door pops open.
You get down on the floor inside the cage and grab the long cable with an industrial plug on the end. You search around for it's socket. It's near the base of the unit. You stick the plug in the socket and a hum starts up. Then all the lights come on.
It's still very gloomy down here but you think it might be brighter upstairs.
You make your way to the mortuary, by retracing your steps [[back the way you came|mortuary]].
Maybe you'll go [[left|meander 17]], [[right|meander 18]] or maybe you'll go [[straight on|lights 2]]. You stop. What was that noise? It sounded mechanical. Perhaps it's the lift.
You try to concentrate on which way you're going to go. You can turn [[left|meander 16]] or [[right|meander 18]], or [[plough on|lights 3]]. You can go [[through a door|lights 3]] that needs a security pass to enter or just [[keep going|lights 3]]. He wins.
Or maybe you do.
Either way [[you have to go with him|you could just go with him]].You win.
Or maybe he does.
Either way you sit on the floor and [[refuse to move|you sit on the floor and refuse to move]].'Fine,' Theseus says.
He grabs you by the collar that already hangs uselessly from your jacket and drags you [[down the corridor|he directs you]]. You feel your eyeballs moving in their sockets, like marbles on a tea tray, as you look at Theseus and then at Ariadne. You watch Ariadne’s hand, the hand holding the gun, move above her head and then disappear from your peripheral vision.
'I'm not even half your sister,' she says. 'You're a monster.'
She crashes the gun down onto your head. The blow is so hard that it doesn’t hurt at first. There is only shock. And then the pain roars.
But only for a moment.
The last thing you hear is the sound of the lift making its usual cheerful sound as [[the doors close]]. The sun is warm on the back of your head and somewhere nearby cicadas are singing. The hill slopes away from you, all the way down to the road ribboning through the fields. In the not-to-far distance you can see the sea shining like coins.
You lie in the grass and begin to roll down the hill. At first slowly and then gathering speed. The blue sky flashes over your head as you hurtle downwards.
You are going so fast, bumping over the ground, that the air doesn’t stay in your lungs for long enough. But instead of stopping yourself or being frightened, you laugh. You laugh at the sheer joy of the sun and the sky and [[speed|Assessments]].The wide, tree-lined driveway is crowded with shadows in the moonlight. There is an empty space where the car should be. You try to picture his driver waiting for him in the big black car at the airport, but you’ve never been to the airport so you picture the car on the runway with aeroplanes sweeping over it.
You can feel sleep closing your eyes. Every time your head nods and touches the cold window pane you wake yourself up and promise that you will stay awake, watching for the car, until he comes home to you. Even if she tells you it’s [[way past bedtime|arrives at the basement]]. The fridge smells funny. And it hums as if you’ve just done something it disapproves off but is too tired to tell you off. You can feel her fingers like claws in the back of your neck as she forces your face against the bottom shelf with all the vegetable that wouldn’t fit in the drawer at the bottom. Glaucus said it was called a crisper and he would know. She digs her knee into your back. You reach up to brace yourself against the door and bump an egg. It falls and smashes on the floor.
You’re gonna get it now,’ your sister shouts as she makes ready to slam the door on your head. [[Again|you almost walk into them]]. Your mother looks tired even though she's been in bed all week. Her dressing gown cord is coming undone and she hasn't got a nightdress on underneath.
You are in trouble for something you haven’t done. For something your sister has done. Your father agrees that you did it and has told your mother to deal with you. You can’t work out whether he knows she did it but you are starting to realise that it doesn’t matter. He's always on her side.
Your mother opens her mouth as if to say something then [[turns away|Again]] from you.This is the first time you’ve fought back. Not against her, you’d never hit her, but some kid who’s name you don’t know. He said something you didn’t quite hear but it seemed like enough to warrant this. These whirling fists and jutting forehead. You butt his nose but not cleanly enough to do any damage. Still, you manage to get him on the ground and after a while he stops moving and the crowd that has gathered around you goes quiet and a teacher tries to pull you off but you can feel how hot your blood is in your ears and you just keep on hitting this kid [[who’s name you don’t know|main 7]]. You dream of a man. He is fifty storeys high, rising up out of the ocean. His hair is tangled with serpents and seaweed and his trident is gathering lightning in the broiling storm. As he raises his fist to the sky he throws back his head and laughs. The stuttering staccato rhythm of it sounds like your name being spat into the rain [[over and over again|You can’t run]]. The hallway is not full of luggage like it is when they go on holiday. There's just one backpack. Blue with red zippers.
There’s not a lot in it. You don’t need a lot, they said, not where you’re going. Everything will be provided for you. Besides, you’re growing so fast these days what's the point of taking much?
You're just completely [[out of control|main 11]].You dream of a country far away. Where the you can’t see the sea in every direction if you stand on a hill. Where there are few sailors because there’s only one bay deep enough for ships. And in this dream you understand why they hate you. You with your ultimatums and demands, an island lousy with sailors. You can see it. The children of war, always waiting for [[another chance|main 13]]. You get the feeling that you've missed something. Or maybe you've just escaped.
If there is such a thing as an escape. A way out.
You look around to see where you might be.
[[But there is nothing|There is nothing]].