Yes, there’s still a few of these in the pipeline, so good news for those of you who enjoy them (but not so good if you don’t obviously). The explanation’s drawing ever closer too, in about three weeks maybe, in time to coincide with the next Group Hug. See, I do actually have some forward planning going on here. Not much, but some…

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Walking along the corridor, the girl can sense movement in the air, the hint of a breeze coming from around the corner. Turning, she is surprised to see ahead of her a space that isn’t like any of the courtyards she has encountered so far and hurries onward until she steps out of the corridor and into this new place.

Unlike the usual perfectly square chambers the girl has discovered up to now, this room is long and rectangular yet still made of the perfectly square tiles, some of which emit a pale light, enough to illuminate the space. Directly before her is a railing which runs round all four sides, with enough room for a walkway giving access to the corridor entrances on either side, and another at the far end of the chamber. Walking to the railing, the girl leans over and looks down. Directly beneath she can see another railing, in another space just like the one she is in, and below that another railing, and so on, until the spaces are lost in shadows. Looking upward she sees the same, identical chambers stretching away into the darkness.

From below, a gentle wind pushes upward, ruffling the girl’s hair as it whispers past. Holding firmly onto the cold white top of the railing and stretching up on her toes, she leans out further to see more of the room directly beneath her. The entrances to three corridors are visible, one on each side and a third in the distance below the one on the floor she is now on. The girl guesses that there will be a fourth opening underneath where she is now, but it is impossible to see from her current vantage point. From this angle, it is difficult to see any corridors on the lower floors, and the same for the chambers above her.

She sets off round the walkway, aiming for the corridor entrance on the opposite side of the space, which should afford her a view of the fourth opening on the next floor down, if there is one. As she walks, she runs one hand along the smooth railing, ignoring the side corridor she passes until she reaches the far end. From here she can see that, as she suspected, there is a fourth entrance beneath where she came in, but her attention is distracted by three small discs which lie next to each other on top of the railing. They are the same shape and size as coins, and coppery red in colour.

The girl picks up the coin on the left and inspects it. It feels like metal, again like a coin, but it is smooth and unmarked. Leaning out over the railing, she drops it and begins counting. It quickly disappears from view and before she has the chance to count into double figures, a bright blue spark flashes in the darkness below followed by a sharp cracking sound. For a brief moment she sees a mass of crystals at the bottom of the shaft like a vast irregular nest before they are masked in shadow again. The disc bounces and clicks a couple more times, echoing up through the floors to her, but she sees no more sparks.

The girl picks up a second coin, the one on the right, and with a last glimpse over the railing, turns quickly and sets off down the corridor behind her, carefully placing the metal disc into her pocket as she goes.

She is determined to find a way downwards, certain that there will be answers at the bottom of the shaft, certain that she has seen a glimpse of her ultimate destination, where understanding awaits her.

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Next time, I drag an old post out of the draft file and attempt to soup it up for publication. It might just be the most boring thing I’ve done yet, so be warned!

Until then… ses x