The skinny shadows told him it was around about noon. He stopped at a corner, nestled into the angle between the walls. They were grey, fifteen, maybe twenty, feet high and uniform apart from their roughly textured surface.
From where he sat, he could see for dozens of feet in each direction. A clear field of fire. If he had a gun. And the ego, or malice, it took to use one.
He could not put his faith in chance. It was appealing, to take a random turn here, another there. To press on. To cover ground. But the odds against it working were so great that he could not calculate them.
His water supply was running low. He had no food, but was not hungry anyway. He could not figure out why that was. All of his appetites had dissolved. He had to force himself to drink. Swallowing was hard. His throat felt bruised.
There was not an ounce of energy left in his limbs, but he rose to his feet, a little unsteadily.
If he could rise further, rise like Icarus, even momentarily, and look down from above to see how far it stretched. Whether he was closer to one of the outer walls than the others. What lay beyond.
He started to walk. That was what he did. It was what he always did.
If he stayed in one place, he could keep better track of the passage of time. Mark it off, day by day, in prison-house scratches. Four vertical, one diagonal. Over and over again. But instead he kept moving. With some kind of systematicity, he told himself, though he might have been lying.
Movement, he thought, the orderly passage through space over time, proved it wasn’t all the same.
Intermittently, he left markings on the walls. Glyphs and sigils. Doodles. Not to mark a route he might one day want to retrace, but to force a sense of difference on the walls that enclosed him. To make change seem real. To construct a lie of progress.
But a realisation had been growing slowly inside him. Metastasising, and with it an awful dread.
There was no way out.
It was not a maze at all.
It was a fucking allegory.