The man had lost the directions.

He was certain he’d had them just a short while ago, but both of his hands looked to be empty and he couldn’t imagine where else they might be. The pocket! They could be in there, he supposed. He dipped one of his hands into the pocket and fished around. Though it held many items, the directions were not to be found. A sense of dread settled among the folds of his stomach. He searched the floor around him, peered down the darkened hallway as far as he reasonably could. Nothing. He was lost.

No this can’t be, thought the man. He had sacrificed so much to get this far, survived so many trials. The Rift, The Swim, The Leap. Red Right ‘98! Danger had been his companion and determination his steady blade. He was the Hero of the Fitful Procession, who laughed at his misfortunes and marched into murky situations without hesitation, however uninviting. Kind of like that hallway.

If only he had been listening when he asked for directions. Though to be fair, why would he? His memory wasn’t as reliable as it had been yesterday. The directions were being written down in meticulous detail and he could just follow them. The plan was working flawlessly; consult the directions and go where they say. Heroes don’t have to wing everything.

The man squeezed his eyes tight and tried to picture the definitive phrasing of the directions in the recesses of his mind. He’d heard that hypnotists and television cops could jog a person’s memory in times of great need, but his watch was in the shop and he had never been on television. The only scrap of instruction he could recollect was “Go down the hallway.” The rest was lost forever in the trivia and the cobwebs of his psyche.

The man turned to face the hallway. The darkened, uninviting hallway. He checked his pocket again.