gaze over my shoulders, gaze over the walls

I’m working on this thing right now called “Water”, and I don’t want to say anything else about it. Here’s something that got cut. It might get put back in later. This project has been like that. But, for now, we’ll call it something edited out.

***

Look, I said, do you see how hard that was? Can you think of doing that all day long? If we had ropes, maybe, or ladders. Even then, look around you. If anything is hunting men, they can see us better on the top of walls than they can if we stay down, below the walls. We should only do this if we are desperate. We are not desperate. Let us climb down, and do what we have been doing.

Joseph said nothing. Gokliya gazed around in wonder. Had he ever seen the maze from the top of a wall? Children usually did, but we discouraged them from it. We had to hide most of the time. We had to work together to hold back the things that hunt here. Don’t stand out alone on a wall.

Gokliya sang while we walked.

Don’t climb the wall,
Don’t climb the wall,
What will happen if you fall?
What will happen if you fall?
You’ll spend your life at a crawl
You’ll spend your life at a crawl
You’ll break your bones, break them all
You’ll break your bones, break them all
And never stand or walk at all
And never stand or walk at all

Joseph raised his hands. Gokliya, be quiet. Joseph held very still. Then, we pressed our backs against a wall. We looked all around us. Sound danced all over the stones. The source could be anywhere.

It came from above. A large bird – wings as big as ten men – swooped in the air above us. It did not seem interested in us. It’s wings were mostly feathers, but there was a greenness to the bird, as if it was also draped in leaves. It’s long beak ended in stems and huge flowers sprouting from its feet – talons and thorns, feathers and leaves.

As soon as we saw the giant creature, it was gone in a gust.

What was that?

I don’t know. I don’t know.

It was a bird, I think.

Do you think it will hurt anyone?

I don’t know. Let’s keep going. We should stay off the walls. Maybe it saw us. Maybe it was looking for us. We’ll stay down below.

Follow the water, then. We’ll take the turns we think we must. We’ll do our best.

We did.
***

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