The House of the Twelve Keys
Part 2. The Meandering Maze
Pat and Raj were standing on a concrete floor in the middle of a domed room. The ceiling and the walls were made of glass. The door had vanished. The key had vanished.
The sun blazed. It was stifling hot and muggy.
“It’s a greenhouse,” Pat said.
“Then where are the plants?” Raj asked.
A loud crack split the floor. They stared in horror as giant vines grew from the crack, twisting around them, reaching for the sky. Within seconds, Pat and Raj were in a circular clearing, surrounded by high thick leafy walls with six passageways.
“Now what?” Raj asked.
“It’s a maze!” Pat said.
“I don’t think it’s amazing,” Raj said with a grin.
“This is no time for bad puns,” Pat said, frowning.
"Hm", Raj shrugged. “Just trying to lighten the mood.”
“Fine. Well, let’s start with that way,” Pat said, pointing to the passage to their right. They walked for what seemed like an hour, rounding corner after corner, but hit a dead end. They retraced their steps.
Before long they’d tried each passageway, and ended up right back where they’d started.
Raj fell to the floor, exhausted. He pointed up at the ceiling. “Maybe we can tell which way we’re heading by looking up?”
“That’s a great idea!” Pat said, but the ceiling and the sky looked the same no matter which way they went.
Just then, a thick cloud passed over them. Pat could see the full maze reflected in the glass. “I read about this in that book on light reflection. The sun’s light waves wash out everything else. But when they are blocked, the reflected light from the maze is stronger, so you can see it bouncing off the glass.”
“Hey, that was weird fact #237!” Raj said. “But how does that help us?”
“I can see the maze pretty clearly.”
“Well, quick, the cloud is moving away,” Raj said.
Pat had no time to memorize the whole maze. Instead, she quickly looked for a pattern.
The cloud began to disappear and the sun’s rays washed out the maze. But Pat had seen it.
“There’s a sequence!” Pat yelled, jumping up and down. “One, two, three! One, two, three!”
“What does that mean?” Raj asked.
Pat just smiled and pointed to the passageway to their left. “We walk down there and take the first turn. But then we skip the next one and take the second turn. And then the third. And that will get us out of here.”
“Oh, that must be the second key!” Raj said. “Let’s go!”
They practically ran down the passageway and in a minute they reached the exit and they ran through.
A wooden door appeared in the glass wall in front of them.
“High five!” Pat said, as they slapped palms.
Raj took a deep breath, turned the handle and opened the door.
What they saw made them want to stay inside the greenhouse. But a giant vine grabbed them by the ankles and threw them. The door slammed shut, then disappeared, and all Raj and Pat could see were glowing eyes all around them.
Where do you think Pat and Raj will end up next?