Unsing the World

Erica was leading Joseph down into the old cave outside of town. Everybody in town knew about the cave but as kids, they had heard that bears often made their home there. As adults, most of the town forgot about the cave and went about their lives. For some reason, Erica had knocked on Joe’s door in the middle of the night and begged him to come to the cave. He had been so sleepy and she had been so insistent that he had agreed without really thinking about it. Was there a kid trapped in the cave? What was going on? Now that they had arrived at the cave, Erica was much calmer and was even smiling again. She was smiling a lot, actually.

“Are you going to tell me what we’re doing here, Erica?” Joe asked. He tried to use his flashlight to find his footing as they walked into the cave.

“You’ll see,” Erica said. “I can tell you that it’s nothing you’d guess.”

“That does not make me feel any better,” Joe said. “So we’re here. What do we do now?”

“We’re here,” Erica said. “but we’re not there yet. Come on.” Then she slipped through the back wall of the cave.

Joe blinked and then ran up to the wall. It looked solid but then he took two steps to the right and he could see the thin gap in the wall. He slipped through and caught up to Erica.

“How come I never knew that this went deeper?” Joe asked. “We used to come here as kids and peek in. I thought it was just a few feet deep.”

“It’s an optical illusion,” Erica said. “We never got close enough to see it. Of course, we might not have seen it because a magical spell makes us ignore it or something.” She kept walking and Joe followed her.

“Magic spell?” Joe asked. “This is really weird and now you’re talking like we did when we played pretend in the woods.”

“Except it’s not pretend anymore,” Erica said. “We’ve discovered how real it actually is.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Joe asked. “What’s real?”

“Exactly,” Erica said. “What is real? That’s the question we started to ask ourselves and each other.”

“Um,” Joe said. “You’re only getting weirder.” He stopped walking, not sure he wanted to be following Erica anymore.

She sighed and turned toward him. She pointed the beam of her flashlight down. “Alright, that’s fair. Just look down.”

Joe pointed his own beam down and blinked in surprise again. The cave floor below them was made up of interlocking hexagonal rocks as if this had all been built. It looked almost like stone tile. “What the hell?” Was all he could think to say.

Erica laughed softly with what sounded like sympathy in her voice. “This shouldn’t be here, Joe. The world wasn’t supposed to let this be here.”

“But what does that mean?” Joe asked.

“If you follow me, I’ll explain,” Erica said. “Don’t you still trust me?”

Joe hesitated and looked up to see the hurt on Erica’s face. “Yeah,” he said. “I trust you.”

Erica nodded and turned and started walking further down into the cave again. “Many cultures have argued over how the world was created. Science has been at odds with religion for a long time. Religion has been at war with itself since we can remember. There are too many theories to count but we’ve discovered that they are all wrong.”

“We?” Joe asked. “Who’s we?”

“The people brave enough to go into the cave, Joe,” Erica said. “Keep up.”

“Alright,” Joe said. “So what’s the correct theory?”

“It’s not a theory,” Erica said. “It’s reality. Well, it’s unreality. We’re not supposed to be here. Let me start from the beginning. In the beginning, there was darkness. Then some beings started to sing. Then came light and life and everything we know. Our world started with a song. Our universe started with a song. That song is still going.”

“Alright,” Joe said. “Like some cosmic song.”

“Exactly,” Erica said. “Except they got it wrong. Have you ever wondered why we’re all so unsatisfied with the way the world has turned out?”

“I mean, I guess,” Joe said. “It’s easy to get frustrated.”

“That’s their fault, Joe,” Erica said.

“Whose fault?” Joe asked.

“For lack of a better word,” Erica said. “We call them the gods.”

“And they sang the world into existence but they hit too many high notes or something?” Joe asked.

“An oversimplification,” Erica said. “They sang the wrong song and we ended up unhappy.”

“How do you know all of this?” Joe asked.

“We read the texts,” Erica said. “That’s where I’m taking you.”

“How do you know that the texts are right and everything else is wrong?” Joe asked.

“When you read them, you just know,” Erica said. “You just have to trust me. When you see it, you’ll understand.”

“I’m trusting you,” Joe said. “Look how much I’m trusting you. I’m deep underground with you while you’re talking about some very strange stuff. I’m still here.”

Erica smiled. “Yeah, you haven’t turned back. When we reach the bottom, you’ll be glad you didn’t.”

“Will I?” Joe asked. “It seems pretty hopeless to be sure that the world is wrong and there is nothing I can do about it.”

“Knowledge is power, Joe,” Erica said. “We can use it to our advantage.”

“How much further is it?” Joe asked. His feet were starting to hurt.

“We’re here,” Erica said.

As she said it, the cave opened up into a large chamber which looked like it had been carefully carved out of the surrounding stone. On the walls of the chamber, there were all sorts of pictograms. Joe peered at them and tried to make sense of them but their meaning was not immediately clear. In the middle of the chamber, there was a huge stone tablet sticking out of the floor. Erica stepped to the side and pointed at the tablet, beckoning Joe toward it. He stepped closer and shone his light on it. There was some sort of language chiseled into the tablet. It was a language that he did not recognize but as soon as he looked at it, he could still understand it.

His eyes were hungry for the words and he found himself reading the tablet feverishly. He could hear a melody running through his head. He could not place the tune but it was maddeningly familiar. He kept reading and all of what Erica had said was true. He could feel in his gut that the words were true. Not only that but the tablet spoke of how the world really should be. It sounded beautiful. When he was finished he rubbed his eyes, blinked, and looked over at Erica.

“What are we supposed to do about this?” He asked her.

“I think we’re supposed to unsing the world,” she said.

(Written on 4/21/19)

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4 Responses to “Unsing the World”

  1. AJ Blythe Says:

    “Unsing the world”…I love it.

    Visiting from A-Z
    AJ Blythe


  2. rolandclarke Says:

    Beautiful and powerful. Probably the truth.


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