I’ve been stuck in this godforsaken place for seven frickin’ days. Or has it been more than a week?
Months? Years? I can’t tell anymore.
It started when I visited a corn maze with my friends. It had been one of my rare days off, and I’d decided to spend it with my friends instead of watching TV. We had found the maze by chance, driving the back roads on our way to an Amish town in Pennsylvania. A huge hand-painted sign in front proclaimed, “DEMETER’S LABYRINTH,” with several corn stalks decorating the outside. I had scoffed at the mixed mythology, but my friend Marjorie urged us to stop and explore. “We never get to do this kind of stuff,” she had said. “It’ll be fun.”
Ben, sitting next to Marjorie in the back seat, agreed. He had a crush on Marjorie, and the chance of being alone with her was too good to pass up. I rolled my eyes and was going to continue driving, but Lenny, squirming in the passenger’s seat, announced, “I really have to pee.”
So we parked the car, paid our tickets, and entered the maze. Within minutes, everyone had gone their separate ways, and I was left exploring the confusing pathways on my own.
When the sun had begun to set, I was still stuck in the middle of the maze, and I hadn’t seen or heard from anyone in hours. I thought for sure someone who worked there would have noticed that I was lost, or that my friends would have tried to find me, but there was nothing. No sound, no lights, no sign of any life whatsoever.
I yelled until I was hoarse, but it did me no good.
That was the end of the first day.
The second day, I tried to retrace my steps, but every time I thought I was doubling back, I found myself in a new spot. Paths sometimes led to dead ends, but often they would take me to little outdoor “rooms,” with benches and fountains. I was able to keep myself hydrated because of these fountains, but I was starting to become weak and more confused with hunger.
By the time the sun had set on the second day, I was famished. That’s when I found the storehouse.
It was a little underground shed, the entrance to which was on the ground, hidden near one of the fountains. I managed to jimmy open the doors, thinking that if I disabled one of the fountains, the owners would come to investigate. What I found instead was a treasure trove of food, clothes, and other goodies. This could have been where they stored all the lost-and-found items, but that didn’t explain the boxes of MREs, camping gear, and survival equipment I found in the back. Had someone gotten lost in this maze before?
On the third day, my belly full and my mind more engaged, I started to think of ways to get out of the maze.
The trouble with corn is that you can’t climb up the stalks to get your bearings. You can go between the stalks, but this maze was acres and acres long; I could have been a yard from the road or miles away. There just was no way to tell. Also, I thought for sure someone would have come along by then. Why hadn’t they reopened the maze?
On the fourth day, I figured I’d take a page from mythology to help me out of my own labyrinth. I began ripping down corn stalks and braiding rope so that I at least would know where I had been. That project took longer than I thought it would, and I didn’t have a long enough rope until the middle of the fifth day.
The corn rope turned out to be really helpful, especially once I realized it would still take me at least another day to travel through all the paths in the maze. This was the most complicated labyrinth I’d ever seen! Last night, I made my way back to the storehouse and just cried. I couldn’t believe my friends would abandon me. Why wouldn’t my family be looking for me? What did I have to do to get someone’s attention?
This morning, as I was rummaging around in the storehouse, I found a radio. It was solar-powered, so I had to wait for it to sit out in the sun for an hour or so before I could get it to work.
And that’s when I found out about the outbreak. Or zombie apocalypse. They aren’t calling it that on the radio, but people are getting ill from some sort of contact-borne illness, and they’re going crazy. Like, running around and killing people crazy. What else should I call it?
I’ve been here for seven days, all by myself, and it’s saved my life.
The trouble is, I don’t think I will be able to leave.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Daily Shorts challenged me with “Write about five things you would do to entertain yourself if you didn’t see a soul for seven days. Could be fiction or nonfiction.” and I challenged The Drama Mama with “It’s toxic.”