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The Maze

The Maze

By fred1504

The Maze

“Ready or not, here I come”, shouted Keely, knowing no one would reply. After all that was the nature of the entertainment. Someone hides, someone seeks.

Not a noise from Lydia, Estelle, Jordan or Mitch. They had the advantage in hiding as Keely lived across the road. The four Taylor children were all home from boarding school. Keely’s mum had minded them all as little children. The venue was always the Taylor mansion; never at her house just across the road. An uncomfortable thought flashed through Keely’s mind.

Where to start looking in this enormous manicured garden. Well not where the double black gates locked away the maze Once flawlessly presented, now a murky place, the only out of bounds. Well, Estelle’s twin, Erma; the gifted gymnast had died there. Keely looked at her watch, five minutes and she hadn’t found anyone yet. The Taylor’s knew this vast ornamental expanse too well.

“Your father’s forum has finished”, came the distinctive elevated voice of Mrs Taylor carrying conspicuously but not harshly over the space, “In for luncheon, now”. The last word meaning at this instant!
“I’m hungry”, it was Lydia’s soft voice and, “I give up”, she said emerging from under the gardeners upside down wheelbarrow. A hiding place to remember thought Keely.

“You are so hopeless at finding anyone”, Jordan’s deeper voice coming from the drained water fountain. He climbed swiftly and confidently over the scalloped rim with a broad smirk. Had she really had a crush on him some time ago, contemplated Keely?

“She is, isn’t she”, the disquieting voice of Estelle, bending out, still hunched over from under the manicured mini willow off to her left. A true thistledown spirit; she floated like the silky pappus across the turf with an ethereal quality. Her chain stitched embroidered white top adding to the daydream image or was it just the bare feet dainty gliding like the Primavera print in Keely’s bedroom. Yes Flora was blissfully plucking blossoms, caught fully in the instant, but all moments pass and this swirl of memories vanished with Mitch’s reappearance.

“Well, can you blame her; she doesn’t come that often now”, Mitch’s self-assured voice, from behind Keely. She had no idea where he had been hiding, maybe near the maze gates. Perhaps in the huge pile of raked leaves, yes maybe, there were a couple on his sleeve.

As they grouped and started to walk towards Mitch, they were all in the shadows of the bulky gates. Jordan gave Mitch a look.

“No”, said Erma and Lydia together. It made Jordan swear as he lost his focus and slipped, just as he had started to clamber up the gate.

“Why don’t you wait till after we eat”, said Keely.

“Last one in for lunch is a rotten egg”, said Jordan, as he raced for the door.

Five children all bursting for air squeezed each other through the back veranda door. It was clear from the remains of the expensive looking plates on the kitchen bench, thought Keely, that Mr Taylor’s guests were distinguished. They always were.

“Two, four, six, eight, dig in, don’t wait”, it was Jordan, as he stuffed two triangular asparagus sandwiches in his mouth at once.
……………………………………………………………………………………………

“My, what disarray”, intoned Mrs Taylor, “the domestic help will unquestionably receive her remuneration today, cleaning up this untidiness.” And without pausing; “How are you Keely?”
“Fine, thanks, Mrs Taylor”, said Keely. Gazing at Mrs Taylor, dressed like a Vogue cover. There was no genuine personal inquiry or interest here, just polite conversational phrases. It bothered Keely’s maturing mind for just a jiffy, that there never had been.

“Well children, exit the interior, however; curfew is dusk and take care of them… Mitchell Arthur Taylor”, and all that remained of Iris Taylor was a lingering, floral fragrance.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Without saying what they would do or where they would go, five children went to the same spot. “Well remember we must be back before dark”, said Keely calling up to Lydia and Estelle on the gate. Jordan and Mitch were already waiting on the other side. Keely was the last one over.

Strange, it looked darker on this side, reflected Keely. It was abhorrently overgrown and neglected. With hindsight so pitiable; remembering Erma, dashing around a sharp corner and tripping on the gardener’s barrow. An unintended somersault saw the rake pierce both her eyes. Freak accident, but still shivery stuff. Keely who had been playing chasings through the maze, found Erma, just before the gardener.
“Follow”, said Jordan They all tagged behind their brash self appointed leader through numerous intersections. He boasted he could remember the pattern, through the current tangle, to the centre, from years ago.

They reached the centre, the heart, the pivot on which it radiated.

Estelle gasped. It was enough to make everyone turn in unison.

“What?” said an impatient Jordan.
“Look”, said Estelle.

The labyrinth suddenly seemed to branch out in multiple directions: reflected Keely. Seemingly endless intersections as far as ten eyes could see. It then seemed to get dark suddenly. Why hadn’t Mrs Taylor called by now?

They meandered. Mitch thought he had ushered everyone together. It was exceptionally dark and moonless when they stopped and huddled collectively. However, Lydia noticed, Estelle and Keely were missing.

After a long time ….a torch light shone in Keely’s eyes, it seemed an eternity since they had entered the maze. It was the gardener. His eyes said, “Not again.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………….
Mrs Taylor didn’t speak to the four children at the maze gates. Her poignant eyes said it all.

The gardener took Keely across the road.

The telephone call from Mrs Taylor next morning to Keely’s mum was very concise. Keely never saw Jordan, Mitch or Lydia again. She was frustrated at not being permitted to attend Estelle’s funeral. She wondered if they would use glass eyes for the viewing –like with Erma. After all, it was just an added atrocious accident, however bizarre or fluky, in the same maze.

Fred1504

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About The Author
fred1504
fred1504
About This Story
Audience:
PG
Posted:
6 Dec, 2011
Type:
Sad
Words:
1,022
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Views:
2,414

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