Hallway of Peril
This story is also inspired by the Reedsy.com prompt "write about a contest with life or death stakes."
*There was a man named Hugh from another world, who came to the Earth to defeat evil. He created a network of heroes all over the Earth, bound by crime fighting technology. This is a story of two of those heroes*
Mirk stood before the abandoned warehouse, mentally preparing himself for the challenge he was about to face. He and his brother Tam worked for a worldwide organization of heroes ran by a man named Hugh, and they were united by special dark helmets that granted their wearers armor, enhanced strength, and weapons that could be summoned by a thought. Tam had been previously sent on a mission to capture a trap loving criminal named Hall, and he had chased Hall to this very warehouse. Two days had past and Tam had not contacted Hugh or Mirk. Mirk requested the opportunity to search for Tam and also apprehend Hall if possible, and Hugh granted the request. Mirk chose to bring flash grenades, a laser gun, and an additional laser gun that wasn’t a weapon, but a tool to transport people back to their base. This tool should be helpful in extracting Tam and Hall. The only catch was it was a new creation, and it only had three shots. So Mirk would have to make the shots count to succeed and get out of this one safely.
Mirk slipped into the warehouse through one of the windows and began walking around. He checked the whole warehouse and found nothing except for another door that he assumed would lead back outside behind the warehouse. Not wanting to leave anything unchecked, Mirk opened the door and was shocked at what he saw. Instead of leading outside, a long hallway stretched beyond the door. Realizing he had much more to check, he headed through the door and began navigating the hallway. He then heard a sinister voice echoing through the long hallway.
“Welcome friend, the game has just begun!” The voice said. “My name is Hall, and you have entered my procedurally generated Hallway of Peril! If you want to find your brother, you will have to survive the challenges of this hallway! Time to choose your game mode! Easy, Normal, or Hard?”
Mirk shook his head. Now he understood why his brother hadn’t returned yet. He had been briefed on Hall being a trap expert, but he didn’t know the extent of how Hall’s traps worked. Mirk thought it over and made his choice of difficulty.
“Easy mode!” Mirk shouted. “I just want an easy going adventure before I take you down!”
“Ha ha ha ha, I like you already!” Hall jeered. “Very well, Easy mode it is! Good luck brave adventurer!”
Mirk rolled his eyes under his helmet and proceeded. The hallway was pretty bare with basic hardwood floors, tan walls and a white ceiling. Mirk wasn’t impressed with Hall’s creativity so far. Before he could get too underwhelmed, he heard something coming down the hall. Something big.
A giant orc was racing towards Mirk, with a spiked club in hand. What looked like little laser balls were coming out of the spikes, as if they were charging up for a blast. Mirk thought about his flash grenades and one appeared in his hand. He threw the grenade in front of him and it exploded, temporarily blinding the orc. Mirk raced paced the orc and found the hallway ahead was now colored dark blue on the walls, floor and ceiling.
Mirk looked around this new stretch of the hallway for any possible traps. He noticed several tiles on the floor that were a light blue. Not wanting to set off anything, Mirk stepped over the tiles as he continued to walk down the hall. A piece of the wall flew off in front of him, with gushing water coming out of the hole. More pieces of the wall came flying off, and more water began filling the hallway.
“Too bad, you should have stepped on the tiles!” Hall said, laughing at Mirk. “The hallway will soon be flooded, and you will be sent backwards! And you were so close to reaching my location!”
Mirk cursed under his breath as the current from the now flooded hallway sent him backwards. Before he knew it he was going down a waterfall, which deposited him into a big Olympic sized pool. Mirk climbed out of the pool and looked around, seeing three doors in front of him.
“One of these doors will take you to your brother, the other two have challenges behind them!” Hall said in an enthusimastic, sinister voice. “Which one will you pick?”
Mirk walked to the middle door and went in. He found himself in a dark room. Before he could figure out if he had picked the right one, he felt a whoosh near his head. He ducked in time, and his eyes adjusted to reveal the orc in front of him. The orc roared and swung his club at Mirk. No lasers seemed to be forming around the club at this moment. Mirk summoned his laser gun by thought, and fired a clean shot at the orc’s head. The orc appeared unimpressed by the blast, and it responded by roaring and raising its club. Lasers began firing from the spikes of the club, and Mirk dove towards the only spot that the lasers weren’t striking. Realizing he had no weapons that could take down the orc, Mirk quickly looked around the room for an exit. He found another door behind the orc. Mirk thought about his flash grenades and another one appeared in his hand. He threw his grenade and blinded the orc once more. Mirk raced to the door, praying that it was unlocked. He breathed a sigh of relief as the door opened, and he raced through it quickly.
Mirk found himself back in the room with the pool, and observed the three doors again. He made a mental note not to use the middle door.
“Good luck with your second try!” Hall mocked. “Just so you know, one of these doors leads to a bottomless pit!”
“Wonderful.” Mirk thought to himself. He had already picked the wrong door once, and couldn’t afford to do so again. Of course, there was no guarantee that any of the doors would lead to his brother. Realizing he didn’t have a choice, Mirk chose the door all the way to the left and proceeded in.
As soon as Mirk stepped in, the floor beneath him gave way and he was now falling. And falling. And falling. Mirk felt despair as the falling continued, thinking about the bleakness of falling endlessly before death mercifully ended this sensation. Fortunately for Mirk, this wasn’t the case. He landed in another pool, and climbed out to find only one door in front of him. Feeling a new sense of hope, Mirk raced through the door hoping to find his brother behind it.
Mirk was thrilled at what he found. His brother was there, still wearing his dark helmet and body armor. Even better, a figure with silver hair and an aged face, sporting a long red cloak lay on the floor, unconscious and tied up. Mirk knew right away that this was Hall, and his brother had been able to take him down.
“Sorry brother.” Tam said. “I survived Hall’s traps and was able to restrain him, but there was no way that I could carry him out of here and face those traps at the same time.”
“Well good thing I was always the prepared one.” Mirk replied, laughing. “I have some new tech from Hugh, and it will send you back to base. There are two additional shots, so I’ll send our foe back to be delivered to the proper authorities. Hugh is still working on that alternate dimension for criminal rehabilitation, but it isn’t completed yet, so we’ll have to do things this way.”
“Fair enough.” Tam said. “Send him first before he comes to.”
“No, my main goal was to rescue you.” Mirk answered. “Don’t worry, I survived his traps too, I’ve got this.” Mirk drew the transportation laser gun and fired a blast at Tam, sending him home.
“And now for you.” Mirk said, pulling the trigger to send the restrained Hall back to their base. But as Mirk fired the gun, he felt a kick to his leg, making him fall and miss Hall completely. Mirk quickly stood back up, horrified at what had just occured.
“Ha ha ha ha, too bad!” Hall laughed, still on the ground restrained, yet triumphant. “I only pretended to be unconscious - thanks for revealing your blast count! Now you only have one shot left for transporting! You can use it and send yourself home of course, but that will leave me free to create more hallways of peril! You could instead send me tied up to your base by using that gun, but if you do then you will have to go through a new version of my hallway to get back. You could simply just kill me and save yourself, but can you really do that Mr. Hero?”
“I am a hero, and I always will be!” Mirk responded, following his answer by punching Hall in the face, knocking him out for real. Mirk then fired his last transportation shot at Hall, sending the unconscious villain back to the base. It was going to be a journey to get back home, but Mirk felt comfort in knowing that he had saved his brother and stopped Hall’s machinations against anyone else besides himself. Now the only objective left was to get through what would hopefully be Hall’s final set of traps ever created. Mirk went back in through the door from before and heard a familiar voice.
“Greetings, and welcome to the New Game+ of my Hallway of Peril!” Hall’s echoing voice exclaimed. “Your default difficulty this time is Hard mode. Let’s see what you are truly made of brave adventurer!”
Mirk looked down the hall, and noticed that it was wider this time. Blocking the path ahead were five orcs, each holding spiked clubs with laser balls charging from the spikes on each one. Mirk mentally thought about how many flash grenades he had left, and summoned the last two in his hands. Mirk then ran down the hall towards the orcs, vowing to himself that he would get home somehow, someway....