“So, where do we go from here?”

“Well, this is a maze,” she responded. “By definition, I don’t know which way to go.”

“Hmm. Then which way don’t we go?”

“The wrong way, clearly.”

He sighed. “Well, one way or another, we need a plan. From what I learned back in my traveling days, if you simply continue to move forward and to the right, you’ll eventually find your way out of any maze, no matter how complex. Does that sound like a reasonable strategy?”

“Hmm. No, that just won’t work.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Well, it makes sense on paper, but not in practice,” she explained. “Left and right are relative directions. Suppose you continue to move forward and to the right until you reach the exit. After you’ve taken your second right turn, however, the third will be facing in the opposite direction from when you took your first, making your first a left turn instead. Therefore, it is impossible to traverse a path which is only right turns, as each turn changes the direction of the previous.”

“Hmm.” He stroked his chin. “You raise a fair point. Perhaps we should use the cardinal directions instead, and only traverse paths to the north and east?”

“That won’t work, either. If the maze has a northeastern corner, we’ll have nowhere to go once we’ve reached it, and we’ll be trapped inside forever.”

“I suppose you’re right on that account, too.” He shook his head. “I’m just not sure what we should do, then. Do you have any ideas?”

“Well, here’s what I know,” she began. “When I was a child, I kept having nightmares that I was lost in an underground maze, of which my fingerprints were a map. Whenever they happened, I’d follow each and every wrinkle carefully, certain that it would be the night that I’d find my way out. It was hard to know exactly which finger to follow, however, as each was ever-so-slightly different. They all ended in frustration and fear as I realized that I was following the wrong one.

“I asked my mother what these visions meant, as she often helped me understand my dreams. She told me that human beings are made out of mazes, from the brain on down to the intestines, and that not being able to untangle them ultimately holds us together. For that reason, she warned me that I needed to stop trying to solve that one, as doing so could accidentally unravel one of those knots. If the maze was in my own dream, then it was probably a part of me.

“That night, I dreamed that I was in the labyrinth once more. I didn’t stop like she told me to- I had to know what was at the end. For once in my life, I guessed right and found the exit. This was the result.” She held up her hands, revealing fingertips as smooth as polished marble. “My mother was right. I should have listened, but instead, I let this part of me come undone.”

“I see.” He looked down. “And you think that this is a maze like that one?”

“I can’t rule it out. If we solve it, something bad might happen to us. I’m worried that part of us is coming undone, and we simply haven’t figured out what it is yet.”

“Alright. So then maybe we need to get out of the maze without solving it?”

“If such a thing is possible.”

“Well then, maybe what we need to do is go the wrong way instead.”

“That could very well be. How about this, then.” Her eyes met his once more. “Let’s approach your strategy in a different way. Instead of always going forward and to the right, let’s keep moving forward and to the left instead- so that we’re always going in the opposite direction of your original plan.”

He stopped to think for a moment. “That sounds like it might actually work. If we keep turning left, then at least we’ll never be going the right way, after all. Even so, I still feel like we’re missing something.”

“If we are, then I think it’s good that we’re missing something,” she smiled. “It means that we might actually make it out of here in one piece.”