Photo © Lars via Google Maps
When I was ten, I followed Mother through new tunnels, navigating by sound. I wrote the path on my inner eyelids, an ever-growing map.
I covered my eyes against a distant glow, until it grew overwhelming. She dragged me around the last corner.
“You must look,” she prodded. “You must face temptation, understand what it means to embrace Mabbadeg.”
Searing sunlight violated the tunnel’s gaping maw. Beyond that: limitless, anchorless nothingness. Why would anyone choose that over our sacred caves? And then…
* * *
After years self-exiled in a world dominated by unrelenting sky, I still get anxious. I cower under roofs and trees, anything to hold me down.
The sun glares accusingly, symbol of my sins: disloyalty, heresy.
Now I watch the entrance, praying for reconciliation, forgiveness.
For a guide.
I cannot venture back alone. My broken heart cannot hear the stone-beat, and when I close my eyes, I see nothing.
Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw prompt. Thanks as always to Josh and Karen for hosting this fun flash fiction challenge! This week, Pegman takes us to Santo Tomás, España. The wonderful shot I discovered is in Cova des Coloms — or translated, Cave of the Pigeons. Click the link above to see what images of this gorgeous region of Spain the other writers found to inspire them — and join in if you feel like it. All are welcome!
Note that the title refers to two meanings of “lie”: both the misleading falsehood definition, and the definition referring to position or situation, more often said as ‘lay,” e.g., “lay of the land.”
Worldbuilding note: The various religions of Mabbadeg, a deity of stone and mountain, darkness and earth, secrets and burial, are some of my favorites. One of the teachings of the primary Mabbadeg sects is that in the beginning there was only underground and darkness; the god only begrudgingly gave humans the sun because they were weak and unable to live up to his expectations. Thus the more worshipers can make do in the darkness (especially underground), the holier they believe themselves to be. Few worshipers live underground all or even most of the time — this narrator comes from one of the more extreme factions. And even then, they venture outside at night to hunt and gather. What did he do to exile himself, and why? Hmm, I have so many ideas…