“Put it back!”
“What for? It’s just a rock.”
“It’s not a rock, it’s a cat’s eye!” Punched the arm.
“More like a lizard-eye, if you ask me.”
“Put it back. Now. Before the wizard gets ya!”
“It’s just a story! There are no wizards, ya dumb bugger!”
“Are, too. And if’n it’s not a wizard, it’s a dragon!”
“Ya mad, and so’s ya da!” Thump.
The two boys fought; in the scuffle the stone fell to the ground, and they ran. Squeals and thumps and scattered stones followed them. Gone.
Pity. If he had a mouth to sigh, it would have been gutteral. Only a few minutes absorption of warm blood would be enough to reinvigorate, to be reborn. Even a weak thing like a human boy could be a vessel of life, and he could adapt from the initial life form – become once again what he truly was – given enough time. Always a matter of time.
The witch and her curse – when the day came, when the life returned, when he had a body – what he was going to do to that witch! Vengeance would be all the sweeter for the wait. He could keep her alive and screaming for centuries; use her screams to help him sleep, as he had not slept now for millennia. Rocks do not sleep. Rock eyes do not close.
The mind was aware; dulled, but aware. His eye could see the things around him, but not sense them any other way. No smell, no taste; the occasional sense of touch when he brushed up against a living creature.
The beasts left him alone; walked around his place; seemed to sense his mind. But the children – no; they came to tell each other stories of the ghost, of the beast, of the terror of being seen by the ‘eye’ – his eye. He just wanted one of them to be curious enough to put it in a pocket, to hold it for a few minutes, to give him enough time to breach the veil between stone and blood.
The dream. He dreamed it often. Food; fresh, tangy blood on his tongue, salt water on his skin as he cleaned the kill. A dream, not reality.
If the witch were here, still alive – he wondered if she would be, after all this time – he’d dream of her and the torments he could impose, but his dreams were of food – hunt, chase, kill; the preparation, taste, the sated sensation when sun-basking after.
The zoom on a glide through the air, to zone and cut the quarry, quarter the ground, herd until the beast was in the best place for the grip on its neck and back, the gnash of the teeth on the throat, the . . .
If a rock could sigh, it would create a wind to blow all the rocks from the mountain as far as the ocean, the tiny blue speck that was visible on a clear day, so far away.
Wind! Of course. Movement. Here to there. More warm blood moved along the coast – did it have to be warm? It could be any living creature, he was sure. Almost sure. He could try. What harm could it do? Could he wait another millennia? No.
His mind was beginning to warp, changed with the solidness of the stone, with the rigidity of rock. Soon, his thoughts would become as still as the rock that imprisoned him. Already, his thoughts were slower, otherwise he would have thought of this escape sooner, much sooner.
The small stone with the eye of a lizard rolled a little, listed until other stones and loose earth moved it, or rolled it, or caught it up in the flow – and he moved, little by little, down the mountain, into the stream, and from the stream he flowed with the spring melt into the ocean.
Time and wind rolled him, ever downwards, to the sea.
The young woman held his hand, sang a sweet melody. Her body was lithe and strong, unlike the young man.
He sent his wish to her, showed her his bright side; the glint of gold and green. Enveloped her mind in a rush of warmth and lust as she placed the stone in the pocket of her skirt. He wasn’t close enough to the skin yet, but soon. Soon.
Heat and pain forced the touch of his cold stone against the pulse of her warm blood. The young lad only too eager to take her up on the offer. Hands groped and grasped; skirts lifted and spread – skin! He touched skin; hot, inflamed, lustful skin. The hearts beat, a rhythm of life. The eye merged with the beat, reached out with this new power, sucked on the juice of life – the young man’s body jerked and flopped.
She sat up, shoved him off. The blue eyes wavered, became green, glinted gold as she sneered at the weakling.
Akarta looked at the world through his new eyes. He exulted, lifted his arms to the sky and yelled – the world would know the true ruler was back. The young girl walked to the ocean. The body was not under his full control. What was wrong?
She dragged the body of her young man. She tossed him to the waves; would she leave him to the fish?
She did not. The water came up to her waist, up to her chin. She pushed the body in front of her as the feet came free of the sandy bottom. Akarta tried to exert his mind into hers. His mind met stone harder and colder than his own. He met the mind of . . .
The jagged reef captured the two bodies; small fish nibbled the flesh. The shiny glint of a stone with the eye of a lizard fell to the bottom, slid down the embankment, sludged down and down and down until the hot magma met him, absorbed him; claimed the rock that held his soul.
Copyright Cage Dunn 2016