WILLIAM QUINCY BELLE - THE WALL
William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here (http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here (https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
Kevin looked at himself in the mirror, making a last adjustment to his tie. He stepped hurriedly from his bedroom, already late.
He stood stock-still, mouth agape. There, in the middle of the living room, an arm stuck out from the wall. He shook his head and stared at the horror before him.
He took a few steps back — away from the human arm emerging from the wall. The hand clenched, then the fingers relaxed, clenched, and relaxed. Kevin moved closer. The entire arm, from shoulder to hand, was jutting out of the drywall. There was no hole, no damage, nothing to indicate the arm had forcibly poked through the wall. Rather, it appeared as if it were part of the wall itself. The two were seamlessly joined.
The arm moved again. It bent at the elbow, the hand touching the wall in several places. It slid over the surface, stopped, rubbing fingers and thumb together. The arm repeated the action, sweeping away from the wall. Extending its fingers, the hand grasped empty air. Then the arm relaxed, hand hanging limply.
Kevin leaned as close as he dared and examined where the skin connected to the wall. He couldn’t see any breaks. Tentative, he poked the shoulder. The arm stiffened. He ran a fingertip down the upper arm, but it remained motionless. He hesitated, then looked closer at the muscle, and the hand suddenly lunged out and seized his forearm. Kevin jumped back in alarm, but the hand’s grip was tight and he couldn’t pull himself loose. He seized the wrist, pulling it in one direction as he pulled his own arm in the other.
The arm’s grip slackened and Kevin pulled his forearm free, letting go as he did so. The arm flopped against the wall. Outside, a man yelled “Help! Help!” Kevin gaped at the arm for a moment, then ran to the window. Down one story, across the street and just inside the entrance to a small park, a man was screaming. He held his left hand over a gruesome wound: his right arm was gone. Kevin looked back at the wall, then out the window just in time to see the man run down the street and out of sight.
Leaning close to the window, Kevin looked first left then right. Not seeing the man, he turned back to the arm in the wall. He placed a palm on his forehead and took a deep, steadying breath. Just then, a movement caught his attention in the corner of his eye. He turned back to the window and watched as a jogger come into view from the left. The man ran down the sidewalk toward the main entrance of the park before turning and taking two steps down the path. His body seemed to slam into something solid, knocking him backward. His shoulders hit the ground, but his left leg remained suspended in the air, no longer visible from mid-thigh down.
Kevin whipped around: a leg kicked out from his wall. It wore an ankle sock and running shoe. He looked again to the park. The jogger flailed his arms, trying to grab onto something to pull himself up. But there was only air. He thrashed and yelled. His leg was gone. Kevin turned again to see the leg dangling from the wall, not believing what he was witnessing.
Two people ran to the jogger’s aid. The first took off his jacket and covered the stump, while the other pulled out his belt and tied it in a tourniquet around the thigh. A police car came into view and the first Good Samaritan dashed into the street, waving his arms. He stood at the driver’s door, pointing back to the jogger.
A dog passed, sniffing at a sign at the park entrance before raising its leg. The police officer was now running to the jogger, startling the dog, which scurried into the park and disappeared behind a bush. From behind Kevin a dog barked, and he spun around. The front half of the dog stuck out of the wall, its front paws on the floor. Its tongue hung out of its mouth as it panted. Seeing him, it barked again.
Kevin ran up to the animal, stopping when it growled. He looked frantically about his apartment, wondering what to do. The animal stopped growling and stared at him. Kevin grabbed the dog’s collar and placed his other hand below the neck. He pushed; the dog didn’t budge. He pushed again. This time the dog went limp. Kevin let go of the animal and stepped back. Its head, front paws, and upper body hung limply from the wall, spilling onto the floor. It looked dead.
A woman screamed. Fearing the worst, Kevin looked out the window then again at the wall. A child’s forearm was holding a balloon — in Kevin’s living room. Kevin grabbed at it with both hands and pushed. It didn’t move. The hand opened, and the balloon floated to the ceiling. Agitated, Kevin looked around the room before running 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 the hallway and pounded the area surrounding the child’s arm, breaking the drywall. He dropped the hammer, grasped the forearm, and pushed the child’s arm into the wall. He let go and grabbed the hand. Shoving it flush up against the wall, he saw it disappeared. Kevin leaned over and looked through the hole. Nothing was visible. It simply looked like the inside of a wall.
He ran back to the window. A woman gripped the hand of a little girl as she pulled her away from the park. The little girl was crying. Kevin scratched his head, staring at the park’s entrance. He turned back to glance at the wall.
Many voices now sounded below. A teacher was leading a group of small children into the park. Kevin froze, gazing back and forth between the window and his wall. He ran to the apartment door, yanking it open. He bolted down the stairs, burst from the building. Several cars honked as he dodged between moving vehicles, sprinting toward the teacher. “Please don’t go in the park!”
The woman looked startled. “Why not?”
“It’s not safe.”
“Not safe?” She sounded suspicious.
A small boy walked around them, clearly making his way for 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 out his arms. “You mustn’t go in here. It’s dangerous.” He shifted position, his foot catching a broken piece of sidewalk. Kevin lost his balance, turning to his left, and landed face forward with arm outstretched. There was a bright flash; he blinked. He was looking down, but not at 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, but, like the others, he couldn’t move. Shifting his weight, he pulled again. Nothing budged. Pushing on the wall with one arm, and on something solid with the other, Kevin found he couldn’t move his body forward or back. He looked down and saw the hammer. He reached out, straining for the handle, got a fingertip on it, and managed to slide it closer. Finally, he grasped the handle and brought the hammer level to his head. Then he pounded on the drywall. Chips flew and a cloud of dust formed as the wall cracked and crumbled. He twisted. He pulled. He twisted again. Bracing himself, Kevin 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. He held up his hand and looked at the hammer. “Don’t go in the park.” He jumped up without another word and dashed back across the street. He took 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 between the studs. He broke the area around the dog, pushing it back into the wall until it disappeared. Kevin did the same for the leg and arm, continuing until he had reduced the entire wall to rubble.
Standing back, he surveyed the damage. There was a large piece close to the ceiling, so Kevin reached up and hit it several times. He walked up and down the length of the hall, poking at broken pieces with the hammer as chunks of drywall fell to the floor.
Somebody outside called out and Kevin went to the window. The teacher and the children stood by the entrance, looking up at his apartment. Three boys on skateboards came down the sidewalk, rolling 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 stopped to pet the animal.
Kevin waved to the teacher, who turned back to her students. He glanced back at the hallway as they walked into the park. Nothing happened.
He went back to the kitchen and put the hammer away. Taking a broom and dustpan from the utility closet, Kevin walked to the hallway and picked up pieces of drywall. He swept everything into the center and collected everything, even the dust.
There was an indistinguishable noise. He stopped and listened. Hearing nothing more, Kevin changed his grip and swept the broom across the floor. There was another noise. He stopped again.
A voice issued from the bedroom. “How the hell did I get here?”