The minotaur only killed a handful of victims during his storied career, and did so with little effort; between each swing of his hammer and goring by his horn, seven years of silence would pass. He spent those lonesome months oscillating between dreams and meditation, lost in the winding corridors of his brain.

In his youth, he wondered about the city above, and thought at length about matters of civics and architecture. He eventually concluded that he, too, lived in a city. Its towers didn’t rise and stand upright, however, but slept in a tangle beneath the earth to keep warm. Someday, Knossos would crumble, and his empty metropolis would unfold from below, taking its place. Perhaps, then, another labyrinth would form beneath his, and the cycle would continue indefinitely.

He held no concept of himself as a monster. Killing was but a return to a familiar abyss, and any disruptions in the surrounding silence were dealt with as meager chores. His was a kingdom of undifferentiated potential; when its halls were still, so too was his mind.

A few weeks before the arrival of Theseus, a wanderer from another land entered the minotaur’s lair unarmed. He left a trail of lotus petals in his wake so that he might find his way back, and the aroma filled the beast’s curious nostrils. The traveler and the minotaur came eye to eye, and for reasons which he did not yet understand, the latter felt no urge for violence. After a few moments of unbroken eye contact, the stranger smiled, then left as quietly as he had arrived.

The scent of the flowers lingered, however, and outlined paths to both an inner and outer exit. The minotaur thought long on this encounter in the days leading up to his death, and in doing so, eventually found something within himself that wasn’t part of the labyrinth.