Earth and stone made up the Labyrinth’s center, quite unlike the polished walls of the passages they had passed through. It was a great dome, the surfaces rough and rich with crevasses and outcroppings. Along the perimeter evenly spaced openings opened into the maze, one of which lay behind the trio, the one from which they had emerged.
At the top of the great dome, far above the chamber’s floor, a circular opening allowed a small glimpse of a world outside. The trio had found the source of the wailing howls that haunted their ears, in the center of the dome was chained the Minotaur. The howls had been absent as they entered the chamber, the reason apparent as they looked on the beast.
From the hole at the domes top, a fresh lamb had been dropped to the floor near the beast feet. A spring was within reach of the beast’s chain, it had taken a gourd which someone must have left the thing, and filled it with water from the spring. Now, the beast sat in silence, eating the lamb, drinking the water.
“What should we do now Adam” whispered Sarah.
But the chamber amplified even the smallest sound, and her words found their way to the beast’s ears. It stood now, looking at them in silence.
“It is a young boy’s body with the head of a yearling bull” said Sarah.
Adam looked on at the Minotaur. It was young. And in its face Adam saw the not evil, but pain, suffering, and loneliness. The eyes spoke of confusion, of not knowing what had happened to cause his suffering. So many tears had passed from his eyes that the fur of his face had been matted down like river beds. The eyes, soft and kind, looked at the trio begging of love and companionship.
“What is this beast?” asked Seth.
“It is no beast” said Adam “it is a Minotaur, a young boy’s body and the head of a bull, but the mind of a human. He as been sent here for no fault of his own. He was only born of a relationship between the god Poseidon and the queen of this kingdom. The queen, shameful of her offspring, the wife of a jealous husband king, put this creature here. She could not kill the boy-bull, for she would surly suffer the wrath of the god Poseidon. So she committed him to this place to live out the days of his life. Alone, suffering in the dark dampness of the earth.”
“Such a poor thing” said Sarah as she walked towards the boy. In her light the boy-bull’s face showed the loss and emptiness that reached deep into his heart. She reached out her hand and touched the face of the Minotaur, and his shackled hands rose to her hand caressing it as he had never felt the touch of caring. He wept as he pressed his face into Sara’s hand, his tears streaming down her arm.
“We must free him” she said.
“And then what will we do, the four of us buried here in the earth surrounded by a maze of which we only know the way in, not the way out. Surely we will die if we try to leave by way of the corridors, and surely we will die if we stay here. For what purpose setting free the Minotaur serve us.” Adam said.
“It would serve us in an act of kindness. Freeing this soul must be our purpose, why else would we be here. He has done us no harm, and seems gentle as a child. For he is a child, and I could not bear any child be tortured as this one has. It is cruel, and we must give him compassion. If we don’t then our deaths will forever be miserable, but if we do, the gods will be kind to us on the other side, for this is the son of a god.” said Sarah.
Adam removed one of the pens from the messenger bag. Taking it apart he fashioned a pick that he used to free the Minotaur of its chains. Grateful, the Minotaur embraced Adam. The four of them then, together stood in the center of the dome, alone.
And then a shaft of light appeared from the opening at the top of the dome, it traveled across the floor to the stone wall of the chamber. Up the chamber wall it rose, until it reached a height not to far from the chamber floor. Hidden there, except for the shaft of light illuminating it, was another opening.
The shaft of light remained as the four walked towards the wall below the opening. Enough holds stretched from the floor of the chamber to the outcropping of the opening that scaling the height was easy. The four of them climbed from the chamber floor and onto the ledge at the opening. The shaft of light illuminated down the passage, but they all realized a breeze of fresh air flowed from the opening.
“I would say that fresh air is coming from somewhere in this passage.” Said Seth.
“I would agree” said Adam, “and the walls are nothing like the walls of the Labyrinth. They are simply stone with a level pathway. “We should go.”
They entered the passage following Sarah and the light she had created. The fresh air felt good across their faces and in their lungs. They had lost track of time traveling through the maze, their body’s ached and their stomachs growled for food. The sounds of their footsteps echoed against the walls, crunching across small stones. The passage took a sharp turn, as they rounded the corner they saw light at the end of the tunnel.
The four of them walked the short distance to the opening and stepped outside. The valley they viewed filled their eyes with the color of fields and forest of trees, of grass and flowers. Gently rolling hills with deep forest lay ahead of them. Small rivers of fresh water flowed in many places, and fruits, berries, and nuts filled the trees. Wild game roamed free.
“It is paradise” said Adam.
“It is” said Seth.
Sarah extinguished her light and lead the four of them down the path into the valley. When they reached the valley floor the stopped and set camp. Seth took to the hunt and Sarah took to gathering. Adam and the Minotaur gathered wood for shelter and fire.
As the sun passed through the sky from one horizon the other, they made camp. The were tired and in need of rest and healing.
When the evening came Seth and Sarah returned. Seth had a bounty of game, Sarah had the same in fruit, roots, and fresh water. She had also found some healing herbs for their wounds.
They gathered round the fire consoling one another, putting salve on the wounds in their flesh and healing into the wounds of their hearts. After filling their bellies with good food and drink, they settled under the shelter for sleep, feeling safe and warm.
In the distance high above them on the ridge, a single horseman saw a fire in the valley below. He nudged the horses ribs and pulled his reigns leading the horse down the slope into the valley. The horseman considered he would make the distance to the fire by daybreak.