And here we are at the end of the road for this adventure, for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed telling it! If you need to start from the beginning, jump back here!
World between the walls. J R Manawa.
The garden of Eden glistened in the soft, trickling rain. Everything shone, clean and fresh. The rain drops sparkled on the leaves and on the blades of grass like millions of tiny diamonds. At last the boy came to the wall that separated this marvellous place from the world he knew only too well. He didn’t want to leave, but his mum would be worried. Ever so reluctantly he sighed, and pushed himself into the the dark gap between the walls.
The next day he was even more excited about the hidden paradise than he had been the first day.
He brought a friend home with him, eager to share this new-found treasure. His friend wore a pretty pink dress, and two pigtails pulled up high above her ears with matching pink ribbons. Her father had allowed her to play, so long as she came home before tea. She lived two houses down from the boy in a house just like his.
In her ear he whispered, and he told her of the world between the walls and its wonders while they sat on the pavement out front and fed the ants. At first she wanted to go, she was excited like the boy. But she didn’t want to squeeze through the gap. She didn’t want to dirty her dress.
After generous consideration, the boy left her in his front yard and entered the gap alone. Alone he pushed past the beer bottles and planks like he had the day before, till he reached the end and dropped out into the garden of Eden. There was the creek, and the forest beyond, just like yesterday. He got to his feet, the girl already forgotten. But then he heard a pop and and a thump behind him, followed by a small whimper. She had decided to follow him after all, and now her eyes widened in wonder as she took it all in.
With some interest, the boy noted her dress was no longer pink. He grinned and offered her a hand up off the ground. Arm in arm they walked, together taking in the wonder of the world. They ambled through the woods, pausing to chase the dust motes that danced in the shafts of sunlight, until finally they came out onto the meadow. Laughing, the girl ran out into the cascade of flowers, and the boy ran along with her over the hills.
At last they came to the top of a far hill, one that the boy had not reached before. From here they could see the land all around them, right up to the edge where the hidden paradise met the rusty corrugated iron fencing. They boy could see beyond as well, into the backyard that looked so much like his own. He watched a woman as she hauled a bag of rubbish down her yard, right up to the back fence.
The boy held his breath, wondering what would happen when she looked out over the rusty barrier and saw the beauty there. But it did not happen how he saw in his mind. Instead the woman raised her rubbish bag and with a long face she dumped the contents out over the fence and onto the green grass of Eden.
He clenched his fists into tight balls. He couldn’t understand why the woman did not see the wonder at the bottom of her yard, and he was upset that she polluted it with her bag of rubbish.
But now his eyes were opened, and he noticed piles of rubbish all along the corrugated barrier which caged the secret world. Heaped piles of refuse from the rows of state houses. Paradise was endangered. But no one knew, and no one cared. With shock, the boy saw holes and gaps along the fence too, some even large enough to fit a person through. But they had been blocked up with planks and bricks, even piles of garbage were used to keep paradise under control. They knew the meadow existed but they locked it out, filling in the doors between and barring their miserable lives from happiness.
The boy saw it all from the hill top. People just like him were set to destroy the garden of Eden. Far down at the end of the valley, he saw the joyful stream that trickled along beside him become polluted by the industrial estates on the other side of the wall. At the furthermost end of the meadow, construction machines had set to work, crushing the wonderful world into a suburban street of houses, just like his own back through the gap in the wall. The boy wanted to scream. He wanted to scream at everyone, because no one understood. They did not realise what they were losing. He grabbed the girl’s hand and began to run. He was upset, and he didn’t want her to see him cry, so he held back his anguish as he dragged her along behind him.
They ran all the way back over the gentle hills, through the tall, sleeping forest, across the stepping stones and over the river, right up onto the patch of grass before the walls. With the gap before him, the boy did not even hesitate. The girl squealed in horror as they plunged into the pungent darkness between the walls.
Once they reached the other side, she began to cry. Not for the loss of paradise, but for the big dirty stains on her dress and the sooty smudges on her face. The boy didn’t really care for himself, but he let the girl clean her face with water from his drink bottle. Then she went home, unhappy and hungry for her afternoon tea.
Finally the boy was alone. And he did cry a little, for children understand the truth. It is they who recognise paradise, then helplessly watch as it is destroyed, and live to reap the consequence.
Until next time, with love and darkness, J R Manawa x