Because they kept screaming and wetting their beds when we removed the light from their rooms, we hypothesized that the children were developmentally stunted. They might be evolutionarily behind or just weaklings. We say this because we know that we, normal beings, we were never them.
Yes, there might be a small, anxious child still teething in each of us that has never aged yet is ancient. But if these children of our insides were taken out and compared to these other children, the likeness would only be physical.
These children under our scrutiny are abnormal. They appear to resist growth.
We gave them flashlights and a cave but when they came out they still crawled to the patch of sun under the trees. The dark had not taught them anything.
The flashlight lenses had been smashed in and the tubes were filled with mud and plastic shards. They had them hanging around their necks like pendants. We thought they would have adapted to the dark, maybe even have grown to like it. When they shook their heads, many of them put their hands around their flashlights, as if to stop them from swinging. When we tried to remove their broken flashlights they backed away, some of them into the shade.
My heart gave a jump at the sight. If we can think of other ways to get them to choose the dark, then there might still be hope.
We took them into a dark room and showed them how to develop photos, showed them how something beautiful develops in the dark. We gave each child a photo of themselves, the pictures we took as they emerged from the cave, and watched them develop themselves. But they were all nervous. We had to remove one when he cried into the developing fluid.
We will continue to run tests.