Maze with No Prize

Alexandra Klaudia Süveges

People say dreams differ from reality. It may be true; people use dreaming to cope with the disappointment of the time spent awake. In dreams, anything can happen, reality is twisted, formed to your desire. Compared to life outside the fluffy blankets and pillows, dreams are a comfortable place for anyone.

There is a legend that says after a specific ritual, upon falling asleep you will find yourself before a maze. Once the alarm clock is set to 6 a.m. sharp, the game has begun. If you can manage to find a way out before hearing the alarm clock in the real world, you win. You can take anything to the real world you desire, without limits.

Here’s the catch: if you run out of time, you can never wake up again. Your desired reality would turn into a pit of nightmares without a single chance of escape. A truly one-round game.

Two players entered at the same time, each surprised to see the other. From the website where they found the tutorial—not even thinking it would remotely be true—was not even a single mention of playing in teams. Or against each other.

The first girl, observant and well-prepared, was holding paper and a pencil with a small rubber on its end. She wasted no time and ran in the labyrinth, already scribbling the layout of the visited path.

The other one sat outside, leaning against the material of the walls; pure, thin marble. Its dull white color and the repetitive carved-in pattern would make her head ache and lose patience if she were to see it all around her for the remaining six hours.

That’s what the first girl got: her paper torn by the many attempts of erasing after every corner, and the wind blew away the rubber dust, making her get completely lost before she was even halfway the end. Her rationalism and all, along with her inability to find a solution, is what led her here. At every dead end she’d recalculate the growing possibility of losing, without tactic. Not even her outstanding skills could find a way out though; she sank to the ground and gave up completely.

The second girl waited enough for the imaginary clock to tick down; she was sure the other wasn’t coming out anytime soon. Tangled in the creak of the maze, helpless, she let herself be consumed by despair and regret. She grabbed the hammer she had entered with, and ran in a straight line forwards, breaking all the marble stones in front of her.

The time was ticking sharp outside, just waiting for the morning sun to shine between the blinds. She swung the hammer left and right, not even caring about the flying shards in her way. Jumping for the last wall, breaking it with her physique, she won.

The trick? No matter where the real exit was, she would make a new one and win nevertheless.