The Cave and the Cliff (Short Story)

I live in a cave.

Nothing special really, just an average cave. It’s decently sized, enough for me to live in without hassle. It houses me well enough. It’s pretty dark inside the cave, some times stuffy, and it’s a bit damp sometimes, but nothing I can’t live with. The cave isn’t too hot or cold most days either, normally keeping at a decent temperature. Even when it gets exceptionally hot, I can go hang out under one of the trees nearby to cool off.

A little river runs past the cave too, not far from the entrance. There’s a few bushes growing near the river that hold berries. They aren’t amazing, but they’re filling. The trees sometimes grow some small fruits as well, and on rare occasions I might catch a small animal if I want something different.

All in all, it’s an okay place to live. Not fancy by any stretch of the word, but not bad. I like it anyway.

A short walk from the cave is a cliff. It’s quite steep. Tall too. It would take more than a day to get up it were you to try climb it. At the top of this hill is a vacant house. A pretty nice house all things considered. The paint’s a bit patchy in places and one of the windows is cracked, but it’s nice nonetheless.

The house is not far from a farm. This farms is run by a kindly couple who provide food to the house, in exchange for occasional help. It can grow all sorts of foods, and it has animals of all kinds. There is always eggs and milk to spare.

Needless to say, the house would be a nice place to live.

There’s another cliff near the house, identical to the one that divides my cave and the house. All the way at the top of that one is a mansion that hosts guests at no cost. The place is huge. There are hundreds of windows polished to perfection, a majestic garden both out the back, and a stunning courtyard out the front.

The mansion is waited on day and night by the workers. They set lavish meals at the table, clean the place constantly, greet guests with utmost courtesy, even tend to the garden daily. The mansion is a marvellous place on it’s own, but with their tireless efforts and pleasant company, it becomes even grander.

There’s another cliff near there, identical to the last, that leads to another place to live, and beyond that is a cliff, and so on.

I know not what is up each consecutive cliff, but I know each place is more wondrous a place to live than the last.

So why do I live in my cave when other places are so easily accessible? Why not make my way up the hill and live in the house? Why not go beyond their and live in the mansion? Why not travel beyond even that, into the unknown and push towards greater places?

Because of the cliff.

It is extremely steep; completely perpendicular to the ground. And like I said, it’s tall. It would take a lot of time to get up there, days most likely. The cliff is made of jagged stones and coarse rocks. They jab at flesh and cut into hands. Not fun to climb. There’s the occasional outcrop up the cliff that one could rest on, but even those are rough and harsh on the body, often covered in dead bushels and tufts of dry grass.

All said, it’s a pretty daunting thing.

I don’t want to climb the cliff. It hurts whenever I try. I’m not very fit either, so that doesn’t help. On my previous attempts I’ve come back in terrible shape, dragging my battered and lacerated self back to my cave.

“Why would anyone want to put themselves through that?” I ask myself.

I like my little cave. It isn’t perfect, and sometimes I do wonder what it’s like to live elsewhere, but I like living there. I don’t need to live at the top of the cliff. The cliff hurts me when I try to climb it, and I don’t want what’s at the top very much, so there’s no incentive for me to climb it. And I certainly wouldn’t want to climb the second one, or the third.

People are always telling me to climb the cliff though. Pulling me from my cave, pushing me against the cliff.

“You can’t live like this,” they say, “come and live up the cliff.”

But I don’t want to. I don’t want to climb the cliff. Why am I always being made to try climb the cliff? Why can’t I live in my little cave in peace?

I like being alone in my cave, away from the world. There’s no need for me to climb the cliff.

Why is it so important I climb the cliff?



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