04 February, 2013

The Overcoming Adversity Bloghop: In Which I Write A Short Story

Nick Wilford of Scattergun Scribblings is hosting a blogfest today! From his blog:
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


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some serious thought in this one! All those years, and the sun was waiting for it to speak first.

Susan Kane said...

This was crazy good. I held my breath at the end. Excellent.

Nick Wilford said...

What a creative take on the theme, this was great. I really felt you captured the slow passage of time somehow, and with something that old, you do wonder if it has some kind of memory. Thanks very much for taking part!

Kelley Lynn said...

Oh wow! What a great piece. I really liked this one. Thanks so much for sharing!

M Pax said...

I did not expect it to be waiting for the sun. A very thought-provoking piece.

Beth said...

That's awesome, Golden!

Pat Hatt said...

Waiting all that time when all could have been sublime. Awesome piece, very thought provoking indeed.

J.L. Campbell said...

Poignant is the best word I can come up with to describe your story. Powerful too. Good job.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

This sounds exactly like something Roger Zelazny would have written. Fantastic.

L.G. Smith said...

Such an interesting, creative story. Well done.

michelle said...

I love the idea of a monolithic structure from another era... a long-forgotten time and place...
Very atmospheric.
Now, I want to read this story G.E. Hope there's more?

JeffO said...

It's funny how something gets in your head. I see the word 'monolith' and immediately think 2001, which might have been your intention all along.

Nice job!

mshatch said...

I'm with Jeff, it reminded me of THE monolith, too, but I expect only fans of 2001 will think that.

Connie Keller said...

Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed reading it.

laughingwolf said...

a beautiful mind, ge, spinning a wondrous tale... brava!

Paul Tobin said...

I like the story, it is ecomonical and has a thoughtful ending, that caught me out. I was not expecting that. Good piece of writing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Some great lines in this one. Some very fine writing.

David P. King said...

I know when I come here during a hop that I'll be greeted with a great story. You never disappoint, Eagle. :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is such an original and thought-provoking story! I especially enjoyed the dramatic ending!

Robyn Campbell said...

Heyya Eagle! Love this! It shows writing that makes me think. Ingenious! Bodacious! :-) Thanks for sharing.

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: Well, the monolith hadn't been exposed to it for a while--it had forgotten the sun.

Susan: Thank you!

Nick: I'm glad I could participate. :) I really enjoyed writing this piece.

Kelley: You're very welcome!

Mary: Thanks. :)

Beth: Thank you.

Pat: Love your rhyme there; glad you liked the story!

J.L.: Thank you! :)

Michael: Wow. I don't think I'm that good, but it's an honor just to hear his name mentioned in the vicinity!

L.G.: Thanks. :)

Michelle: Not at this point. I'm not sure I'll ever continue it--a rock-like object doesn't make for a very interesting MC, and its perspective is the only one I'd really want to explore.

JeffO: The object from 2001 did cross my mind--I wondered if anyone would pick up on that!


Mshatch: Yeah, 2001 was an inspiration. I'm not sure why that particular element, but I ran with it. :)

Connie: You're welcome!

Laughingwolf: Thank you! :)

Paul: I had fun writing that ending.

Charles: Thank you very much.

David: I try my best! :)

Julie: Glad you liked the ending.

Robyn: My writing has never been described as "bodacious" before. :)

You're welcome!

Trisha F said...

Aww, this is beautiful. Even though I kinda hate the sun and try to avoid it as much as possible. :P I know, we all need sunlight to live. Well, according to my tests I am NOT Vit D deficient, which surprised me. But I do have to avoid the sun due to my tendency to develop skin cancer. ;)

Sally said...

What an intriguing concept of talking to the sun. I liked the way passage of time and the patient waiting until communications began.

Michael Pierce said...

That was so powerful and atmospheric. Great story!

The Golden Eagle said...

Trisha: Thank you!

I'd be kind of miserable without the sun. But I can totally understand wanting to avoid it, too--I'm one of those people who doesn't like summer very much. :P

Sally: Thanks! :)

Michael: So glad you liked it.