Friday, December 19, 2008

A Dark Place

I push myself up between the last of the boulders. I squeeze through the narrow space, my pack snagging on the edge of a rock and from here, I can already see the mouth of the cave. It yawns its usual mystery toward me, inviting me in. The sun is down and a chill has descended upon us. Us. She doesn't know I am here. Has no idea that I've come. 

I move closer, skirting around the rocks. I don't want her to know I am here until I have clambered inside when it is too late then for her to retreat even further. I edge to the mouth and I can hear a faint whimper, like an animal that is lying in pain. I listen closely and realise it is her. She is crying again. I stare into the darkness, my eyes useless, still affected by light. I pick out vague shadows and something moving along the back wall. 

"Mica?" I call. No answer. I move into the blackness, using the roughened wall as my guide. The whimpering stops and now all I hear is a strange combination of two people breathing, the rhythm all out of synch. I stand in the dark and I wait. She answers after a while.
"Why are you here?" the words push up through her dry gritty throat.
"Mica, it's time to come home..." I say. My words echo a little inside the cave and I wait for her to crawl out of the blackness and into my arms. But she doesn't. She keeps herself pressed against the back wall and the whimpering starts over again.

She refuses my help. I am powerless, and all this is pointless. I shrug off the pack and let it drop to the ground. There's enough food and water to last her a couple of days. I turn and I leave and wonder when this will all come to an end.

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