Somewhere underground, a young boy looked around questioningly, seemingly searching for something that was once his. The multitude of questions presenting themselves to the boy would be enough to confuse the wisest of men, however, one question identified itself as the most immediate cause of concern.
”Who am I? ”
The question alone would seem like an obvious joke to some, and unhinged ramblings to others. But the fact remains that all intelligent beings require some semblance of identity, and being unable to at least identify your own name would be terrifying for anything capable of conscious thought. The boy began breathing heavily, his frail body creaking with every inhale.
Still desperately thinking of his identity, the boy could not find an answer. Without anything coming to mind, he persisted, as he felt as though he had a name. After some time, he began to think logically. Even while his existence was weakening, as though he was but a fraction of who he was, with a gargantuan hole in his chest.
”I can remember how to walk, talk, breathe and the most advanced human behaviour and teachings, but my name and life evade me. ”
The boy began to think harder until the strain on his mind gave him a sharp pain behind his eyes. Failing this, the boy takes the time to comprehend his current situation. He needed to figure out where he was, and why he was there. Where logic failed, his instincts took up the slack. They provided him with both desperation and hopelessness, all the same.
The next issue to tackle was survival. He had to survive. His stomach churned and trashed, and his throat was crackling with each breath. He did not yet realise but he was starving, slowly but surely.
Slowly leveraging himself with the ground to get to his feet, he took a slow, but careful turn. He begins to inspect his surroundings carefully; his first thought was finding out where the light was coming from.
Looking above, sunlight invaded the space via a small opening overhead. The sunlight was powerful, but it was dispersed meagrely into the dark. Like a flashlight with low batteries, the light was dim and faint.
From his initial inspection, he began to try to figure out the structure of where he held. He surmised he was in a cave; he could make out a vast number of surfaces and deformities all around him, and even larger, darker, figures on the roof. Adding to this, the smell of stone and dampness presented itself whenever he breathed in deeply.
Stone adorned most of the visible surface, while the ground was bare slate littered with large patches of dirt. Cracks and small ferns carpeted the centre of the cavern towards the south, beneath his own bare feet. He surmised that he was in a large circular cavern with jagged stalactites hanging ominously overhead. He designated the fern area beneath the light the centre of the cavern, as it was equal distance from the north, east and west. While it rested just beside the southern wall, he felt as though it was safer under the protection of light.
His conclusion about his new abode was further concreted by how the light interacted with the surfaces. The only fully visible wall was the southern wall, due to the way the light reflected on the stone. The light reflected from the southern wall and hit numerous edges in the surroundings and structure to the dark in the distance. The walls in each direction were extremely dark but slightly visible. Whereas, the area between the centre and the outer wall was nothing but extreme, consuming darkness.
Listening out, he could hear faint scampering in the dark, and frequent light taps along the ground, towards the outer circumference of the cave. He should be worried about these noises, but the situation called for rationality, even while his sense of self was slowly failing him. But for now, he put this matter to the side, as judging by the lightness of the taps, the origin of these sounds was extremely light and did not sound like something potentially dangerous.
He then began to take inventory of everything he currently possessed on himself. He was currently outfitted in what appeared to be pyjamas. Green dinosaurs were present on both the shirt and trousers he was wearing. His pocket contents did not answer as they held no secrets or truths within the depths of his pockets. The outfit was tight and the size on the inner tag was not present within the waistband. More questions, and even fewer answers.
”At least they
e comfortable. ”
Touching his face, the boy tried to approximate his age. His face held no obvious hints about himself, so instead turning his attention to his hair. His first thought was that his hair was extremely thick and long. It cascaded down to the middle of his back, the most he could work out was that his hair was either dark brown or black with the light available. This did not help.
He tried to think of every possible circumstance to what had led him here. Amnesia? It would have to be extremely selective regarding his memories, only targeting his person and not what he had learned. So, he had effectively removed this from the equation. He thought of as many things as he could. He could remember history, science, maths and English. He could recall any knowledge he had consumed. He could not remember where he learned of such things, he only knows them. He knew he was a human, but what did a human look like?
Sitting back on the ferns beneath himself, he began to cry. His palms were pressed harshly into his eye sockets as he broke down. He had no answers to even a single question he held, and the more he tried to solve them, the worse they consumed him. The sounds of the cavern accompanied his whimpers, seemingly falling into a crescendo of pity for the young boy. After seemingly hours passed, he stopped crying and got to his feet weakly. His own body convinced him to move, to walk. He was starving. Forced to fight for survival, he began walking around. Nothing was to be solved by simply waiting.
From the southern centre of the cavern, every step away made it harder to see, and even harder to remain rational. Remembering the basic human needs, he knew he needed both food and water to survive, everything else could come later. The boy kept the centre of the cavern in his vision at all times, as the faint light on the greenery was almost a beacon to find his way back at all times. Or so he thought at the time.
He cautiously followed the sounds of the assumed insects around, to find nothing. Small rocks, stones and gravel were all he managed to collect in his pockets, but even those felt like a win for him. He knew rocks were the cornerstone of primitive tools and structures, his naivety gave him hope, even in a situation such as his own. Wandering for a long time, he managed to only find more stone and considerably less hope as time went by.
After a quick sweep of the innermost circumference of the cavern, surrounding the centre fern patch, he scavenged but a few items. Five larger pieces of broken slate, three smaller yet sharper rocks and a handful of coarse gravel, his spoils of war. This scouting expedition fully concluded the fact that he was in a cave, and there was no way out visible. Even his earlier excitement about his stones seemed childish and sad to him now.
He decided to head for the centre, to deposit his stones, before continuing deeper away from the light. But he needed courage for that, and that was in short supply.
Stumbling over a rock he did not spot in time, a small shadow rapidly darted out from the underside of the overturned stone. It ran manically towards the ferns, trying its hardest to escape the clutches of the boy.
Despite his positive outlook being destroyed by his findings, he still needed to eat, and soon. He ran towards the ferns, and he desperately peered underneath every fern and plant. His actions became more erratic and frenzied with each mi
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