Monday, October 6, 2008

THE ALL E. GORY of the C.A.V.E.

I don’t know how many of us there were total, but we were moving.  Walking in groups of thirty or forty and unevenly spaced.  The place we were in was a cavern or a bunker and very wide and dark.  I couldn’t see the edges or the ceiling but I had a feeling it was lower than I thought.  The negligent light came from little strips on the ground.  I couldn’t remember why I was there and I was beginning to wonder why I didn’t have an urge to get out of there.  I remember something about not liking crowds.  Nothing else came to mind.  

The people around me seemed like they were in a trance of some kind.  They didn’t look at each other and didn’t notice me looking at them.  It seemed as though we were all close to the same height.  I saw the other groups through spaces between the others in my little group.  They behaved the same way.  A steady rhythmic shuffle, following the little dim lights on the floor.  I realized we were all wearing the same clothing, or at least the same color clothing, like a uniform I guess.  I knew what a uniform was, but I couldn’t remember ever seeing one.  I couldn’t remember my name.  I knew I was human.  I knew that.

I couldn’t say how long I observed all of this taking place.  I couldn’t be sure any of it was taking place at all.  It was like waking up to darkness.  The strangeness of it didn’t reach me, only the gloom.  I had nothing to compare it to.  I was starting to feel frightened.

There were mostly men in my group but I saw some women.  Maybe five or so.  They all looked about my age.  But I didn’t remember what my age was.  I felt blank and tired.  I felt like I had to keep moving.  

I craned my neck to try to see ahead of us and I saw a man in the center of another group hopping up and down every few steps.  He was looking too.  He’d woken up as well I guess.  
We both hopped up at the same time and he was looking at my group.  He saw me.  We both jumped again and I heard him faintly calling.  

It hadn’t occurred to me that I could barely hear anything and that the people walking next to me made no noise.  That’s when I noticed the earplugs.  I reached up and touched my right ear and immediately felt a searing pain rush through my body.  I wanted to stop, but my body kept moving.  I looked through the forest of shoulders over where I thought the jumping guy’s group was.  
I had a sense of something moving over head.  I felt a vibration in the floor.  And I swear I saw something moving on the ceiling.  Some sort of mass about 15 feet above me moved very fast and hovered near the jumper’s group.  I thought I heard him.  I jumped and tried to look.  

I saw tendrils from the ceiling envelope the group, which continued to ignore the man and still managed to keep pace with ours.  The tendrils made no noise and I somehow felt no fear, like all of this was meant to be.  I looked around at my group and no one seemed to be paying any attention.  They were asleep or something.  

The tendrils coiled back up into the ceiling.  I think that I saw a body go up with them.  I can’t be sure.