Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Infant and The Cave By Edward McLaren

The Infant and the Cave



Within the fractured hemisphere of the cave, a child lived and played betwixt the neap and the tethered structures he had set about making the day before. Tires and glasses, shattered or straddled with the friction of their work, bound with chord and made into the playthings of the infant; such was the skill of the child that with tape and tether he could bend their forms into whatever shape he desired- in the corner of the dugout lay a doll, a badge tied to it: birthed by this very process.

The child would take it sometimes and tour it through his home and he would speak for it as he did so. Often, he would give the doll a history of its own as a way to pass the time. Sometimes he would beat the doll and he would do it as if disciplining the thing. And always when he did so, he would project a relative onto it, an aunt, perhaps a sibling or grandparent: these were the characters meant to take the blame for his situation. On one occasion a godfather had been invented; generally, he did not mind what name he gave to the doll, long as he was made docile as a result of it or that his boredom was attended to. And he became bored many times.

Then, there came a ringing noise at the back of the cave: a rare phenomenon in such a place. The child turned to listen. He placed an ear against the wall as it sounded again and when it did, he knew its source lay beyond the tunnels he was familiar with. The child sat and thought as the noise died down. As this sound was so bizarre and foreign to him, could it have been that this was a frequency or echo made from the world outside? He had never known the world, nor could he think what it would be there and what it would feel like to inhabit. He did though, have fragments of memory in place of that knowledge: pieces of information, however tainted by nostalgia that had made him certain of the outside’s existence; even if he could not fathom it after so long had passed. Still, it seemed that chasing the noise was somewhat justified to him for, in a place so constricting, he’d little else to do but procrastinate his hunger with games while the moss sustaining him dwindled on the walls.

He took up a stick in his harms and used it to test the stalactites overhead and when they remained in place, he continued his trail through the shafts and crevices in the rock. And he did so until he came upon a crack or mouth. A gap in the walls as if it were a gateway of sorts. The child place a crept forward and he felt the warm of the light. He dared not go out there: the enigma he believed it was.


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