Friday Flash Fiction: The Climb

Here’s this week’s entry:

The Climb
By Neil Beynon

The wall lay at the end of a long, dusty road down which he had been walking for what felt like an eternity. It was large and smooth and black like a sheet of night that had been polished. It stretched as far as the eye could see, his reflection staring back at him in silent question.

The surface was warm to the touch but relatively devoid of defect and so, at first, he tried to walk round it. After three days of walking he realised that the wall went on forever or at least as close to forever as to render this a stupid exercise. Next he tried calling over the wall in an attempt to see if he could obtain help from the other side. There was no answer.

The man did not like heights. Had disliked them since childhood when he had, quite by chance, seen a man leap to his death. The jumper had exploded leaving a crimson smear on the slate grey pavement and a green wobbly bit of indeterminate origin. He’d never forgotten it. The point being he did not undertake the climb lightly, it was not a short wall.

Yet climb he did. And he did indeed fall, three or four times, each time from a slightly higher height and each time he dusted himself off and tried again.

By the time he reached the top he was soaked in sweat, leaking blood from several limbs and dismayed to discover the top of the wall was, in addition to being severely exposed to wind, so thin he had to clutch to it between his legs and arms, making it almost impossible for him to look over the edge. The wind whipped his damp shirt leaving him cold and puckered with goose bumps. He felt sick. Yet he knew he must look if he were to have any hope of getting down.

Braving the wind shear he lifted his head, looked down, and saw…nothing. Below him, on the other side of the wall was an absolute void. He called out. There was no response. Not even an echo. Confused he moved to get a better look, leaning over as best he could, trying to extract light that wasn’t there to see a landscape that simply didn’t exist.

He fell.

The man’s hands were simply damp, between the sweat and the blood their grip was tenuous and the gusts were strong. Down he went, just like Humpty Dumpty, tumbling end over end into the void.

He laughed as he fell and wondered what part of him would provide the green wobbly bit. The void, for a while, was not a void. Then after a longer while there was nothing again.

And the wall waited, silent and gleaming obsidian, for the next walker.

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