Daily #61: Talking stones

Due to multiple things going on today, I won’t be able to post the blog I was intending to. Instead, I’ll include the opening of one of my older projects. I enjoyed writing this idea, and I think at some point I’d like it to become a story-based game.

Ann was five years old when she found the stone that talked to her.

She was following the small stream, the one a little further from her house than the big stream. It had rained, so the big stream was a river today, and her uncle had told her she was not allowed to follow the river. She clutched a small pebble in each hand, both of them smooth and near perfectly rounded – which was why she had plucked them from the stream’s bed. She intended to add them to her collection.

Alas, both fell forgotten from her fingers when she saw the stone that began this story. It sat nestled in the stream’s opposite bank, its black surface at odds with the browns and greys of the pebbles around it. Ann stepped over the stream in one step – an impressive and practiced feat for a small girl – and crouched beside it, bundling her skirts on her knees lest they trail in the cold water.

She watched, riveted, as rivulets of water from the stream tumbled over the divot in the top of the stone. It was a small circle, almost like a shallow bowl. The droplets of water danced and rolled around the bowl like berries in a basket, before tumbling out and rejoining the stream. Ann looked at the rock beside it. This one absorbed the water that met it, rather than dancing with it like the black stone. Ann knew at that moment that she must have that stone.

After wrenching it from the river’s edge, she realised it was larger than she had anticipated, being about as large across as her forearm. She resorted to turning it on its side and rolling it back up the river’s bank towards her home. As she rolled it, she noticed there were a number of markings etched in white in its side. Her uncle had taught her some letters, but she could match none of those she’d learned to the etchings on the stone. Perhaps he would know what they meant.

She reached the cabin while the sun was still in the sky – in the middle of straight up, and down past the mountains. Ann would usually stay near the stream until the sun had just begun to hide, but her current mission was too important. She finished rolling the stone up the small hill by the cabin, and let it fall to the floor. It looked like it wanted to tip so the divot touched the floor, but Ann made sure to push it the other way before it fell. It seemed like that was the “right way up”, but she couldn’t decide why that was.

She sat down beside it, panting, and wiped the sweat from her forehead. Her uncle and father were at the nearby river’s edge, hauling in the nets for the day. She knew better than to go over and bother them, as they were “clearly busy” and her special stone “could wait” until they had finished their work. That meant a lot of waiting, as the hot sun reminded her she had returned earlier than she would have liked to.

It’s not much, but it’s something – I’ll be back on track tomorrow.