We have always lived in the cave, for many generations. Our life here stretches back as the Cave itself is deep. No one has ever explored it to its very end. No one knows if that is even possible. My ancestors sought shelter here, escaping the Great Dark that lives just outside. No one knows what the Great Dark is, just that it was so immeasurably frightening that now, even to look outside the Cave, is certain death.
Throughout my lifetime, no one has ever left the Cave. No one dares, not with the Great Dark. A huge wall at the cave’s opening protects us from it. All we see are shadows on the wall at the end of the first room in the Cave, and all we hear are the thunderous roars. It never leaves. It sits waiting, patiently, for anyone foolish enough to venture without.
There is a story of someone who left and returned. Some say it was true, but because the story says he left and then came back, I think it fable. Nevertheless, truth or myth, the man left. After many journeys to the Holy Place in the Cave, his family mourned him. A rite of Burial was held, and the cries resounded the walls surely to the very end of the Cave.
But then, to everyone’s surprise, he came back. He spoke of a greater Cave outside this one. It was a brilliant blue, he said, and just within it was hung an Orb of Fire that moved across the Great Blue Cave, burning so hotly that it turned the skin red. Then when the Orb of Fire disappeared, it was replaced by another one, one smaller and whiter that too traveled across the Great Cave, which was no longer blue but now black. He spoke of magnificent animals that trod across the Great Cave, huge monstrous beasts whose every move left deep marks in the ground. He spoke of gigantic plants, with leaves so many in number and go great in size that they blocked out the Orb of Fire.
Yet when he was asked about the Great Dark, he laughed and said there was no Great Dark, that the shadows on the wall were the huge plants outside and the roaring was a sound that came from overhead during times when water fell from the Great Blue Cave (which was no longer blue but now grey) to the ground. It was decided that he was mad, and the elders had him put to death.
Since then, no one ventures outside. Not only is it dangerous and deadly, but the Great Dark has the ability to drive a man insane. No one will risk that.