The Wall and the Ball
As Abe looked up at the great square wall, he scanned the alcoves variously containing idols, symbols, humans, creatures, plants, odd stones.
How would he know what he had exchanged for his precious and final resources?
He should not have replied, “ You choose.”
Then he heard from inside himself, “Here.” On his left was a vertical square column. On it, next to a small alcove just off the floor was a gold label inscribed “Abe.”
In the alcove were three objects. He squatted to see them better. Two dim figures and a ball, the latter on top of the others crowding the space and it….
He fell back on his rump and looked up at the alcove at eye level.
He saw the head of a pharaoh. The headband was alive: a cobra swaying slowly, swaying, hissing…swaying, hissing…swaying, hissing, swaying…..
He was looking down upon a crowd of prone people praising him as the One God. Then the knife, as always, slit his throat and his blood rained on all.
“Give that to me!” Two hands were shaking him by the shoulders as he sat on the floors tiles. He strained to look behind him—the assassin?—he saw boots, a black uniform.
“I said, ‘Give that to me!”
Abe looked down into his cupped hands. There was a ball.
“That’s one of the sacred treasures of The Wall! It’s a capital offense even to touch it. Now—“
Suddenly, the earth began to shake. People surged and screamed.
But Abe tried to shout to the guard over the clamor. “Officer! This was one of my gifts…”
But the guard was staring up at the Wall and backing away.
Abe turned to replace the ball in its alcove but crystal scarabs fell upon his back showering him with glass, gold, and perfume. He looked up.
The Wall was swaying toward him.
Still sitting on the floor, Abe back to slide rapidly back across it until he bumped some into some vast mound that jabbed, cut, soaked, burned, howled, sang. It was swelling with rubble, glass, brick, adobe, rusted iron, gold, rubies, and…and…
Women and men, babies and ancients in robes and in uniforms and in rags, pinned under the chunks and shards of the Wall, cut, mangled, amputated, beheaded, spurting blood, exposing intestines, shuddering, still and still
In the thickening smoke and dust, he could see no more—not even The Wall.
Abe heard the whisper in his ear again, felt a tremble in his palm, and looked down. There was the ball. His ball. He held it before his dimming eyes.
Inked around its surface was the body of a chick, wings on the top, claws, on the bottom, beak and eyes on one side, tail and rump on the other. Between the feet was printed: I am…
There was an explosion. Its force flung Abe.
Soaring high, falling into unconsciousness, Abe felt the ball tremble in his hand and still again heard the whisper. “Warm me.” He did.