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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Microstory 802: Fountain of Truth

The first thing I remember is standing in a brightly lit hallway, full of doors. I didn’t wake up, or come to. I just slowly started realizing there were these things around me that I could see, as if someone else had been driving my body, and I was slowly taking back control. “It has begun,” came a voice from nowhere and everywhere. “What do I do?” I asked. The voice instructed me to check my pocket. I expected to find a key, because of all the doors, but there was only a note that said I had to pick a fountain, and that the wrong choice would get me killed. I opened the nearest door to me to find a giant two story fountain. Leaves were carved into the base, and stone fish were somehow suspended in the jets. I stepped back out, and opened the door right across from it. There was fountain in this room too. Jets perpetually shot up from the bottom, and inexplicably disappeared into the darkness above it, forming the shapes of musical instruments. I opened a third door to find another fountain, just as large, but it couldn’t be that big, because I’ve already opened the one next to it. They should be overlapping. I’m supposed to choose a fountain, but I feel no connection towards these ones, nor with any other I check. So I run. I run as far down the literally endless hallway until I can run no more. Might as well let my muscles tell me which door to open.

Inside the room to my left is a fountain that’s much smaller than the others have been, barely reaching my waist. Water is bubbling out from the center, pooling to the sides, and spilling into a drain along the rim. It’s the simplest one yet. I’m reminded of a movie I saw once where the right choice was not the most extravagant, but the least. If this isn’t the answer, there is no answer. I reach my hand into the fountain, and let the water tickle my skin. After a few seconds, though, the water turns to acid, and begins to burn. I immediately pull it out, but the fountain isn’t about to let me off that easy. Burbling turns to spurting, which turns to shooting and spraying. The basin cracks, letting out more acid. It tips over and breaks open. Now the acid is rushing, out from the floor. I run out of the room, but by the time I get a few meters away, the threat behind me has grown into a full blown hurricane flood. There’s no way I can get out of this, but my survival instinct is not hampered, and I just keep going. Thinking I have no other options, I decide to open another random door, and hope the magic acid also magically can’t enter other rooms. “I did it! I got it right!” I hear. There’s another girl in this room, having presumably been given the same choice. She’s bathed in the luminous water of her fountain. The acid hasn’t burst open the door, but it has begun to seep under the door. The other girl is being lifted into the air, so I take a chance, and grab onto her foot. We’re lifted to safety together. Now I just need to convince her to help me figure out who did this to us.

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