Animus Bellum, Part 4
Mike looked back from the main hallway and rubbed his eyes, his brow now glistening with sweat. He continued right, down the second hall, as he had originally decided. His pace quickened, as he began to wonder if there was any chance that he could find his way out of whatever this place was. As he walked, fairly briskly now, he came upon more and more alcoves with similar statues to the ones in the first hallway, and the images that painted the walls seemed to swirl and mingle, faster and deeper around him. He began to run. Turns in the hallway began to appear quickly now, but none offered a choice of direction. He began to wonder if he wasn’t caught up in some sort of labyrinth with no possible end. The hallway lost its definite shape, and even though Mike was certain that his feet were firmly on the floor, the walls and ceiling around him seemed fluid, perhaps even alive. The images on the walls were now, faintly, accompanied by voices; talking, chanting, even singing. Mike slowed to a walk, his heart pounding and his breathing heavy and labored. He became mesmerized by the sights and sounds. He then realized that he had stopped walking completely, though the motion of the walls around him continued and gave him the impression that he was still moving. This sensory overload was confusing, at best. His vision seemed blurry, and the voices and songs seemed louder and louder inside his head. He looked and listened, more intently now, in order to try and gain a perspective on his surroundings, but couldn’t really distinguish any specific images or sounds. As Mike turned his head left, then right, looking for a single thing to focus his eyes on, he realized that he was standing at an alcove. Unlike the others, this one was embellished with moldings and solid color, which drew Mike’s attention away from the delirium of the hallway. He stared for a moment at the color, trying to regain his focus, then turned his eyes squarely to the statue before him. It was a likeness of himself, at a much younger age, simply sitting, looking very alone and dejected. Exhausted now, Mike dropped to his knees on the floor and stared into the stone-cold eyes of his younger self. He could immediately feel the pain and sorrow, deep in his own heart, that the countenance of this statue portrayed. As he stared, the swirling apparitions of the hallway seemed subdued, and his focus became more and more intent on the subject before him, until all his external senses suddenly shut down. His head began to ache, his vision became tunneled, the walls around him disappeared into a black darkness, as if he was floating in absolute nothingness. The statue seemed to stare back at him with intense and longing eyes and Mike felt his mind drift farther and farther into the recesses of his own memory. His own eyes grew weary and he struggled to keep them open.