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The Rocks

David Gane
David Gane
3 min read
beautiful forest and sky
Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.

Eddie walked along the path toward the point. The teenager had her father’s fishing rod and a small tackle box of spoons for trout.

The sun was barely above the pines and the air was still cool, but it wouldn’t last long. She’d maybe get an hour before it’d get too hot and the trout would quit feeding.

She rounded the last corner when her eye caught sight of a sharp white rock sticking out of the ground. She kneeled to inspect it.

Its sides were smooth and polished, and it tapered at the top. The dirt around it was seared like it had been exposed to an intense flash of heat.

She sucked up what little moisture she had in her mouth and spit on top of it but it didn’t sizzle. If it had been hot, it was no longer.

She grabbed a stick beside her and dug around it until she caught on something below the surface. She scraped away the loose soil and revealed a small hole bored perfectly through the center.

Curiosity was too much for Eddie and she grabbed the top of the rock, cool to the touch, and rocked it until she wiggled it free.

It was shaped like a toy boat, with bevels on both ends and a perfectly centred circle in the middle. If she had a measuring tape with her, she’d be certain it was dead center.

What surprised her more though was there was a thin line running through it that she hadn’t noticed before. When she gave the top and bottom a yank, it split apart with each side containing half the hole. On the newly exposed sides were intricate spirals shaped like winged bugs.

Where had this come from? It wasn’t like anything she’d seen in her lifetime, except for imagined worlds that artists created online. She’d take it home to her father—he’d maybe know what it’s for—and she was about to pocket it when it suddenly yanked skyward, taking her with it.

She rocketed above the tree line unable to release her hands from the smooth rocks, despite how hard she struggled. She was now high above and could see all the way to her cabin, but her fear of heights couldn’t outweigh her fear of where she might be going.

She couldn’t let go of the rocks but this had all begun after she‘d split the rock in half. So, she forced the pieces together again and immediately her ascent slowed until she hovered in the air like a feather in the wind.

And then she dropped. Not quickly, but as slowly as a balloon, and when she pointed the rocks in one way or the other, she moved in that direction, gliding back to earth.

She passed over the canopy of the forest and her sneakers danced on the treetops, and she maneuvered herself onto the path with the grace of a butterfly.

The moment her feet touched the ground, the rocks felt loose in her hand and she quickly tossed them aside.

She stared at them, then to the sky, wondering where they would’ve taken her, and she knew she couldn’t leave them here for others to find.

She grabbed a large stick and forced them off the path and over a drop-off into the bush below. She couldn’t see them, buried in the leaves and undergrowth, and she hoped they’d stay that way, never to be found again.

Writing Notes:

This story almost never happened. I started writing it at 6 p.m. tonight and really had no ideas. Usually, I get a sense of the direction I'm going during my morning walk at 5 a.m., but nothing came to me. Then I played with a bunch of ideas throughout the day but nothing really stuck (my best was to do a riff on compersion but I found it really boring).

I did a view free-writing exercises, I played with Story Cubes but still nothing. Eventually, I scrolled through DeviantArt looking for inspiration and found this image and I thought about them as alien artifacts on the ground. I didn't realize they'd be for fishing until I was finished describing them (although, it's pretty obvious now).

In the end, I'm actually happy with the story, even if it's not got a lot of surprise to it.

Fast Fiction

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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