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The Wall

by Josiah T.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Josiah T. on March 6, 2008
"This is a two part piece. No, it didn't really take that short to write. I wrote it elsewhere and pasted it in here."

The Wall - Part I

The land had been ravaged by war for time out of mind. At last, rumors that the King was moving reached the land, and the enemy had fled, but not without destroying almost everything of importance to the people.

There was very little water, almost no food. The people were starving, but they were too suspicious of each other, because years of living in constant fear had turned them against even their own people.

Thus violence frequently erupted in the streets of the remaining cities and towns. The enemy was gone, yes, but if they had taught the people one thing, it was how to suspect and fight.

When word of the violence and turmoil reached the King, who lived far away, He decided to launch a relief effort, in order to help his people. He had supplies loaded on to camels, and he himself went with the caravan to see his subjects.

The journey was long. With the supply caravan it took almost four months for the king to reach the war-torn land. He sent messengers on ahead of him, however, and thought Surely the people will want to see me, they must get ready.

When the news of this reached the people, everyone hastened to try and put his own affairs in order.

One man began building a wall around his house to protect himself from the mobs and violence. One day his neighbor brought the news, "The King is coming!"

The man ignored him. What on earth could the King want with a broken and weary man like me? He wondered.

So he continued building his wall to keep the violence out. Soon, it stood two feet high, almost completely encircling his house and little plot of land.

Then one day, another man came. This man rode up on a horse and shouted "The King is coming!" Then he rode off, leaving the first man to his work.

As he worked, the man thought of how safe he would be behind his new wall. Soon it was over four feet high, and the only way out was through a small opening or where the little stream passed under the base of the wall.

One day, after several weeks, a soldier rode up, his armor jangling. He took a look at the wall and raised his eyebrow, but he remembered the message he had been given, "The King is coming!" he shouted, "He wishes to see his loyal subjects who have long been oppressed!"

The man building the wall looked at the soldier and shouted back, "Leave me alone! I've had enough! I'm tired of living in constant fear! Go away and don't send anyone else!!" As he hurled the last remark the soldier rode off, leaving the man in a cloud of dust.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Josiah T. on March 6, 2008

The Wall - Part II

The man continued to build until he began to run low on supplies. By now the wall was almost seven feet high. There was still a doorway, but it was small enough for one man to easily defend.

He stepped back and looked at his handiwork. He had used smooth bricks to prevent anyone from climbing, and had cemented them together to prevent the mobs from knocking them over easily. He went to bed feeling comforted behind his wall.

That night, however, the mobs raged louder than ever, and nearer then ever to his little fortress. Even though the King was coming, the violence still occurred, and it was worse than ever. The man soon felt the comfort wearing away and turning into terror when he remembered the little doorway and two little culverts for the stream.

He jumped up and ran outside. He could barely see the red glow of something burning in the distance. In a panic, he ran and began filling up the exit in his terror.

After about an hour, the little exit was completely blocked off. He stopped to catch his breath and headed back to bed.

Then he remembered the stream and the culverts.

He raced to the other end of the yard carrying as much material with him as he could. And he began filling in the first culvert, leaving only a small gap for the water. Then he did the same for the other culvert.

Satisfied, he went back to bed.

The next morning he woke again. The cement had hardened on the exit he had blocked, and there was no way out. He ran over to the culverts and saw, to his dismay, that the water had washed away the cement, and the bricks were no longer secure. He looked around, and found that he had used all his material, both bricks and cement.

He went into his house and found that he was on his last days worth of food, so he tried to ration it for himself, but he could not make it last forever.

Then he thought to himself, The King will be here soon. Maybe he can help me. Maybe he can tear down this wall. No, wait, maybe I can tear down the wall!

He looked around, and only found a small hammer. He thought that he must have walled his big sledgehammer outside, but he couldn't imagine how he could have done that. But small was better than nothing, so he ran over to the wall and began tapping at it as hard as he could.

A little later that day, the King arrived at the town where the man lived. He distributed food, and spent some time with his subjects. Then he was told of a man who had scorned all the messengers sent to him, and how the man had built a wall around him.

Curious, the King left the caravan and rode to the edge of the town, where he found the wall, just as had been described to him. He dismounted and walked up to it. He could hear a tapping sound coming from the inside. He shouted over the wall, "Hello?"

A voice answered him from inside, "Hello! Can you help me get out?"

"Certainly." The King replied. "Let me go find a hammer."

"I think that there's one outside there, somewhere." The voice said back.

The King looked, and indeed, there was a large, heavy, sledgehammer lying on the ground next to the wall. He went and picked it up. Then he shouted over the wall, “Stand back!”

He heard footsteps moving away from the wall. He swung back the hammer and let it swing into the wall. The bricks began to crack, and he swung again. And again. And again. And again, until the whole area of the wall began to loosen. He stopped for a minute to catch his breath.

Then he went at it again, swinging the hammer with such a vigor he had not felt for a long time. At last the wall began to collapse. He took a few last swings, and could see through into the enclosed area.

As he paused to look through, however, a brick from the top of the wall fell and struck him on the head. With a cry, the King fell. The man inside heard the noise, and ran through the gap the King had made.

He looked at his rescuer in shock, for although the King was wearing traveling clothes, a band of gold passed around his head. The band was rapidly growing red, however, as blood gushed from the wound.

The man dropped to his knees and rested the King’s head in his arms. The King’s eyes opened, and he smiled to see his subject. His breath came in low, ragged gasps, “You’re free…”

With the dying King still clutched in his arms, the man wept.

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