His father always called the darkness outside their home Wasteland. When they fought, his father would drag him to an open window by the scruff of his collar and force his face into the emptiness.
“Look! Look at what there is outside this house! Outside my house! Nothing!”
Leaning into the darkness with his father’s hands pressing him forwards he would shiver and squint, forcing himself to try and see something other than nothingness.
“Learn your place,” his father warned. “Nothing survives out there my son.”
Curling his hands around the window frame he would nod, allowing the same hands that pushed to pull him back inside.
“You stay you hear. You stay put and behave.”
He would nod again. Simple, silent, agreeable.
Later, his father would give him apples. The fruit curled in his hand he would return to the window to eat. He let the cores drop, listening for a thud or splash to tell him what lay outside his home beneath the darkness, but he heard no sounds.
When his father grew old there were no apples, only bent fingers, and threats of Wasteland.
He wondered though, with eyes burning, opened wide… could he see apple trees?