He fled down the narrow, dimly lit corridor only moments ahead of his pursuers. Dashing past an opening to his left, he caught a glimpse of another one racing towards him, hungry eyes floating in the red, ethereal mass that was its body.
Hurling his spherical body into a passage to his right, Pacman was relieved to find that the trail of Energy Pellets resumed ahead of him. He took stock of his situation as he gobbled through the glowing globes: Blinky had now joined the chase and was just behind him, followed closely by Pinky. Inky would be bringing up the rear; he had caught Pacman’s trail early on but hadn’t been able to close the distance between them. Three Ghosts accounted for…where was the fourth?
Pac darted quickly around a corner, then another. A short dash and a few more sharp turns brought him doubling back on his path, leaving the confused Ghosts on the other side of a wall. He hurried on, knowing the respite would be short-lived. There was only one way to properly deal with Ghosts and Pac eagerly turned down the corridor where he hoped to find it. He saw the golden glow filling the corner and immediately spotted his goal: an oversized Pellet hovering at the end of the corridor. Pressing forward, he rushed towards the Power Pellet. As his mouth snapped shut, he felt it explode inside him, suffusing his body with energy. Turning the corner, he saw Clyde, the fourth Ghost, fleeing in a panic, his translucent body turning a deep shade of blue.
Pacman’s jaw closed over Clyde, the Power Pellet converting the Ghost’s undead essence into nourishing energy. He quickly spun about, chomping his way through Blinky and Pinky with visceral glee. Their bodies dissolved under his assault, leaving two pairs of startled eyes dancing in front of him.
As he watched their eyes float away, something snapped in his mind. Memories came flooding over him. He saw himself stretching back through time, Pacman after Pacman finding a Power Pellet and turning upon the Ghosts, extinguishing them, one by one. He watched in horror as they came back each time, born anew from their crypt in the center of the maze. His soul recoiled as he saw them hunt him down over and over again, his body twirling madly as the life ebbed out of it, sucked away by a floating Ghost. Memories of thousands upon thousands of lives exploded across his consciousness. He saw valiant, daring Pacmen clear the maze, consuming all of the Energy Pellets, only to have them magically reappear; he saw short-lived Pacmen stumble straight into the waiting Ghosts. His mind cried out in anguish as he saw himself struggle ceaselessly, trapped forever in a senseless labyrinth until victory and defeat became indistinguishable.
Reeling, Pacman came out of the vision to find Inky fleeing ahead of him. He didn’t give chase. For the first time in all those thousands of lives, the yellow sphere came to a complete standstill, his body deflating with a sigh. Maybe he’d just wait here….