The Stone: Part Three.

by | Sep 26, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

It was dark grey and shining from the water but began to lighten in the warm evening breeze.

As she turned to face him, a look of recognition flashed across her features. She uttered the single word that would be her death sentence.

“You!”

*

“Oh my God. That’s terrible! I can’t get that out of my head now. I don’t want to be a stone.” Her third countenance, that of shock, descended.

“Well, all you have to do is be good.” he came back at her, grinning.

“Yes, but a stone. How would that work? Even a slug I can get. It’s an animal with feelings, however rudimentary. Can you imagine?  No feelings? Nothing?” Did he detect a tear forming in the corner of one eye? A tremor in her bottom lip?

“Listen, it’s all a load of tosh. Like all religions, it’s about control.” He tried to backpedal before he lost her.

“What about all of the stones on the beach? Were they once people?” She blinked and waved an open hand in front of her face.

“I tell you what. Let’s find out. I’ll pick a random stone from Collywell Bay and take it home. I could do with some company to watch Netflix with myself. Can you imagine being a stone and someone brings you home? They plonk you on the coffee table in front of Breaking Bad?” He waited, observing his companion carefully. A few seconds passed. Suddenly, she threw her head back and squealed with laughter.

The observer joined in and his mate stopped in mid rant – for the first time that evening.

*

The lifeless rock, possessed by the tormented soul of the murderer, ruminated the way only a passive object can.

In an instant, the young man; his ardour running from him like the water in the alley, reached for the biggest shard of clay. In one fatal blow, he brought the fragment down hard on the girl’s head, cracking her skull open like a coconut.

Death was immediate; he pushed the limp corpse away from him in a combination of shock and disgust. The beautiful bloom lay crushed under his aggression. He leapt up and fled the scene the way a cat leaves a dead mouse.

Three weeks later, on the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, retribution came  in the form of the many bodies. Literally, the weight of humanity crushed the life out of him.

*

The couple said their farewells, still chuckling at the thought of the fortunate stone. He made his way the few hundred yards to the beach. The tide was coming in, agitating the aggregate so it crackled like popcorn in a pan. He bent over and spotted a suitable pebble, the size of a child’s fist. It was dark grey and shining from the water but began to lighten in the warm evening breeze.

On close inspection, he observed the smooth texture of basalt. The very hard igneous rock that had been squeezed from the earth’s core millions of years earlier. It jutted out of the Northumberland landscape in the form of the Whin Sill. The rock was so hard that he contemplated that it would have taken millennia for this single stone to take this shape.

He found it hard to fathom how it could be a reincarnated being. Nevertheless, he pocketed the pebble and headed for home.

*

The stone shifted in an unfamiliar way unlike the regular movement of the waves or the adjacent pebbles. Something was about to Change.

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