If Walls Could Talk
By Ugonna Agwu
This is a fantasy story that I wrote in one of our pair sessions. This piece is only the first chapter of a novel I am working on.
After escaping her home, which she hated, Hazel moved into a home with her grandmother.
Although most people wouldn’t see it as a home, to Hazel the house was everything she had ever wished for. It was run down and the exterior looked like it hadn’t been occupied for ages. The loud creaks on the steps always made it seem as if the house was a hideout for a witch, but Hazel always felt at peace when she was there. Ever since she moved in with her grandmother, she had never felt alone. Even after her grandmother died—3 months after she moved in—she always felt like there was someone near watching her.
That was, until she realized she wasn’t alone.
After coming home from the bakery owned by her grandmother’s close friend, Hazel whisked up her favorite meal—tomato soup—with the bread she brought.
As she was cooking, she heard someone say, “Mmm that smells wonderful.” Hazel jumped back in astonishment, grabbed a pan and shrieked, “Who said that!” She took a look around her in search of the intruder, but an empty kitchen stared back at her.
“How can she hear us?”
“I will swing it, I swear,” she threatened.
“Put down the pan, Hazel. No need to get so worked up, you’re gonna hurt yourself.”
“I know how to use a pan, what are you implying? And how do you know my name, who are you, who do you work for!!!”
The voice stayed silent. She screamed in frustration.
“Ok ok, we’ll tell you.”
But then Hazel passed out.
When she woke up, she was in an unfamiliar blank room. She sat there trying to place where she was. But she could only hear voices—a lot of voices.
She scrambled up from the floor. The voices sounded panicked: “Take her to the king!” “She must be executed!” “Who is this?” Hazel didn’t know what to do, but she didn’t scream. She couldn’t.
“How do I get out of here?” she thought.
Then she saw a pair of glasses on the floor and as soon as she put them on, she saw every person in the room. Except they were not quite people: They had skin rough like sandpaper, the color of bluegrass. They were nothing like the creatures you have seen in movies or heard about in books. Their eyes were completely white and teeth brown like wood.
“What are you things? And where am I? What’s going on?”
One replied, crossing its arms, “Umm rude. We are not things.”
Then another replied, “We are wall people, and we live in your walls.”
Hazel burst into laughter. “Wall people? That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!” The room was completely silent.
“Oh, you’re serious.”
One said, “Um boss, when can we kill her off?” and the rest of the crowd muttered in agreement. Then a bigger wall person walked out from between the crowd, and raised his hand which seemed to shut them up. He lifted Hazel up and took a good look at her: “Send her back, she’s no harm.”
Hazel was very frightened. “Please, just take me back home.”
“Alright then.” He proceeded to close his eyes and snap his fingers. She waited, but she was still in the same room. “Can you get me out of here?”
“I’m trying.” He waved his hand but nothing worked. He tried snapping his fingers and used ridiculous words like “alakazam” or “wazoo,” but still nothing happened.
Suddenly everyone panicked and ran. “What’s going on?” she wondered. Someone shouted, “Big boss is coming!” It was complete chaos—with everyone moving in different directions, it could have been easily mistaken for a circus or a mass murder.
Hazel didn’t know what “big boss” meant, but she was pretty sure it wasn’t a good thing, so she started running with the crowd. However, she didn’t make it very far. Something dragged her in the opposite direction.
Before she could react, she was in a beautiful place with stained glass windows and walls drenched with murals.
She noticed a lavender pearl perched in an open oyster right in front of her. It sparkled like it had been washed several times before she got there. The light that reflected off of the pearl was almost blinding. There was a piece of papyrus paper under the pearl with a fancy font written on it. Hazel took the paper and the oyster immediately shut—so quickly that if she had waited any longer, her hand would have been flatter than the paper in front of her. The paper itself was covered in dust, as if it had waited upon Hazel’s arrival for quite some time.
Written inside of it were the words: “Keep your enemies close, and your friends closer.” Hazel knew this was not the original phrase and this confused her a lot. She demanded more information from the pearl, and when the pearl opened again, another piece of paper appeared with four written words: “The oracle has spoken.”
Ugonna Agwu is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Bronx, NY.