Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Wall by William Quincy Belle

Kevin finds a space-time anomaly in his apartment hallway; by William Quincy Belle.

Kevin looked at himself in the mirror and gave a last adjustment to his tie then stepped out of his bedroom. "Holy crap." He stood stock-still, his mouth agape. There, in the middle of the hallway, an arm stuck out of the wall. He shook his head and stared.

He took a few steps. A human arm was coming out of the wall. The hand clenched and the fingers relaxed. He moved closer. The entire arm from the shoulder was jutting out of the drywall. There was no hole, no damage, nothing to indicate the arm had forcibly poked through the wall. It appeared as if it was part of the wall itself. The two were seamlessly joined.

The arm moved. It bent at the elbow and the hand touched the wall in several places. It slid over the surface, stopped, and the fingers and thumb rubbed together. The arm repeated this action and swept out from the wall. With extended fingers, the hand reached into empty air. The arm relaxed, and the hand hung down.

Kevin leaned over and examined the skin at the wall. He couldn't see any breaks. He poked the shoulder. The arm stiffened. He ran a fingertip down the upper arm. It remained motionless. He hesitated, looking at the muscle, when the hand lunged out and seized his forearm. Alarmed, he jumped back, but the hand tightly gripped him and he couldn't pull himself loose. He seized the wrist of the arm and pulled in one direction as he pulled his arm in the other.

The hand and arm went limp. He pulled his forearm out of the grip and let go. The arm flopped down against the wall. Outside, the voice of a man yelled. "Help! Help!" Kevin gaped at the arm for a moment then took several paces to the second-story window. Across the street, just inside the entrance to a small park, a man was screaming. His right arm was gone, and he held his left hand over the wound. Kevin looked back at the wall then out the window. The man ran down the street out of sight.

Leaning in to the window, Kevin first looked left then looked right. He looked back to the arm in the wall his eyes saucer shaped. He placed his palm on his forehead and took a deep breath. A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He looked out the window to see a jogger come into view from the left. The jogger ran down the sidewalk to the main entrance of the park, turned and took two steps on the path. His body seemed to slam into something solid and fell backward. The leg from the middle of the thigh down was not visible.

Kevin whipped around. A leg kicked out from the wall. It had an ankle sock and a running shoe. He looked back to the park. The jogger flailed his arms trying to grab onto something to pull himself up. There was only air. He thrashed his arms and fell back to the ground. He yelled. His leg was gone. Kevin turned to see the leg dangling from the wall.

Two people ran up to the jogger. The first one took off his jacket and covered the leg stump while the other pulled out his belt and tied it around the thigh. A police car came into the view and the first person dashed into the street waving his arms. He stood at the driver's door pointing back to the jogger.

A dog sniffed at a sign at the park entrance and raised its leg. The first person and the police officer ran forward. The dog scurried into the park and disappeared behind a bush. A dog barked behind him and Kevin spun around. The front half of a dog stuck out of the wall, its front paws standing on the floor. Its tongue hung out of its mouth as it panted. It saw him and barked again.

He ran up to the animal. It growled. He looked on one side then on the other. The animal stared at him. He grabbed the collar and put his other hand below the neck. He pushed. The dog didn't budge. He pushed again. The dog went limp. He let go of the animal and stepped back. Its head, front paws, and upper body hung limply from the wall onto the floor. It looked dead.

A woman screamed out front. He looked at the window and looked at the wall. A child's forearm appeared out of the wall holding a balloon. Kevin grabbed it with both hands and pushed. It didn't move. The hand opened, and the balloon floated up to the ceiling. He frantically looked around the room then ran to the kitchen. Yanking open a drawer, he used both hands to sort through various items until he pulled out a hammer. He ran back to child's arm and pounded around the area, breaking the drywall. He dropped the hammer then grasped the forearm and pushed. It moved into the wall. He shoved the hand flush up against the wall and it disappeared. Leaning over, he looked at the hole. Nothing was visible. It looked like the inside of the wall.

He ran to the window. A woman held the hand of a little girl - all in one piece - as she pulled her away from the park. The little girl was crying. He scratched his head as he stared at the entrance to the park. He turned back to look at the wall.

Many voices sounded below. A teacher was leading a group of small children to the park. Kevin froze, looking back and forth between the window and the wall. He ran to the apartment door and yanked it open. He bolted down the stairs and burst out of the building. Several cars honked as he dodged between vehicles and sprinted across the street. He ran up to the teacher. "Please don't go in the park."

The woman looked startled. "Why not?"

"It's not safe."

"Not safe?" She gave him a suspicious look.

A small boy walked around them and stepped into the park.

"No!" Kevin grabbed the boy and pulled him back. "Don't go in the park." He moved into the middle of the entrance and held up his arms. "You mustn't go in here. It's dangerous." He shifted position and his foot caught on a broken piece of sidewalk. He lost his balance, turned to his left, and fell face forward, arm outstretched. There was a flash. He blinked. He was looking down. It wasn't the sidewalk; it was something else. He turned his head and scanned the area. He was in his apartment. His head, right arm, and part of his chest were sticking out of the wall. He could hear yelling coming from the park.

Kevin pulled back. He couldn't move. Shifting his weight, he pulled again. Nothing budged. Pushing on the wall with one arm, pushing on something solid with the other, he couldn't move his body forward or backward. He looked down and saw the hammer. Reaching out, his fingers strained to touch the handle. He got a fingertip on it and managed to slide it closer. He grasped the handle, brought it up level to his head, and pounded on the drywall. Chips flew and a cloud of dust formed as the wall cracked and crumbled under the repeated blows. He twisted. He pulled. He twisted again. Bracing himself, he jerked his entire body. He flew backward and fell into a sitting position on the sidewalk.

"Oh my God, mister, are you all right?" The teacher stood over him, a look of utter panic on her face.

Kevin sat dazed for a moment. He held up his hand and looked at the hammer. "Don't go in the park." He jumped up and dashed back across the street. He went up the stairs two at a time and burst into his apartment. Raising the hammer, he pounded away at the wall. He smashed the drywall section by section pushing it in between the studs. He smashed around the dog and pushed it back into the wall until it disappeared. Then he did the same for the leg and arm and continued until he had reduced the entire wall to rubble.

Standing back, he surveyed the damage. He walked up and down the length of the hall. He poked at a broken piece with the hammer and a chunk of drywall fell to the floor.

Somebody outside called out. Kevin went to the window. The teacher and the children stood by the entrance looking up at him. Three boys on skateboards came down the sidewalk and rolled into the park. They pushed off several times and disappeared down the main path. A dog came out from behind a bush and walked up to the children. Several of them petted the animal.

Kevin waved to the teacher. He glanced back at the wall then watched the teacher and children walk into the park. Nothing happened.

He went back to the kitchen and put the hammer away. He took a broom and a dustpan from the utility closet then walked to the hallway and picked up pieces of drywall. Sweeping into the center, he collected the smaller pieces and the dust. There was a noise. He stopped. He listened. Changing his grip, he swept the broom across the floor. There was another noise. He stopped. A voice from the bedroom said, "How the hell did I get here?"

12 comments:

  1. it´s certainly amusing but also creepy. I´m not sure what to make of it, but I certainly like it! the strange thing is it seems somehow credible!

    Mike McC

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Mike; I found it quite a trip to addle the brain but it spoke to me at some level?? Thanks,
    Ceinwen

    ReplyDelete
  3. And now for something completely different.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a fun read with a great pace. I enjoyed it. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read a lot of short stories and thumbs up (erm, should i use the phrase 'thumbs up' after reading THIS, oh what the...) thumbs up for avoiding the same old, same old! The writing is excellent and does a great job at drawing the readers attention in to attend at one moment to acute detail and in the next moment we're back out in a panoramic view.

    Charlie

    ReplyDelete
  6. This kind of reminds me of bizarro fiction - one of my friends writes that genre. It gives your brain a break from the ordinary.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a weird story. It flowed nicely and I enjoyed it but I'm left wanting an explanation. The fact that I am still thinking about it can only be a good thing though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ashley's right. The story does leave the reader wondering why and how. Fun, unnerving story. Enjoyed the read.

    ReplyDelete
  9. original - the first time i've seen a wormhole/portal that didn't let the body easily move back and forth. adding that "can't budge" aspect reminds me of what it was like as a kid when you get stuck somewhere, like your head in between stair bannisters, and have no control. heightens the scary part of this story, and it's original. it also made for good comedy when he has to bash the wall around his own head.
    it's not clear if the limbs were severed or sort of tidily bundled off, and if the dog at the end is the same dog, somehow...back in one piece? i hope so. i like happy dogs and happy endings. did the jogger get his leg back?
    great story.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As the novelist Meg Rosoff says - 'without breaking through the barrier between the conscious and unconscious mind there can be no great art.' The Wall is that barrier and this eponymous story explores just that!
    B r o o k e

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really loved the delivery and the buildup. Great suspense and eerieness, but the ending seemed to fall just a little flat. Was hoping for more. Good endings are like the punchline at the end of a joke. Gotta pull something together. Great story, just feels like it's not finished.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This was a fun story. A good read. Did it make sense? As much sense as most of what I read in the news. Plus, it had a solution and a happy ending. Well done, William Quincy Belle, and keep that hammer handy, if only to hammer out your next piece of fiction. This was fiction, wasn't it?

    ReplyDelete