— Chapter 7 —

Seshell krabs are pearly white creatures that bear a shell with a face. It is thought that if you do them harm, they will remember your face and chase you down.

This is the tale of a lonely piece of matter. It was once part of some other, larger body, but they’d since parted. There was no way to measure how much time had passed since then, which was just as well, because time didn’t matter out here. Skyrock had seen much of the universe. It no longer grieved for home, nor did it fear the unknown. Contrary to what it first thought, the great expanse did not inspire fear, it was soothing, and everything made sense here. The celestial bodies danced with one another, locked into a slow waltz.
    Skyrock rather liked the time it had spent adrift, but then it neared the atmosphere of a yellow planet and was pulled down onto it. It lost much of its mass in the descent, but still had enough to cause a great big fuss when it struck.
    Now, Skyrock was faced with a new reality, but it knew that one day the waltz would resume, and so its mind quieted.

It sat idly for many annums. It saw the suns and moons pass many times. It wasn’t tiresome, on the contrary, it celebrated each passing and would count them up.
    Skyrock did not know how to count, but it liked to try.
    It was about to assign an outrageously large series of what it thought to be numbers and letters to this next moon passing when some travelers stopped a short distance away. A shell lodged itself in the foot of their furry companion, and the riders were forced to dismount.
    One had hair like a sun, and the other hair like sand with a face like the sky. Skyrock gave them names then: Sun and Sky-sand. They were fascinated with the shells that covered the ground, and began to search, to try and find the most beautiful shell of all.
    Skyrock wondered if perhaps it too qualified as a shell. Sun found one that was turning and coiling and somehow ending back onto itself. Sky-sand had dug up a shell of a most peculiar shape, it had a face carved into it. Skyrock knew these well.
    “Um. Lu. That’s a seshell krab,” Sun said.
    Multiple pairs of legs came pushing out of the sides of the shell, along with a set of tiny black eyeballs sitting atop lanky strings of skin. Sky-sand screamed and dropped it to the ground. This amused Skyrock, oh the sounds these fleshy ones could make!
    The seshell krab began to throw bits of broken shells over itself, burrowing deep into the ground. It was not rare for one of them to burrow underneath Skyrock, and to cause it to shift to a new place—this too was fun, each time it happened it wondered where it would shift to next.
    “Are they all alive?!” Sky-sand said, breathing hard. “Not sure I like the idea of standing on a sea of living things…”
    “No no, just the ones with faces. Avoid those if you can. They’re bad tempered. If you mess with them they’ll chase you to return the favour. They never forget a face.”
    “What if they only saw half my face?” Sky-sand said, coiling a piece of blue fabric to conceal part of it.
    “Then all who share your upper face are in trouble. Bit selfish don’t you think?”
    “What if I had no face?”
    “Then everyone’s a potential victim.”
    Sky-sand’s eyes widened. “Scary.”
    Sun started to whistle a tune and found yet another impossible shape: a flat shell coiling and again, ending back onto itself. “Look at this one!”
    Sky-sand seemed to envy Sun, wishing to find an interesting shell too. Then, Skyrock caught the eye of this sky-faced scavenger and grew nervous, no two-legged land dweller had ever come this close to it.
    “Beautiful,” Sky-sand said, eyes aglow and nearing a hand to Skyrock.
    “Disqualified!” Sun shouted, Skyrock fidgeted with ever-growing excitement. “That’s a skyrock, not a shell.”
    “Really? I thought they’d be bigger than this.”
    “They lose bits of themselves when they fall out of the sky.”
    “Oh. That’s sad isn’t it? Losing bits of yourself,” Sky-sand said, looking at the rock from all angles.
    “You lose bits of yourself all the time too, you know.”
    “You mean like, skin and hair and things?” Sky-sand said, trying to picture this body worn down to the size of a fist.
    “Does it makes you sad?” Sun asked.
    “Not really. Um. I don’t know why I said that.” Sky-sand’s fingers traced around the flat face of Skyrock then, “there’s nothing sad about you Skyrock. You’re the most experienced of us all, and too beautiful for this ball of dust.”
    Skyrock felt proud. It was in a most wonderful state. Time and weather had smoothed down its exterior. The two land dwellers were very impressed with this, and decided to transform its body again, in a very big way. Skyrock was ground down further, and shaped into two pendants, a string was tied to one end. Skyrock was now split in two, it hung around the necks of each land-dweller. It could see itself on the breast of the other, it was a most unusual sight. Skyrock relished in this new perspective.
    How wondrous, it thought.
    Sky-sand and Sun returned to their fuzzy companion, and left the sea of broken shells behind.

More chapters to come. Devine & I are still making corrections. Cheers!

Continue to Chapter 8