Book of Days: August 11, The Fortress

The hedge, it cannot be stressed enough, was not there for aesthetic reasons. It was purely functional, grown large and thick, serving as good a barrier between the Jordan House and its neighbours as the moats of old. Children had, over the years, attempted to cross it to retrieve lost frisbees and balls, but lost they remained, for the hedge was wider than a child and taller than an adult.

There must be, they reasoned, an entrance. What good was a hedge if even those who lived in the house could not pass it? But though they circled the house again and again, they never once saw the way in. To the neighbour children, the hedge was impenetrable, without even the slightest weakness to allow them to crawl beneath the branches and retrieve their lost treasures.

When the day came that Percival, usually so precise with both his pitches and his hits, struck an uncharacteristic foul ball over the Jordan House hedge, his siblings told him to accept the ball as lost. He would not. Though it was a baseball, as ordinary as any other, it had been given as a birthday present, and Percival would not let it go without trying.

Instead, he did as others before him had done, and circled the Jordan House looking for the entrance. When he found none, as everyone else had found none, his siblings again tried to have him leave off, but still he persisted. 

“It cannot have no entrance,” he reasoned. “Someone lives there.”

This, it must be said, was a point of contention among the neighbourhood children. Theoretically, the house had residents. This theory, however, was a based on the fact the house had never once been sold, nor had a For Sale sign ever appeared on its lawn in the long memory of those who had grown up to raise their own children on the street. Never once had anyone seen the residents of Jordan House, and this was as good evidence as any that none existed.

Percival decided to test the theory. He reasoned, quite correctly, that if there were residents and they never left, then someone must, at times, go in. There would be mail, groceries, any number of things one needed inside a house one never left.

His youngest sister, when he brought up the food, suggested the Jordan House might have a garden on the other side of the hedge. “They know how to make things grow,” she added. “The hedge is really healthy.”

This last was accompanied by a look to the hedge in question, whose branches were strong and whose leaves were green and vibrant. It seemed reasonable that any who might keep the hedge in such condition—and they had never seen anyone come from outside to care for it—would also be able to grow their own food.

“All the same,” Percival said. “Someone must come by. We’re going to watch and wait.” Percival, when focused on a task, could be as patient as time itself, and so he and his siblings began to keep watch on the Jordan House, submitting it to a scrutiny it had never before experienced.

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by | Aug 11, 2021