500 Words – End of the World

I watch the sun rise over the wall of rock before me. They say you can see the end of the world from the top. I’m not sure who they is. Dozens of people have tried through the years to scale the cliff face. They either gave up, or were never heard from again.

The circle of rock around the kingdom I call home looks unclimbable from far away. Up close I can see cracks and small ledges. I see a few bird nests and for a moment I wish I can fly or speak to animals. The birds must be able to see past the cliff. Are we a small piece of a much larger place, I wonder. Does the world truly end on the other side?

It is unseemly to be curious about what lays beyond the wall, so I came early to avoid the patrols. The elders teach us it is useless to think and dream about what might be outside when there is so much to be done inside our land.

I can’t ignore the call of the wall though. I want to stand atop that cliff and see what is on the other side. I need to know if I am stuck here or if there is more world to explore. I reach out and touch the rock. My eyes close as my fingers dip into the grooves made by years of wind and rain. The villagers talk about the cliffs as if they are as smooth as glass. Most have never touched the wall. I smile at the imperfections I feel.

My hand finds a pocket in the rock and I tighten my grip. I lift my foot until I find a small ledge. With a jump I pull myself up until I can see the next ledge, the next shelf, the next place to put my hands and feet. The climb is slow and long. The wind pulls at my clothes, my arms ache, my toes are cramped, but I don’t stop. There is no turning back. I will climb or I will tumble and fall to the ground below.

My call of joy echos when my hand reaches the top. With a great heave I pull myself up to see what is beyond. My fingers scramble for purchase. The top of the wall is narrow and smooth with nowhere to grasp. The wind I ignored on my climb up now whips my hair. My fingers lose their tenuous grip and I fall. I don’t scream as I tumble into the abyss on the other side. In the distance I can see other small islands of land floating in the open air. The sun is above me and far below I can see the moon. I watch the water spill over the side of the nearest hunk of rock in a beautiful waterfall. I found the end of my land, but I can’t reach the rest of the world.

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