Braving The Maze Once More

He ran outside towards the maze, a small black umbrella open over his head to protect him a little from the rain, and a small crank-operated lantern in his hand. It was hard going–the wind was strong and it tried to either blow the umbrella out of his hands or to throw soot filled rain in his face.

It was almost too easy. ‘Beneath an unkindly hour,’ Edmund reflected as he ran outside towards the decrepit maze. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t have given the line a second thought, except for the mention of the Cavalcadium hidden ‘under the foundation.’ If Plinkerton had hidden the Cavalcadium under a clock, he would have had to us a clock he knew would stick around.

Edmund came up short as he reached the entrance of the large dilapidated hedge maze. He wished he had paid more attention the first time he had stepped into the hedge. Now, with lightning streaking across the sky, he wasn’t sure he could find the statues that lined one of the many twisting paths.

Nevertheless, he had to try. Squaring his shoulders, he stepped past the stone skeletal sentries and pushed into the dark maze.

At first he walked randomly, jumping through holes and taking turns without forethought or concern. The moon gave little light, and what perception was gained by the lack of mist was lost again in the darkness. Edmund had a lantern, and would have used it, but he didn’t want anyone to glance out a window in the Hall, see his light, and then perhaps decide to investigate. Luckily, the lightning provided brief glimpses of the path ahead, and helped Edmund recognize paths he had taken before.

Finally, a bright flash of lightning illuminated the rows of statues on a path on the other side of a small hole in the hedge. Edmund squeezed through, and began looking for Plinkerton’s statue.

He hadn’t looked carefully the first time he saw the statues, being far more interested in the maze itself. Now he saw each one with astonishing clarity, and a new understanding. These weren’t a part of the landscape like trees or flowers. Each one had been put here by someone, for some reason. A sundial held by bones, a skeleton in white-tie holding a cane, they all had been created and placed like furniture. And some…

Edmund stood in front of the large statue of the grandfather clock surrounded by ravens. At first he had thought the dark ravens were merely huddling around the tall clock, but as he looked closer he could see the looks in their eyes. Each one was staring intently at the clock, mouths open in aggressive spite. These were not birds that had lit on a flat surface to rest, but furious ones, that had been caught up in the violent passage of time. Edmund sighed to himself. It was a bit of a stretch, the sort of thing only a poet would recognize.

He wondered briefly what a group of ravens was called.

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