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The path home

Of course I hate it here. I was clubbed over the head and dragged unconscious by my hair to this god-forsaken cave by a stranger. I suspect you’d hate it too. There was a time when I was a fetching young Neanderthal living in the forest and now I’m trapped in this rocky expanse with a Cro Magnon of all things. His skin is so much darker than mine, I honestly don’t even understand what he sees in me. Or maybe he was so high on mammoth blood the day he first encountered and assaulted me that he made a mistake that he now refuses to admit. Who knows? It’s not like we speak the same language.

Now I spend my days toiling with the children and gathering nuts and berries for food, just like the other women, though they completely shun me. Diversity is not a high priority in this community. So I fan out in ever-widening circles each day in solitude, hoping to stumble upon a way out of here. I’ve considered harming my unchosen mate to escape, but he’s so much larger than me that tripping him over the cliff edge or bludgeoning him with a rock would surely hurt me more than him in the end. Instead, I’ve methodically mapped out the surrounding area in search of something familiar, some hint of home. It’s always felt so useless, so empty, but it’s all I have, whether he’s out hunting with the boys or anything else. Hope.

Then yesterday morning amongst the scrags further toward where the sun appears each day than I’d ever been before, I heard a familiar chirping. Dropping my crude basket and hurriedly gathering the babies, I rushed toward a bush not far away. In my haste I spooked the bird, but as I watched it fly over a ridge in the distance, I knew that was where I must go. Surely that way lies normalcy, escape, refuge. Home. Then the boy began to cry, so I turned back, with a tinge of regret but absolute purpose, for I knew the future. Hope doesn’t work if it’s inert.

As soon as he departs tomorrow, I’ll kill my babies by crushing their skulls. They deserve better, yes, but they’re sure to starve or die tens of ways on the journey I’m undertaking, and this is honestly just simpler for me to absorb. They’re gone, but so is my Magnon, and I need nothing more than liberation from this hell at any cost, even my children. I can summit that ridge much earlier alone tomorrow, and come what may from there. I merely seek the privilege to return home.

Imprisonment is a funny thing. You learn the most about the business of freedom when you’re denied it, and only truly understand the stakes when faced with the abyss of time and uncertainty. I’m running away and writing history too. For myself.

Categories: satan
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