“We can’t do this, Dran. You know it’s forbidden.”
Dran looked to Sarai and nodded, but kept walking forward.
Both had been there before, of course. They wore a path in the dirt with their constant pacing before the imposing face of it. Dran could see, even with the distance they were away from it still, the rubbed spaces where their fingers would touch as they dreamed of what might lay on the other side.
Being this close to it was against the will of the Elders, but he could not help himself. Even with the threat of punishment looming over his head, he could not help but come; the thought of there being something more was too much for him to bear.
Sarai, in her love for him, came with him, even though he knew she was afraid. The pressure of it etched into lines across her face .
She would always come with him, and would touch the wall when he asked her to. She would dream with him about life on the other side, because it was what he wished of her. Did she believe as he did? Did she believe there was something more to life than the hardships they all endured?
Perhaps she did, but it did not matter. She was there, and that was all he wanted
Especially now. Especially with what he planned to do when he reached the wall.
Who built it? Who set their hands to the work of putting the pieces of it into place?
No one knew and, as far as anyone cared, it simply always existed. It was there as a reminder each of their lives had a set purpose and no one, whether leader or servant, was above the wall.
Dran was never satisfied with that.
He never understood how the others could just fall into place, to be satisfied with the role they were given on the Choosing Day. He wanted more.
There had to be more.
He would find it, though he knew it meant he could never go back home.
It went for many feet above his head, so high he could barely make out the edges. He put his fingers to it, as he had so many times before. The warmth of the stone countered the chill of his nervousness and he steeled his resolve even further with it.
The climb would be difficult, but he knew he could make it. What had he been strengthening himself for over the past months except to come to this singular moment in time?
Her voice came to him as he stared up, with the dark blue sky reaching ever so much higher than the wall itself.
“Dran, please don’t do this.”
“I have to,” he muttered, before taking a deep breath. “You know I have to.”
He turned to her and took her into his arms. Blooming flowers and a hint of musk filled his nose as he pressed his face into her long hair.
“Come with me, Sarai,” he begged. “We can do anything together.”
“But what if the Elders are right? What if only death waits for us across the wall?”
“I know there is something more.” He bent back slightly from her and took her chin in his hand, and lifted it up so she would look him in the eyes. “They’ve lied to us, Sarai. You know it. There is life beyond this wall.”
“I believe you. I’m just so scared.”
“I am too.” He watched her as he said it and was glad to see her relax a little at his admission. “But I know there’s a better world waiting for us, just a few steps away.”
He let her go and turned again to the wall, bracing himself for the effort he knew he would have to make. It would not only be for himself, but Sarai, as well, but he would bring them across.
He had to.
Gripping his fingers into the spaces between the stones was easier than he thought it would be; there were many places he could grasp and his bare feet made it even simpler. He heard Sarai straining but did not look down to see how she was progressing. He was not far from the top and, once he reached it, he could reach down and help her the rest of the way.
His hands grabbed at the top and he pulled himself up the rest of the way. As his head passed the last of the stone, he saw, as his breath heaved, the rest of the world.
He forgot about Sarai, the Elders, the wall itself, as he stared at the darkness only a few yards away, beyond the glass separating him from the rest of existence.
His heart broke as his grip tightened on the wall, drawing blood as the stone rubbed his skin raw. His tears mixed with the red.
He looked down at Sarai and said, “Don’t come. It’s forbidden.”