The Prize



Lara Croft’s face was a picture of pure determination. As always, she was fully intent on claiming her prize, no matter what the cost.

The white lights up above were barely illuminating the large room before her, but she nevertheless went on. The entire room was impossibly bright. The entire area was like a maze; it was cluttered with various obstacles. Lara felt that she might need considerable skill to overcome them; it did not look easy to get across, at least not as easy as she initially thought upon coming here.

As she took her first steps into the massive room, she gazed around and pondered the route she would take. There were a number of giant weapon-like objects lying in clusters inside the room almost as far as she could see. They looked quite dangerous, but dormant. She would have to navigate past them somehow.

Lara took a few more steps; the walls on either side of her were adorned with dazzling art and bizarre bright lights, as well as shelved with more strange weaponry, as though they were on display as an exhibition. Lara wondered if the item she desired would be here; wherever it was, she doubted it would be amongst these particular objects.

She carefully navigated her way past the metallic-looking weaponry, and managed to get through the maze of clustered weapons, but she soon found herself facing a new obstacle; the most gigantic bear she had ever seen.

It came so suddenly that she almost tripped over it. Luckily for her, it did not appear alive; it was lying sprawled on the hard floor, not moving at all. However, it was still blocking the way; it lay right in the entrance between two close, parallel walls.

Lara wondered what she could do about this new hindrance. She scanned the surrounding area in an effort to find something to remove the problem in front of her. She finally spotted a large, metal crate-like object in the nearby corner that looked sturdy enough to move the obstructing bear. She pushed it forward with all the strength she could muster, careful not to damage the two side walls in the process.

It worked; the huge bear was shifted to the side of the nearby wall, creating just enough room for her to pass through. She stepped in and knew she was now very close to her prize.

As Lara walked down the narrow space between the two walls, she noticed that these walls were shelved in quite a similar fashion to what the first area had been. However, these shelves did not contain the strange weaponry of before; instead, they were lined with miniature models of people. Some of the models were so life-like that it was hard not to imagine them moving at any second. Lara was impressed, but still felt disappointed; she’d had a feeling her prize would be amongst these items.

But then she remembered; she would most likely find this particular item would be on its own. That was how valuable it was; she knew then that it could not possibly be amongst these items, that she had to look somewhere else.

Suddenly, a mass of hanging, shining black creatures appeared before her. Spiders! About twenty or so of the unsightly things dangled in front of her, their thin black legs jittering as though caught in a gust of wind. They looked really to fall down in a heap, judging by the thickness of the webs that had them suspended.

Lara paused, and again considered how she would manoeuvre past. She realised she would need to duck and crawl, or risk causing all of the webbing with the spiders to fall if she tried to brush past.

Cautiously, she lowered herself down on her hands and knees. She kept her gaze forward and found that she could crawl through easily enough if she remained as low as possible. On she crawled, keeping her head down. Finally, she stood up and looked behind her; she had managed not to disturb the hanging spiders.

She reached the end of the narrow space and paused. She had noticed something up ahead, in the wider space that led out from the narrow corridor-like area she was currently in.

Something that appeared to be flying. She had only seen it for a split-second, but there was no denying it – and whatever it was, it did not look too friendly.

A dart?

She listened carefully; a faint, muffled colliding sound could be heard to the right, as though something had been thrown with great force against the wall. Yes, it was definitely a dart.

Lara prepared herself for the necessary sprint across the wider, open space ahead. As she got ready to run across, she saw another dart zoom past in a blur of black, like a crazed flying insect. She’d been hit by a flying dart once before; it was not a desirable thing.

She did her best to make sure to time the run right, and then ran. She managed to reach the other side of the room just as she felt the next dart brush past her ear and hit a large dartboard on the other side. Bullseye. She was lucky she hadn’t been it.

Now that she was in a wider, less cluttered area, Lara could see all the individual items in the room much clearer than she’d been able to before. Her prize awaited her somewhere very close by, she knew it.

But where was it? She glanced around anxiously, wishing she came here more often.

Then, she spotted it. On a nearby shelf, glistening in all its glory, was the very thing she had entered this place to search for. She gasped, and squealed in delight.

“Mummy! Daddy! Here it is; I’ve found it!”

Lara ran to the bright pink aisle to her right and excitedly picked up her long-awaited prize; the brand new “Lovely-Lucy” doll, exuberantly shining in its plastic box. With a big, victorious smile on her little face, she trotted with her parents past the mess of toy guns, stuffed bears and hanging rubber spiders to the toy-store check-out to buy it.


NOTICE: This story is a work of fiction. Lara Croft, her likeness, and the Tomb Raider games are all copyright of EIDOS Interactive. There is no challenge to these copyrights intended by this story, as it is a non-sanctioned, unofficial work of the author's own.