So this prompt is, apparently, from a book called The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer. (Which I haven’t read, by the way.) But it came up as a writing prompt on my Pinterest page, and, well… I couldn’t resist.
Fair warning: this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger
We were your usual ragtag team of four. Mitch was Leader, the guy who took charge even though he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Maya was Second, fierce defender of Mitch. In Maya’s defense, Mitch might not have known what he was doing, but he was lucky, and that was good enough for her, and for me. Danny was the Antagonist, all snarky comments and sneering doubts. And I? I was the Mouse, cowering in the back of the group, hoping nothing jumped out from around the corner.
Mitch was the one with the crayon. It’s a long story. I mean, we were in a maze. That wasn’t the long story. The long story is how we got there, and frankly, it didn’t seem all that important at the moment. I’m talking about a maze. Huge walls, no way to see except for the flashlight in Danny’s hand, dark, and what maze wouldn’t be without its scary monsters-are-around-the-corner noises?
I did not sign up for this.
Mitch suddenly stopped in front of us. The glow of Danny’s flashlight made it clear that we’d hit another dead end.
“Remind me why we’re doing this again,” Danny said, making the lightbeam dance on the walls in an annoying I’m-not-scared-of-anything sort of way. It highlighted the red line drawn there by Mitch.
Mitch sighed, walking past Danny and Maya and me, down the long aisle so we could go back and find another route to take.
“You’re the one who said throw us a challenge, sir. Any challenge whatsoever, and we’ll beat it.” Maya retorted. She followed Mitch, calling back at Danny, “Maybe if you’d just kept your trap shut, we wouldn’t be in this situation?”
Danny shrugged. “I should be the one leading, then.”
He began walking backwards, and I hurried to catch up, not wanting to get lost in the maze.
Mitch didn’t even react to Danny’s thought. He just kept his red crayon pressed against the concrete wall. It was the size of my pinky finger. I sincerely hoped that it didn’t run out before we found the end of the maze.
“Don’t be stupid, Danny,” Maya retorted.
In the faint glow from the flashlight, I saw Danny’s face turn into a storm-cloud. “We’re being led by an idiot with a crayon!”
I took several steps to the left, away from the explosion that was almost guaranteed. Maya got as far as pulling herself up, looking fiercer than I’d ever be able to manage, but Mitch threw out his free hand to signal her not to. “Watch it, Danny.” Mitch said, looking over his shoulder. “Or I’ll put Coop in charge of the flashlight, and leave you here in the dark.”
Danny scowled. I decided not to point out that he probably could’ve followed the glow of the flashlight pretty easily unless we took a sharp turn. I really would not have minded getting my hands on the flashlight.
We hit an intersection, one that Mitch decided to ignore. I let him lead the way. But something caught my eye. On the right-hand fork, there was this really weird glow. Once that gave off a hair-raising vibe. I wanted to go past it. I really did.
Instead, I found myself calling out “Hey guys?”
And cursing myself for it the moment that I did.
The group turned around, looking just as surprised as I felt. Danny rolled his eyes. Mitch, at least, was nice enough to walk back. “What is it, Cooper?”
I pointed down the aisle. Mitch actually frowned.
Danny came up, eyebrows raised. “Well, Coop, I think it’s time for you to shine.”
“What? Me? By myself?”
“No. The Cooper behind you. Yes you.”
I looked at Mitch. He scratched at his chin. “He’s got a point, Coop. Maya and I have already done our part. Danny, too, even. We gotta work as a team, or this doesn’t work at all, okay? But we’ll be right here.”
I looked to Maya, who said nothing.
“Can I at least have the flashlight?”
Danny scoffed. “Don’t be stupid, Cooper. You can see what direction you’re supposed to go in. Besides, we might need it later.”
“Shut up, Danny.” Mitch snapped.
Danny scowled. “Go on, Cooper.” When I hesitated, he shoved me. “Just think, if it is the way out, you won’t have joined the team for no reason. Don’t be such a coward.”
I probably should have told him that “coward” was my middle name, but… I bit my lip, looking over my shoulder. “Okay…”
It seemed like it was really far away. I kept looking back, not really liking how small the flashlight beam seemed to be getting. In front of me, the weird yellow-green glowing thing got bigger and brighter. As I got closer, I realized there was a door behind the glow. That there was a clear table with a light under it, one that illuminated something that was propped up on the table. I frowned.
The something was a key. Just a regular key. It seemed a bit too simple. I very nearly didn’t even pick it up. What if it was trapped, like what you saw in those Indiana Jones movies? There was only one way to find out, and I really didn’t want to.
I threw out my hand, fingerings wrapping around the key, and I jumped back. Nothing happened. Still not entirely convinced, I walked around the table and inserted the key into the lock. When the key was turned, the lock clicked. The challenge must’ve been to just find the way out, I supposed.
I looked back at the group. Coward, was I? Who knew what could’ve happened, but I still did it! A thoroughly Danny-like response came to mind. I opened my mouth, and let loose a blood-curdling scream… and snickered as the other three ran down the hall.
When, after huffing and puffing down the long hallway, they saw that I was fine, they skidded to a halt, looking livid. I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. “Door’s this way.”
I opened the door… My heart flew into my chest, my confidence making a run for it Danny cursed behind me.
“This is your fault, Danny,” Maya hissed. “Any challenge whatsoever, and we’ll beat it.”
Mitch just sighed, pocketing his crayon. “Come on, gang.” He was the first through the door.