She had started going to the church to see her friend. His name was Scott, and they had met on the bus to school only a year ago at the time. The two had a lot in common, but the two things they both shared the most were the desire to escape small town life, and an appreciation for beauty. For them, it felt natural to sit in an abandoned church and talk about life.
Just as she would on any other morning, Marie walked into the church, sitting on the bench she always gravitated towards. The wood creaked as she did, but at this point there was hardly a thing within the building that didn't creak. So, she didn't let the noise deter her, leaning back and bathing her skin in the pink light that was being filtered in streaks through the filthy windows above. She could never tell how long it would take for her friend to arrive, so she got comfortable.
Scott arrived eventually. That was all Marie knew about the time. She turned at the telltale noise of the door being pushed open, and watched him glide over to the bench across from hers. She greeted with a, "So, how are you?"
They were past the point of hellos.
"Tired," yawned Scott. "You?"
Marie let out a small sigh. "Hm...okay, I guess. There's a lot going on."
"With you, or with the world?" Scott talked with Marie about things in the world on such a regular basis that it seemed like the two actually had a bering on the world. The outside of the town seemed so abstract, like a game or a story, that they started to treat it that way. Their ideas and opinions were very real, but sometimes a little too fantastic to work anywhere but the confines of their utopian vision of what the world could be.
Still, they believed it. "The world," Marie laughed, "what ever goes on with me?"
Scott stood up then and walked to the alter, the floor wailing beneath his every step. He made sweeping had gestures as he spoke his reply. "More than you think, probably. I mean, what do you know about the world other than what you live? There might as well be no world other than yours if you aren't there to see it."
In hindsight, it was ridiculous philosophy spoken by a sixteen year old, but at the time Marie had bought so much into it. Even if she hadn't wanted to admit it, she had been utterly charmed by his occasional ramblings. It was evident in how she spoke.
"You're probably right. It's just that I do want to see the rest of the world, you know? It seems so much better than in here."
Every time she ended a sentence with 'you know' it meant more than just an annoying speech habit. It was her way of seeking approval. She was of the opinion that there was nobody she needed to impress in a bigoted, southern, small town like hers, but of course Scott would be the one exception. Marie made more exceptions for him than anyone else she'd known.
"I know exactly what you mean," Scott agreed, "we have a lot of the same dreams, don't we?"
Marie hadn't thought of that. It was bizarre when put that way. She saw truth in what he said, though. Their entire friendship had been founded around all that they had in common. That was why they enjoyed the company of each other, because they were so similar, yet different.
"Yeah..." Marie murmured. "Good point."
Walking back down from the altar, Scott headed for Marie's bench rather than his own. He sat close to her. "We could see the world together, you know," he mused. Then he leaned in close.
The gesture made Marie nervous, so she didn't move.
"We could...couldn't we?"
Scott took that as encouragement, leaning in more to hug Marie. She honestly hadn't expected it. Still, she hugged back tentatively. It felt like a long time that the hug lasted, and, even after they broke apart, Marie still couldn't wrap her head around it. It was just a hug, right?
She had to ask, "Why together then?"
Not discouraged, Scott replied, "Because we can do anything together, don't you think?" His assumption was strangely optimistic for him, and not convincing enough to elicit any words from Marie.
"Besides, I think I might love you."
Those words didn't make magic happen. Everything was still and strange as before. Something changed, though. Marie suddenly had a new feeling. She couldn't identify it, and she wasn't entirely sure it was love. The girl wasn't entirely sure she knew what it was like to love someone that way, or if it even had to be any different than friendship.
Instead of responding, Marie leaned back in and buried her head in Scott's shoulder. He didn't seem to mind that reaction.
"You can tell me how you feel when you're ready. I don't mind."
Toby Layla was from a section of Mykria that was considered to be the lowest of the low, even compared to other run down areas. Even the wall was beginning to crumble in some places, just to taunt the people who lived there and show them how incompetent and stupid they were in the eyes of those with power and wealth. The wall there wasn't even monitored any more. Anybody who dared try and escape would surely seal their own fate.
Despite this, Toby dared to scale the wall. He had thought a lot about freedom, and what he'd do with it, and even if it would be a rough life out there he felt like it would be much better that living under the rule of the Mykrian's.
Toby chose to climb in the morning, since finding places to grip in the middle of the night would be beyond dangerous. The whole ordeal was dangerous, but to make it harder on himself would make Toby more of a fool that he was already considered to be. To an extent, he'd already tried climbing, but he'd gotten less than midway up. Still, he knew the first couple of handholds very well, and getting from the first one to the second was the most difficult part he'd encountered thus far.
From then on, it was a smooth climb up to the about the point where dropping down would start to hurt. All it took were repettitive motions and knowing where to hold. That was why the prospect of climbing where he hadn't climbed before was so frightening. Toby could get up to his highest position so far with ease, but what if it started to all go downhill afterwards? He would get tired at some point, he knew. What then?
At that point, all Toby could tell himself was that persistence was key. He had managed to get further than he ever had before. Still, it brought a sick feeling to his stomach, the thought of falling from his current height. Just thinking about it was enough to make his hands shake, and that was definitely a bad thing. Being tired and shaky would be his downfall if ew couldn't, for lack of better phrasing, get a grip on the situation.
He almost got to the point of falling from exhaustion at one point, but a small stroke of luck crossed him. He found a slight indent in the wall where he could rest for the time being, and so he did. It was both benificial and detrimental. Obviously, he got some energy back, but also, when started back up again, his arms were even shakier and almost gave out.
Toby's head was throbbing from the extra pressure. He was so close to the top that he was beginning to worry about loosing his hold at the last second. Doubt was becoming more and more present in his mind. Maybe the government was right after all. Stupidity and incompetence could very well have been what made Toby want to climb in the first place.
But at the final handhold, Toby decided to push those thoughts away. He had made it to the top. Now all there was to do was make it down. He hoisted himself over the edge on to the very top of the wall, and for the longest time he stayed flopped over on his stomach, taking in heavy breaths of air until he finally fell asleep.
When he woke up well enough that he was ready to start he descent down, Toby crawled to the edge, so as not to fall. Then, he took a survey of the stones below. What he saw was horrifying. The side of the wall was completely smoothed down. There was no way off of the wall but to go back the way he came or fall to his death. Or climb to his death, so it seemed. On the Mykrian side of the wall, Toby had apparently had an audience.
His audience did not look friendly. That was the existence of the Mykrian people.