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The fence stood in the middle of a field, its chain-links unbroken along its length, though parts had rusted after years of abuse from the weather. Some of its posts were crooked, some bent, but they, too, remained intact. It stretched, on and on, into the forests which stood on both ends of it.

No one knew where the fence had come from. No one knew who built it, or why it was there, or what it was meant to protect them from. If it were meant to protect them from anything, at all.

Annie stood before it, craning her neck to see the very top of it. The fence was tall. The fence was never-ending.

She was going to climb it.

She grit her teeth as she grabbed hold of the fence, slipping her toes between one of the gaps of the links. She tested her weight on it, hearing the fence groan in response.

"Annie! Annie, wait!" Sean. Annie didn't turn to him -- didn't even heed him as she hoisted herself further up along the fence. "Annie! Get back down before someone sees you!"

Annie paused. Why would it matter if someone saw her? No one paid the fence any mind. No one ever dared to climb it. No one ever dared to cut it open. They just...ignored it. Pretended it didn't exist. They'd walk along it, dragging their hands along the links but never once question why it was there.

She pushed onward, ignoring her brother's cries as she continued to climb. One hand in front of the other. She forced herself to breathe, to keep going even once her arms began to ache. Only a few more feet to go, and she'd be at the top. She'd go further than anyone ever had before. Explore unseen lands. Potentially meet new people -- maybe she could get them to tear down the fence, to open it up so that the rest of her people could --

Something crackled through the air, the hum breaking her concentration. Annie's hand slipped, missing that long bar across the top. She scrambled to keep her grip, throwing her weight against the fence and clinging to it with all of her might.

She didn't hear her brother's shout as the hum grew louder -- as a shock ran through her body. Her breath stilled and her heart went silent as her hands -- her hands held onto nothing. She felt nothing; not even the air as it rushed around her, moving out of her way as she plummeted to the ground. She only thought one thing as the life left her body:

How am I going to get any answers now?


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
I admit I'm biased because this was one of the topics I sent in but I really liked the writing here. It's vague and open ended but that's my favorite part. :P
Aug. 7th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you. :)

Vague and open-ended is a habit of mine I might need to break sometime soon, lol.
Aug. 8th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
So that's why no one every climbs it... Ouch.
Aug. 8th, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I imagine every once in a while a kid gets determined enough to see what's on the other side and ZAP. Ouch. =/
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 8th, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I was fond of that line, too.
Aug. 8th, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
I immediately thought of my older daughter as I read this. Annie could be her nickname, incidentally.

The ending makes my heart break. Really well done.
Aug. 8th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Aug. 9th, 2013 04:42 am (UTC)
It's interesting that just the imagined threat of someone seeing her climb the fence makes her brother afraid. Almost like they didn't even expect the electric shock at all until it was obviously too late.

Funny enough, my name is Annie and I've had...encounters with fences my whole life. Mine are more humorous though and definitely not as deadly. I think it gave me an added connection to your Annie and Sean.
Aug. 9th, 2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
I don't think either one of them expected that -- Sean just knows that no one climbs it, and that she shouldn't climb it because of that. Now he really knows why they shouldn't, poor kid. =/

lol, that's pretty amazing. Yay for the encounters being more humorous? xD I'm glad that it gave you an added connection, though. :)
Aug. 9th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Makes me wonder who is controlling the fence, or if it is only self-activated when someone gets to a particular height on it.

Obviously, folks can see what is on the other side of the fence - at least to a certain extent, seeing as it is chain-link - but it makes one wonder if Annie and her folks are being kept in or kept out!
Aug. 9th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking more the latter, because who would know? There aren't any buildings nearby, etc.

I'm trying to figure that out, too! I think they're being kept in. But who knows? I don't think anyone's ever mapped the length of the fence, before. That would certainly answer the question.
Aug. 9th, 2013 05:42 am (UTC)
Oh, Annie... Sometimes you're challenging self-imprisonment and the status quo, and sometimes you're perpetuating Darwinism. If only there were a way to know which, before it was too late.
Aug. 9th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
Seriously. =/ Poor girl! Who knows? Maybe she'll inspire people to examine the fence more?
Aug. 9th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
So well written and such a heart breaking ending!
Aug. 9th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, definitely a free-writing exercise gone right.

It reminded me of the electric fence in Catching Fire, except this one is actually on and deadly.
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)

I am going to happily assume this is a good thing.
Aug. 12th, 2013 07:32 am (UTC)
I really like how you address death in this piece. I'm sad that Annie had to die in the process. Stupid fences.
Aug. 12th, 2013 10:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I am, too. Stupid fences, indeed.
Aug. 12th, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
By chance, have you ever read anything by Connie Willis? She has a book that addresses a lot of death experiences. It sort of cultivated an interest in how writers describe death. The book in question is called "Passage." It's not my favorite book of hers, but it was kind of interesting.
Aug. 12th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
I have not, actually. I will likely look into that book, though. Describing death (especially the POV character's) is kind of hard, so I'm just glad I did this well, here. :)
Aug. 12th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC)
So no one ever tried to climb it before and got zapped? I feel sorry for Annie though, curiosity shouldn't literally kill and whoever put it there, well, I'd like to know what and why that was!
Aug. 12th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
I think there have been others who have tried; it's just been long enough ago no one remembers the consequences of doing so.

I would like to know why, too. :)
Aug. 19th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
I'm a day late and a dollar short, ( $5 with inflation) reading this, but it's wonderful! Very swift and engaging. AW
Aug. 19th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )