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In the Labyrinth

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Hor was not the son of a god or a bull. He was the son of a middle-aged businessman who coveted his young and pretty wife. “He is not my son,” were the first words Hor could remember his father saying.

Hor's mother insisted she had never cheated on her husband, but his father could tell, knew she looked at other men, younger men who were wittier and kinder and more accomplished than he was. He knew she had cheated on him. He hated looking at the son that couldn't possibly be his. The child was more like an animal than a human.

Hor realized then that there were some things so monstrous or so godly that they could not be looked upon by normal people, people like his parents. He must be one of those things.

His father grew to be very wealthy. If he were wealthy, then his wife could never leave him – even if she cheated on him, she would continue to stay with him for his money. Hor's father was content to be used. He built a fabulous estate for her on a secluded island, hiring a world-famous architect to turn it into a secluded paradise. During summer vacation, the couple and their young son stayed on the island with a retinue of servants and entertainers.

On the day before they were to leave the island, Hor woke to an empty house. He ran down to the coast to see his parents boarding a boat filled with all the servants. They were going to leave without him.

At the sound of Hor's footstep on the dock, his father turned around in shock to look at his son for the first time in years, only to clatter to the wooden planks as a lifeless puppet. It was then that Hor learned that he was feared.

He lived for many years in his own private labyrinth, the island designed for him. It started out as a house – something pretty, disgustingly so, but as the years passed it began to change into something more to his tastes.

He said years, but in truth he didn't know how much time passed. He didn't know how long he'd been on the island or how old he was. Eventually he decided it was time to leave.

The island made to contain him had changed its nature over the years. These days, boats came by occasionally, and Hor took one. He found a city to his liking and did what normal people were supposed to do – he got an apartment and a job. He drove a bus full of children to and from school every day. Hor was entertained by it for a while, but he quickly became bored. This was just as bland as the island. He didn't know what he should do.

There was a streak of kidnappings in the city. A number of children disappeared, all of them kids who had taken his bus to school. There were inquiries, and Hor was brought in as a suspect.

The police chief interrogated him. “Was it you?” he asked.

Hor had not been handcuffed, though he wasn't sure why. “Yes,” he lied.

The police chief prostrated himself on the floor. “I'm very sorry, Lord Monster,” he said. “We weren't aware that you were here. We will provide you with sacrifices from now on. You need not trouble yourself.”

Hor smiled. That was right: he was a monster.

Kurofune came soon after that. He was a Meros Warrior, or so he said – and it was his duty to destroy monsters. Kurofune looked Hor straight in the eye and did not turn into a puppet.

“Why don't you fear me?” Hor asked.

“Because I have the power to destroy you,” Kurofune replied.

Kurofune did not stop or die. He followed Hor everywhere, to his island, to eternity.

“Stop following me,” Hor told him. “Go home to your wife already. Why did you marry her in the first place if you were just gonna run off?”

“I didn't want to leave her; I had to.”

“It's the same thing. Face it: you're scum. You make women fall for you and then you ditch them straightaway. When's the last time you even fucked your wife?”

“I might be trash, but at least I'm not a monster.”

Hor's laughter echoed in the caverns of his labyrinth. “The world made me a monster, just as it made you a Meros Warrior.”

Kurofune didn't reply to that, only smiling a small, private smile. Hor saw that smile – he saw everything inside his labyrinth. It made him furious. “You'll never leave here!” He raged. “You'll wander in my maze forever with no one to blame but yourself!”

“Yes,” Kurofune repled. “Just like you.”