Caged. Flash Fiction.

Tom was sitting on the small patio, occupying one of the two chairs. A table sat between him and the other, should someone want to eat something out here. It was a habit that his grandfather had apparently developed, though Tom could never figure out why. He couldn’t stomach the thought of food when he was sitting here, never mind actually eating. Perhaps it was just his grandfather’s way of showing the thing it didn’t control him, a small rebellion against its very nature. The creature was lying at the bottom of its cage, on the plain soil. Apparently there had been grass there once, but the creature had destroyed it by its mere presence. The cage was made of what appeared to be wire mesh and was shaped as a large dome, perhaps forty feet across at the bottom. There was a slot in which food could be passed through to it, and another area where water was provided. Around the cage itself there was a wavy outline of dying grass. It had been like that since Tom was a boy. Tom didn’t know how his grandfather had managed to capture the beast, nor did he know exactly why. Tom only knew one thing, the beast had to be kept in its cage for the good of mankind. It was an evil, twisted thing. Tom knew if it ever escaped it would wreak havoc on not just Tom and his family, but the entire world.
Today the beast appeared as a young woman, blonde, attractive, in shape. She lay shivering on the soil, naked. Sometimes the creature wore clothing, though Tom was sure the clothing must be an illusion. Nothing but food and water were supplied. It tried to manipulate Tom and others daily. Tom had seen this young woman before, should he approach the cage she would plead for help, say she was trapped, in danger, that she missed her family, friends. It was hoping the sad story and sex appeal would override Toms knowledge. Sometimes it appeared as a man or child. Each time it would plead and beg, hoping for release. So far there had been three instances of someone listening. The first two were killed by the beast and luckily the cage was able to be resealed before the creature could escape, the third was shot before he could undo any locks. Of the first two, nothing remained, the creature consumed them, bones and all. Luckily none of them had any family. That was a job prerequisite.
Despite being trapped for over eighty years, the creature did not age, it did not weaken. Every day it tried the same tricks, just waiting for its chance to escape. Tom stood from the table and moved back inside. He didn’t want to look at it anymore. He could hear it faintly, mewling, pleading. He had long since grown desensitised to it. But that didn’t mean he was safe. No one was, not while that thing existed. They had tried to destroy it, he had read the files. Poison, fire, guns. Nothing seemed to keep it down for long. No matter what they did to it, it was healed by the next morning. They had tried taking blood samples, but the blood was completely normal, O positive with no special attributes or features. They had run tests on it, even managing to take it from the source, but there was no answers there. Tom would have liked to scan the creature, but there was no way to safely do so. Sedatives and poisons only made it groggy and even that could be all an act so they would let their guards down.
Tom had no idea how his grandfather had captured the creature, or how he knew how to cage it. No one knew how his grandfather had managed it. That was something that Tom wanted to know more than anything. What if there were others out there? Just waiting to attack? How would they stop them? Defend against them? They would be slaughtered by the creatures. This was his life, his legacy. It was his job to keep this one locked away, and to find a way to kill it, before others like it came. After all, if there was one, there had to be more.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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