You grew up in a small town surrounded by a high wall. It’s a peaceful place, full of cooperation and goodwill. The small domestic scuffles get settled quickly.
The town has its rich and poor, but everyone has enough to eat plus a little extra for the weekend. For the most part everyone is working hard, enjoying the company of family and friends, and getting along.
Except for the gatekeepers.
Armed guards are always on patrol at the wall’s one gate. You cannot see what’s beyond the gate, and you have always been forbidden from passing through it.
Most people don’t talk about the gate: they’re happy with their known lives inside the town. Children sometimes speculate about it, or spend a few hours watching the guards from a safe distance, but almost all of them forget about it as they grow up.
Except for you. You’ve always wanted, in some secret place in your heart, to go through the gate.
Once in a great while someone comes through the gate from the other side for a short visit. These men and women are well-dressed, tall, with good posture and shining faces. When they speak, people listen, and sometimes the whole town changes in response to their persuasive arguments.
The gate must lead, you decide, to a chamber of power. You become ever more convinced that you must get through.
You become obsessed. You try to convince the gatekeepers, try to bribe them, try to force your way through. Nothing works. You become angry at the gatekeepers: who are they to deny you?
In your rage you decide to conduct a thorough survey of the walls to try and find another path. In an abandoned corner of the town, part of the wall has collapsed, and you realize that it might just be possible – if you can reach the top of the rubble and plant your feet just right – you reach the top! But that same moment, before you can look around, you slip and fall off.
When you come to, you can see the high wall of the town from the outside for the first time, see the smoke rising from the warm hearths within. Come to think of it, you’re cold. And hungry. Where are you?
There’s nothing else outside the walls, just you and the wildness. No more gates protect you from the wolves and the forces of night. The thing you sought is out there, somewhere.