Horizontal Babel

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The Wall was raised over months of work, cement and barbed wire dividing one tongue from another, one people from another. Soldiers walked from one end to the other, their rifles clicked like beetle’s pincers as the desert sand lapped at their boots. They didn’t hesitate to fire. Their eyes were hidden behind black sunglasses: the windows to their souls had been nailed shut.

The Soldiers understood what the Wall was, what it had to be. It could not be cement. It could not be brick. It could not be steel.

It had to be the wail of mothers and the dreams of children. It had to be drunken slurs hurled like arrows. It had to be the shriek of rifle fire and the stillness that followed. It had to be ghosts and heroes.

The Wall had to be sorrow and despair. It had to cut not through the land, but through the soul: Us and Them, People and Unpeople. It had to cut deep enough to bleed, to make one thing into two.

Earthly walls can be crossed. They can be climbed, tunneled under, slipped around.

But walls within the mind can never be breached.


Word Count: 196

This is for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Thanks to rogershipp for running the challenge!

6 thoughts on “Horizontal Babel

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  1. Beautifully done! There are so many lines that struck my heart. ‘The windows to their souls had been nailed shut’ “The wail of mothers and the dreams of children.’ ‘It had to be ghosts and heroes.’ Fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

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