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Tick Tock

Chapter 4

By the time we got to the carnival, it was around eight o'clock in the morning. The sun was up, and surprisingly, clumps of people had already entered onto the grounds and were playing mini-games or going on rides. Annabeth, Percy, Grover, and I walked in casually as if we were just any other group of people. I found myself getting irritable as people bumped past me or if someone screamed too loudly on a ride, and once or twice I was ready to swear. The truth was, I didn't function well without sleep, though the rest of the group appeared fine... a little worse for wear, but they were okay. I didn't want to say anything since I haven't contributed much to the group, and honestly, I feel like dead weight to them. They're almighty demigods, and I'm just... plain Jackson. I'm mortal... I have to be. There's no way I'm a demigod, I mean, yes, I was adopted, but still... I can't be a demigod. Hypothetically speaking, demigods had all sorts of powers and/or battle prowess... I had neither... that really sucked.
"Jackson?" I didn't realize I was looking at the ground. When I looked up, I found Annabeth looking at me with those stormy gray eyes which held so much mystery behind them.


"Are you okay?" I managed to smile and nod,

"I'm fine. Just a little tired, I'll buy some coffee in a bit to get my energy back up."

"Actually, I think now is a good idea to eat and get everyone's energy back up. In the past, we've had to fight through monsters to get the pearls, so I wouldn't doubt that there's something protecting the one here." Percy spoke up, and everyone nodded in agreement. I think we were all a little tired, but no one was saying anything.

"That's perfect, I brought some money along and we can get some nice carnival food." Grover grinned as he opened his lime green backpack and pulled out a Ziploc bag of money. Percy took it and took a $20 from it before going up to the hotdog guy and bought us two hotdogs each. We made our food awesome with condiments and then chowed down on a picnic table sitting near the edge of the carnival grounds.

Everyone finished their food rather quickly, and we rested for a little bit.
"You know, as long as we're here, we might as well go on some of the rides." Percy suggested, and I noticed his gaze wandering quite a bit. Actually, Annabeth appeared distracted by the sounds and flashing lights as well. It wasn't hard to figure out that these kids had ADHD... I guess Grover, being a satyr, didn't have it. This was just another hint... I'm not a demigod... I don't have ADHD.

"No, Percy we have to do the quest now. We have to seal up the hole that leads to Tartaurus, or else monsters will just keep on pouring out. Imagine... imagine if Chronos pieced himself back together and came out." A shudder visibly crawled from her shoulder down her body... Annabeth was terrified at the prospect. Something bad must have happened to her in order for her to react like that.

"Right. Let's go get Jackson some coffee, and then we'll go." I glance over at the sound of my name and nod. No coffee for them... imagine what terrifying things can happen when coffee is given to a bunch of ADHD kids. I took the change from our hotdogs and bought coffee with it, then quickly downed the scalding beverage.

"Alright, we can go now." I rasp, feeling my seared tongue and mouth in pain. The group just smiled and chuckled before turning their attention to the task at hand.

The Shifting Labyrinth was an indoor maze, from what I could tell. From the entrance it looked like the walls were made of bundled up hay, which really made the inside of it smell like a barn.
"So it's here, somewhere?" I question, peering in with curiosity.

"Yeah... it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack... no pun intended." Grover mumbled.

"Whatever the case may be, we have to find it. Let's go." Annabeth took a step forward, but a worker shot out and reached for Annabeth's arm. I instinctively shot my hand out and grabbed the worker's wrist and glared,

"Don't touch her." I growl, my nerves were tingling with apprehension as I stared at the seemingly normal worker. The man hissed and shook his arm which I then let go. My eyes met the man's amber ones and we stared at each other for a moment before Percy broke the tension,

"What do you want?"

"I have been instructed to take you in through the special entrance."

"Special?" A single eyebrow on Percy's face shot up, and I had a similar expression on my own. The worker growled softly and stepped back, showing a doorway I hadn't noticed there before. It was well hidden and blended in with the background. I have a really bad feeling about this.

"I'll go first, guys. I'm the protector." Grover offered and limped awkwardly up to the front with his crutches and glanced at the guy once before pushing the door open. It was a hallway made of stone, and it was dimly lit by the dancing flames of torches along the walls... it almost looked like a medieval dungeon of some sort. The satyr's whimper was lost amidst the sea of noise outside. Finally, he limped in, and he got maybe 10 feet in before he turned around to face us.
"It's fine guys, come on in!" Annabeth, Percy, and I shared a look before the three of us followed Grover in. There was a loud, definite boom as the door swung shut behind us.

"Well, I guess we're trapped." I mumble into the eerie darkness, and the walls seemed to reflect my voice back at me.

"Guys, stick together. I'm afraid whatever's in here might use a 'divide and conquer' strategy to pick us off." Annabeth warned, and we slowly progressed through the hall. We took maybe eight minutes to reach a fork in the road.

"Well... crap. What do we do now?" I ask as I tried to peer into the darkness in both directions. Annabeth looked uneasy, but shook her head.

"There's no choice is there?" I understood what she meant.

"Maybe we can go ba-" I turned around and found that there was no route back.
"W-what the...?! The route! It's gone!" I exclaim, slapping the wall and panicking. It was a real wall!

"I had my suspicions..." We all looked to Annabeth,
"The Shifting Labyrinth... it's a copy, if not part of the original Cretan Labyrinth."

"How the hell do we get back?" I question,

"With this." Annabeth held up her backpack, and I noticed a random line or yarn leading somewhere.

"When did you...?"

"I'm the daughter of the Goddess of Wisdom, do not underestimate me." She smiled one of her rare smiles, and I couldn't help but smile back. Pulling out a small ball of yarn, she tied it to the line and gave it to Percy.
"You and Grover head left, Jackson and I will go straight. If there's any problems, just give the line a tug, and we'll come running."

"Alright." Percy nodded and glanced over at Grover,
"Let's go, Grover." The two headed off down one path while Annabeth and I headed down the other.

The two of us walked in silence for a bit before something disconcerting popped into my mind.
"Annabeth, um... if I remember correctly from my History class, uh... this labyrinth was created by Daedalus, right?"


"If this is a copy... or part of the original, or whatever... um... don't you think there might be a minotaur in here?"

"Well, we exterminated the one in the actual labyrinth so..." She stopped midsentence and slowed down until she was standing still.


"Oh no..." She seemed to have reached a terrible conclusion. In that instant the line of yarn drew tight and Annabeth snapped into action.

"PERCY!" She followed the yarn backward, and I did the same.

When we got to them, it was terrifying. A large beast stood over an unconscious Grover while Percy held up his blade and tried to drag the satyr away. The beast let out a roar... this thing had the head and legs of a bull while its torso was that of a man. This thing was the Minotaur. It had a collar on its neck, and in the center rested an aqua green pearl. The Pearl of Persephone.
"Percy!" Annabeth called out, and that caused the dark-haired boy to turn. Bad move. The Minotaur brought its arm back and then swung down at him. I immediately jumped into action. I tore my blade from its scabbard and ran toward the thing. There hasn't been enough time for any sort of training, but for some reason I wasn't afraid of jumping in and trying to fight this thing. I should be terrified beyond words, but I have to protect them... I don't know why... I have to.

"STOP!" I screamed, and for some odd reason, the Minotaur almost looked like it hesitated before continuing. That was all the time I needed to reach its arm and hack at it. I could feel the powerful muscle in its arm give way under my blade until I hit bone. It let out a furious and pained roar that almost sounded human as it pulled its arm away from Percy and tried to shake me off.
"RUN, PERCY!" I yelled as I held on for dear life... it was like trying to ride a bucking bull or something.

"You think I'm going to leave you? Dream on!" Percy had regathered his wits and was charging along with Annabeth toward the Minotaur. The beast sensed the assault coming and did one last flick of its arm before turning its attention to the incoming danger. That flick did the trick though, and I was sent flying into the wall. My head came in contact with the stone wall, and pain erupted from that point as I crumpled to the ground like a limp, rag doll. I couldn't get air in my lungs, I could only watch as the Minotaur swung wildly at the two. Annabeth slid in between the beast's legs and stabbed at it from behind, but an arm swung backwards and caught her in the side and that sent her flying down one of the narrow halls. I returned my gaze to the Minotaur and found Percy struggling within its grasp. It snorted and tromped over to where I laid and it stood over me menacingly. A dark shadow was cast, and I could barely look up at it.

"S-stop..." I groaned, feeling faint. My vision was starting to grow blurry as it raised a fist into the air. It was toying with me... it was stretching this moment on and on until I could take it no more. Then it'll kill me when it's done playing. That was the moment it wound its arm back some more and then swung downward.


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Lol first story on the site!

Chelsea_Delos Chelsea_Delos
Really sorry about not updating the story. I've been really busy, but I'll try to get a new chapter up by the end of the week! I may not update as often after that since school starts in a week (ugh...) but be patient, I know how the chapter's gonna look, I just haven't gotten it down on digital paper yet!
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It varies. Sometimes I'll update a few times a week, sometimes I'll update once a month. It depends on when inspiration hits me. I'm going to try to update at least once a week though.
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Just wondering, but how often do you update?