short stories · Writing Samples

The Wall

I am picking apples in the orchard with my mother again.

There is a high and wide wall that circles my village. You cannot see what lies beyond it, you can only see the blue skies and fluffy clouds above. Whatever exists beyond it is not necessary to us. It has always been this way.

I am the youngest in my village and when I was little it did not strike me as odd that we were walled in, now that I am older all that strikes me as odd is that nobody talks about it. I know why they do not leave, we have no reason to. Everything we could possibly need is provided for us. There are enough green spaces for us to grow crops and keep cattle, we have enough buildings to house our families and there is nothing we need that we cannot trade with one another, or make for ourselves. All I want to know is why we do not acknowledge it. There is no origin story to The Wall- no history or folklore to hold it up. Although it is a constant it is never mentioned. It is like we forget it is there some times. The Wall has faded into the backgrounds of our collective minds, something mundane and every day that we do not notice, like wallpaper.

“Who built The Wall?” I ask my mother. We are out picking apples in the orchard. Again. I only remember to ask because we are on the outskirts of the village, where the wall is closest. She turns to face me and as she does her face flickers in and out of existence. There is a split second where she is featureless and when they return she is frowning. I step away from her, unsure of what I have just seen.

“The what?” she asks.

“Nothing,” I reply. I am frightened to ask her again. She goes back to picking apples, I turn away from her. My feet carry me towards The Wall, although I am unsure why. I start to walk around it. I run my hands along the stone. It is rough.

There are a few points where thick ivy grows up the wall. It never reaches the top, but I have always thought that it is pretty.

There is a small break in the ivy and my fingers brush against something metallic. I move the ivy curtain with one hand. It is here that I find The Gate. It is small and rusty with thick bars set so close together that I cannot see through them. I push on it. To my surprise, it opens and swings out in to nothing.

There are no more fields and green. No more skies and clouds. Just a darkness so impenetrable it could be another wall. I pick a flower that grows next to the wall and throw it as hard as I can. It does not bounce back to me, but it does not fall either. It floats in the void for a moment before it disintegrates. I see every piece that makes it up slip apart and float away from me- tiny squares dissipating into a seemingly eternal night.

They scatter like multicoloured stars. And then there are more of them, more colours exploding out of one another until they come to rest against a window so tall and wide that I cannot see the edges. A girl stares back at me through it, but she is so giant that it takes me a moment to realise she is there. A giant boy is next to her. They are both frowning and so big that they could probably eat me without noticing.

“There’s something wrong,” he says.

“It’s glitching,” she replies. “Just re-start the game.”

I back away from them as she reaches for something below the window. I want to ask them what the game is but I think I already know.

I want to run back to the village and warn everyone, but I’m not sure I’ll make it in time. What could any of us even do about? They will turn us off. Restart. Will I even be me if we start again?

Everything starts to fade. Including me.

There is a high and wide wall that circles my village. You cannot see what lies beyond it, only the blue skies and fluffy clouds above. Whatever lies beyond it does not exist. And perhaps, neither do we.

Blackness. Nothing.

I am out in the orchard picking apples with my mother. Again.

via Daily Prompt: Gate

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