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The Wall

Desperately I ran, time was short, and I couldn’t bear to not succeed, I thought it would be easy, I was clearly having myself on. Each flight of steps and each paving stone became a potential stumbling block, I ran on like a man possessed. Sometimes I would briefly see no others but as soon as I thought I was alone someone would step out of a guard house or appear from a valley on the wall ahead of me. Twenty eight minutes was the absolute maximum time I had.

It was China, 1986, still a mystery to the rest of the world, I knew there were risks but I was ready to take them. My mission had been conceived a year earlier, but the chances of success were remote, time was short, and the heat of the day would stretch me to the limit. This was not like a saunter through the cool Ming tombs or the summer palace, this was the Great Wall, in the heat of summer.

To be successful I had to be unseen, one carefully targeted shot was all I needed but the task was daunting. I ran on, my heart pounding and my mouth dry. I tripped going down some stairs from a guard house, there were two men right in front of me and they each jumped away just in time for me to twist into the wall of the stone tower and break my fall with my shoulder, the crunch was sickening and for a moment I thought all was lost.

In pain, I regained my composure and focused on the task, a few minor trips warned me that I was still in a precarious position. Twenty seven and a half minutes…. looking good. I stopped and carefully scanned the vista ahead of me, not a person anywhere.

I balanced the camera on the parapet, set the self-timer, stepped in front of it, “Click” I got the impossible shot, Me, The Wall and not another soul in sight, I made it back to the bus with fifteen seconds to spare, easy.

© Matthew Penfold 2009

The Wall

Matt Penfold

Joined December 2008

Artist's Description

For Star twister 55 prompt = easy
Word count = 350
TTST55

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