“‘In Search Of…’, the Lost Episode”

CHARIOTS OF THE GODS?

    The Bermuda Triangle

    Illuminati: Cosmic Trigger

    Man, Myth and Magic

Bryan placed his plate on top of the stack of books. Danielle had insisted they eat at the dining room table, but she wasn’t around any more.

He forgot his coke. He walked back out to the kitchen. The house echoed with his footsteps. The place was really too big for one person. Four floors including the basement. Bryan knew he should move, but since Danielle had moved out, he didn’t feel much like doing anything except reading, working and watching TV. Fuck her; he could afford it. The rent was dirt cheap. The neighborhood was all crumbling pre-World War I brick, and nobody wanted to live here.

He got his coke and went back out to the living room. Only the aquarium light of the television lit the room. He adjusted the rabbit ears on the Zenith and planted himself on the lawn chair next to the front window. Danielle had taken the real furniture with her, but he hadn’t let her claim the TV.

Out the open window he could hear children playing in the June twilight and police cars going to meet a call. He turned up the volume on the set.

      Trapped. Trapped in a maze of hallways, without beginning or ending, alone.

The TV showed a panicked-looking woman running through an ordinary-looking hallway. She descended a flight of stairs, turned to a door and opened it…only to find another flight of stairs and another door. She ran down the new flight and opened the new door, only to find a long, blank hallway with another door at the far end.

Over it all came the stately, yet somewhat sinister voice of Leonard Nimoy, the guy who had played the alien Mr Spock on “Star Trek.”

    Spontaneous Labyrinthism. Ordinary people who claim to have found themselves trapped in such mazes. Tonight on “In Search Of…,” we will examine their claims, and attempt to find an explanation for this puzzling phenomena…if there is one.

     The theme music started, and a collage of photos illustrated the program’s subjects.

    In Search Of…Extraterrestrials…Magic&Witchcraft…Missing Persons…Myths&Monsters…Lost Civilizations…Special Phenomena

Bryan smiled. The series was in reruns. He thought he’d seen the entire season, but this one was new. It was an unexpected pleasure.

There was a shot of a woman washing dishes in the sink, then turning the lights out in the kitchen. She had a B-52 hairstyle and an unfashionable dress.

    On July 18th, 1967, Julie Smith was winding down an ordinary day in her Morass, Kentucky home. She had no idea what she was about to experience.

     A woman, older than the actress he had just seen, sat in an armchair in a studio. A caption identified her as Julie Smith.

“I finished the supper dishes, and went upstairs to bed,” she said in a mild Southern accent. “But the stairs didn’t stop.”

    Instead of reaching the second story of her house as she expected, Miss Smith found only more stairs. When she turned around, she could no longer see the bottom of the flight. After about ten minutes, she found herself in a hallway-but not one she recognized.

“I found myself walking through an endless procession of hallways, stairs and doors. Whenever I opened a door, I found another corridor. Occasionally I would find a door that was locked, and I knew somehow that that was a room, but that I did not want to look inside. Sometimes I would run, but eventually I got tired, and started walking again. It didn’t make no difference.”

    Did you hear or see anything strange in the hallways?

“Yes. I heard footsteps in the distance. Sometime they were quick, like a child running. Sometimes they were a slow, heavy tread. But they never found me. Whoever it was.”

The gooseflesh rose on Bryan’s forearms.

    And how did you escape the labyrinth?

   

“I woke up in my own bed. Everybody says it was just a dream. But it wasn’t. I know when I am awake and when I am asleep. It was not a dream.”

     In 1972, Miss Smith published a book regarding her experience, The Maze. After its release, several similar experiences were reported. One of those who found themselves caught in the labyrinth was Edward Miller of Minneapolis.

Bryan shifted in his seat, then pulled his boxers out of his asscrack. It was a hot night.

A plump man with a full beard appeared on the screen. He was sitting in front of a brilliantly lit window. A caption identified him as Miller.

“I was in my bedroom reading The Maze by Julie Smith. I thought it was very interesting, but I was skeptical. After a while I had to, you know, go, so I left the book on the bed and went to the can. I mean bathroom. But when I opened the door to the hallway led to a small foyer. I entered the foyer and closed the door behind me. When I tried to return to my room, that door was locked. I tried the other doors and found they led to other hallways. Some had stairs, some were just plain halls. They all had other doors, which led to more halls.”

    Did you hear footsteps, as Miss Smith did?

“…I don’t want to answer that question.”

    But the most terrifying part of Mr Miller’s experience was yet to come.

The show faded out to a commercial for the used car lot out on Town Line Drive. The last guy’s talking about bathrooms had made Bryan need to pee. He left the screaming car salesman and walked to the downstairs bathroom, off the hallway connecting the kitchen and the living room. He motioned to close the door behind him, but stopped.

Danielle had always demanded he close the door when he peed. She was gone; he didn’t have to now. But why was he nervous about the sight of that door closing? The show was getting to him. That was why he enjoyed it. But he needed to dare himself. He shut the door.

He whipped it out and drained his main vein. He noticed his pee was very dark tonight, a rich oily yellow.  When the footsteps banged over his head, he almost pissed all over the bowl.

What was that? Had one of the kids in the street gotten inside? It had sounded like a child running. He finished as fast as he could, stuffed his penis back into his boxers and opened the door to run upstairs.

He found himself looking at a straight hallway, painted white. The turnoff to the living room was gone, the entrance to the kitchen was gone. At the opposite end, some ten feet away, was a single white wooden door. It was ajar, and through it he could hear the television. “In Search Of…” was returning from commercial.

Bryan ran down the hallway. If he could hear the TV, it must be near. If he could reach the TV, everything would be normal again. He had to get to the TV.

    Could you tell us more about the labyrinth?

“Some of the doors opened, some didn’t. I wandered from corridor to corridor. Sometimes I heard low muttering. But that might have been me. I mean, I hope it was.”

Bryan reached the door and almost plunged down a steep flight of stairs. He caught himself just in time. At the bottom of the steps was another hallway. Even though he couldn’t see what was waiting for him down there, he could hear the television, so he pounded down the stairs.

But at the bottom was only a short hall ending in a foyer-like room with three doors, one on the far wall and two on the right, like twins. Bryan turned to go back up the stairs, but the door at the top had swung closed behind him.

But the TV must be near. He could still hear it clearly.

    Do you think reading The Maze had some connection with your entry into the labyrinth?

     “Definitely. Anyone who reads that book ends up here. Anyone who hears about this place, in any way, ends up here.”

Bryan opened one of the doors on the right. Another hallway, thirty feet long, with a low black ceiling, and another door at the end. He opened the door’s twin. It led to an identical hall. And when he was in the second hall, he heard someone walking down the other.

  And how did you escape the labyrinth?

   “I haven’t. I’m still here. I don’t know how long it’s been. I can’t find the way out.  Please. Please help me.”

Bryan started to run. Through a door. Through another door.

Leonard Nimoy walks through a misty field somewhere. His hands are locked behind him as he addresses the camera.

   From the limited number of accounts we have available to us, it seems that labyrinthism is communicable. Those who hear accounts of the phenomena are in turn susceptible. By watching this television program, or reading the short story describing it, you have already put yourself in danger. Perhaps you are looking at the door of the room right now, wondering if you really know what lies behind it. Perhaps you are trying to tell yourself you do not hear footsteps. Perhaps you have made the mistake of reading this story after dark. I cannot help you. Good night…and good-bye.

The theme song plays.

In Search Of…Extraterrestrials…Magic&Witchcraft…Missing Persons…Myths&Monsters…Lost Civilizations…Special Phenomena

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