by Jonas Polsky
Waiting. That’s what it really boils down to. Stand here, in the dark spot behind this column, and wait. It didn’t know how long it had been waiting. The dungeon is dark, save for a few torches on the walls that never seem to go out. There are no windows, so there’s no way of knowing when the sun rises or sets, or if time is even passing at all.
The thing wanted to walk away sometimes, go somewhere else, and maybe do something; but when it tried, nothing happened. It was anchored to this spot, staring at the same moldy brickwork of the column, and waiting. Waiting for what? Was waiting all there was to existence? It didn’t want to wait! It wanted to do so much more, to experience things, to travel, but deep inside there was an overwhelming urge to keep standing in this spot.
It stared at the brickwork, counting the bricks, wondering who made the column, and if they would ever return. If the person who made this column came back, surely they would know why it needed to wait behind it! If only it could meet the person who built the dungeon, maybe they could give purpose to all of this waiting.
After what seemed like an eternity, it heard a noise. The heavy wooden doors swung open, and sunlight poured into the dungeon, chasing the shadows into the corners. It wasn’t exposed by the sunlight, it was perfectly hidden behind the column. Maybe this was the brick guy; the guy who made the column, it wondered. It’s feet still magnetized to the floor, it tried to peer around the column to see who was coming.
It saw a warrior walk past, oblivious to the creature concealed in the shadows. As soon as it saw the intruder, it reflexively leapt out from behind the column, and began biting and clawing at the warrior until he died. Relief washed over the thing’s body, this was why he was here, this was why he’d been waiting, but now it was done.
It looked down and realized it had moved! It walked away from the column! This! This was its purpose! To attack any heroes that ventured into the dungeon. All of the endless waiting had led up to this moment, this split-second mauling of a careless adventurer. With the hero dead, the thing had done its job, and it was time to go outside and see — well, whatever it was that was outside. Maybe there were other things like it out there, or waiting in other dungeons. Maybe they’re waiting for me to find them! It thought.
The creature went to step forward, but suddenly, involuntarily — it pivoted. It’s entire body rotated to face the opposite direction. That wasn’t right, it wanted to go outside, toward the doors! It tried to turn around, but it began walking back — back towards the column! As hard as it tried it couldn’t turn around, couldn’t walk towards the wooden doors to freedom, it was locked on a path, that compelled it back to where it started.
No! No! This was not what it wanted to do! It wanted to leave, but its feet carried it back to where it always stood, behind the column, in the shadows.