The Mirage

Discussion in 'Verbal Art' started by Lithium, 2 November 2017.

  1. Lithium

    Lithium Member

    They one by one came to their senses. As they awoke they could see the room they were in was massive. Each of them lay within the outline of a rectangle etched into the stone floor. It was as if they had been purposefully put into those positions each separate from the other. The chamber was filled with a subtle light that had a difficult origin to pinpoint. It became apparent after some peering around that crystalline spheres embedded in the corners of the room were the source of the ambient iridescence.

    One of the men got to his feet and walked over to where a large stone tablet lay the middle of the room. From his puzzled look the others assumed that perhaps it was undecipherable.

    "It is written in Sanskrit."

    "Can anyone read Sanskrit?"

    "I can."

    The only one of them with glasses got up to read what was inscribed.

    "It says." He paused for a moment his breathing suddenly changing. He then looked up at the ten doorways in front of the men. Each entrance was fitted with monolithic slabs of rectangular rock that dug into the walls.

    "It states that half the doorways lead upward but that if by the end of the last entrance you aren't mid-center that the way will be permanently sealed."

    They were all up at this point and began to examine the doorways. The pattern of the doors and where they led was apparent. Every other door led downwards with the adjacent doorway leading upwards. The difference being the doorways leading upwards did so with a smooth ascending marble platform that connected to both sides of a disc which hung precariously between the openings and joined the second incline leading into another doorway.

    Without much hesitation one of the men scaled the raised platform and peered through the next doorway.

    "It is exactly as the first."

    The rest of the group followed and found themselves in a room nearly identical to the one they had come from. At their backs were the doorways leading to the previous room and in front they could see through the series of doors another row of platforms leading upward into a room that in appearance was the same as the one in which they now stood.

    Moving carefully along the tops of the sloped slabs of rock that served as a connective walkway from each room to the circular structures hanging in the middle between the doorways the group of men made their way down and back to the original chamber.

    They could see what the other type of doorways did. A smooth shelf of rock led downwards and emptied into a crevasse. One of the men who was brave enough slid carefully along the angled stone and peered down.

    "It leads into a corridor, but I can't see anything past that. The drop is steep enough that we won't be able to climb back up."

    "What we need to do is see how many stories there are. Who is in agreeance?"

    They moved up and up again and counted a total of five rooms above the first. They then repeated the experiment and found that no matter the doorway they went through that it ended upwards in a gigantic room that served as ceiling and had no exits except those used to enter the room from the preceding one.

    "How big are we going to guess this construct is and where are we within it?"

    "Having five stories upwards and ten doorways I would guess that it is cubic in shape and has ten chambers horizontally, vertically and going forward through it that its breadth would also be ten chambers."

    "Let us assume for now that that is correct."

    "Obviously we must move down as well as up in order to navigate through this place. I propose that we find a pattern that no matter our starting point that we finally end mid-center. If we zigzag back and forth halving our distance after each movement in either direction we should be able to accomplish that."

    "You are suggesting that we go downwards five stories. Then up three. Down two or some similar pattern?"

    "Precisely. Understand that going down also means moving forward. If we move upwards it appears that we can backtrack. Conversely, moving downward we won't be able to return to the previous tier."

    "From that information the incorrect assumption would be to believe that moving downwards is some giant mistake. If we don't move downwards enough times we will still be too far up in the maze. Even if it feels counter intuitive I think we should go down four or even five times in a row and then move upwards."

    Assembling themselves back at the original room they chose the doorway that was both in the middle of the series and that led downwards. The men neared the edge of the precipice and one by one they slid down and moved through a small corridor that obstructed their view of the previous space.

    Once again they were in a room with ten doorways each doorway leading in the opposite direction either downwards or upwards. They went upwards moving on top of the inclined walkways from one room to the next now counting a total of six rooms above the first. Finally they reconvened at the lowest room.

    "Why don't we just move upwards then move down. Up and then down again?"

    "You are assuming that we are already mid-center from our starting point. We can't just be stagnant and expect when we move downwards, for perhaps the last time, that we will also be in the middle."

    "From our assumption on the dimensions lets just continue to proceed downwards."

    With each advance downward a tightness began to build in their chest. Each of them would look up for just a moment, glancing at one another, thinking and wondering if perhaps the last portion the maze they abandoned was the key to getting out.

    Having gone downwards a total of five times they could walk through the doorways leading upwards to find a total of ten rooms above the first. Yet there was the problem of doorways that still led downward. Did this mean their estimate of the other dimensions was wrong?

    "As planned lets just go up three stories and then continue downward again."

    They went up three consecutive walkways and chose the middle doorway proceeding downwards. They climbed down into the small cleft that led to the next room. After they moved down for the second time it became obvious that some in the group did not agree with the strategy employed.

    "We went down five times in a row. Then up three times and down twice. Every decision whether upwards or downwards is moving us forward. That means the breadth is not ten chambers. We were off about the vertical distance downward, and we don't know how many more iterations of these walkways we are going to find. I think we should have a full grasp of what we are traversing through here. I am going to move downwards until I find the bottom. If this thing has a ceiling it also has a basement."

    "The next portion could have more stories going upward, but so far that hasn't been the case. Again as someone else said we also don't know where our starting position is in relation to the mid-center at the end."

    "I think we have a disagreement about principle here then. I want to discover how many stories downwards there are so that I am not navigating in the dark with no information to guide me."

    "What we do know is that even if the number of vertical stories is a mystery and the depth is unknown that the distance from the ceiling and the width of are thus far definite and unchanging."

    "If you use up all your forward movement going downward then you won't be able to move upward again even if you happened to discover the dimensions. It's just a gamble."

    "I don't see how moving upwards and downwards and continuing to halve it each time is somehow going to guarantee us being precisely in the middle if it is quite obvious that we can go much further down than we already are."

    "Even if we can't know our definite position we can still navigate so that the variance in our movement enables us to reach equilibrium from the factors we do know."

    "This is a farce. I am going to find out how tall this thing really is."

    "I agree. I'm going with him and I hope for all of you the best."

    The two men quickly moved down and down again. Yet it was their sixth time down the smooth stone openings and through the corridors they noticed the room they now found themselves in had no exits or walkways. Embedded in the ground was a stone tablet with far fewer words than the one they had seen at the beginning. If one of the two had been able to translate Sanskrit it read:

    Just as you can move upwards and backwards so too you cannot move downwards and forwards.

    "I just hope to God they don't find the bottom like we did."

    "Those little bastards. This can't be right. We must of stumbled upon a false bottom of some sort or perhaps..."

    "Perhaps what?"

    "At the very beginning. They lied to us. They lied about what was written upon that stone."

    The larger group of three move upwards along the ramp into the next room and gathered around the doorway leading down.

    "We know that the maze is taller vertically than it is horizontally. What if our starting position was either too high or low and also what if there are more stories or breadth than we had first guessed? If there are fifty stories to this then how can we know that we are in the center?"

    "From the information that is certain we designed a pattern to follow. Changing course now means that we will completely abandon something that could very well work, but won't work if it is not implemented each and every step of the way."

    "We can't afford to collect data at this point, but we can keep moving in the same manner that we have and whatever is revealed could perhaps be of use to us."

    "We have come to the end of a diminishing spiral. What are we to do? Do we repeat the same pattern but in the opposite direction?"

    "Certainly not. If we do that we will end up with the same albeit delayed result of having gone down once and then up again. We move downwards five times more and then up three as we did previously."

    They went down slowly through the openings and remembered how their hands shook and the ache of their nauseated stomachs during the first round of repeated descent. After the fifth time climbing down they made the journey to the upper most room. Counting thirteen rooms above the first they traveled back along the inclined walkways down ten of them then moved to the middle doorway that would bring them downward and went through.

    After sliding off the smooth marble and collecting themselves they looked up to see a different type of room and a passage leading upwards with sunlight reflecting off its walls.

    Climbing up the steps of the hallway they could see that it forked in three directions. Down and to the left back in the direction they had come from, up and to the left heading toward the maze and to the right a stairway leading up towards a patch of blue sky enclosed by a circular archway.

    Out of curiosity they moved in the direction back towards the maze but took the upper passage. They happened upon a doorway and cautiously examining what lay beyond it they found a room. A room that in every way was the exact same as the chamber beneath it.

    They were greeted by the sun as they stepped out into a sprawling desert landscape. From outside they could observe that the exit was simply a gigantic rectangular structure angled out of the sand and resembled a mausoleum or perhaps the entrance to a desert shrine.

    A small spring flowed nearby and following the path it made the three men found themselves upon the outskirts of a village. Walking towards safety and comfort they promised one another to never again speak of the things they had beared witness to and most of all to omit any mention of the two men whose disagreement over principle had led them down and down again to the very pit of a maze.
    Last edited: 4 January 2018
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