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The Child in the Cave

by ShallowHouse


     An ugly darkness. Heavy rain. Wind and dust bashed against branches and rocks that could scratch or even cut skin.

     A child curled up in a nearby cave, his clothes tattered and his stomach groaning. He took a berry from his pocket and ate it. After a pained gulp, he sighed and patted his tummy.

     As he slept, a blinding light shone against the child’s eyes. He woke up to the sound of rain, followed by a clap of thunder.

     He gasped in surprise as the thunder rang through his ears. He cowered to a deep corner of the cave, cupping his hands over his ears as he slept once more…

     The next day, still, it rained. The child was trembling from the freezing cold as he rubbed his shoulders in hopes of warmth. His stomach, no longer rumbling, but was still in painful silence. He saw a figure in the distance from the opening of the cave, slowly growing larger and larger.

     There could be only one person who knew about the cave.

     The child smiled, and waved to the figure, tears running down his face as if it were soaked in the rain.

     At least, that was what he had wished had happened. The dreams of the child were mere wisps of hopeful thinking. His mother had left him there to find help, for it had been raining for days. For how long, he did not know. Someone of his age had no concept of time. And yet for him, it seemed like a minute had passed but felt like an eternity had taken its toll on his body.

     He needed to go out and seek help. But he could not. He was too hungry to move, too tired to open his eyes. All he could do was sleep.

     Suddenly, he heard his mother sing. It felt like a dream. And after a while, to him, it was definitely a dream. A dream where the sun had shone, the plants were green, birds tweet and sing and insects fly all around him. And in the distance clear as day, his mother was bringing him a basket of food. And he ate his fill.

     The last thing he saw was his mother gazing into his eyes, and all he can see is love. And all he could do was stare back. And smile.

     And the boy looked at his mother, one last time, before he closed his eyes in his own dream and slept once more, for the last time…


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Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:38 pm
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This is quite the piece here. For something this short and this simple, it packs in some really powerful emotion there and I think you end up really driving home a rather powerful little package of emotion here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

An ugly darkness. Heavy rain. Wind and dust bashed against branches and rocks that could scratch or even cut skin.

A child curled up in a nearby cave, his clothes tattered and his stomach groaning. He took a berry from his pocket and ate it. After a pained gulp, he sighed and patted his tummy.

As he slept, a blinding light shone against the child’s eyes. He woke up to the sound of rain, followed by a clap of thunder.

He gasped in surprise as the thunder rang through his ears. He cowered to a deep corner of the cave, cupping his hands over his ears as he slept once more…


This is a lovely opening here. There's something about the way you just sort of repeat that opening in this matter of fact fashion that feels a little bit like a recounting of a story from a narrator even though it appears to somewhat be also from the child's perspective that really manages to hit quite the note within this story.

The next day, still, it rained. The child was trembling from the freezing cold as he rubbed his shoulders in hopes of warmth. His stomach, no longer rumbling, but was still in painful silence. He saw a figure in the distance from the opening of the cave, slowly growing larger and larger.

There could be only one person who knew about the cave.

The child smiled, and waved to the figure, tears running down his face as if it were soaked in the rain.


I like the way you establishing this two. Combined with that effect you manage to create from earlier this really meshes very well to set the atmosphere for this story and really strengthen those stakes as well. We'll see where this ends up going here.

At least, that was what he had wished had happened. The dreams of the child were mere wisps of hopeful thinking. His mother had left him there to find help, for it had been raining for days. For how long, he did not know. Someone of his age had no concept of time. And yet for him, it seemed like a minute had passed but felt like an eternity had taken its toll on his body.

He needed to go out and seek help. But he could not. He was too hungry to move, too tired to open his eyes. All he could do was sleep.

Suddenly, he heard his mother sing. It felt like a dream. And after a while, to him, it was definitely a dream. A dream where the sun had shone, the plants were green, birds tweet and sing and insects fly all around him. And in the distance clear as day, his mother was bringing him a basket of food. And he ate his fill.


This is a really powerful moment here. It seems like we're going towards sort of this person ending up dying there judging from the sort of context there and even in such a short story you build enough emotion there to really hit us hard there. I think you do very well with the tone and these descriptions especially to show these moments coming through.

The last thing he saw was his mother gazing into his eyes, and all he can see is love. And all he could do was stare back. And smile.

And the boy looked at his mother, one last time, before he closed his eyes in his own dream and slept once more, for the last time…


Well that's a very bittersweet ending there because it does confirm exactly what really happened there but the child getting happiness and comfort in the end is of course something that absolutely is very wholesome and I love the duality that ends up creating for this.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think its a very solid piece here. It does what it sets out to do really quite well and has us connect so strongly even while using so little and I just adore that. I think you've really go quite something here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate




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Sat Jan 14, 2023 9:28 am
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White123 wrote a review...



Hello,here is a review




I am reading your short story for the first time.You explain your thoughts very well. Whole scenario is so good.I hope you show that the child was in heaven. It's only a dream.He wants that his mother came back for him. She also brings food for him. Child has the hope that his mother came back. You also add some other things that explain story very well. Otherwise it's a great story because it's structure told all the things




ShallowHouse says...


Oh, thank you for the review! Yes, I did find it lacking as is, but I decided to post it anyway just for the sake of having to put one out there. It's an old story, anyway, but still, thank you so much!



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Fri Jan 13, 2023 8:44 pm
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wilsonsimpkins says...



So after reading this I have to say your attention to detail and structure is excellent. I'm currently trying to write something similar and I have to say this has inspired me. I'm a novice writer who started in late 2020 and have made improvements and am currently stuck going from forum to forum; this one in particular has really improved my view on things. you sir deserved a bow.




ShallowHouse says...


It's so nice of you to say that! I'm glad you found inspiration from this work of mine!

Good luck on your writings! I'll be looking forward to what you make!
Keep on keeping on!



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Wed Jan 11, 2023 8:51 am
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DreamyAlice wrote a review...



Hey there, Alice is here for a review!

This was the first time I read one of your works and your way of writing is very beautiful. I loved the description of the surroundings and it set the mood and tone of the story well. For some, the idea of your vague storytelling may come as disappointing, but it seems to me a good story that people can interpret, and it's more captivating this way. The aura and the way you structured the story are also nice. And there are no grammatical errors as far as one can see, it's amazing. Would love to read more of your work in the future!

Keep Writing👍




ShallowHouse says...


Hullo, Alice!

Thank you for reading my work, and I'm glad you like it! It's an old one, but I hope to write more in the future! In the meantime, you might like my other short stories, or Valor, or Glitter!

<3 <3 <3



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Tue Jan 10, 2023 5:41 pm
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loveissourgrapes wrote a review...



Hi, hello there! This is Ina speaking. I am here to give you a quick comment/review of your tale. Anyways, let's through it.

I love the description of the child being in pain living in a cave and hungry because his mother left him. The line: "The next day, still, it rained." I think it would be better if you lessened the commas and just make it, "the next day, it still rained." And I have questions for the following paragraphs after this line:

1. Why did his mother leave him in a cave?
2. Was it a dream or in real life when his mother fed him and sang?
3. What are his wishes, thoughts, and dreams when he was in the cave?

I think you should add dialogue or at least the thoughts of the child when he was in the cave and when he saw his mother appear.

I hope this helps. The plot of the story was good though. It has potential, you just need to fix it a little. It felt like a children's book I pulled out of a bookstore. Have a wonderful morning, day, afternoon, or night.




ShallowHouse says...


Hi, Ina!
Thank you for reading this, it's an old work and I wanted to post it because I really had to get back to this good ol' site!

I wrote "The next day, still, it rained." as more of a style over grammar thing! As for your questions:
1. the reason his mother left him in the cave is shelter. It might be cold and damp, but it's shelter!
2. It was... a glimpse of Heaven, more or less. He was teetering on the edge at that point.
3. Most likely, for the rain to stop, for his mother to come back, and to have food.

I wanted to have a Grave of the Fireflies feel, but bleaker.

That's all! If you liked this one, maybe you'd like my other stuff? Like short stories?

Also, would you like a review on your works? What do you recommend?



loveissourgrapes says...


Thank you for answering! I would like to read your writings too. Don't worry, I will and I like your stuff c:. A writing of mine I would recommend is "I will Love You For the Rest of My Life" for a poem but a story, hmmm, maybe "The Yellow Alarm Clock" or "Wonderful". Feel free to check out all of it if you are interested. See you around!




"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."
— Lewis Carroll