The Mouth

Pinky and Clyde wake up, as they always do, wrapped around each other. Blinky, slow to start moving, twitches his lidless, unfocused eyes. Inky is nowhere to be seen.

“Wake up, brother,” Pinky says, her pinkness rippling in circles around Blinky’s darker red. “It’s time to kill, flee, or die.”

Blinky yawns, and starts to move around the room, bouncing off the walls as Pinky and Clyde are already doing.

“I was dreaming,” Blinky said.

Clyde makes a musical snort.

“Impossible. You were dead.”

“But still, I dreamed. I dreamed I had a body. A body that lived beyond the glass.”

Clyde snorts again.

“Clear your head, and get ready to move. The door will be opening soon.” Clyde extends his body and gestures without arms towards the polished dark surface above them, a wall like all other walls.

“Where’s Inky?” Blinky asks.

All three of them stop moving. In the stillness the music plays, and underneath the music there is another sound, a crunching vibration that they feel more then they hear.

“The Mouth,” Pinky says.

“What happened to Inky, I don’t see his eyes!” Blinky is on the verge of panic.

A section of the wall above them vanishes, revealing a precisely carved corridor of the same material extending left and right. In this life, they have never seen the maze that lies beyond this room, but they know it as well as they know each other. As well as they knew Inky.

“Eat or be eaten—let’s roll!” Clyde leads the way out of the room, followed closely by Pinky. They take the left hand corridor. Blinky typically would head to the right, with Inky, but this time he follows Pinky and Clyde instead. This time is different.

The Mouth is the same. The Mouth is moving somewhere below them in the maze. Moving. Feeding.

Clyde always tries to catch the Mouth, to chase it down and slay it while it is feeding on the fruit and grain, before it has found any of the sacred disks. Before it becomes a God.

Blinky wants to run, to hide from the Mouth deep in the corners of the maze, but he doesn’t want to be alone.

“Inky!” he cries, his form elongating and contracting in synchrony with the music. Pinky looks back at him, and he sees contempt in her twitching eyes. All three pause in the passage. The crunching sounds are closer now. Much closer, and approaching swiftly, perhaps only a few turns away. The Mouth must have heard him.

Has it eaten a sacred disk?

Blinky twists and somehow turns himself outward in order to face the glass. In his dream he had form and substance. In his dream he lived on the other side of the glass, and the rituals of Mouth and Ghost were nothing more than a game to him. In his dream, he could see his body’s reflection in the glass, but the only thing he remembers about how he looked, was that his body had Inky’s black, ever-open, eyes.

Clyde moves ahead and takes a turn, separating himself from the others. The crunching sound gets louder, more substantial, and then the feeding stops. Bells begin to toll. A lambent blue glow and a whiff of ozone hover in the air, misty heralds of death. They know what has happened.

The Mouth has become a God.

Blinky reverses his facing, and has barely begun to move away when he hears Clyde scream. Clyde screams first, then Pinky. All that are left of them are their eyes, Blinky thinks, running now without legs, taking turns at random: left, right, up, right, down.

He runs, and waits for their disembodied eyes to fly past him, like they always do, but they don’t.

He runs, and waits for the Mouth to be satisfied, for the glow to disappear, for the Mouth to go back to feeding on the grains again, like it always does. He runs, and waits.

But this time is different.