Espy the Bat: A FableFiction — By Carole Smith Turner on November 30, 2012 at 3:00 am
Espy was born in a far away place called Typhlotic cave.
She was born with her eyes closed an no one told her to open them.
There was no need to open blind eyes all the bats assumed, so they didn’t.
Espy learned her way around the cave the same way that all of the other bats did, at first the elders, who had been working their way around the cave for years, would guide the new born bats by flying with them and then eventually they would be lead by specific sounds they would make to each other.
Espy found that it was very easy to go toward the sounds or to feel her way around the cave. She could sense all of her environment and she could hear what other creatures could not. But she need only to trust her leaders, listen to their cries, follow them and she would have a great life.
She was was taught to fear being outside of the cave.
She was told by her leaders that the outside world was cold, brutal and full of creatures who only wanted to kill bats.
She was happy in Typhlotic cave. It was full of her friends and family.
Occasionally she would hear the older bats talking about the world outside of the cave, “I heard the Aumouratic Bats hate us. They want our cave to fall in and kill us all.” Which made her all the more happy to just stay where she was, blind, in a cave with her family and friends, with her eyes shut.
Typhlotic was led by a very powerful king named Tragga who had many protectors. The protectors would always tell the bats how the outside world was out to get the king. How there were other bat groups seeking to destroy Typhlotic cave. Groups like the Cynopterus Sphinx bats. They ate their young and only cared about finding more young to devour. Unlike the bats in Typhlotic cave who cared about expanding their great and wonderful cave by having more offspring and raising them to be strong and mighty.
One day in a gathering of all the bats in Typhlotic cave, King Tragga lost his footing on the ledge because he was flapping his wings in a dance of arrogance and pride, daring gravity to have it’s way with him. Yes he could fly but Raze Rock had a gravitational pull that made flying impossible. The king had heard it was a place where no bat could fly, he had himself warned others not to go there and dance because it would pull you into the rock and smash you. And it did just that to the king. Gravity seized the opportunity given to it by the king who acted as if he could not fall and the fall broke him.
The entire assembly gasp as they heard his cries of pain. They felt sad for him but they also felt he should not dare gravity like he did. But they would never say that and they felt bad for even feeling it.
No matter why it happened, the bats wanted only healing for his injuries. But the king wanted to dance on the ledge again. The protectors asked him not to. He was not healed completely from his injuries, he was broken into pieces but he would not rest. He would not allow the medicine that the healer gave him, time to work. He felt that he had to defeat Raze rock and get back to ruling the cave because the bats would not know how to live without their great king standing before them giving vocal cues. So the king sent out his protectors and told them to tell everyone that he was healed and for them to pave the way for him to resume leading his bats. The protectors did as they were told.
Espy and others went back to life in the cave, listening for the vocal cues from the elders and the king, following the paths laid out in early days and oh so familiar now to this young bat. But as they flew along the paths they started to feel something different in the air. There was a stiff chill in the cave now, Some of them pushed through it, refusing to acknowledge it’s intensity, others paused for a moment from the chill but then continued. But some of them stopped, turn an looked at the chill. They held out their wings and felt it. They embraced the chill. And once they embraced the chill, they realized it had been there all along only on this day they had somehow chosen to see it finally. As if it were waking the sun before it escaped it awoke their souls.
The intensity of it brought tears to their closed eyes. They had no idea what tears were because they had never felt them before and they were confused by the pain inside and the water in their eyes.
As their closed lids started to fill up with tears the pressure from the tears caused their eyes to come open slowly. As a muscle never used being forced to move, this hurt terribly but it was unavoidable. As a cataract breaks the rock open, so the flood of tears tore open their eyes.
And they were not blind as they were told.
As they stood with wings opened embracing the chill in the air that filled them with fear and wonder at the same time, suddenly they could see.Yes, the bats could see. Through the fog of tears they saw. And they were so conflicted.
What was this? How could this be good. It stung the eyes. It confused the senses of touch and sound they had used for so long. They did not understand what they were seeing.
These bats, the ones with the tears and the eyes open were left motionless in the paths as the others simply continued along flying toward the cries of the elders and the king. It was as if they could not move now that they could see. They slowly turned their heads to look around and they soon saw each other. It was a shocking moment to see each other. And it caused more tears to flow.
Some of them flew away screaming from the confusion. Some of them flew slowly down the path and others flew to each other. Espy flew to her friend Sapient who also stood crying and seeing. They embraced and looked at each other in wonder. “What shall we do now my friend?” Sapient ask Espy. But Espy couldn’t answer all she could do was cry and look around at the cave, seeing with eyes for the first time was quite overwhelming.
“Espy, look at the door!” Sapient yelled. And Espy turned to look just as the magnificent door was opening to the moon lit outside world. They stared at the moon light and then they saw that the other bats, who were still flying around with their eyes shut listening to the cries of the king and the elders, had no idea what the beautiful light of the moon looked like.
Espy and Sapient flew toward to light of the moon and out the door. And they sang as they flew away with some of the others who now could see.
They soon discovered that there was a big world full of all kinds of bats and they weren’t all out to kill or destroy the bats of Typhlotic cave. And all of the other bats flew around seeing in the dark. They wondered why king Tragga and the elders had told them they were blind and why all the bats of Typhlotic cave never even tried to open their eyes.
It was now known to Espy and Sapient what an amazing gift seeing in the dark was. While most other creatures were sleeping, they were awake and hunting, mating, living life. They could see and they had an extra keep sense of sound and sensing things around them. The darkness was not a place to fear for bats, it was a place to thrive. They ruled the night, it did not rule them.
As time passed Espy and Sapient started families of their own and found safety and peace in different caves. Espy found a great cave of open eyed bats to set up house in. But even there, she found bats who also never opened their eyes. She would ask these bats, “why are your eyes closed?” and they would always reply, “because I’m blind. All bats are blind so why open my eyes?” and Espy would reply, ” not only are you not blind but you have the gift of seeing in the dark my sister so you should indeed open your eyes.” and some of them would go through the painful process of opening their eyes and seeing for the first time. It was both beautiful and painful to watch this experience. Espy knew all to well how much it hurt the first time you open eyes that have been closed for so long and she also knew how painful seeing for the first time was. But once you see, well, there is no going back she thought because it was just to wonderful.
But sometime when she would happen upon a bat with their eyes closed, and she would tell them they could see if only they opened their eyes, the bat she was speaking to would tell her she was wrong. This always puzzled her. She would try to convince them by telling them her story and how great it was to see in the dark but they would not listen they didn’t want things to change. They didn’t want to have to learn how to live seeing so they denied that it was really an option for them.
There was a leader in this new cave that Espy lived in but he wasn’t one to give vocal cues or send out protectors to do his bidding. His name was Rector. He was a kind ruler. He would fly around the cave visiting with everyone, talking to the children, parents, young and old all equally. Espy liked this leader for he had been one of the bats in Typhlotic cave who had opened his wings, embraced the chill, and let the tears open his eyes for the first time. She knew that he knew the pain of being told he could not see and he knew the joy and freedom that came on the day that he discovered he could. Espy trusted Rector and she called him a friend.
One night after many moons in the cave, she heard a familiar sound, it was a vocal cue and it was coming from Rector. She questioned the protectors, (for now Rector had many protectors) about this using of vocal cues, and they explained that this was the only way to lead the bats who refused to open their eyes. Espy was disturbed by this but she trusted Rector so she thought no more about it. Then one day she flew into a bat that thought it was bind and so had it’s eyes shut. She started to tell the bat that he could indeed see if only he opened his eyes but just as she started to speak she heard one of Rector’s vocal cues calling out loudly and the bat she was about to speak to flew toward it.
Every day there were more and more vocal cues going out and Espy was seeing more and more bats with closed eyes. But life was good for Espy and her little family under Rector’s leadership. The cave was safe and cozy and Rector allowed the seeing bats and the ones who chose not to see, into his cave just the same. She only now occasionally noticed the vocal cues.
One day the moon rose, the sun departed and it was night. It was time to awaken and start her day. in her half awake, half asleep state of mind, she heard a vocal cue and before she knew it she was flying toward it never having opened her eyes. She spent the entire night flying down familiar paths and following the voice of Rector. Her family followed and they rested in the comfort of not seeing. As the dawn approached, Espy opened her eyes and thought to herself “Why did I ever think I needed to see? What is the difference? Life is the same no matter if I live it seeing in the dark or following blindly.”
And so it was that Espy closed her eyes for many moons because it was easy.
Until one clear night in Rector Cave, Rector wanted to dare gravity and dance on a ledge with his eyes firmly shut. He knew what had happened to king Tragga but he didn’t care, he couldn’t resist the call of danger. He would not fall off the edge and break as king Tragga did. He would fly and defeat the pull of Raze Rocks. In his pride he danced and he fell off as expected and he was broken.
And Espy again felt the chill in the air, she opened her wings and embraced it. Her eyes filled with tears and again, they were opened. She saw the moon pouring into the cave from out side. She saw her family and all who dwelt in the cave facing toward Rector and his broken body as he wailed in pain. They all had their eyes closed. And she wept.
She wept because she had allowed her children to close their eyes. She had again closed hers and relied on the vocal cues. She had been a part of Rector’s breaking because she didn’t stay seeing. She had been a part of him becoming the blind leading the blind.
The protectors flew toward her and hushed her cries. They started encouraging the other bats to follow their vocal cues, Rector was not wailing in pain, he was fine and would be going to another cave to get better completely. There was no need to fret, another leader was ready to step in and lead the cave just as Rector had.
Espy flew out of the cave and sought out her friend Sapient. “How could this happen again Sapient? Why did I allow my eyes to close again as if I were blind? How could I forget the gift of seeing in the dark, sensing danger and hearing things that other creatures cannot?” Sapient wrapped her wings around her friend and they wept together. “I too had closed my eyes agin” said Sapient. “My cave has a leader as all caves do. Some of them rather to live life as if they are blind and they lead their bats to believe they themselves are blind. Seeing in the dark is a gift but it is also not an easy path to fly. I find that many of our fellow bats would rather the easy path.” Sapient said as Espy cried.
“But what do I do now Sapient?” Espy asked.
“I don’t know the answer for you Espy other then to say, where ever you go or whatever you do, do it with your eyes open and tell your truth. We must never forget again that we are not blind, we must keep our eyes open at night. We own the night, it does not own us”.