The Thing in the Cage

It always come down to this: Did he see it or did he not?

Warren goes to the Children’s Hospital to see his daughter who’s been run over by a car only he gets lost in the maze of corridors. He panics, opens doors at random, many without signs. That’s when he sees it, the thing in the cage. It’s humanoid, hairy,stands upright and rattles the iron bars. It looks him in the eye. A stricken, get-me-out-of-here look. Warren is horrified. What is it doing in this big white room? In a Children’s Hospital? Warren backs off, fumbles for the door handle, and races out, down the corridor, any corridor that leads to the light. What had he seen? Was it an experiment?  Was it top secret? Had he seen something forbidden? He retches for air.

When he steadies himself, he goes back to Reception, makes sure of directions this time and finds his daughter. He does not say anything about what he has seen. He knows he has seen something he should not have seen. Or maybe he had seen nothing at all. Frenzied phantasmagoria.  He keeps quiet. He talks to his daughter about home, about how she is, about when she is coming home. They talk and talk and talk and he holds her closely. .

35 thoughts on “The Thing in the Cage

  1. Wow! Bizarre. The things we aren’t supposed to see are the things we should broadcast. I really hoped your story was fictional. It’s somewhat haunting/disturbing if it wasn’t a frenzied phantasmagoria!

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    • true; my friend still remembers it fifty years on; I don’t think I can make sequels to this story — it’s a one-off — and it’s not my style of writing anyway; it’s just that his recollections so vivid and haunting it had to be told; what he really saw may never be known 😦

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  2. Easy to explain, with a bit of imagination, at least for the official version: a chimpanzee, possibly from the zoo on leave to entertain the children. But the real more sinister and mysterious version was, a medical administration had gone wrong. Nothing is more boring than the truth .

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  3. This one is chilling. The kind of moment that makes you question your own perceptions. Something too dark to share, and yet you get to here, which makes it intimate. The harsh caged creature and then the warmest of open hugs at the end—there’s no doubt which one the mind wants to believe and which world we want to live in.

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  4. I do understand this poem John. My father was in the hospital and he passed in January 2020. I went to the hospital. 14 locked doors and I had to ask many nurses. Where was I going? You had to buzz into each area and door. Hospitals have become a maze. I didn’t see anything scary. A very strong and interesting tale in the poetry.

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