Jasmine, Scarlet, and Violet navigate the Library Maze, with some assistance from the librarian.
(CWs: depression, death, guns, injury, fire, strong language, mentioning vomit)
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Cast, in order of appearance: Jesse Syratt, Em Carlson, Emily Kellogg, Shaun Pellington, Justin Hatch, William A. Wellman, Tatiana Gefter, Saph the Something, Taylor Michaels, and special guest Shannon Strucci.
Art by NerdVolKurisu
Written, scored, edited, and narrated by Rat Grimes.
SCARLET: Hey, chill. Look!
JASMINE: What is it?
VIOLET: Don’t tell me to “chill.”
SCARLET: We’re back at the Library. Lapis actually pointed me to you guys.
JASMINE: I wish we had time to look around. I bet whatever books they have here are wild.
VIOLET: You have no idea.
SCARLET: Well, good news is we’ll be here a while.
JASMINE: Whoa, literal floor to ceiling bookshelves.
SCARLET: Bad news is that the Library finally got the memo and went into lock-in procedures. We’ll have to go through the maze.
VIOLET: Bullshit. Green could barely make it through. What are we going to do?
SCARLET: Ask the Librarian for help.
JASMINE: Who’s the librarian?
SCARLET: Lapis Lore. She’s great. She’ll probably say some weird shit, just go along with it. She’s odd, but she’s right.
JASMINE: Well, let’s get started.
NARRATOR: Scarlet stepped out front and led Jasmine and Violet through the giant pillars that marked the start of the great maze. All around them, bookshelves rose from the hardwood floors to the intricate vaulted ceiling. They could only see so far ahead of them, as the multiple paths were obstructed by ever more shelving that made up the corridors of the maze. The room was dim, cast in an indigo hue from the stained glass high above.
JASMINE: This place is incredible. I can almost smell the history here, all the aging paper and binding. Where did all these books come from?
SCARLET: Some were confiscated–
SCARLET: –from variant sites, others were donated or bought.
JASMINE: The design is incredible.
VIOLET: That’s Green, for you.
SCARLET: I think he copied part of the floor plan from an old college in Ireland.
JASMINE: Probably Trinity.
SCARLET: Sounds right. In the middle of the maze is the Long Room. That’s where we’re heading.
JASMINE: This place is huge. It might take a while, but at least it seems pretty safe.
VIOLET: Don’t get your hopes up, Jasmine.
SCARLET: This might be the most dangerous room in the whole building if you come in unprepared. Let logic win, and ignore all the things you see and hear. They’re just books. Keep your eyes peeled and your wits sharp, folks.
JASMINE: Could we climb up and take a look?
SCARLET: Out of the question.
SCARLET: The bookshelves can move, just like the stairs. They can shift, topple over, you name it.
VIOLET: Great. So even if we find the exit, this place could just crush us.
SCARLET: Could, but probably won’t. Unless we try to cheat by climbing or something.
JASMINE: I see.
NARRATOR: The trio wandered the corridors, stumbled into dead ends, backtracked nearly to the beginning and started again. There was no proven method for discovering the exit, aside from the usual trial and error.
SCARLET: Hey, Lapis! You got any info for us? We could use some help here.
LAPIS: I can see..one mask. Two colors mixing. Two horns.
SCARLET: Thanks, Lapis! *to the group* Okay, we just have to keep an eye for…that.
SCARLET: Anyone got any good scary stories or something? Urban legends?
JASMINE: Not really.
SCARLET: Fine. Then I’ll start.
SCARLET: This must have been about the end of high school, maybe right after. I was wandering around campus, totally broke and looking for some quick cash so I could get my own place. I saw a sign on a bulletin board. Somebody was looking for a babysitter. Pay was pretty good, too. I went out to meet the dude. They had this huge old victorian house. He told me the poster was kind of bullshit: there was no kid to watch, just his old-ass mom in law. He was going out to some party for the lunar eclipse, but she was to frail to come along. I was about to bail, but he like tripled the first offer. He promised she’d be no trouble. He seemed nice enough, the cash was even nicer. How could I say no?
JASMINE: Ooh, what happened next?
SCARLET: Everything seemed fine, at first. It was quiet. Just a few sounds from upstairs. I’d skipped dinner earlier, so I ordered pizza from a place he recommended. The noises upstairs got louder, and I was getting nervous waiting for the delivery. The food finally came, but the dude totally skeeved me out. I called 911, but changed my mind. Figured I was just freaking out over nothing. I ate, and then I must have fell asleep. I woke up during the eclipse, and there was a pentagram on the floor, and–
VIOLET: That’s just fucking House of the Devil.
VIOLET: It’s literally beat-for-beat the movie. We watched it together, you dumb asshole.
SCARLET: Fine, it is, okay? I just thought it would be fun to trade scary stories. Here’s a real one. My friend brought over this unmarked tape once. It had all these weird scenes, and a well–
VIOLET: We watched The Ring, too.
JASMINE: Even I know that one.
SCARLET: Whatever! If you two wanna be the fun police, we’ll walk in silence.
*Scarlet whistles a tune*
VIOLET: Whistling isn’t silent.
SCARLET: FINE! If I hear a single sound from either of you, I’m turning this car around.
VIOLET: What car.
VIOLET: Dead end. Again.
JASMINE: I’m so tired…
SCARLET: Wait. Look.
JASMINE: That book’s sticking out.
VIOLET: I’m pulling it.
JASMINE: Good work, Vi.
JASMINE: I didn’t say anything.
SCARLET: Me neither.
VIOLET: I swear one of you said my name.
Violet, this way.
VIOLET: Would you stop?
SCARLET: I’m not doing anything, dude.
JASMINE: You okay, Violet?
VIOLET: It’s fine. I’m fine.
VIOLET: Shut up!
Violet spun away from her compatriots to address the voice whispering to her through the shelves. She saw nothing. She turned back to continue onward, but Scarlet and Jasmine were no longer there. She was alone.
VIOLET: Oh, come on. Grow up. This isn’t funny.
VIOLET: Scarlet, stop it. What, you’re doing the Shining now? Come back out.
VIOLET: Scarlet? Jasmine? I’m not scared, I’m just annoyed.
Violet reached for her watch, but try as she might, she couldn’t hit the button to turn it on.
VIOLET: Stupid watch.
Violet, this way.
VIOLET: Jasmine? Is that you?
NARRATOR: Violet walked toward the voice. As she moved, she felt her mind drift. Her consciousness floated above her body and watched her step away from above, as in a dream. Her body moved beyond her view, and her mind sat on the edge of a bookshelf. Next to her rested a shadowy figure, and in front of its face it held a mask. A Violet mask.
VIOLET: This place sucks.
SHADOW VIOLET: I know, right?
VIOLET: How are we even supposed to do this.
SHADOW VIOLET: It’s like…really?
VIOLET: Yeah, totally.
SHADOW VIOLET: We’re probably just gonna get lost anyway. Might as well just wait here.
VIOLET: Preeetty much.
SHADOW VIOLET: Sterling, Scarlet…I can’t believe they did this to us.
VIOLET: It sucks, but they’re fucked too, you know.
SHADOW VIOLET: Are they? Or is this like…another test.
VIOLET: Shit, I don’t know. I feel like they wouldn’t do that to me.
SHADOW: Are you sure?
VIOLET: They’re my friends.
SHADOW: Are they?
VIOLET: I mean…
SHADOW: After you let them down today, will they want to be around you?
VIOLET: I don’t know why she hangs out with me. I’m a fucking downer.
SHADOW: It makes sense given…everything.
VIOLET: Am I just supposed to pretend the world isn’t about to cook? That we’re not all about to die in like five years?
SHADOW: It’s pretty much over, now.
VIOLET: Love to live in the end times. Feeling like I’m going to vomit 24/7.
SHADOW: And Scarlet, now she’ll never return your feelings.
VIOLET: No, but…I don’t have feelings for her, that was the whole problem with... Wait, what are we talking about?
SHADOW: You, Violet.
VIOLET: Then who…who are you?
SHADOW: Just a mask. I’ll be seeing you, Vi.
The shadowy figure vanished, and Violet was once again in her body. Jasmine and Scarlet were in front of her, looking concerned. Scarlet was holding her shoulders and shaking her gently.
SCARLET: Hey, Vi, wake up. No time for naps, dude.
VIOLET: Oh, sorry. I…
JASMINE: It’s okay, we were just worried.
Violet shook her head and continued on with the other two. The minutes crawled on, and their patience grew thin with each loop and cul-de-sac.
SCARLET: I don’t know, Jaz. I feel like we’re almost there.
JASMINE: Hm, sorry?
SCARLET: You asked how much longer. I can’t be sure–
JASMINE: I…I don’t think I did.
SCARLET: Don’t tell me you’re daydreaming now.
VIOLET: I don’t think she said anything, Scarlet.
SCARLET: I am not losing my mind in here. I’m sharper than ever. Adrenaline’s got my mind on overdrive. Come on.
VIOLET, quietly to Jasmine: I think she’s losing her mind in here.
SCARLET: Would you quit it?
JASMINE: Quit what?
SCARLET: All the questions and opinions. We’re doing fine.
JASMINE: I’m not…
JASMINE: Wow, that’s awfully personal of you, Scarlet.
SCARLET: When did–
JASMINE: Well, definitely.
SCARLET: That was like, way back
JASMINE: Oh, yeah. I mean, I feel that–
VIOLET: HEY. What are you doing?
JASMINE: Huh? Oh. We were just–
SCARLET: –talking about stuff. No–
JASMINE: –big deal. Let’s keep–
SCARLET: Good idea, Jaz.
VIOLET: Hey, stop. Seriously. Are you finally losing your two brain cells? I’m feeling like a third wheel.
SCARLET: Hold on, this one isn’t a dead end. There’s something on the shelf.
JASMINE: Looks like a poem. And there are letters on the floor ahead. Letters in little squares.
In front of the group, the floor was segmented in two-foot squares. Each square had a letter inscribed in it. Scarlet pulled a book from the shelf and tossed it at a square with “D” written in it. The square of floor fell, and the book fell into a pit of indeterminate depth.
VIOLET: I hate heights. You two figure this thing out.
JASMINE: The poem says, “A child without an eye, A coast without a sea, Walk along this spoken path, To meet your destiny”
SCARLET: What the hell does that mean.
VIOLET: Sounds like some real nerd shit. Scarlet, you should know this.
JASMINE: I think it’s a riddle. Look, each row of letters. You can spell out words by stepping along a certain route.
VIOLET: This is some extremely nerd shit.
SCARLET: Sounds like the lyrics from your old band.
VIOLET: Nah, we sounded better than that.
SCARLET: You sounded like Robert Smith took a shit in a car engine.
JASMINE: Shhh, listen. Child, eye, coast, sea. All four together is too long. Eye and Sea together is too short. Child and eye are too long, too.
VIOLET: Oh, and your “poems” were any better? How many times can you rhyme pain with again?
SCARLET: I was just sticking to the classics. Try “blindfold.”
JASMINE: No, that’s not it either.
VIOLET: God, come on. It’s “C H L D O A S T”
JASMINE: Ah, the word “child” without the letter “I” and “coast” without the “c”.
SCARLET: Hell yeah, go Violet. We can cross now.
SCARLET: There it is. The Long Room. We made it. Now all we have to do is make it the other side, and we’ll be at the staircase.
NARRATOR: The long room stood before them, two floors high. The central corridor was lined with marble busts on pedestals, and above was a round, vaulted ceiling. Rows of shelves sat on either side of the corridor.
JASMINE: That sounds easy enough.
*snorting and a howl*
VIOLET: It never is.
Scarlet’s boot hit the floor of the long room, and a howl rang out through the Library Maze. Heavy footsteps slammed into the hardwood somewhere ahead. From behind a tall bookcase stepped a hunching, humanoid figure covered in roiling black tendrils. Its legs were short and squat, ending in hooves, but its upper half was huge and lined with muscle. Its skin was paper white, creased, and covered in dripping ink. It crinkled as it moved. Its face was indistinct, but from its head rose two horns, and it carried in its paws a massive weapon.
JASMINE: Wow, the minotaur. Should have seen that coming.
SCARLET: Is that a fucking gatling jaunt?
VIOLET: I’m going to die with you two idiots. In a fucking library.
JASMINE: How did Theseus defeat the great bull?
SCARLET: He probably beat the shit out of it like I’m about to. Violet, you go right, Jasmine–left. I’ll keep him distracted in the center. Whatever happens to me, you two get the hell out of here and get to Sterling, got it? Let’s move!
NARRATOR: The trio broke all at once. Violet and Jasmine took to the corners of the Long Room, and Scarlet ran straight for the beast. The creature hefted its massive weapon and fired in quick succession. Scarlet dodged the first few booms with a sidestep, a tumble, but she couldn’t dodge them all. A corner of one shot caught her leg, and she was blown backward one of the pillars at the edge of the Long Room. The great origami beast trudged after Scarlet, leaving a trail of black goo in its wake. It stood over her as she struggled to get upright. She coughed, and spit blood at the thing’s hooves.
VIOLET: We have to keep going.
JASMINE: We can’t leave her!
VIOLET: You heard what she said!
JASMINE: I know what she said. But screw that.
NARRATOR: Violet ran for the exit at the end of the Long Room, and called for Jasmine. Jasmine ignored this, ignored Scarlet’s warning, too. She grabbed onto a sliding ladder, climbed up a few rungs, and pushed off the wall. She slid down the Long Room straight for the minotaur. She summoned all the mental strength and fortitude she had, and extended her hand as she’d done to Copper View. She was prepared to ram into the bull and reach into its head, but there was no rainbow in her hand, this time. Then the ladder suddenly stopped. Jasmine lurched forward, fell from the rungs, and rolled a foot closer to the creature. The minotaur had smashed the incoming ladder with its horns.
Scarlet scrambled to her feet with some effort, but couldn’t run. Jasmine had twisted an ankle and jammed her shoulder in the fall, so she was no more capable than Scarlet. Violet surveyed the scene from the far end of the Long Room in a panic.
VIOLET: Lapis. You there?
LAPIS: I am. I am in my tiny book city.
VIOLET: You have to do something. That thing’s going to kill them.
LAPIS: What could I do? I can’t fight a fly.
VIOLET: You don’t need to fight. Just…I don’t know!
LAPIS: I’m sorry, Violet. Neither of us could defeat a fly.
Violet searched the beast for any hint of vulnerability. But the thing was huge, strong, and fast. Its body wasn’t flesh, but that didn’t seem to stop it from causing pain. Violet could see writing on its surface. Names and numbers. Lilith. Viridium. Shane. 18, 14, dexterity, greataxe.
VIOLET: Wait. Scarlet said…something…something…Fuck, I wish I listened to her.
LAPIS: If only you had the magicks of my fey warlock.
VIOLET: Hold on. Lapis, can you imagine her? Your warlock?
LAPIS: Yes, and I do often.
VIOLET: Not sure what that means, but do it now. Think about her on a…big adventure or whatever. She’s got to fight a minotaur to save Lilith and uhh…Bristle.
LAPIS: Oh my, how frightening.
VIOLET: But she’s strong. She can beat it. You see her killing the minotaur.
LAPIS: Yes, she is in the cave with the minotaur now. The minotaur is strong, but he is made of paper, you see. So she knows the weakness. She has a sword of magic fire. I can see her now.
VIOLET: Holy fuck, so can I. I think the minotaur can, too. It’s walking away from Jasmine. Keep thinking, Lapis. You’re…you’re doing…umm you’re really good. Jesus, I’m bad at compliments.
NARRATOR: As the paper minotaur approached the hero, Violet snuck around the other side of the corridor. She helped Scarlet to her feet, and draped her arm around her neck. The two shuffled to Jasmine, and leaning on each other, they slowly made their way to the exit.
LAPIS: Viridium cannot be beaten, oh great bull. For she wields the Flame of Undoing!
The hero swung the fiery blade and cut the minotaur in two. Its halves ignited and burned bright and hot, until only a smoldering pile of ash and some scorched dice remained. Then the hero and the minotaur vanished.
LAPIS: What fun! We should play the game again, some time.
VIOLET: What game?
LAPIS: The game of dragons in dungeons we just played.
VIOLET: So all that was…
LAPIS: Very evil, yes, from my game.
SCARLET: Thanks, Lapis. *pained, to J and V* Come on, forget about it. It’s not her fault. She just wanted to play again. We have to move.
JASMINE: The way’s clear. Sterling’s lab is right below us.
SCARLET: I was trying for a “These-eus nuts” joke…but I couldn’t make it work.
VIOLET: Oh my god, shut up.
SCARLET: Favorite greek guy…Bofades....bofa deez–
VIOLET: You’re literally killing yourself with these jokes.
JASMINE: Okay, Scarlet, we’re on the floor with Sterling’s Lab. Where do we go?
SCARLET: Just down the hall there…it should be…oh. Right.
NARRATOR: Violet, Scarlet, and Jasmine saw Sterling’s door at the end of the hallway. Between themselves and Sterling’s lab, however, stood 12 blank-faced ghouls.
SCARLET: If we want to get to Sterling, we’re going to have to make it through that fuck-off swarm in front of his door.
GABE: Or you all could take the maintenance shafts.