Fiction Friday prompt: Use a McGuffin in your story.
I find myself in a room, not very large. I’m not sure how I got here. The room seems strangely familiar. I quickly check the whole space, nosing into each corner, but find nothing.
The walls and floor seem made of oak, solid construction. I move toward the door of the room and tentatively stick my head out. A long hallway stretches from the room, with a few rooms off each side. I can see the hallway bends to the left in the distance.
The air seems still. I hear a faint ticking but nothing else. I walk down the hallway, glancing into the rooms on either side. These rooms are also empty. When I reach the turn, I suddenly feel like I’ve been here before. I don’t know when or why, but the feeling is strong and undeniable.
The hallway continues and branches. I stand at the junction, wondering what to do now. Suddenly a thought overwhelms me. The treasure! I must find the treasure. That’s what I was doing the last time I was here, seeking the treasure.
Without thinking I take the left hallway and speed up. Rooms flash by on the left and right, but I don’t stop or even glance into them. I turn left again and then again. Suddenly, I hit a dead end.
Why is that here? I push against the wall, trying to find a way through it. I know this is the right way but the wall is solid. I slowly turn and begin to pick my way through the hall again, no longer certain of where I’m headed.
I pause and glance in a couple of possible directions but reject moving into those hallways. In one room I see a red ball. I move in and investigate but it is unremarkable and I move back along the hallway.
I turn a corner and suddenly know exactly where I am. The ticking is louder but I ignore it. That has nothing to do with the treasure. And I must find that treasure. I know this is the right way.
I move along, turning right, right, left, left, right. A wall painted bright blue looms in the distance and I speed up. That’s the treasure’s location. I know it.
I turn at the blue wall and run along it. I shoot through the opening at the end of the blue wall. The treasure! It’s here! I run straight to it.
* * * *
Dr. Roddrick clicked the stopwatch. He turned to Dr. Singh. “2:47. Slightly slower than last time. But we did adjust the maze a bit.”
Dr. Singh watched the small white mouse nibble on the cheese. She reached down and stroked the mouse along the spine. “This one does love the cheese. He always seems to remember the main route through the maze. Next time we’ll make more alterations to the path. See if he can keep up the pace. If so, we may have made a breakthrough in this memory drug.”
Dr. Singh scooped up the mouse and his treasured cheese and returned him to the cage.