The Night Before

Nobody visited from the outside, but then nobody knew where “outside” really was. Was it near or was it far? Was it anywhere at all? The high, moss furred walls of the endless city stretched upwards and outwards much, much further than anybody cared to bother themselves with. Well anybody who wasn’t Wilbur, that is.

The scrawny, twenty-one-year-old heir to the throne of Stonewall,¬†often made his way to the highest tower of his father’s buildings and sighed as he looked out over the sprawling mess of grey and green stone walls. That view was all he really knew about his world, and it was all he was ever expected to know. Wilbur had decided that tomorrow this expectation of himself would change. He was planning an excursion, he wanted to discover what lay beyond those walls. Certainly none of his friends, family or local residents knew! He had been gathering things for his expedition: some dried bread and salted ham, a tinder box, a couple of blankets, two red leather-bound notebooks and a few pencils, a sharp knife, a good length of rope and his great grandpa’s heavy old brass compass. He had packed them all in his worn blue backpack that his mother had made for him back he started school at four years old. It was more than a little moth eaten now, but there was more than enough space for everything he deemed vital for his trip. He even had space to bring back a souvenir, should he chance upon one.

As the sun lowered itself to the top of the great walls in the distance, heavy shadows blanketed the streets below, and a warm orange glow coated the bellies of the clouds above. He’d certainly be wanting a good night’s sleep before tomorrow, so he settled down by the window that was keeping watch over the inhabited city bounds. His backpack made a firm, if misshapen pillow. As he closed his eyes and slowed his breath, he gave a small chuckle as he thought back to his bed, where Bess, the maid, would soon be none the wiser when glancing in to see the Wilbur-like shape filling his bed. His thoughts began to scatter, imagining the adventure that lay before him, and sleep soon came easily.

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