Holland Mills stared at the computer in front of her. Things weren’t adding up. Taking another look at her dual screens, she compared the information to her spreadsheet. She was off by three people. Out of six hundred and fifty-nine. She’d already been working on this report for two hours, and she wanted to beat her head on her desk.
Three measly people! She almost wished it would have been off by fifty. It would have been easier to figure out where she went wrong. She clicked on the report option on the top of her dashboard and waited for the information to reload.
Her phone rang, and Holland quickly looked at the caller. Jacob Jones from another campus was calling. She could barely get her own work done without worrying about his never-ending issues. She continued to stare at the ringing phone, deciding to not do the professional thing and answer it. She let it keep ringing. She would call him first thing tomorrow.
“Holland!” a voice called out to her, causing her to jump in her chair.
Sara, her office mate, swiveled her dark gray chair around and stood.
Holland looked at the woman, who was almost her exact age of thirty-one, and smiled. “Sara!” Holland called out in the same tone that Sara had used.
“Let’s take a break. The Wellness Center has a labyrinth set up in one of the rooms. It’s supposed to be a stress reliever, and from the way you were sighing and abusing your mouse, I would say you need a break.”
Holland smiled at her friend. “Okay,” she confessed, as she gave her monitor a dirty look. “I could use a step back from this.”
Nodding, Sara walked out of their small office, and Holland followed. The room used for the labyrinth was in Room 118, an all-purpose space that boasted employee baby showers to quarterly financial planning meetings. Today, the lights were turned out, and small tea light candles lit the room. The flickers of the candles cast eerie shadows across the room. A white plastic floor mat was laid out in the middle of the room and dark lines were printed on the material in a circular pattern.
The Wellness Center employee, aptly named Joy, greeted each. “Sara and Holland, welcome! I haven’t seen you at our Labyrinth before. I am so glad you could make it,” the counselor gushed.
Holland and Sara smiled at Joy. “It’s usually so busy, but we thought we’d take the time today to see what this was all about.”
Joy started in on a general description of the labyrinth and how it was utilized. “Oh, you are going to love walking this! You will feel so relaxed! Clear your mind, and let your feet lead the way” were the simple instructions.
Feeling foolish, Holland took off her shoes and set them on the outside of the thirty-by-thirty-foot circle. She wasn’t a fan of yoga, or tai chi, or any of those other “new age” movements, but she would try to give this some serious consideration for improving her mood. On a plus side, maybe when she returned to her desk, her report would mysteriously be correct! With a deep clearing breath, she slowly took a step forward. Seconds ticked by, and she felt a strange lassitude settle over her. It was almost as if something was welcoming her home. A feeling of rightness flowed through her, and no matter how she tried to push it away, it seemed to fill her.
Holland stopped thinking about how crazy she looked walking in a tiny circle, barefoot, while at work. A small shock vibrated up through her feet with each step, and her mind became sharpened down to one thought: the labyrinth. She carefully stepped around the predetermined pattern until her feet led her toward the exit of the circle.
I must find another labyrinth. The thought took root out of nowhere, and with every slow swing of her arm with each stride it grew and grew until it was all consuming. By the time she was finished, a great excitement had come over her.
“Well, how do you feel?” Sara asked her, as she was waiting for Holland to complete her turn so she could start her own calming session. “Do you feel like a million bucks?”
Well, she felt like something, but it was too hard to voice to her friend. “It’s different,” Holland admitted vaguely.
“Okay! I’m ready for different,” Sara said, and she began walking swiftly through the maze-like steps of the labyrinth.
Stacks of papers on a table at the far wall captured Holland’s attention. Information on the labyrinth had been compiled, and she eagerly took a page for further reading. The strange peaceful sensation was beginning to wear off, and a feeling of sadness rushed over her for some unexplained reason. Without waiting for Sara to finish, Holland walked back to her desk and immediately started a Google search on labyrinths.
Something had happened to her while walking through the makeshift labyrinth, but it left Holland wanting to know more. An urging had settled inside her, and it grew stronger by the minute, as if telling her time was running out. The thought came out to nowhere, but the voice of it lingered within her mind.
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