Walls Within

Walls Within

In a nation divided by an imposing wall, one young woman’s daring escape reveals the startling truth behind the barrier that separates her people.

In the obscure land of Auroboria, tucked away within the folds of Europe, a bizarre scheme took root among its leaders. They resolved to construct an immense brick wall encircling their nation, proclaiming it an essential safeguard against illegal migrants and belligerent neighbors. At first, the citizens of Auroboria, filled with faith in their government, passionately championed the idea, hailing it as a daring and inventive stratagem.

Yet, the truth stood in stark contrast to the narrative woven by the Auroborian officials. The wall’s purpose wasn’t to deter outsiders, but to entrap the unsuspecting citizens within its confines. They aimed to exert control over the populace, suppress any opposition, and guarantee that not a single soul could break free from the tightening grip of their oppressive rule.

Auroboria, a scenic haven of undulating hills, verdant forests, and charming hamlets, was home to a citizenry renowned for their warmth and congeniality. Many had kin and comrades residing in neighboring lands. Yet, as the construction of the wall commenced, Auroboria’s rapport with other nations deteriorated. The once-hospitable Auroborians grew insular and distrustful, while the previously bucolic landscape suffered under the looming presence of the wall and the constant vigilance of its sentinels.

One fateful Monday evening, a young Auroborian woman named Elara reached a breaking point. The suffocating atmosphere and the iron grip of the government crushed her spirit. Heavy-hearted, she began plotting her escape.

Elara crafted a map highlighting the wall’s vulnerabilities and amassed supplies for her expedition. She fashioned a makeshift rope from bedsheets and honed her climbing prowess in secrecy. On a moonless night, Elara embarked on her mission. Approaching the wall, she glimpsed the silhouettes of soldiers and their dogs on patrol, their flashlights casting ghostly shadows on the bricks. Her heart thundered as she braced herself for the decisive moment.

With expert precision, Elara ascended the wall, careful to evade the watchful eyes of the guards. She had selected a secluded section, grateful for the cloak of darkness. At the summit, she peered down at the other side, where liberty called.

As Elara readied herself to descend, a sudden uproar erupted behind her. A squad of soldiers had discovered her improvised rope and were closing in. Her heart hammering, she realized she had no choice but to take the plunge.

Elara leapt from the wall, barely cushioning her fall as she collided with the soft earth. Bruised and battered, she forced herself to sprint, aware that the guards would be hot on her heels.

Elara dashed through the darkness, the sounds of her pursuers diminishing as she widened the gap between her and the wall. Abruptly, she spotted a group of people strolling alongside a forest tract. She approached them, assuming they were citizens of the neighboring country.

“Have I made it to Mercia?” Elara inquired. “I just jumped over the wall, and only a few minutes ago the guards were still chasing me.”

“You’re still in Auroboria,” a woman responded, smiling. “Congratulations on crossing the wall,” a man chimed in.

“What do you mean?” Elara was taken aback and alarmed. “Will you report me to the guards?”

“No need for that. We all live here peacefully and welcome those who manage to escape and cross the wall.”

“I’m completely bewildered,” Elara admitted.

“Don’t worry about anything,” the man reassured her. “Join us, and we’ll take you to the new arrivals center.”

“Are you certain we’re in the same country? I want nothing to do with the Auroborian government.”

“Have no fear; you’ll understand everything once we arrive.”

Elara realized she had little choice. These people appeared kind and affable. She accompanied them to the new arrivals center, which turned out to be an enormous building where thousands of people queued to speak with an officer.

Elara was puzzled. Why were all these people waiting in line to speak to representatives of the government and the country they had just fled from?

“Here’s your leaflet, child,” a man handed her a piece of paper containing some information. Elara began to read:

“Congratulations on jumping the wall and welcome to the real Auroboria. You’re most likely confused and unsure of what’s happening here, and why you’re still in the same country. Please read this leaflet—it explains everything.

Roughly five decades ago, the main political parties in the country realized that Auroborian society was so polarized it felt like two nations inhabiting one land. On every strategic issue, supporters of the two competing ideologies held opposing views. In short, it was a battle between religious, social conservatism and liberal modernism. The polarization grew so severe that decision-making became impossible. At that point, the two political parties agreed on one thing: they needed to build a wall to separate the two systems and their supporters. Internally, people were told the wall was built to protect them from neighbors. Then one part of the country was ruled by a conservative government, and the other by a liberal one.

Initially, the balance was maintained, but gradually people from the conservative side began escaping across the wall, believing they were fleeing abroad. They all said the same thing: the atmosphere had become too conservative, and there was no future there. Over time, this became a pattern, with thousands crossing the wall. The conservative part of the country saw a decline in population, especially among young people. It became even more conservative as the population aged.

Both governments were pleased with the movement of people across the wall. The conservatives were glad to see young people leaving, viewing them as potential troublemakers. For the liberal government, young escapees made fantastic new citizens, having experienced conservatism and eagerly embracing modern liberalism once across the wall.

This has been happening for five decades, and millions have crossed the wall. You are one of them, and you are very welcome.”

Elara stood there, her mind reeling from the revelation, as a mixture of shock and disbelief washed over her like a tidal wave. “Sometimes you need to jump the physical wall to go across the borders in your mind,” she thought, as the profound truth of her journey began to sink in.

This short story was written using Open AI Chatbot. All images were generated using DALL.E 2 (Open AI)