The wall gave me a daunting feeling. It’s height that changes every spring. It’s length which grew as the insides of Endell grew. The place between known and the unknown that breathes in a single divide.
A light poke jumps me out of my musings and I see Aaron starring at me intently, ‘Aaron did I forget something at the shop again,’ I ask but he shakes his head and just points to the wall.
‘Your help’s appreciated but I can deliver the letter myself.’ I told him, twisting my purple hair into a messy bun, taking out my red gloves from my shoulder bag. Gliding them on I climb up the wall in a robotic fashion. One hand in front of the other, not too far from the body, perch hands in the breaks, one foot up then the other, feel around for the gap, leave one foot in always before finding the next break, find the flo and don’t look down, find the flo and don’t look down. Out of the corner of my eye I see a familiar black glove covered hand worming it’s way in between the small breaks in the wall. I scrambled going faster and faster my hands and feet were a flurry of movement.
‘Aaron go back to the depot I can do this on my own.’ I told him has as I struggle to climb on top of the wall. As Aaron surpasses me he crouches on the wall just looking at me with a blank look upon his scarred face as I slowly manage to pull myself up. Breathing in and out I look at the old watch that was attached to my bag, 9:20 it displayed with it’s weird hands. Only 2 hours till drop off not a lot of time. My eyes glance over to Aaron who is gazing at Shanty Town. Tiny mismatch shacks stacked on top of each other, reaching to the top of the wall exactly at length. This place is just as despairing as the tales made it seem. I felt a ball of lead form in my stomach that moved down into my legs. Bringing my binoculars out of my bag I begin to plot my course. I move quickly from house to house searching for a hardy roof to jump on. I have heard too many tales of people misjudging a roof and ending up in someone’s dinner. The air has left my body and I’m flying, the air is fizzing behind me as I’m squished into Aaron’s chest. I hear yelling that grows distant as the flying turns into falling a crashing on top of a tin roof. I wiggle my way out of his arms.
‘Aaron are you okay?’ I hope he’s not injured, I could not carry back the walking “Muscle”. Nothing more than a groan comes from him signaling that he is okay but will need a second. I hear yelling again from the far side of the building. Looking into my binoculars I see hordes of people scattering around the stacks. Some going backwards and others moving side ways, more people scurrying out of nooks and crannies.
‘Aaron get up,’ shaking him viciously. ‘ We need to go now.’ Aaron lazily opens one eye then the other and he is just staring at me. I try to pull him up but he is too heavy to budge.
‘Aaron we need to leave now.’ He looks at me through his lazy eyes not really looking at me even though he is looking at me and he just shakes his head tapping the roof lightly and wags his other finger at me.
‘I have no bloody idea of what that me-‘ He slaps his hand over my mouth and I feel a white hot redness overcome me as I try to dislodge his hand, his fat hand is impossible to remove and all I can do is glare at him with a silent seething rage as I wait for the imminent attack that could be avoided. I should just leave him here and make my own way.
There is a tap, tap, tap sound that is reminiscent of spitting rain hitting a tin roof from far away. The volume of tapping grows till it fills my ears and I can hear it behind my eyes as it evolves into a shower of rain drawing in closer and closer then peters out. I stop breathing as my eyes reach between the narrow of the entry of the sky where ropes are shooting down like spider webs followed by people dressed in black each descending at a rapid pace. I wanted so badly to move but I just couldn’t. I was frozen to the roof and as they each got closer and closer the thumping in my ears grew and grew till that’s all there was. Their feet were almost at my eyes, everything turned upside down and I was somehow flying and strung across Aarons shoulder. There was yelling coming from all directions, or maybe with how everything was moving it was in one direction. I saw people chasing after us and more people emerging from the tiny shacks carrying bats and frying pans each trying to follow us but we were flying far and above. They were trying to fly but just ended up falling short. Aaron was far stronger and quicker, he didn’t move though, he just did at least to me and although these people knew the land they had no idea where we were going or which path we were about to take though it didn’t stop them from trying to reach with another person coming closer and closer to me almost ripping out my hair. There is a herd gathering on our tails that grows as a breathing organism with only one thought on it’s mind. To strip us of what we had. Turning my head as far left as I could, all that I could see is the faintest outline of what was ahead but at least I wasn’t facing the hoard anymore. I saw the rope out of the corner of my eye and no words left my mouth before we hit it, my body contorted, spine bending and my inner organs shifting as rope went deeper across my back, eyes rolled back into my head from the pain and I thought I could hear screaming but it was just the wind rushing through my hair as we fell. Skidding into the street below rolling around in the filth, muck and other things which I didn’t want to think about that littered the streets, miraculously breaking our fall while simultaneously hiding us from view, gagging on the smell as I wiped away the muck from eyes, my ears ringing from the fall as I stumbled to my feet as gracefully as a new born fawn. Aaron is splayed in the muck groaning his leg is the wrong way around, I feel sick just looking at it. Leaning on to a wall to steady my grip, scooping more of the gunk out of my eyes I caught a better sight of my surroundings. All shops as I expected were closed and the air had a thick fog around it that smelled of urine and rot I could practically see the decay in the air I was breathing, the dampness in the air was trying to get into my bones. My eyes search upward and I can see many people on the roof scattering above. We needed to get out of here. I help Aaron to his feet he’s disorientated and he’s been sick all down the front of his shirt. I gently tug him by the arm as I look for a way to go but they all look blocked off, every road seems to be a dead end. Are we just stuck in a circle? I hear a cracking sound with a gushing that is all too familiar. It seems Aaron has righted his leg. I can hear Aaron lightly moaning in agony as he rights himself upward, there’s no way we can fly out. I turn and turn and turn again but there doesn’t seem a way out but in my spinning I recognize something from long ago. A faded picture of what I can only assume was once a face with only a pair of gleaming black teeth. I knew those teeth. I had seen them before many times. The way out was clear but first we must get into the Abyss.Taking Aaron’s hand I guide him, There doesn’t appear to be a walkway but I know it’s here, though there doesn’t appear to be one. Gritting my teeth I walk forward into what appears to be a tiny shack that couldn’t hold more than a family of rats but there’s nothing there, it’s just an illusion made by the tiny walk way I keep going forward even though my brain tells me this is not possible. Never letting go of Aarons hand the whole time as the weight in my legs was trying to sink me into the muck below but I ignored it and pushed on till we made it into the circle. This place was without life, concrete ground and walls with only the minimalist of gaps to the outside world. I always thought it was meant to torture us a little glimpse of the outside world but that was it. The skylight hadn’t been broken yet but it had not been cleaned, casting bleak and darkened shadows over Hathaway House, standing tall with it’s windows barred with little shadows inside of them, captured inside of a time I want to forget. The front door badly burnt, if this place could get any wind it would have turned to ash from a simple brush of the winds. My legs are shaking, my head is twisting. The abyss that I escaped from is staring right at me and I would willingly walk into the dragons mouth. A comforting hand is placed on my shoulder steadying me. I shake it off.
‘There’s a way to the wastes through here.’ I say to him as I try to lead him inward but he does not move and just shakes his head.
‘It’s our only option, you’re hurt and I can’t carry you out of here. There are hordes of locals on our tail trying to strip us of everything we own and if they catch us they very well might eat us. There’s no turning back. Our only choice is to go forward so stop trying to protect me and let’s just go through this hell hole before they find us. And they will find us.’ Aaron looks around the circle and up and down, he let’s out a sigh and nods his head and I lead him into the abyss. The fire had only left a carcass. The floors which I had spent many waking moments on were nothing more than a scorched black, stripping them of there shine. The walls with their glued on fancy wall paper were faded with fire damage, growing mold, creating an odor that makes my eyes water. Deeper we went through the house, going down into the pitch dark basement where no light shone. I took out my torch wiping the gunk off the lens, creating a small path of light for us to follow. There was something about being back here that filled me with dread although I had long ago escaped its grasp. I just had to remind myself that this place could not harm me anymore. A metal pipe was swung at me; Aaron grabbed me pulling me backwards into his chest. The torch flies out of my hands and lands where I cannot see. It’s pitch dark but I can hear that crazy old bag cutting through the air. I can’t move my legs, I’m trapped in darkness, my heart is in my ears. It was a mistake to come here.
‘I’II get you Darcy.’ A familiar voice screeched. That voice, that terrible voice as if lightning hit me. I Jump out of Aaron’s arms, grab the pipe and slam her onto concrete below. I’m folding on top of her, she is so weak. A light shines on her face and my I know who this ragged old woman is and why she is yelling my name. The Matron of Saint Silver Correctional House For Young Lady’s, the monster who layed in the abyss, was in my grasp. She looked so strange now, her hair that was once vibrant brown had turned grey, her skin that used to be smooth and silky had become harsh and coarse, her clothes once so well maintained were tattered with large gaping holes in them. The fall from grace had her landing on every branch on the way down to the ground. Aaron shines a light on me and his eyes are asking a question.
‘It’s strange,’ a soft smile graces my lips as the matron thrashes in my grasp, I hold her head fast in my hand as I stare into the grey as words spill from my lips. ‘All this time I felt afraid of this place. You held so much power over all of us and I felt so much hate, so much anger, so much fear but now that you’re in my power I feel…nothing for you. Isn’t that just so strange. No rage for how you lied to everyone. No hate for the thoughts you stole from them and in turn left them nothing more than broken shells. No fear. Nor pity at what you have become. You know what you are to me,’ she stops thrashing and stays completely still in my grip. ‘You are nothing, your whole life has added up to nothing, there are no more doves here, just you and you get to live with the fact it was me who did this, the girl you said who could hope for nothing more than to be a dogs bitch.’ The Matron growls at me trying to bite my fingers. I punch her in the face with a lovely snap that resonates in my ears knocking her out.
Aaron dangles the light above us and I see a dangerous gleam in his eye.
I shake my head, ‘she’s not worth the effort.’ I say slowly rising back to my feet. The weight that was once on my legs has disappeared and I feel light. There’s pattering above me that sounds like rain.
‘We should get going.’ I tell Aaron, grabbing the torch out of his hand guiding him deeper into the basement. Shifting away na overly large trunk I reveal a tunnel that was backed onto the wall.
‘Just through here and we can get out.’ Aaron pales a little in the light but he nodded handing me the torch and I headed inward. Pushing myself forward using my arms and legs, theonly light being held between my teeth illuminating the dark. I think the tunnel had gotten longer in my absences, yes it was definitely longer now and smaller. I had no idea how Aaron had managed to crawl along as far as he haf without being lodged inside. The air had a stillness in it, not rank nor foul, it was like water no memory in the taste but when deprived of it for a long time the memory sticks with it. Deeper and deeper I went, my hands moving into the electrical light till a blinding shine reached into my eyes burning my retinas. Smashing my eyes shut I use my memory to take me further till I’m outside and the crisp hot air breathes on my face as I slowly emerge. Slowly I open my eyes which is welcomed to a barren desert with a familiar blue dot on the horizon. Aaron emerges like a baby being born and we start our trek.
My feet crunch in the sand and I slowly walk on to steady earth by the water of a practically still pond. An old yet young woman I have always known as Dearly rests by it staring upward into the sky with her eyes closed. My shadow casts long streaks over her face and she opens one eye and smiles at me.
‘My, my it’s been a long time, what brings you to my humble abode.’ She says her arms splayed outward in a grand pose.
‘I’ve got a letter for you.’ I say fumbling around in the slime of my bag retrieving the letter wrapped in leather, plucking it out of my hands she gently unwraps it.
‘How are the girls? Last time I saw them they were quite sickly, silent and still, or as the people in the inner city of Endell call them, the perfect woman in completion and thought.’ She says with a mocking tone.
‘Far away from Endell.’ I respond sitting down by the pond bated in Aaron’s shadow.
‘That’s good to hear, but I can see you’ve stayed.’ There’s an edge to her voice.
‘It’s my choice to stay.’
‘Never said it wasn’t…’Her voice trails off and although I can’t see her I can tell her eyebrows are furrowed in confusion.
‘Damn it all,’ She jumps up off the ground on to her feet, picking up her back pack running off into the distance screeching about a person named Gabe and how she was going to throttle him for scheduling the departure at 12. ‘Looks like she’s off on another adventure.’ Aaron pats me on the head; his smile is as warm and bright as the sun itself.
‘Aaron thanks for coming today. I know I said that I didn’t want you to help me but I did need help, sometimes I don’t know when to ask for it or if I should ask for it but I’ll try to tell you what I need. It’s just hard for me, when you’re relying on yourself for so long you forget there are others around you who can help you and um yeah.’ He merely nods sitting down by an old tree and slips into peaceful rest. Looking towards the sun with the half of the day gone I wonder how we are going get home but then I realize that’s not really a problem right now. Stripping off my clothes I cannonball into the pond washing away the muck and filth that had clung to me for so long.