Untitled (part two)

(continued from previous post!!)

 

The days and weeks and months became quite monotonous to anyone observing from the outside.  Suffice it to say, I had developed quite an addiction.  I craved the food the woman on the wall left for me, just as I craved the chance to see my benefactor.  Between those moments, I passed much of the time in speculation.  I simply could not fathom the dedication of one within the kingdom’s walls caring about anything or anyone on the outside.  It was humbling—which was quite something given my already lowered status.  And it was moving.  I was, perhaps for the first time in my entire life, engaged with something beyond what I had always assumed to be the limits of my reality.  To be honest, I felt overwhelmed.

 

Then, one day, my friend—for that was what she had become, though we had never met—was standing at the top of the wall.  There was the basket, presumably laden with exquisite goodies, but she wasn’t dropping the food as she had consistently done before.  Her face was still glowing and peace-infused, but there was a decidedly chiseled sense of purpose which accompanied her demeanor.  I was enthralled, for it seemed to me that the added level of intensity made her even more lovely to look upon.  I couldn’t help but wonder whether such a burden for a cause shouldn’t have had just the opposite effect.  But here she was, standing at the top of the wall and looking down toward myself and my miserable world, burdened.  She nodded, as if to herself, and turned.  That’s when I noticed the rope which encircled her waist and anchored her to some unseen thing beyond my vision.  She turned, her back toward me for what I’m certain was the first time for as long as I had been aware of her existence, and she descended the outside of the wall.

 

I was aghast.  This was no place for a person of position, let alone a young woman with such a delicate face.  I was worried for her, and I was concerned that some of the others of my world might see her.  There were some who might seek to take out their frustrations on her; who might find in her a source of blame for having brought upon them a realization of all they lacked.  There were some who were simply enslaved to the ways of the garbage and dung heaps, and wanted no suggestions that there might be more to existing.

 

For the first time in ages, I spoke in a manner beyond what was necessary for my own survival.  “No!” I hissed, not wanting to yell too loudly, but needing her to hear and climb the wall again before it was too late.  She seemed not to hear me at all, and it occurred to me that I would have to approach her.  The idea of having her within range of my rank odor was troubling, to be certain, but since such self-consciousness was relatively new to me, I tabled the emotion as best I could.  As I moved nearer to her, I saw other shadows which also seemed to be moving nearer.  I hastened in my pace, and reached her.  She smiled at me, the genuineness of which was not unexpected, yet intensely shocking in its transparency.  I swallowed, reminding myself of my purpose.  “You need to go,” I said, casting paranoid glances behind me.  “Now.”

 

“No.”

 

I threw off all concern of being heard, for it was apparent that her cover was long blown.  I looked up toward the top of the wall.  “Someone!  Anyone!  You need to get her out of here!”  There was no answer.  No indication that there was anyone up there to provide a response.  I nearly panicked, turning to place myself between my peer and the people of my world.  Suddenly, there they were, all around us.

 

I took a steadying breath and wondered whether this would be my day to die.  Strange how, only a few months previous, such a possibility would never have occurred to me.  And if it had occurred to me, I’m all but certain that it wouldn’t have produced the fear which was coursing through my veins.  But, in only the next breath, I realized that the bulk of the mob intended no ill toward the visitor.  Rather, they seemed to me as I was.  Self-appointed friends.  Souls who, like me, had tried to clean themselves up on their own, but had been unable to accomplish it to satisfaction.  Souls who had been so drawn by her generosity and countenance that they wanted to know the source of such goodness.  For they, too, had seen the difference between her and us, and, as I did, they craved it.

 

Those who might have bode ill were surprisingly outnumbered, but I suspected that when they returned they would be better equipped.  I turned back to our guest.  “Why are you here?”

 

She smiled and her eyes held a depth I’d never witnessed in close proximity.  One of my kind pressed, “Tell us.”

 

She nodded and held up the basket which she had brought with her.  How she had managed to descend the wall with such a heavy load I still couldn’t say, but she had done so, and we all ate our fill.  After some time, we were all sitting on the ground, the other peasants clustered together, leaving some distance between us and the visitor.  It wasn’t an effort at rudeness.  It was most merciful, for the sum of us posed a most noxious stench.

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