Caged-Flash Fiction Piece
There is a place of contradiction…or not. Its walls are clammy and humid, sweltering with pungent organic heat. It’s always moving, save when it’s still. There are many such places. Though tiny, they are connected, one to the other and each to the world.
These places are prisons for all that was better left from existence; a plethora of Pandora’s boxes.
They contain much despite being small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. Demons and entities of all shapes and sizes dwell within, each with its own cage wrought from cold iron and chill logic. They are creatures born of chaos, the random machinations of the universe given form and function…once. Now they have no purpose.
Because what isn’t truly alive can never truly die, these beasts are bound. Never to be released, they pass from one prison to the next as the sands of time flow inexorably to the bottom of the glass.
I saw a demon once.
It seemed no different than any other man or woman one would pass on the street, save it would not resolve into any single one of them. Everything about it, every inch of skin and strand of hair, changed in a flurry of constant metamorphosis. What was once a leg became a claw. What was once an ear became a horn. What was once a man became a beast, and then returned to seeming innocuousness in no more than the blink of an eye. It was a bizarre collection of pieces and parts haphazardly thrown together in an impossible configuration of mutable concepts and mercurial states.
Flickering from one form to another like an old reel-to-reel film, the beast caught sight of me. It focused with the keen eyes of a hawk, there one moment and blank patches of skin the next. Throwing back its head, it let loose a bloodcurdling cry, shifting in tone and octave in throat-wrenching disharmony. It hurled itself at the bars of its cage in transmutating frenzy. With an almighty clang of sweating black iron, it rattled the shackles binding it hand, foot, and pseudopod.
The cramped quarters, the unbearable heat, and the deafening rhythmic clangor maddened the beast. The creature was born of chaos, its very existence a defiantly raised middle finger to the mathematics and statistics caging the world in carefully defined numbers and logic. Such a being lived to break the rules and defy the odds; tap dancing energetically out along the furthest rim of the disaster curve despite statistical evidence of its impossibility.
It wanted nothing more than to be free: The freedom to laugh and to cry. The wherewithal to drive a Buick Skylark filled with light bulbs and confetti over a bridge, just to exult the crunch of impact. The capacity to jump off a tall building in a clown suit packed with candy, so emergency services will get the chance to have a Snickers bar during the course of their busy day. The sheer, insane balls to go river-dancing across a minefield, giving an encore performance should one miraculously survive. Such random possibilities and millions more besides were woven into the very fiber of its being.
It could be nothing more than was it was. The beast would neither be reasoned with nor calmed, being eternally consumed by the need to escape and to do without purpose.
Would you like to see it too?
Find a mirror… Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Got one? Good. Now look yourself in the eye… Don’t blink, just keep looking.
See that little glint right there? That’s your dark side. Wave back and get to know it. You’ll be stuck with one another for quite some time.
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