Monday, August 17, 2015

the wall | part 1 & 2 & 3

[The whole thing together for your reading convenience.]

He felt loose and dangerous. Steaming breath gave way to cigarette smoke as he limped down the decrepit alley. Crumbled buildings gaped like rotten teeth, drained of color. Time had long since chewed through the pavement; patches of brittle grass rustled ceaselessly in the reflected wind. The monochrome scene was lit only by moonlight, glinting against the massive dome behind him.

Rickart kept his city-eyes wary, always scanning the horizon for threats from a fog that wasn’t there. On the outside, night air blew raw, uncontrolled, free. He tried to imagine the newly liberated life that awaited him, outside the Dome. It helped to quell the bittersweet tension burning through his guts.
Though the cold had begun to attack his skin, Rickart smiled.

The weather was honest at least. When it came time to light another smoke, he cursed the honest wind.

If Rickart had known how to look, he’d have seen all that followed him in the wild outside.

---

Seledonna slid soundlessly through the bristling, half-dead thicket. Far above her, a white pool of glistening moonlight served for her beacon in the shifting maze of the ‘Twixt Wood.
Night chill meant little to her weather bronzed skin. Her chest sang in excitement. An uncommon smile rested lightly on Seledonna’s lips.

Another tree had died, a mighty cedar. It was old, for the ‘Twixt wood especially; it marked a sad passing. The poisonous influence of dome grew by the day. She spat. She sighed. She stopped reluctantly in her tracks.

Brambles blocked to surest way ahead. The cedar’s once broad branches clawed at the sky, dangling in dangerous thorns. She had no time to take the Stoneway. She had no permission from the Fish to walk their watery road.

Time pressed against her; the singing in her chest struck a sour chord. The wall awaited her, the wall and soft white fingers. Sister Moon was nearly at her crest.

So, Seledonna gritted her teeth and splashed into the creek. She had to hope for absent Fish, or forgiving Fish at the least.

---

It hurt, but not so much as it would. The real pain wasn’t there yet. The real pain would come slow then hang on like a bad habit.

Puncture wounds were like that. He let the tooth-torn holes bleed clean for a few moments and chewed some bitter pills. Then Rickart wrapped an old t-shirt tightly around his mangled forearm.

The wolf-dog looked so much smaller splayed dead on the pavement. The monster seemed ready to swallow him whole when it was choking on Rickart’s fist. He turned away from the wind and lit another cigarette, hoping against infection.

---

Seledonna grimaced, but bowed in wet acquiescence. Dutifully she dipped her fingers into the pool. Small teeth bit hard and marked her palm. Climbing free from the crystal waters, she watched the wound quickly scar.

She had bought her passage. Already the price tied stones to her steps.

A year in service to the Court of the Cobbled Well, the thought of such sameness of place and function for so long turned bitter on her tongue. She swallowed and stepped ahead.

Before her stood the wall: huge, abandoned, crumbling, and crenellated concrete imposed its distant memory of order. Seledonna walked into the deep shadow of battlements turning right. Sister Moon hung somewhere high above her.

---

He reached the wall and turned left.

Rickart remembered when first he saw Seledonna. He had found his way past the inner wall and through the wild maze of pipes and cables in between. He’d reached the dome’s outer glass sometime during dawn.

Through dust scarred glass he saw her.  She stalked fluidly through the dead city, naked and unafraid. She was movement and action, purpose and dynamic intent.

---

She remembered well how she slunk carefully through the dead city, looking for the source of its poison. There he had stood, beyond the clear stones. He was mesmerizingly still, so perfectly intent.
Their hands had pressed against the dome in hopeless separation and quiet exultation.

---

He remembered when he found the door and pried it free.

---

She remembered their first fleeting glimpse in the open air.

---

He remembered their first long kiss.

---

She remembered their bodies intertwined underneath the naked sun.

---

They both learned the marked dangers of the mazes they suffered.
---

And so they were to meet, one final time.

He pressed his shoulder past the broad gap in the wall, awkwardly reaching with his uninjured arm. She felt his soft fingers blindly brush against her face. They held tight to each other, in the cold dark of that jagged hole inside that needless wall.

One final time, for they would never let go.

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