Fiction Challenge: The Children and the Wall

The Pine Needle is following two students, Brennan Brink and Jacob Knutson, as they engaged in a Write Off. One issues a challenge to the other in the form of a prompt and that person responds by writing it and issuing his own prompt. Today continues with Brennan’s second challenge for Jacob.

Brennan’s prompt: Children go out to play at recess. Little do they know, their game mirrors an historical world event.

Jacob’s Story:

Children poured from the white double doors as the bell rang for recess. Some scurried to jump rope and play hopscotch, others hurried to the jungle gym, but the multitude hurried to the baseball diamond. They divided into two groups, one wearing red caps adorned with a yellow star, and the other sporting blue caps with red brims and a white star. A player from each team gripped a bat, starting from the bottom, and took turns climbing, hand over hand, until one ran out of wood, thus deciding the Red team would bat first.

The first batter stepped to bat accompanied with with chants of, “Sput! Sput! Sput!” He arrived at the plate and began to imitate the pros on television by spitting, digging his feet in the sand, and swaying his bat back and forth, anticipating the pitch. In a flash, the ball left the pitcher’s hand and instantly ricocheted off the bat’s sweet spot. All the children, shielding their eyes from the sun, gazed in amazement; the ball seemed to hang in the clouds. They had never witnessed such a lengthy hit. It ended its course over the fence on old man Jenkins’s porch. Cheers from red players shot from the dugout as Sput ran the bases with a smile, and some members of Blue team promptly wrung their caps in their hands, others threw them on the dusty ground, and the left fieldsman even fainted from the sight. The Red team’s celebration was short-lived, for the next two batters were struck out, and the Blue team took the plate.

They retaliated with a succession of home runs of their own, each even farther than Sput’s. One astoundingly bounced off one of the fire engines a few blocks down the street. The Red team could not believe their eyes. They threw down their gloves in a jealous fit, sat in the dirt, and refused to play; the Blue team was simply too talented. In their envious rage, they began to shape a wall between them and the Blue; it cut in front of first base, around the pitcher’s mound, and around third. While stuck in their commemoration, the Blue team were too late in noticing the creation of the wall, and now realized they had no one to play with. Desperately trying to find entertainment from other source, the Blue team hurried to the other children partaking in hopscotch and jump rope, but only found that the wall had enveloped them also. Growing even more hopeless, they hastened to the deep green jungle gym where they found members of the Red team in the middle of building the wall to enclose that as well, and connect it with the wall back at the diamond, creating a whole sphere of influence and isolation. Fearing solidarity, The Blue members immediately began to break down the wall, which was answered with scratches, punches, bites, and even bats by the Reds. The conflict ultimately erupted into a massive, enduring scuffle between the two factions; a vast conflict of small bodies, bats, rocks, sweat, but mostly tears, that swallowed up children not sided with a team, the innocent children you could say. The Blue, in the end, retreated to their dugout and small section of the diamond; the Reds were simply too much.

They did not pout nor whine, but unanimously agreed that they would stop pursuing entertainment from others and make others want entertainment from them. They traded baseball cards, cracked jokes, which were followed by excessively loud laughs, chomped bubble gum, and even, somehow, produced a radio where they would tune into sports games around the country and listen to news updates from the on going war in some far off distant jungle. Suddenly, aware of the multitude of cackles and giggles coming from beyond their silent side, the Reds began to sheepishly peer over the divide. Soon they were all fixed in stare at the fun they were wishing they too could have. The barrier bulged from the weight of the throng pressing upon it. The elected leader of the Blues, the oldest child, bearing whiskers on the account of being held back a few times, noticed the congregation of caps and eyes affixed on their merriment and approached the misshapen, dreary wall to boldly announce, with a slight crack in his voice, “I demand you tear down this wall!” The entire playground stood stagnant, locked on the stare-off occurring between the multiple heads and the Blue leader. Until, miraculously, hands began pushing through the fortification of miscellaneous twigs, sand, rocks and a bit of snow, and it crumbled into and odd, dusty slump, backed with cheers and hugs. They all sang out in joy, some cried, and the left fieldsman from the Blue team fainted yet again.

But the joy was short lived for the bell rang, signaling the children to return to class. On their way through the white double doors, they were met with their teacher who quickly dusted off their clothes and wiped their faces with her damp thumb. And as the last child entered the large brick building, she laughed and thought to herself, “ Oh, how trivial is child’s play.”

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