More than a year has passed since they built the wall. For a year, we’ve felt safe. We knew we were protected from the dangers beyond this sturdy barrier, but in the back of our minds we questioned how long it would last.
In secret, we had conversations.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” muttered Tim. He was always the most fearful of our group. We all knew the dangers of talking about things like this, but we didn’t care.
“They tell us that everything is fine. They say we don’t need to worry about anything, but I don’t believe it,” said Jay. He had the strongest personality of our group which made him a leader, of sorts. He didn’t make final decisions for the group. That was voted on together, but he led our discussions.
“Why not?” I asked. I was curious about his theory about the wall. He seemed so passionate right now, but he was always passionate. I wondered if there was any substance to the fire behind his eyes.
“Because if everything was fine, why would they tax us into oblivion?” Everyone grumbled. It was the same argument for Jay. Everything always went back to taxes. We all felt the pain of giving the government half of what we mined, harvested, and made. It hurt especially when we had to make decisions about feeding our families versus satisfying the law. Were a few days without food worth the punishment for not fulfilling our civil obligations?
We’d seen the reports about those that opted to provide for their families. They walked into the detention centers with their heads held high, but walked out different. Family members would make remarks about the changes in their personality. The fire of resistance that burned within them was extinguished and replaced with compliance and apathy.
“To help those that don’t have enough,” answered Ty. He always countered Jay’s conspiracy theories. I wasn’t sure if he believed the answer he just offered, but at least it was what we had been told.
“Even they don’t need that much. I think the government is storing it in some underground bunker.”
“Really? An underground bunker?” Tim said in disbelief. He shook his head and waved his hands.
“Yeah, a guy I know told me that someone told him he was working on an underground facility. Top secret.”
“I don’t believe it,” Tim said, but the way he looked at Jay meant he considered the possibility.
We all considered the possibility. The government told us a lot of things that didn’t add up. The thought that one day the wall that kept us safe would fail didn’t settle well with us, but even more disturbing was that the government was conspiring to preserve itself without the people.
notes: I wrote this inspired by a writeworld prompt a while ago and I can’t remember what the prompt was.