What Walls Do

barbed wire curled around a fence post

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

“Back then it was just a barbed wire fence.”

Liberty tipped his head and squinted at the top of the blood-smeared wall. “How tall is it again? I never remember.”

I shrugged. “Hundred feet. Maybe twice that.”

For a minute we watched four refugees struggle at the postern, where someone had hammered in rail spikes almost halfway up. The guard had yet to take it down. Rumor was six people got over on Sunday. But this family would never make it. Not with a baby.

“Why’d they build it anyway?”

“Well son, back then it was to keep people out.”

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the generous & talented Rochelle Wisoff Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Madison Woods. To read more 100-word flash fiction or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button.

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  1. A great switcharound. Of course even further back then that’s exactly what frontiers were for – keeping people in, rather than keeping others out

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh that is great. And timely! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so love that last line… and I still remember walls to keep people in that has been torn down. Isn’t that how it always turn?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Karen,

    Times change, people don’t I fear. Tense and powerful. Good one.



    Liked by 1 person

  5. Walls and wires
    Protection mentality
    Survival of the fittest
    Are we men or beasts?

    Your story triggered this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s great!


  6. Mike

    Such a great last line, and very current

    Liked by 1 person

  7. peterkirsch

    Very prescient. A fitting commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gahlearner

    Tribalism at its finest. We learn nothing from the past. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. IfeomaO

    And now what do walls do. love the title, wasn’t a dead give away for the story which was well written. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mickwynn2013

    Great story and so true.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mandibelle16

    “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall . . . Spring is the mischief in me, why do good fences make good neighbours? Before I built a wall I’d ask what I was walling in and walling out? And to whom I was like to give offence? Good fences make good neighbours.” – Frost

    Whenever I hear Trump or whoever talking about building walls of any kind I think of this poem. It is one of my absolute favourites and teaches such vital lessons.

    Great story. Very relevant as people have said.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. interesting point of view. well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Topical take, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nice last line. Walls work both ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a timely piece! I despise the notion, but I’m certain many do not. Walls are meant to be climbed, aren’t they? Lol


  16. It seems to me walls can do two things. The story made it clear.
    Good work, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Josslyn Rae Turner

    I love the dialogue between parent and child. Dreadful answers to innocent questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wonderfully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh I like that twist with the inference that now the wall is too keep them in. I wonder if ever we do build a wall in this country will there be a time when Americans want to get to Mexico?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This line: ““Well son, back then it was to keep people out” is the first moment I see America’s border-wall as negative. Thank you for offering a bit of reason to bulk ideals.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. There’s a lot of story tucked into these few words. Well done, Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Karen,

    I especially like your use of “back then” in this. We need to be so careful what we institute today. Tomorrow is coming.


    Liked by 1 person

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