— Chapter 7 —

This is the tale of a lonely piece of matter. It had once been 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 this didn’t matter out here. The sky rock had seen much of the universe, it no longer grieved for home, nor did it fear the unknown. Contrary to what it thought, the great expanse did not inspire fear, it was soothing, everything made sense here. The celestial bodies danced with one another, locked into a slow and unending waltz.

The rock 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 land.

Now, skyrock was faced with a new reality, but it knew that one day the waltz would resume, and so skyrock’s mind quieted.

It sat idly for many years. It saw the sun and moons pass all too many times, it wasn’t tiresome, on the contrary, it celebrated each passing and would count them up.


In truth, skyrock did not know how to count, but it liked to try.

It was about to assign an outrageously large series of numbers and letters to this next moon passing when some land-dwellers stopped a short distance away. A shell lodged itself in the foot of their furry mount, and the riders were forced to get off.

They were travellers. One with hair like the sun and the other with hair like sand, and a face like the sky. Skyrock gave them names then: Sun and Sky-sand.

These two fleshy beings were unaccustomed to a ground composed entirely of disintegrating shells. They were fascinated with it and began to search, to try and find the most beautiful shell of all.

The skyrock enjoyed this game, wondering if perhaps it too qualified as a shell. Sun found one that was twisted in a near impossible shape, 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. Lew. That’s a seshell krab,” Sun said.

Sky-sand had no idea what a seshell krab was, but then multiple pairs of legs came pushing out of the sides of the shell, along with a set of tiny black eyeballs sitting atop long thin 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 until you could no longer see it. 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, it wondered where it would shift to next.

“Are they ALL alive?!” Sky-sand said, breathing hard.

“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 favor. 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. Again, kind of mean no?”

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 a shell as interesting as this. Then, skyrock caught the eye of this sky-faced scavenger and grew nervous, no two-legged land dweller had ever come this near to it.

“Beautiful,” Sky-sand said, eyes aglow and nearing a hand to it.

“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. Sky rock was ground down further, and shaped into two pendants, a string was tied to one end. Sky rock 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. Sky rock 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.

Continue to Chapter 8