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Discovery in a Cave E5

I offer my hand. Harold glances down at my hand. Then he looks me in the eye. He takes my hand. His grip is extreme. My mind jumps to that moment where he indicated he might not allow me to leave. I put that behind me as I promised.

“Maybe we can start over from the beginning,” my hand aches as I wonder if Harold knows his own strength or is intentionally reminding me of it. “Hi, I’m Doug Knight.”

“I’m Harold Piegrand,” he loosens his grip and then shortly releases my hand.

“Piegrand? Really?” I test his commitment to a fresh start towards a relationship by challenging his sensitivity to his Big Foot likeness.

“Where were you born?” I’m not the greatest at icebreaker conversation.

His eyes glaze over and narrow. Harold’s nostrils flare. Then as quickly as they mirror anger, his facial expression softens.

“Yakima, Washington is what my birth certificate reads,” there is no smile but no grimace either.

So far, so good. The overcoming of fear and distrust that still looms present in this transition from stereotypes to acquaintances moves slowly upward. It is tenuous and the least little misunderstanding can thwart the bonding.

“So, you’ve seen your birth certificate, then,” I squirm a little as my right leg and hip ache sitting in this semi-yoga squat.

“No, I have not. I was told that is what is on my birth certificate.”

“Who told you?”

“The administrators or maybe the nuns at the orphanage, I guess. I really don’t remember,” Harold appears uncomfortable too, but probably not for the same reason as I do.

“Where is this orphanage?”

“A few miles from Yakima, Washington is where it was located. I don’t think it exists anymore.”

“Why did you leave the orphanage?” The question causes Harold’s stoic expression of the last few minutes to wrinkle his broad forehead and distort his wide mouth.

“This sounds like an interview or worse – like an interrogation,” his voice grows deeper and more somber. “Although, I must admit, these are questions you would ask a human not a monster.”

I start to say that his communication skills and his intellect is far more human than his appearance. I think twice still not fully assured he might find the last part offensive.

“Your knowledge and language does surprise me.”

“I don’t sound like the monster I appear to be – is that what you mean?” Harold places a hand on each knee and looks deep into my eyes.

“I don’t expect a homeless man who lives in a cave in the woods to be so articulate.”

“I’m not homeless. This is my home while I’m here. I’m more or less nomadic.”

“So, you aren’t one to stand on the corner and panhandle.”

Harold smirks and shakes his head, “I think you’ve forgotten how I look. I guess that’s a good thing in some ways.”

A hope that it is a good thing even though I know I haven’t forgotten his beast-like appearance. Nor can I shake that monstrous threat that he wasn’t sure he was going to let me leave.

“I scare people. I can’t panhandle. I can’t stay in a shelter or hostile. I can’t get a job. I can’t walk around in broad daylight.”

“If only people would give you a chance.”

“Some do, but most won’t. The ones who give me a chance always want to save me,” Again, he slaps his palms against his knees and stares me down. “You can’t.”

“So, you have made friends.”

“Only one I call a true friend because she didn’t try to change me or cure me – Auntie Louise,” Harold draws his hands to his chest and his eyes and head lower.

“What was different about Auntie Louise?”

“Forget it. I don’t want to discuss it anymore,” Harold waves one hand across in front of him and his words echo bouncing off ever wall of the hewn out hole in the side of the hill descending down into the banks of Pigeon Creek.

Categories: Author Confession

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at

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