Noah Green 2019

The Walled Life

When I was a kid, the neighbourhood had a massive wall around it. It was warm and soft to touch, and often people had picnics and barbeques next to it. No-one knew how thick it was, what it was made of or who put it there. There was always big strong guards on top of the wall, just standing there, covered in their smooth, golden armour. The other kids and I used to talk to them and ask them about what was on the other side of the wall. All the ever said was ‘It’s probably better you didn’t know.’ When we kicked a ball too high and it went up on top of the wall, the guards would always throw it back down to us, or when there was any other type of problem that we just couldn’t solve, they would nudge us gently in the right direction with a smile in their eyes. They seemed like they were there just for us and to help us in every way they could. But that all changed one day, a few years later. My friends and I were playing around with a ball and we threw it way too high and it went up onto the wall. We waited around for the guards to throw it back, and for the ball to come tumbling back to us, like it always did. It never came.

We waited for hours for the ball to come falling back to us, but still, it never arrived. We started thinking about what on earth could be taking them so long. After many hours, just as the sun was going down, and we heard a low creaking, groaning sound as the wall impossibly parted, leaving only a small slit, but through that small crevice we could see a massive blue city with blue turrets and blue buttresses and blue towers. Some of us turned around and went straight back to safety, but some of us, including me, were curious about what was on the other side of the wall after a lifetime of containment and control, sick of being safe and guarded. We headed through in single file, with the moon shining high in the night sky, the blue city ahead shining as we got further and further along, more and more people turned back until there was only a handful left. It took a while as we walked through the rough crack in the massively thick wall. But as this curious handful of boys walked along toward the blue city, they realised that it was completely it chaos. There was bedlam as armed men rushed around, crippled and injured people cried out for help and many still bodies lying around in all states of decomposition.

We stood there in shock and horror, as all the warriors skidded to a stop and looked at us. The most horrifying bit was that even all the rotting corpses rolled over and opened their eyes to look at us as they stood up. They all watched us, seeming almost paused, as they stared at us. Then, all at once, they pounced toward us.

We spun and sprinted back through the moon-lit ravine, this time sprinting our hearts out as the swarm of half decaying maniacs rushed toward us. We scraped our shoulders on the jagged walls of the ravine. As we raced through the crevice, the sharp and harsh points on either side started to move closer and closer, with us and the swarm behind us still inside. I ran faster than I had had though possible. My lungs threatened to burst as I almost flew along, my friends just ahead of me, with the jagged walls of the ravine still getting closer. I could see the end where I grew up and should have stayed in and– It was at that exact moment that one of the ever gaining swarm grabbed my ankle. I fell flat on my face. The others all ran ahead. The walls kept slowly moving in. I thought ‘It’s over.’ I can still remember that moment, as I rolled over it defeat, seeing the gold covered figure of the guard hauling back to safety, just as the wall slammed shut. I could just see the sun peeping over the wall on the other side. I looked up at him and he held our ball out to me and said gently, ‘I’m glad to have you back.’ We ran back as fast as we could toward the safe, guarded community that we had known for as long as we could remember.