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   Chapter 6 OVER THE THRESHOLD

The Taàr (Dystopia #01) By John A. Bonello Characters: 7014

Updated: 2018-02-08 12:02


The colossal structure could be seen from every corner of the island, by day and also by night. Apart from the immensity of its proportions, the pure white walls shone bright during the day, reflecting the sun's rays that somehow managed to penetrate the thick clouds. At night, the whole building glowed with a soft bluish light. Because of this, it was easy for them to pick the right direction.

No one spoke as they walked. They kept to secondary roads as much as possible, their ears open for any sound of trouble. Night came upon them quickly, obscuring their vision completely, until all they could see was the bluish column to their north east. The wind blew unrelenting, unceasing.

Ben felt hungry and terribly thirsty. His throat was so parched that he knew he wouldn't be able to speak if he tried. He couldn't help but think that on any other day, by that time, he would have already eaten the daily meal and probably lay down to sleep or to listen to one of Sal's stories. That thinking didn't help, so instead he tried to focus on their current situation.

They were now moving so slowly that they seemed like three toddlers just learning to walk. Or like the three blind mice, Nel said. Did Ben know that story? Ben replied he did not and for a little while, Nel's voice drifted across the pitch black in a low murmur, reciting the ancient rhyme. Then it was back to silent walking. It wasn't possible to move faster–the darkness was solid around them. The boy held the torch light in his hand and every now and then switched it on for a few seconds to point the way. He wouldn't dare leaving it on for longer, as it would draw unwanted attention.

Then all of a sudden, the growling and barking started. Afraid, Ben switched on the light and wished he hadn't. Tens of pairs of ferocious eyes caught the light and shimmered at them from every side. And underneath each green pair of eyes, there was a jaw full of sharp teeth, frothing with anticipation. There was no way to run.

The barking was so loud, the growling a roar. The dogs attacked as one without giving their prey a

actly how to imagine it, although he yearned to see it with his own eyes someday. Perhaps, he thought, from the top of the tower one could look above the clouds. . .

The rubble and destruction stopped suddenly about a mile away from the base of the tower. That base was so wide, that he estimated it would take him from sunup to sundown to go around it.

They came out into an immense empty expanse that the boy noticed immediately had been cleared of everything. The vast emptiness added to the solitude of the place. To their left, dwarfed by the white walls, lay what appeared to be a walled round area. A cemetery, Nel told him, for burying the dead.

The concept was alien to the boy, but he refrained from commenting. This close to the tower his mind was occupied with absorbing the immensity of the building itself.

He felt so small, so insignificant. How had such a construction been built? How long had it taken? How many people had worked on it?

Nel and Karl led him on towards some kind of doorway that looked tiny from a distance. Close up it was wider than the temple he grew up in. Without knocking or doing anything, a much smaller door opened noiselessly within the larger frame. They passed inside.

Ben's last thought as he stepped over the threshold was whether Sal was right in his judgement of the people inside the tower. Now he was going to find out by himself.

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