The Dark Pursuit promises you a thrilling, adrenaline pumping experience that will make your heart skip more than just a beat…if you survive.

Rebecca Kitchen, news anchor for KOLO8 News and Holly Hutchings from This Is Reno joined the Downtown Reno Partnership’s excursion into the 4,000-square-foot maze hidden below Reno Axe in downtown Reno. Our team also included Mike Higdon and the fearless Tanya Polli, the marketing and office managers for the Partnership, and me, the marketing Intern.

First off, I do not like scary stories, movies, books or anything of the sort, so words cannot describe how frightened I was to go into the Dark Pursuit maze. I am the type of person that will run out of a room even when a scary commercial pops up on the TV. 

As we walked into Reno Axe I thought, “how can I get out of this?” But, I had already committed to participating in this experience and I was going along with our group. I tried to play it cool, but I felt as if I was drowning in my nerves. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been in a haunted house for Halloween and I was about to go into a paranormal themed maze.

This sounded insane.

The five of us left the light-filled axe throwing area into a cold, dimmed stairwell. The owner and two employees described the mission: “escape with your life” and uncover the truth about the murder of a little girl named Alma whose spirit haunts the walls of the chilling maze.

I looked at each person’s face to see if they were thinking the same thing that I was. “We can’t seriously be doing this. Someone please say something so none of us have to go in, or at least me. Can we just throw an axe instead and call it a day?”

“Don’t die,” said Izzy, the actress who interrupted my nonstop flow of thoughts. I looked down the stairs that had a creepy old-looking door open with a flickering bulb that provided the only source of light. One by one, the members in my group walked down the steps as I stayed stuck in my place. My legs were not moving and my eyes filled with water.

I am not kidding when I say I don’t do scary.

Afraid of being left alone, I walked down the stairs as I shook my head.

“Nope. I really, really can’t do this,” I repeatedly said as we continued into a darker room with a TV screen. Once the door slammed behind us, a video began to play, but it became background noise as the anticipation built up inside of me.

After the video ended, Mike opened the door and we entered pitch-black darkness. I could feel my eyes widen as they searched for light, but it was hopeless in the basement of Reno Axe. Our team linked arms and I held on tight as we felt our way through the maze. My stomach felt like it flipped upside down and my heart was going to beat straight out of my chest as I began to hear slamming doors and ghostly sounds. “Is it coming closer?” I thought.

Suddenly, I felt a warm breath on my neck and ear that sent chills down my spine accompanied with a terrifying scream. I jumped, knocking Holly almost over and let out a loud squeal that made my whole group scream with terror. I felt as if I was no longer in reality and we landed in a paranormal movie scene. I shut my eyes and repeated, “It’s not real. It’s not real,” in my head over and over again.

We continued to anxiously feel our way around the twist, turns and dead ends. I reluctantly followed the group, trying not to get separated. But Rebecca and Tanya frequently jumped ahead to find the next turn or clue, while the rest of us attempted to stick together. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but you’ll just have to see how your group interacts in the pitch black.

I almost tripped over something blocking my way. So, not only did we have to navigate five people through a maze without any light all while receiving unwanted surprises, but we also had to bend, contort and crawl in the darkness. 

My adrenaline was pumping, but in a strange way I felt relaxed. Until, I heard a slow whispering “Run…run…” then screeching yell, “RUN! GET OUT, RUN!” I have never moved so fast in my life.

We eventually made it to an eerie, spooky room, which turned out to be the puzzle room that helped us escape and solve the mystery.

I ran out without waiting for anyone once the puzzle was solved. Standing in front of me was the owner clapping and congratulating us on completing the maze (in near record time, I might add). I put my hands on my knees and felt a flood of happiness and relief that we finished the maze and I could finally see lights again.

I was so proud to have faced my fears without quitting even though I was fully ready to bail before we started the maze. I also would have never gotten the chance to hear my marketing manager shriek so loud either. But, the best part was being able to have a drink at the bar upstairs to soothe the nerves afterwards.

If you are looking for a real adrenaline rush, then the Dark Pursuit will definitely deliver and surpass your expectations. Phil Frayssinoux, owner of Reno Axe and the Dark Pursuit plans to change the routes of the maze once or twice a year for people to keep coming back. Phil also suggested to bring a different group each time because your experience also depends on the people you go with. You can even play along with the actors and trick or scare your friends too.