Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I Am a Rock

(This was the third piece of flash fiction submitted to a contest in July. Actually the rules called for a batch of four separate stories, as different as possible; the host site mentioned a genre of erotic fiction the editors considered under-exploited, so my fourth story was...not pornographic, but not auntly enough for this web site. The final story that will appear here, to establish copyright, reflects a story told from the human viewpoint at .)

I am a rock, a crumbling fragment, formerly a mountain. In my present form I am approximately 300 million years old. Aging fast by rock standards, I wanted to hand down my experience to a human. They live so fast and absorb ideas so slowly that I've gone through several by now.

I chose my target humans carefully. Each had to be more intelligent and perceptive than the average human. They had to be senior humans, old enough to appreciate seniority. Writers, singers, artists, teachers, and thinkers were ideal types.

Once I got lucky. I found a little old lady who was intelligent, perceptive, a writer, a singer, an artist, a teacher, a thinker, and a survivor of enough weird disease conditions that she’d taken enough experimental medications that her brain had become absolutely unique. (I suppose if you scrutinized every single wrinkle all of their brains would be unique, but once in a while you sense one whose vibrations really stand out, and hers did.)

Pick me up, I projected, pick me up, pick me up…

She picked me up. Usually the ones who do pick me up have no idea why they did it. This one did. “Look at this…rock,” she said to her mate. “It said ‘Pick me up’—No, I’m not sick or dizzy, and I’m not hearing anything now. But I swear I heard it say ‘Pick me up’.”

“Why don’t you put it in the garden and see if it says anything else?” he said kindly. His brain had evolved far beyond the average human brain, too. The mates of the ones who pick me up usually have.

And she did, and I did…but never again did she hear anything I said. I made sure of that.

The words she wrote, after that, came out of her own limited human mind. Once or twice I tried to suggest things to her. I could feel her mind squirbling away out of reach. She was still human after all. They don’t take kindly to having even their most obvious mistakes pointed out, even by humans who are senior to them, much less by rocks.

She felt me, though. When the human diseases she’d had rocked her world, which seems to be an unpleasant experience for those humans to whom it’s literally true, a part of her brain could reach out for me. I’m not big enough to be a physical anchor for any adult human, but as a symbol she had perceived I was able to present myself as a mental anchor.

It’s a small thing, compared to what I would have liked to pass on to…anybody, really. Humankind, even the ones who drill and chisel and pry us apart, if only to encourage them to stop that. Bears aren't good listeners. Horses do better. Domestic animals are generally more receptive of the concepts of peace and good will, because the wild ones’ minds are generally full of fear and hunger, but I’m not prejudiced.

There are humans who stay in places where other humans consider them poor and isolated, and the other humans wonder why. We rocks have a lot to do with that. We don’t exactly feel attached to humans, certainly not in the way they feel attached to one another, but we would prefer that they slow down, calm down, become less greedy and less violent and, well, more congenial with us rocks.

I am a rock. I persist. I try.

The task is hard, and so am I.

I Am A Rock