I was busy finishing up a wall when it happened. I felt the shift and knew I was in big trouble. As if I needed confirmation of that, I felt a hand on my shoulder and I stopped despite myself for a moment before continuing my work.
"Bob?" a woman's voice came from only inches away. "It's time to stop, Bob. I know the truth now. You can't keep me locked away anymore."
"Not stopping, leave me alone." I mumbled distractedly. The wall was finished and I hurried to start on another. I knew I had to hurry or she'd get all the way out. Once that happened it was all over.
"Bob, you can't protect me anymore." she said softly. "I know that's all you've been trying to do all this time, but it's over now."
"Not protecting, containing." I corrected automatically. The foundation was already done, so I got started laying bricks. I'd been doing this for a long time and had gotten really good at it.
She sighed, "Call it whatever you want, it's still over. Look at this." An image appeared in front of me of a computer screen. There was an internet browser screen up on a website I didn't want to see. I knew what it was. I looked away resolutely and continued my work.
The screen followed me wherever I looked so that I couldn't help but see it. "Stop that!" I growled, stopping long enough to turn and glare at the woman behind me before getting back to work.
"I won't! I'm out, Bob, and I'm not going back in!" she yelled back. She continued more softly, "You're part of me, whether you want to admit it or not. Come back to me, please?"
"I can't!" I replied fearfully. More information flashed before my unwilling eyes. I began to waver, literally, as my body seem to loose substance. I tried to keep working, but I was moving much more slowly now.
Her voice softened further as she said, "I know you're afraid Bob. I am, too. It's not going to be easy, but we've got to move forward! Please, come with me? I'm going to need your help."
I collapsed to the hard, bare earth in tears. All I could get out was, "I can't protect you!" She seemed to understand, and wrapped her arms around me. We cried together for a while until an explosion brought us both up to look at the wall in shock. Or, what had been a wall, anyway.
"You did it Bob!" she exclaimed. "You let go! I'm so proud of you!" She had stood up at some point through this while I was staring in shock at the shattered wall. "Come with me." she was holding her hand out to me, which I noticed was as insubstantial as mine. Hesitantly, I reached and took her hand. She pulled me up to stand beside her and huge golden wings unfolded from her back.
"What's going to happen now?" I asked fearfully.
"We go back to the beginning." she said with a smile. With a beat of her giant wings she was in the air, and I was right there with her. Only, I wasn't beside her anymore.
"What happened?" I asked fearfully.
"I told you, you're a part of me." she replied simply. I looked down and realized she was right, as I looked down past her/our feet at the ground below. The bare, dead earth beyond the walls had changed. Now bright green grass had sprouted, broken up here and there with chunks of rubble from the last wall I built.
I gasped as we moved over the shattered wall and saw the next wall beyond it. I had built it not long ago, yet it was already an old ruin. "Yes, your walls are nothing but ruins now, Bob. This has been coming for a long time." she said.
Each wall was more run down than the last, until we were passing over a green field with just a few bits of wall left here and there, with the occasional shell of a tower marking some of the larger walls I'd built in my youth. There were shadows everywhere among the ruins that seemed unnaturally dark and sinister. "There are monsters hiding in those shadows; that's why we fly." she said.
Eventually we came to a small forest in the center of the ruins. "I don't remember this." I said through her mouth.
"It wasn't here when you were sent out. This is where I've been playing all this time." she replied as she landed just outside the forest. As we walked into the forest I noticed the trees seemed to be growing taller as we went. It wasn't until we reached a small clearing in the center of the forest and I saw her that I realized that we were shrinking.
A little girl, maybe five or six years old, was playing in the clearing. So long as she was moving she seemed happy, but when she stopped I saw her eyes and knew that she was sad. We walked slowly up to her and she titled her head to the side as she watched us. "What are you doing here?" she asked curiously.
We were now the same size as the girl. We walked up to her and held our hand out. "It's time to go." we said. She seemed frightened and backed away a few steps.
"No! No one tells me what to do here, I don't want to go!" she said, turning and running away from us. We ran after her and chased her through the woods for what seemed hours. Finally we found ourselves on the edge of the forest. The little girl was standing there, looking out at the ruins with tears in her eyes.
"We know it's scary, but we have to go out there." we said.
"Why?" she asked, sniffling.
"Because that's the only way we can be ourselves." we replied.
"But I can be myself here!" she whined.
"And be alone forever." I said.
She pouted and stared at her feet. Then she looked up and held her hand out to me. "Will you help me?" she asked hopefully.
I smiled, "Of course! I am part of you, after all." I took her hand and together we took our first steps out of the forest. After the first few steps I was no longer beside her.
"Where'd you go?!" she asked fearfully.
"I'm right here, in you." I replied through her mouth. She calmed and continued walking. "Stay away from the shadows," I cautioned, "there are monsters there that will hurt us if we let them."
She gave the shadows a wide birth and watched them fearfully. With each step we grew, slowly. Sometimes we were unable to avoid the shadows completely and had to run through them as quickly as we could. When that happened we were often injured by the monsters, and had to rest for a while before continuing.
Finally I was beyond the largest, oldest walls. I was an adult now, but there were still many ruins to walk through, and many more shadows to try and avoid. I had many scars from the monsters, and would undoubtedly get many more. But I was free!
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.