Guest Author Post by
K. Caffee of Pukah Works
Welcome to a world where no one talks to you. No one helps you learn how to be human. Where no one cares. Welcome to the world of a feral child.
For many, we know these types of stories only through the funnier stories, such as “The Jungle Book” with Mowgli, or “Tarzan”. But, what about all the rest, who live day after day, hidden away from humanity, struggling to survive in a world where no one cares or even knows about them?
For those who write horror and thriller stories, I can see a fertile field just begging to have the stories reaped. There are so many different ways this can be approached; it all depends on how you write.
What about seeing the story through the eyes of a child who has been discovered, and others are trying to socialize them to civilization? There are all these new sounds, things expected of them, and things they cannot do any longer. Can you get into the mind of this person, and make the reader feel the fear and anxiety this entails?
“I sat there, my darkness shattered. There is something put in front of me – it smells like what I ate back there, but what is it? I reached for it with my hand, and my caretaker slapped me back.
‘Not like that. Use your spoon. You will burn yourself if you touch.’ She said, her voice warm and soft.
Frightening. The last time someone spoke like that to me, I never saw them again. Was I going to lose her too?”
What about seeing the story through the eyes of the caretaker? Seeing the conditions this poor neglected child had lived in, or the lack of skills they need to acquire if they are to live with someone else?
“I walked into the room, not knowing what to expect. There he was, cramped into a cage ten times, one hundred times too small for his emaciated frame. The seeds left for him were the same food as the birds in the cages around him. As I approached the front of his cage, he shrank back, squawking in terror, and fluttering his arms. I guess he thought he was a bird.
When I opened the cage, before I could extend my hand, he charged out. His eyes were wild, just as you’d expect of an unsocialized bird. His arms fluttering wildly, he tried to take off, beating against the walls and corners as he raged around the room. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was more afraid he would hurt himself, or hurt me.”
Then, there are the tales of children who have run away, or been abandoned. Yet, they do not die, because they find acceptance with the wild animals. Think of the tale you could spin about a child raised by a predator, such as a wolf, or an omnivore, such as a bear. A new spin on the Romulus/Remus theme, perhaps, but with more the wolf, and less the human coming to the fore? Or what about those tales of the shy Sasquatch? What if you gave this creature more of the bear’s habits, and less of the human’s?
And, for those who write more into the thriller genre, especially the psychological thriller. What type of fun could you have presenting a feral child who happened to be recovered and was able to adapt to “civilization”, then in turn had a child of their own? I can see some fantastically gripping (and horror filled) pages this could turn up.
I was invited to write this post by Tanya, and I knew what I wanted to say. I put this at the end, because I am a fantasy writer, not a horror or thriller writer, and wanted to put the message out first, before I got down into the gritty part of why I wrote this.
Feral children are a modern day horror. Do a quick Google search, and you won’t find much information. However, fiction writers are a wonderful group to help spread word about social ills through your writing. Sure, you can change the facts to fit your story, but the underlying issue still remains. I hope and pray that some (or all) of you find a way to help spread word about this issue, and that some of what I had to say sparks interest for a new project.
Thank you Tanya for hosting me today. I look forward to seeing what new twists and turns others with the proper skills can make out of my ideas.
Kat from Pukah Works
K. Caffee, 2015, All Rights Reserved.
K. Caffee Has recently received her Bachelors in Biology from Cameron University (Lawton, OK), where she is currently pursuing the twin academic paths of improving her grades and pursuing her dream. Writing is a source of stress relief, way to generate creative ideas for term papers, and generally having fun. She lives simply with her two cats and a computer for capturing her wild ideas. In her spare time, she likes to read, role play, write more, play with her four-legged children, and talk with friends from around the world. She is the author of Out of the Darkness and the upcoming continuation of the series, Remember The Shadows.