The Cave. the Hunt

August 27, 2009
By Carlie Hruban SILVER, Baltimore, Maryland
Carlie Hruban SILVER, Baltimore, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

We are on a hunt, and I must remain very still, for fear of frightening the caribou. We need this catch for food; otherwise we might not live past the end of the week. I watch wait, and then make my move. I dive at the caribou, and then try to hit its head. I know the animals well. Their weaknesses, their tendencies. I quickly plunge my spear into its side, then wait as its eyes glaze over, and it falls to the ground. It had no chance. I cornered it. It walked into the trap. The rest of my clan leaps forth, and we make quick work of cutting it into manageable pieces. Now all that remains is to get back to our cave before dark, or else an animal might find us.

We walk in the direction of our home, but as it becomes dark, it appears we won’t make it. We stop as our legs can’t carry us further, and we sit for a minute. Tonight we must find a temporary shelter. Several of us go to explore, as the others rest. Soon we find a cave. I shout to my group. It appears we will be relatively safe tonight.

As we enter the cave, I can smell the limestone and water. The air is cooler here, which will be good for preserving the meat. We drop the meat, then lay down on the wet floor, for a good sleep. I close my eyes, but as the others drift asleep, I am drawn to the depths of the cave. I feel a longing to run into the darkness, yet I know I should not. But the desire gets stronger, and soon I feel as is I will be torn apart unless I go further into the cave, so I go. I hold on to the slimy walls of the cave, so as not to loose my way in the tunnels. I can hear the water dripping, nothing else, but I can’t shake the feeling that I am not alone. It feels as if the cave itself is a living breathing creature. I keep going.

As I continue to go deeper into the cave, I hear running footsteps, then a little giggling laugh. My sister is coming, with several uncles and aunts in tow. Relief washes over me. It will be ok. I tell my family that I need to go further; that I know there is something important in there. They do not listen, but I still continue into the depths. I cannot see anything, but by the feel of the walls and the temperature, I know I should turn back. The temperature is freezing, and the floor and walls feel as if they were crying, the wet dripping down them in little streams. They are so damp. I keep going, walking to the cave, as if drawn by its spirit. I step, again, again, again. I cannot stop. I let go of the wall for a second, then my foot slips. I cry out in surprise. That scream seemed to wake me from my trance. I realize where I am. At that moment I knew I would die. I screamed Louder. I hammered my fists against the walls. I collapsed in a puddle.

After what seemed like hours, I heard shouting in the distance. It must be my family. They will certainly find the way out. I run to the noise, relieved. I start shout, to tell them where I am. Then I realize that their voices have stopped. I realize. They were not screaming about me. My clan has fallen to their deaths. I see them, laying ten feet down. All have their necks broken, their eyes glazed over. I lean over them, wishing it were a dream, a nightmare, but the cave has claimed them. I wait by them. I wish for them to breathe again. But the cave has not willed this to be.

After a very long time, (how long, I do not know) my stomach started to contort in hunger. As the pain stabbed my gut, I knew I should eat my family or die. I reach down to the nearest, and plunge my dagger into his head. To spare you the gory details, I will tell you that, at the end, I was no longer hungry.

Again I felt drawn to the cave. It wanted me to join in my family’s fate. So I continue on. Feeling the spirits of my parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, try to pull me back. But they have died, and are no match for the cave. The cave has been here forever. The cave will never perish. I know I have reached the end of my journey. I sit on the floor of the cave and close my eyes. I do not open them. The cave knows us well. Our weaknesses, our tendencies. It just has to wait for my eyes glaze over, and as I fall to the ground I know. I had no chance. The cave cornered me. I walked into the trap.

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