I asked you to contribute a short story on the theme of overcoming adversity, to be compiled into an anthology to help raise funds to send my stepson to a specialist college.More information here.
And so, here's my story, which is called "Endurance" because I can't think of anything better, regardless of how obvious it may be. Anyway. I hope you enjoy it!
Four thousand years and the monolith still stood. Four thousand years had seen kingdoms, empires, civilizations rise and tumble off the edge of history like water over a fall, to crash against the rocks below and the memories of them to scatter into mist. Trees had shrouded it and merged their roots with its surface; the mountain had changed, the rocks shifting and half-burying the thing like a body whose consciousness had long vanished.
It didn’t have a name. It had always had a title, an honorific by which it was acknowledged by those same civilizations that had tried to pry it apart, to chip away at its skin until all that was left was the hole in which it had been placed.
It wanted a name.
It wanted to get away from the cloying aura of the past and the memories of the rituals it had endured because it could not move, to avoid the horrible worship from others that persisted, tireless, only because they could not understand it. To escape from the refusal to acknowledge all it wanted was to get out, out, out.
Another thousand years couldn’t do too much damage. Processing time behind the wall of its shell, it decided another two thousand years would be bearable. But to feel the organisms crowding around it, even the inert, brainless ones of the trees and the grass and the fungi, that was too much. It wanted company.
Four thousand and three hundred and twenty seven years after its memory began, it sensed a more complicated presence. It was immediately recognizable as something more advanced, one of the things in this world bigger than plants but hardly more complex.
It waited. Those things always passed by.
The thing touched the hard surface as though it was an egg, capable of bearing the weight of a galaxy on its end—but if one knocked it wrong, liable to spill the trauma of history onto the mountainside, an outpouring of the past assumed forgotten.
It continued to wait. It could sense that the birds had quieted, and the wind hung close to the ground like a scared child, and the mountain had stilled.
But . . . there was a new thing, besides the air and the trees and the mountain. The thing had somehow exposed its surface, brushing away the organic detritus that had gathered over those millennia, for once being gentle instead of trying to crack it open.
It did not recognize sunlight. It did not recognize that new thing in the sky, hovering like its own counterpart a million miles away. It felt an unburdening, a release of four thousand years of pain.
Perhaps the sun was supposed to be its company. It tried to communicate.
The sun replied.
Any thoughts on the story?
-----The Golden Eagle