In a small mountainous house, a small child sat. This child played with letter magnets and toys that made noise. But not all was alright in this small West Virginia house. because the sounds of angry yelling could be heard from the kitchen. However, this child was used to it now. The crying, the whispers, the yelling and arguing. Sometimes even physical fighting. But something new caught the child’s attention. Something very frightening.
“I’ll kill him,” said the child’s father quietly. A shiver ran down the boy’s spine, though he didn’t know why. The house was silent now. All that could be heard were birds chirping outside and the distant river.“I’ll kill him and you along with him!” the father screamed.
Suddenly, the child felt arms around him. The protective arms of a mother. Then they were running.
They were out the door and into the open wilderness. The sound of cars not far away. A pleasant breeze washed over the child and he giggled, but he was still moving fast. The sound of cars grew closer. They were approaching a road. A steady hard thump of feet hitting the leaf littered ground. Now the sound was so close, they must be there by now. But no, they were falling. His mother let out an ear piercing scream. The wind picked up, before abruptly stopping. The mother was dead, but the child, still breathing. He landed on his own mother in such a way, she cushioned his fall almost entirely. So, in the middle of the West Virginia wilderness, a child began to cry.
An unestablished amount of years later.
Sight. Hearing. Touch. Smell. Taste. The main senses of most humans. However, some can be lost. Some can never be given at all. Some are more important to survival than others. So, to survive in the West Virginia wilderness without a sense of smell could be more challenging than someone with it. But to survive in any wilderness without a sense of sight, is quite a challenge. Absolutely impossible. However, a boy did it for some time. This boy hasn’t had human contact since he could barely talk. But something about him kept him alive. I am that boy.
A rustling in the bushes nearby caught my attention and I crept toward it, making sure to stay silent. I reached toward the plant, feeling it to see if it was okay to reach into. It held small berries. Honeysuckle is what most people in that area would call it. But because I never learned the proper name, I simply thought of its shape. I made an entire language for the things I felt around me. I never really spoke in this language though. After all, how could I? You can’t speak pictures. So, I only thought it. I thought of how the area must look. Though, I knew no colors or textures, so I saw the world in gray. The only color I knew. And then I realized the rustling stopped, and I was left alone in the cool breeze. The one thing that was truly familiar.
For years I was trying to remember something. Every day I tried. It was something my mother said whenever she was near me. It was something she called me. What was it? Was it even important? These thoughts came to me every day at the time. For the rest of the day I waited for something to happen. But as usual, nothing really did. As it began to grow colder, I assumed it was turning to night. So, I felt my way back to my rock cave, still hungry. Hungry another night. To this day I don’t know why I remember that day so well. But it could be because that was the last full day of my wilderness life.
I awoke the next morning to a strange sound. I heard beeping. The splintering of wood. Trees falling, and then I panicked. I remember feeling so helpless. I sat there in the cold rock cave wondering what I should do. Should I go closer to the strange new sounds? Should I stay? Staying put seemed like the best option. After all, animals can’t break stone. So I waited. I waited to be killed or until I could flee. But that didn’t happen. Something much different did.
The leaves crunched above me. A sharp smell was released from them. Normally, I’d enjoy it, but not now. The beast stopped and several metallic clicking sounds could be heard. Not to long later, the smell of smoke filled my cave. I let out a primal scream in fear of the fire, though no major amount of smoke was in my cave. The beast jumped and moved closer. I thought it was looking at me. It was. It let out a loud jumble of noise, followed by similar noises farther away. more footsteps approached. They continued their strange noises for a moment before moving closer. Their noises became soft and directed at me. I was so scared that I curled up in a ball in the corner of the cave. After several minutes of this, one walked away. The other stayed. And then everything changed.
I can’t remember exactly what happened then, but I know that they took me from the forest kicking and screaming, took me to a hospital to inject me with needles, and put me in some room. The room had comfy furniture and a T.V. though –at the time– I was frightened by the thing. It made noises that I had never heard, and felt strange when I touched it. The smooth glass underneath my cut fingers frightened me, and so I hit it. I knocked it to the floor and started beating it and jumping on it. The glass sliced into my feet I began to cry and shout, but I didn’t stop. Luckily, people came in and started shouting. They grabbed me and started the whole thing over again. And when I got poked with a needle, everything started to get hazy and went black.
I remember waking up in a room, strapped to a table. I calmed down and used my feet to feel the cold surface, but when I went to touch my feet to the table, something interfered. And then I realized, something was around my feet!
I now know that they were just shoes, but at the
time, I was quite fascinated. I hit my feet together, I kicked the flat ground with them. Something clicked on the other side of the table, and I froze.
The strange visitor made strange sounds that scared me. They walked up and sat down in the chair across from me. It continued to make sounds that I didn’t understand. I knew at this point that it saw me and I cried, but it only caused a brief interruption. On the other side of the one way mirror, two doctors watched the whole thing. “Do you think he can even speak?” one said
“I don’t know, not from what I can see.”
“How long has he been out there?”
“According to his father’s word, around a decade!” And that’s how the day went.
I sat in a chair while someone tried to talk to me. Though, I couldn’t actually talk.
Several hours later, they knocked me out again and took me away.
I awoke in a bed. The soft, warm blankets rested on me. At first I was dazed. I didn’t know where I was. But I sat there, thinking I must have found a nice bed of leaves to stay in, and then it hit me. I immediately shot out of the comfy bed and felt around. I was looking for a way out of my cage. After feeling around for a few minutes, I knew how the room was set up. A bed in one corner, a table with a light in another, a bookshelf on one wall, and a door in one corner. But the one thing that caught my attention most was the window. At the time, I knew what none of these things were called or what they did, but I knew the window led to my freedom. but not how I wanted.
I walked over to the window and tried to climb out, but the opening was too small. I pushed and shoved and tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge. So, I stopped. Instead, I merely stuck my face out and listened. I could hear the sound of beeping and shouting far below. I didn’t understand what it was that I heard, but it didn’t frighten me. I was rather intrigued by it. A familiar voice said “window” behind me and I jumped. I had heard that before. That voice and that word. “This is a window. And this over here, is a bed,” the voice said. I remember being confused by these strange words, but they weren’t completely foreign.
I wasn’t frightened at the time. The other person in the room seemed familiar. “Liam, do you remember me? Your dear old dad?” I remember not really understanding what my dad said at that point, but I suddenly remembered something far more important. My name. I heard it and stopped dead in my tracks. I remembered my name. And for the rest of the day, I sat there, repeating the same thing over and over. Liam. My dad kept rambling on about something important but I wasn’t listening. He assumed I knew enough english to understand, but I didn’t. The day went on. I stayed with my dad for a while. We ate something. Then I went back to that room where I stayed. My day was full of fear and confusion. But when I went back into that little room, I felt a wave of tiredness sweep over me. I curled up on the ground and started to fall asleep. But right before I drifted into the darkness, I thought of the shape of one thing. The bed. Why wasn’t I in it?
I awoke and opened my eyes. At first, nothing was really new. But then, I realized I was staring at a bright light. I blinked and sat up. I was in a room full of people wearing masks, looking at me hopefully. And then I realized I could see. I was the first successful test. The new surgery worked! Now the next step was to learn how to speak. And I did. After a year of living in the tall building I learned English and fit in as a normal citizen I spent several years learning math, science, and especially how to read. And now, everything’s great. And my dad is happy to have me back. I get to enjoy going to a normal middle school, we visit mom’s grave every day while my father apologizes for everything, and I get to sleep in a normal bed in my small, mountainous, West Virginia house.