The Cave Dweller

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old woman living in a cave, all alone, and no one cares or wonders why.?

Submitted: November 16, 2015

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Submitted: November 16, 2015

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Just outside of a sleepy Mexican village lives an old woman that has no name. No one remembers if she was born in the area because she is older than the oldest villagers. And no one can remember anyone using a name when talking about her.

The old woman lives in a sandstone cave and the only clothes she seems to have are animal skins.

The villagers imagine that the skins are as old as she is and that she has been wearing them forever.

The cave is in the hills and near an underground stream.

The stream exits the ground near her cave and has created a large pond that is the source of a small waterfall.

When the Sun first peeks over the horizon the old woman exits her cave and she sits herself down on a stone that looks much like a bench. She has sat in that same spot for so long that the imprint of her backside shows in the surface.

Apparently the old woman uses the early morning Sunlight to warm herself, so say the villagers, because some have seen her shivering when she exits the cave in the morning.

In the heat of the day the children of the village come to play in the pond, that is, if they have no school or chores to do.

By noon the trees near the pond shade the old woman's seat and she naps.

The children leave the old woman alone and they try to be as quiet as possible when she naps.

The children have been told by their parents to be respectful. But they have also been told to stay out of arms reach, so they take that to mean that the old woman might be dangerous, or crazy.

She is old and slow, so the children are sure that they can get away from her if she came after them, which she has never done.

Another thing that bothers the villagers, it is the fact that this woman has never bought, or grown, any food that they are aware of.

The children have seen her picking wild berries, from time to time, but not enough to keep that old woman alive.

When the fruit season comes, the old woman can be seen picking avocados, apples, and pears from the low branches of the orchards, but she can't carry much so the farmers say nothing to her.

The lack of her having a steady source of food was a mystery and many stories have come to life about her food sources; some are not pleasant stories, others border on magic.

 

One hot summer day three small children were playing in the pond. Their older sisters had gone to get food so that they could have a pick-nick at the pond.

Suddenly, a large male wolf appeared on a bolder overlooking the pond. He was intently looking at the children and must not have noticed, or cared, that the old woman was seated nearby.

The wolf was looking at the children the way a predator looks at prey, ears back and head low.

He started moving down the slop of the bolder, his teeth in full view and saliva drooling from his mouth. He started to growl!

The children were terrified and clinging to one another. They were screaming out their sister's names and trying to hide, but there was no place to go!

Suddenly the wolf cried out in pain and then he fell down the side of the bolder!

The children were shocked.

They could see a thin rod of wood, with feathers on the end, sticking out of the wolf's neck. The children didn't think that the wolf was dead because it was trembling, yet unable to move. 

They saw the old woman pushed something into the end of her walking stick as she arose from her seat. And with much effort she slowly walked over to the wolf and grabbed it by a hind leg, dragging it into her cave. 

The three young children scurried out of the pond and ran for home. 

 

Well, the children told their Mama and Papa what had happened, but the older sisters denied that they were ever left alone at the pond. The sisters said that the three had made up the whole story.

"That's a silly story," the sisters countered, "How could that old woman kill a full grown wolf with no weapon, let alone, have the strength to drag it all the way into that cave of hers?"

Mama and Papa were happy to have their children safe, so they just counted the story as part of their daughter's vivid imaginations; they told stories often.

 

That night the pond ran red with blood, but by morning the spring will wash the red away as it has done so many times in the past.

So many times, from the time when this old woman was young and traveling to a place called America with her parents. They thought that they would live better lives there, free from the murderers that had invaded their forest, killed  friends and other family members, and taken their brother's daughters.

Her parents had heard stories of the great forests in America where the government did not allow men to cut the trees for farmland. So they traveled north in hopes of finding America and to live there in peace.

The journey was long and dangerous, and they had to travel through strange lands that they were not familiar with. Her father had learned Spanish from the missionaries, but he was the only one in the family. 

Then came that terrible day that her parents were shot by robbers, but she was hiding and escaped.

She has been alone ever sense, in this strange land and unable to talk to anyone.

She has had only herself and what her parents taught her to survive; and survive she did.

It is a good thing that the spring runs, exposed, through a section of the cave. It makes a handy place to net fish without going to the pond.

But there will be no fishing tonight, this old Amazon woman will eat wolf instead. The smell of it roasting on her meager fire is a welcome diversion from the fish, snake, rabbit, and the occasional Opossum.

And as for the cold that will come with this winter, well there is an additional wolf hide for her bed; it dries by the fire.

 

D. Thurmond / JEF  --- 11-15-2015


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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