Labyrinth of Memories

Labyrinth of Memories

A short story by Jason K Powers

*clack*clack*clack*clack* echo’s through the long concrete hallway as his heels hit the floor with each step.  He can hear the sound of metal sliding doors creaking and cracking in other parts of this maze of hallways he is walking through.  Somehow forces in the back of his mind make them open and close, each one independent of another, and seemingly at random, but they are so far off down other hallways, it doesn’t bother him really.

He passes doors on the left and on the right, reading the plaques above each door as he passes.  December 17th, 2005, reads one.  Chasing a Kite, reads another.  First FightFirst KissCar Wreck 2001Death of a Friend.  December 19th, 1998, and on and on and on.  Some doors are bigger than others.  Some plaques have fallen off over time and all that remains is the faded outline of what was once there.  Some doors are padlocked, some double.  There are some spaces where a door should be, but seem left unused.  Perhaps to be filled later.

One door is open as he passes, so he looks in…

“And this here is a photo of the Destroyer Ship I sailed when I was in the Navy.”

“Were you on it during World War II, Grandpa?”

“Yup, I sure was.  One time, when we were sailing way out in the middle of the ocean, warning sirens came on and I ran to the edge of the ship to look out and see what the alarm was for.  Off in the distance, I could see a long streak of water being pushed up from something just below the surface.  It was headed straight for us!  No sooner than I saw it, I realized it was a torpedo that had been launched at us, and it was coming straight for us!  There wasn’t nothin’ to do but to watch it come at us at that point.  I remember holding my breath as it got closer and closer, and you could feel the tug of the ship turning, tryin’ to get out of the way… and wouldn’t you know it… the crazy thing missed the ship by inches!!  Boy, I thought for sure we were a gonner…”

“Wow Grandpa!  I bet that was pretty scary!” the boy exclaims.

“You bet it wa…”

…and the door slams shut.

So, onward down the echoing hallway he walks, glancing at the titles, checking the locks, peeking inside the open doors, and whistling a tune.

He walks just beyond one that has been locked and he gets a brief smell of something.  He stops, takes two steps back, and double-checks his senses.  “Ah… yes indeed.  There’s definitely a stench coming from that one…” he thinks.  A deep sigh.

“I guess I didn’t prepare that one enough before I locked it up.  Looks like I’ll have to get back in there soon and clean out whatever is making the smell,” he says to himself.  “No time right now… I’ll get to it soon though.  This kind of thing will start spreading quickly if I don’t deal with it soon.”

And so he moves on, turning a corner down another endless hallway.


He covers his ears as one of the metal doors rattles a deafening echo as something from the inside pounds on it, clearly trying to get out.

“What in the world is that!?” he says.  He looks up to see the plaque.  It’s faded and he can barely make it out.  “I better open it up and see what’s in there and take care of it or else it’ll keep making all this noise!”  Double padlocked.  He takes a closer look at the padlocks, and notices writing on them.  ‘Pros Philippesious,’ reads one.

“How strange,” he thinks.  He looks at the other… ‘3:13.’

“Ah yes,” he remembers.  “I guess there’s good reason it’s double locked… I think I’ll leave it alone.”  And so he walks on.(1)

There’s an endless amount of hallways, with a seemingly endless amount of doors that have been put in.  Each one containing memories of his life.  Each one having its own purpose.  Some will never be visited again.  Lost in the labyrinth of hallways.  Some left locked and forgotten, and some just left locked.  Some will have to be visited and cleaned up.  Some cleaned out over time.  They’re all his, and he put most of them there.  Some were even given to him.  It seems like such a daunting task to have to handle all of these doors throughout his whole life by himself.  There are simply too many doors, too many things behind them, too many dangers mixed in with the good.  How will he ever keep track?  How will he ever discern always which ones to open, which ones to leave alone, which ones to walk in and not?

Just then, when the thoughts begin to become overwhelming, he turns another corner and walks into a large open area.  A round corridor.  A central point.  From the center, he turns in a circle and see’s hallway after hallway he can choose to go down.  He looks up and see’s the open blue sky.  He looks to the floor and see’s a beautiful golden inscription etched large in to the ground.  He jumps up on to one of the walls to get a higher vantage point to read it:

Venite ad me, omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos.  Evangelium Secundum Matthaeum Undecim : Viginti Octo(2)

Once he reads it he just smiles, jumps down and walks to the center of the circle.  He covers his eyes with one hand and sticks his other arm straight out, pointing his finger.  Spinning himself in a circle a few times, he begins laughing.  He stops spinning, uncovers his eyes, and looks to see which hallway he is pointing his finger at.

“This is where I think I’ll go today,” he says with comfort, and starts walking.

And so, he begins walking down another hallway of his life… of memories.  There’s more large metal doors down this way, but there’s more open wall space in this hallway as well… and more memories to build.

(1)   Philippians 3:13b “…But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead…” (HCSB)

(2)   Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (HCSB)


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