The Stone: Final Part.

by | Sep 28, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

He took down the tin from the single shelf and ran his finger over the gold butterfly on the faded label.

He felt a warmth emanating from the stone. Even though it was hard and smooth, it was like touching something living. He tightened his grip and an image flashed through his mind. His chest became tight and his breathing laboured. Intense pain descended over his whole body, as if a wall had fallen upon him.

The second vision was that of a young woman, her face creased with terror. Although he couldn’t hear, a single word appeared on her lips.


He dropped the stone on the table with a loud clatter. It skidded and landed on the carpet, where he left it. The visions and pain dissipated immediately. Turning off the TV, he got ready for bed, a tiredness such as he’d never experienced descended upon him. Within minutes he was in a deep sleep.


With sensation came awareness. Momentarily it was back, in the world of people, light and dark became colour, then images. A tiny rectangle like an icon but with moving figures, appeared. What’s more it felt attachment, a familiar intimacy, without having to call on a previous existence. This was real, tactile affectionate. As quick as it manifested, it was gone. A sharp jerk then nothing.

The basic consciousness returned, bereft of senses. With it the ability to call on another life.

“I’ll collect the water Baba,” the girl said, kissing her father’s hand and bringing it up to her forehead.

“You’re a good girl Fatima. We’ll have tea on your return, with condensed milk.” The old man gazed into his daughter’s eyes, those of his late wife, her gift to them both.

“Really? The special tin from uncle Youssef? You were keeping it for a special occasion.” She picked up the clay pot from the corner of the tiny room and skipped out of the door.

“Every day is a special occasion Habibti. Come straight home and keep to the main route. Talk to no one.” He called to the open door as it slammed shut. Picking up some kindling, the girl’s father proceeded to make a fire in the stove. He took down the tin from the single shelf and ran his finger over the gold butterfly on the faded label.


The scene was vivid, he could even smell the sickly, sweet flowers that adorned the old tree in the garden. A smell that wasn’t familiar. It was hot too, hotter than he’d ever experienced. From a vantage point which was only possible in a dream, he observed the beautiful young woman. Her movements were as graceful as a ballerina as she carried out her utilitarian task. She wore a white garment of fine cotton and a scarf, of a kind, in chocolate brown. Her eyes were large, bright and matched her scarf.

She smiled to herself and hummed a tune as she pulled on the rope of the well.

Nearby, he noticed a man crouched behind a wall. He was observing the girl furtively. It didn’t look right. As she placed the jar on her head and left the square, the young fella left his vantage point and followed, glancing from side to side.

Suddenly, the scene changed. It was dark, the sun was blocked by the buildings. The ground shimmered with water amongst the broken terracotta. Something mixed with the dampness, covering the wet, beige ground. It was blood. He traced the flow to a tiny doorway in the wall.

Her face, absent of the smile, stared sightless up at him. The sparkle had gone from the eyes. No hum came from the lips.

His whole body jerked as if he’d been poked with a cattle prod. The temperature increased and he hovered over a sea of bodies, all dressed in white. Their heads, some bare and black, others covered in white, streamed through a narrow gap like blood cells in a vein. Suddenly, the throng stopped in the centre of the passage. The front tore away, leaving a gap. The blockage grew as the pressure of those following pushed hard on it.

He was sucked into the heart of the carnage and the feelings returned from earlier. His diaphragm was paralysed. The need to breathe was excruciating, surpassed by the pressure of hands, elbows, knees and feet. He felt bones crack, his and those of fellow pilgrims. Another bolt from the prod and he was awake in the dark bedroom. He shivered as his soaked skin cooled in the chilly air of the bedroom. Shaking uncontrollably, he quickly got dressed. He checked his watch, four-thirty.

The stone was where he left it. Unlike the evening before, it was icy cold so that he could hardly hold it. Shoving it into his coat pocket, he headed for the door.

Once at the beach, the spot from which he’d picked it up, he took the freezing pebble from his pocket. Stretching his arm back, le leaned away from the crashing waves. Like the string of a bow, his whole body sprang forward and he released the stone, propelling it far into the darkness. He heard a distant splash, turned and trudged up the beach. The pebbles protested under his sliding feet, each one letting out a tiny cry.

“So many bad people,” he said out loud.


Nothing, no consciousness. No previous lives, no senses. This is how it is now.


He sat with his book and a beer in his favourite spot in the window. Opening the book, he found his spot, removing the bookmark. Count Rostov was dining in the restaurant of the Metropole Hotel in Moscow.

The bar was quiet today. He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned. Her face was drawn, ashen in absence of colour. She uttered one word.



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