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THE LABYRINTH

exchanges. People chatted together, laughed together, ate, worked and fished together, spent the night together and then moved on. To an outsider, their lives seemed unbearably lonely, aimless and godless, yet there was no trace of discontent among them. When asked why they didn’t want to achieve anything in their lives, to give it some meaning, they invariably raised their eyebrows and asked what there was to do in life but live and what meaning could it have when everybody dies in the end? They were solitary beings but they spoke with one voice.” “For many months we continued to live on our ship, rowing ashore for food and work. This was partly because the islanders never spoke to us and the men became agitated if they spent too much time in their company. But the main reason was the labyrinth itself, which we feared to venture into too deeply. We are men of the sea; we like open spaces and empty horizons. We understand maps and charts and the points of a compass. We like to know precisely where we are and see where we’re going but none of this was possible in our new home.” “It is futile to try and convey the extent of the labyrinth with any certainty, for it is like nowhere else in the world. There were no houses on the island or none as we know them. No churches, schools, town halls or public squares; none of those structures that seem to exist in one form or another, everywhere else in the world. There was nothing but walls, endless walls. As far as I walked and for as long as I lived in that place, I never saw anything else. The walls created passageways with the breadth of roughly the span of a man’s outstretched arms. Some of them were solid rock and some had windows and doors, which were never locked. And here is the strangest thing of all; none of the rooms contained personal belongings of any kind, although many were decorated in highly individual styles. It took us a long time to realise, partly because 8

L is for Labyrinth  
L is for Labyrinth  

L is for Labyrinth is a short story which is part of the book an a-z of possible worlds