Based on news cases where people are discovered who have been locked up for the entirety of their lives, a short story written for a creative writing class.
I wondered what it would be like, and tried to get into the mind of someone in that situation. The last part and title were inspired heavily by RD’s own “The beautiful world.”
Without a single soul in sight, I lied down waiting for my friends, looking at what I’m sure to be the sun. From what little I’ve read, it’s said to be the brightest thing shining upon us. My eyes growing weak, I turned to the side and instead decided to look at my gallery of pictures carved into the wall. Art is one of my pastimes. There’s not much else to do around here, after all.
All I do is draw, talk, and think. Especially think. Though it’s not much, this place is all I’ve ever known. The cool air, the damp ground, it’s all here. Yes, surrounded by these four walls and roofed by this ceiling, this is my world.
The only things that make up this space are the cracked white walls decorated with my carvings, the dirtied grey floor, and the wooden ceiling, filled with a few small stones which I use as art utensils. Of course, I can’t forget the clearly aged locked door with white paint beginning to chip off either. My mother says that she’s protecting me by keeping me here, though I’m not sure what exactly I’m being protected from. What evils could lurk beyond? I can only imagine. She gives me food and water and occasionally keeps me company though, so I trust her. In the end, all I’ve ever learned is thanks to her, so what else can I do?
Suddenly, with a brief flicker, the light turned off, thus came the end of daylight.
As I lied on my side, I felt a tingle in my hand. One of my friends finally arrived! I can tell by the sensation that it’s the spider this time.
“It’s been a long time since I last saw you. Where did you go?” I inquired.
“The outside world. We go there a lot on business,” the spider responded.
“Tell me about it. I want to know more,” I begged.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. If you’re so inclined to see it, why don’t you take a look yourself?”
“Take a look myself? I can’t possibly —”
“Suit yourself, kid,” the spider interrupted, “are you really fine spending your whole life here? What if you’ve only been fed lies?”
Unable to come up with a response, I simply dodged the question and said “My mother says that I’m not supposed to be talking with you— that spiders aren’t supposed to talk.”
“Why wouldn’t I talk? I’m part of you,” the spider declared. There was a brief silence before the spider continued. “Look, all I’m saying is something good could be waiting out there. A single peek won’t hurt.”
My thoughts and feelings clashed. At a loss for words, I couldn’t say a thing back to him. The spider started walking away, but with a couple of final words, told me to think about what it said carefully.
That day, the spider piqued my curiosity. What really is out there? How could I get there? I had to come up with a plan. I always saw mother putting the key in her pocket after unlocking the door when she comes in, so perhaps I could snatch it next time she brings in food.
It was a long wait for her to come. It felt longer than the entirety of my life living here, but soon enough, she surely did, putting her key in her pocket as usual. Right after she came in, I had to ask,
“What is it that’s so evil about the world, such that you keep me here?”
to which she responded by saying: “Humanity.”
“When you were young, not much older than just a baby, you were kidnapped. They stole you from me. They would have hurt you to their vile hearts’ content and then killed you, if I hadn’t found you in time. After that, I swore to never to allow you to be in danger’s way again.”
After giving a heartfelt speech, she put down my food, then looked deeply into my eyes. She then hugged me and whispered in my ear “you’re all I have left.” At that very moment, I knew what I had to do and picked the key out of her pocket. Just a peek, right? Surely that much is okay.
Shortly after, she left, and I was alone again. The time had come. I had to be quiet. Gently I turned the key, and opened the door with a small creak. I cringed at the sound and froze in fear, but it merely echoed in vain. On my tiptoes, I creeped out, leaving the door open behind me. Just in front of where I left was another door, with shoes and a mat at its base. Something about the door drew me closer to it, as if it was calling me.
Upon opening ― the world expands.
One step and I lose my breath.
Two steps and I start to smile.
Three steps and my brain lights up.
Four steps and I’m in wonderland.
How wonderful! Colours unimaginably vivid pierce my eyes. Some of which I have never seen.
How lovely! A sweet aroma reaches my nose. One that could put that of any food I ate to shame.
How pleasant! The soil beneath my feet provides a footing so soft that I let myself fall into it.
How warm! I look up and see a light so brilliant that I wonder if it could ever go out.
Even if it’s dangerous, even if it’s my fate to someday perish out here, I will turn my back on everything I ever knew and be part of this beautiful world.