The Wall

February 15, 2017

There is a small city not too far away. Highways and interstates tangle around, underneath, and over buildings, parks and bridges. There are yellow cabs, trolleys, inner-city busses pulling parents, shoppers, salesmen and women to wherever they have to go. Cold, tall trees line every other street. At night, with the street lamps glowing warm yellow light on their bark, they almost look like soldiers, ancient sentinels forever at attention.
Down a particular street in the old part of the city, there are two fat buildings which sit on either side of an alley. This alley was littered with the rotten filth of this busy city: plastic bags partly covered by chemical sludge, rotting rotisserie chicken, magazines drenched in mucky puddles. At the end of the alley way is an old, cobblestone wall. It stood no taller than ten feet, and the ends appeared to have sunk into the fat buildings on both sides, as if the buildings were made of soft clay, being pushed around the wall. City history records that the buildings were built a hundred years ago by the man who founded the settlement. But it also states that the Wall was there before then, boxing in a small cabin that the founder lived in. What the City history doesn’t know is that the wall is alive.
The cabin inside was destroyed a long time ago, when a demolition crew was hired by the founder. They disassembled the cabin carefully, using any salvageable lumber for the next project. But when they tried to knock over the old cobblestone wall with a wrecking ball, it stood firm. The demolition crew tried again with the wrecking ball, but the ball simply bounced off the wall, and then it would swing back again and bounce off again, as if it was rubber. They tried to explode the wall by planting dynamite, but the wall stood, rigid and stubborn. The crew was scared. A rumor was spread that the wall was built by a witch.
A hundred years before the demolition crew and the man who founded the city, there was an old woman who lived and died in the cabin. Her name was Grotraph and she created the Wall, but the Wall hated her. She asked the Wall for forgiveness every day, but the Wall refused to speak. So the Witch wrote in an old leather book the events that took place from the very beginning. She hid the book in a nook inside the Wall, so that it would be safe forever. The nook was magical and could only be seen by those who were curious. Old Grotraph wrote in the book every day until her death, and even in death she writes.
The leather book had marvelous stories where the Wall saved the lives of wanderers, traveling tradesmen, hunters, women and men. The Wall was built by the Witch to protect people. “The Wall,” Grotraph wrote in plain, crooked letters, “is alive. It’s made of rocks and mud which came from the river. It’s also made of a human soul who only wanted to protect his family. He came to me, the little boy did, asking me to grant him one wish. He wanted to protect his family. I made it possible for him to protect so much more than that. I made him immortal so he can protect the lost throughout time.”
“Don’t wander too far, Molly” said the concerned mother, who was standing at the opening of the alley way. Molly skipped around the muddy puddles, and sidestepped around the rotting trash, until she reached the old Wall. At first, she was scared because she thought she saw it breathe. But she didn’t run away. Curiosity took a hold of her.
Molly was an eight year old girl who loved to read. So when her tiny hands slipped into the invisible nook, she was pleasantly surprised to find the old, leather book. And though she couldn’t read some of the crooked handwriting, she was able to read four important words, “The wall is alive.”
She was frightened by the words, frightened by what the words meant. But for some reason unknown, she placed her soft, pink hands on the cold cobblestones, feeling it, looking for a pulse. Then she leaned in and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
The alley was silent. The sounds of a busy city didn’t reach the alley way. The voice of the concerned mother was drowned out by pure silence. Molly didn’t move, couldn’t move, for she was stunned by the scene in front of her. The Wall let out a heavy sigh of relief, as if it was tired of standing, and replied to Molly in a low and gravelly voice, “No. I’m sorry.” And it crumbled. Though the mud crumbled and the cobblestones fell, not one sound was heard. No sound at all except for the sound of turning pages and a pen scratching on old paper. Molly looked at the book in her hand, and saw words being scribbled by an invisible hand. Molly read out loud,
“And the Boy forgave the Witch for stealing his life. And so, the Witch returned the life she took. The End.” From the rubble of the old wall, a thin, raspy voice called out, asking for help.
“Please” he said, “my name is Jonathon. Will you help me?”
The End.

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