by Neil Dempsey

The walls, they, they were moving. The walls were moving, slowly, but they were moving. Closer, closer, closer every time. They weren't stopping.

Billy's eyes were transfixed by the wall, creeping closer and closer. In front of him two shadows danced a warped waltz, yet the wall kept coming.

A song circled his mind, but it had no tune. The needle was broken. A slow crawl, the tune welded together, a slow, painful crawl. Sounds he didn't recognise. Sounds he didn't want to recognise. Sounds coming from the pain. The slow, painful crawl in his mind.

The shadows danced to this tune, weird images leaping from wall to encroaching wall. They twisted and turned, writhed and wriggled, but they couldn't catch Billy. he belonged to the walls.

The song sped up. New sounds came, old sounds went. Clattering, banging, smashing, wailing, crying, screaming. Dark sounds from the pain, creeping, pinching his brain, picking his thoughts, crushing his soul.

Faster and faster it span. Always accompanied by the furious shadow waltz. His brain hurt, his head spun, his stomach churned, his eyes.... they were normal. Forever transfixed by the wall. It was only a few feet away now. Terror raged hard. His heart pumped, mouth cracked, voice whimpered, but his eyes. They never left the wall.

The twisted song span and span, the waltzes struggled and fought. Faster and faster. The shadows flitted across the room, but never left his sight. They couldn't catch his gaze. Only the wall could.

Fear gripped Billy by the throat, shaking the life out of his small frame. He kicked back with his heels, but the wall behind pushed him on. Nothing could leave his mouth, not a scream nor a grunt. The wall was here. A shadow fell. But the wall kept coming.

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The Waltz of the Moving Wall, 28 October 2001