Chapter 13: Junk Ridge.

The path opening from mounds of refuse quickly grew into a  trench cut through the mound, raising into walls high above his head. The walls were opaque, but not solid, thick, but not consistent. He paused the center of a curvature and peered directly at the wall. Pieces of tricycles interspersed with broken pieces of building material. Pipes and caps, nuts and bolts, rotted lumber pierced with rusted nails, clips of fences. There were fused pieces together of fabrics and thin wood, decayed into mulch and hardened through rain and the elements.

As the walls raised higher than the city walls, so grew a layer of abrasion and dirt, glass edges worn to soft pebbles. Foam stuffing from trailers, felt thatching, broken supports, thumb tacks, spines of old books and discarded electronics, all chaotically stacked, and smashed into barely recognizable pieces, organized by the constant thrashing of the wind and the moving of the pieces. The walls were rigid, but little seemed to hold it into place.

He stepped back from the wall, and looked around. Having reached past the curve, the trading post was no longer in sight, and the walls seemed to stretch to either end. He looked back for the tricycle handle, his old focal spot, but could no longer find it in the endless mash of anonymous junk. He spun to either side, looking and quickly became disoriented. His fatigue and nausea enhanced by his spinning motion and he collapsed, again in the center of the path.

“Fuck.” He thought.

Indeed.

He sat up and rested a minute, regaining his composure. The detail of the walls blurred away, and he was content to catch his breath in an anonymous corridor. His head still ached, and his stomach felt like he might be put in an unpleasant position if he couldn’t find his way back to the toilets in the habitable part of the city. With such urgency, he pulled himself back to his feet and headed towards what looked like the path he had taken in. The path was lost, however, and so was he. He made his way around an endlessly twisting path, growing narrower and narrower. As the walls closed in, the details again grew into sharp focus, nails, tacks, glass shards and metal drew closer to him and a misstep or a fall could have torn ribbons off of him.

In these confines, he moved more and more slowly, until he found himself traipsing a path so narrow that he felt he had to hold his breath and slide sideways to keep himself safe. At the narrowest point, he pushed through so slowly that when he made it past the ingress, he was lightheaded and practically convulsing. The way then opened quite suddenly, but the walls above had grown together. He was now completely encompassed in the ridge. The ceiling let a little light through, but he was no longer in direct daylight. The path he had entered had pulled so narrow, that he could not even find a suitable entry in the lowered light. He paused again to catch his breath.

The walls detail had again receded, with the path opened wider and darkened, he again found himself in an empty corridor. From above him, the wind whistled through innumerable holes in the wreckage. To the side he could hear muted rustling coming from behind the walls.

Realizing he had no choice but to go forward, he held his hands out in front of him, and felt feebly into the growing darkness. Blinded by the surroundings, distracted by the sounds surrounding him and beaten to capacity by his own life.