Wednesday September 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that is: set in stone.

Woke up to thunder this morning, which was followed quite quickly by a torrential downpour. At that point we thought a coffee and tea date in town was a much better option than going out to the garden, so we did that.

Eventually the rain let off, but things were wet for the rest of the day. I did finally get around to sorting through our garlic harvest though.

Final result from what we have left? 185 good bulbs, 29 bad.

In previous years it's been closer to a 50/50 split on quality. Looks like we'll actually get to save some nice garlic for replanting for once.


In a desolate wilderness there sits a towering stone, taller than five men. On three sides it is unremarkable. Plain, simple rock with no markings. No unusual damage. No ancient fossils, not even a dash of unexpected color.

There would be no need to speak of this landmark, if only it had but three sides.

But alas, there is indeed a fourth face.

It looks toward the south, though no man who has studied it can say for certain whether or not that means anything. Likely not. But perhaps...

The words etched into the rock are crisp and clear, as though they appeared there recently. They have, however, resided there for at least two centuries. Some suspect much, much longer than that. I am one of those who believe this.

Who was the author? Was he or she cracking wise or serious? Did that mysterious, elusive figure even expect that another soul would ever stand in that place, reading that message? It is impossible, at this point, to say.

All we know for certain is the message that was left in stone for us: 

I will return. I will be stronger. I will have justice. Fear the day.

Fear it.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a very good ratio of good-to-bad for the garlic! I'm not sure how you'll use over a hundred bulbs of garlic, but I guess you won't have a vampire problem over the winter :)
Ah, very Ozymandian this stone of yours! What an intriguing mystery you have there. I'd quite like to see what characters you'd populate with it (though I have visions now of Henri bulldozing it!) and how you'd progress the tale.

Set in stone
I knew I'd upset the builders, but I didn't think a whole lot of it. They'd parked their van where three different people had told them not to park it, and it really was an accident that the horse manure trailer had spilled its load there (trying to get past the van). It wasn't harmed, it just took a couple of hours to dig it out, and it still smelled. Well, stank, actually.
Even so, I was surprised to come back that afternoon and discover that they'd set all of my neighbours, feet first up to their knees, in concrete as a nice border along the edge of my property.
"Revenge, set in stone," read the words crudely drawn in the cement with someone's finger (they'd left the finger at the end as a punctuation mark).
"It looks like rain, doesn't it, Mrs. Smith?" I said cheerfully to the woman on the end and went indoors to cancel the builders's cheque.

morganna said...

Hammurabi's Code
Thousands of years ago
A king with a lawyer's mind
Gathered up all the laws and
Rules of his land and people --
Set them down in stone forever.

Aholiab said...

Set in Stone

Andrew aimed the water hose at the base of the gardenias in the flowerbed and muttered under his breath. This was not how he had intended to spend the last day of his summer vacation.
As the water puddled beneath the foliage, he saw an earthworm wriggling away from the deluge. He watched it escape and decided that his brother was just like it - slippery enough to slip out of any job or situation he didn't like.
He moved to the azalea bushes. He didn't know why he had to water them since they had long ago stopped blooming. If they needed watering though, he would do a thorough job! He drenched them until they became just like his Dad - sticks in the mud.
Finally he moved to the cactus bed. This made even less sense than the azaleas. These plants were designed to live without water! But as he sprinkled them gently, he realized they reminded him of his Mom's orders for caring for her garden - they were both set in stone.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Maybe it's because I've caught up with it recently, but this might sounds like something that'd show up in Welcome to Night Vale (awesome podcast, highly recommended). The only reason doubt is there is that the Sheriff's Secret Police probably wouldn't have let that group get as close as they do.

Anyhow, the prompt. Remember this ditty? My brain wants to do more, but the hour demands that I finish my physics homework.

Selfish little bugger.

A set in the Stone

A soft, eager knock on my door. I shouldn't've been petrified, but nerves have almost graduated into first nature lately. I checked the peephole: There stood Carmichael, shifting from side to side and utterly failing to hide a grin.

"Carmichael, what're you doing here?" I whispered as I opened the door as far as the chain-lock would allow. "You know you're not--"

"I'm too old for that. Get dressed, we've got to get going." He gave me a nudge. "You've got a gig, swinger." Then he shooed me away and pulled the door closed.

In a stupefied tumble I pulled on my least-wrinkled shirt and fell into the first suit I could lay a hand on. I didn't even think about the tie I had grabbed, my hand just snatched it and stuffed into my coat pocket. My brain couldn't begin to form half the questions it had. It made no progress as I came out and Carmichael practically dragged me down the stairs, out the door, and to the tram stop. He still grinned giddily. It was a nice change of pace, but its reason still eluded me.

"So where're we going?" I asked him, but he only shook his head.

"You'll see, Scotty. You'll know it."

I didn't find that particularly reassuring.

We got off at a stop that I didn't initially recognize. The new back streets we took were equally unfamiliar, but Carmichael knew where he was going. Finally we took some stairs to a basement joint, and I still wondered where Carmichael was leading me. I could hear people once we were inside, but I couldn't tell where they were. Carmichael was about to lead me down a hall away from the people-sound, but thought better of it and turned me around.

"Just take a peek. You recognize it?"

I poked my head through the archway and looked into the main room. It looked much like our usual house, but much, much smaller: the tables were crammed in as much as chairs would allow, it was hard to tell the bricks from the fabric on the wall, only the stage and the bar weren't lit by candles, and the stage itself could hardly hold a baby piano, the bass player, and the singer presently occupying it. But it was that sign over and behind the bar that got me, that warm, gnatty neon that twisted to spell The Stone.

Almost instantly my heart leaped and my mouth went dry. This joint played host to both my best and worst show, on the same night. It was my first show for an audience larger than my parents, sister, and cat, and it's where I fell in love with this business. For once in my life I was on top of the world.

Not two hours later, this is also where I got busted.

"Carmichael, what the hell are we doing here?"

He still grinned, but this was the first I saw something sad in his eyes. "I've only ever heard you at The Fox," he said. "And I've always been impressed, but I always wanted to hear your set in a smaller space, more appropriate, I think."

I smiled a little. "Why are we really here?"

He hesitated, but then shook his head. "I didn't wanna tell you now, but I figured I'd have to anyway. It may very well be this is the last time I hear you."

Marc said...

Greg - well we'll sell a lot of it, and we generally put a bulb in the local boxes every other week. Whatever remains will either be planted back out in the garden or saved for winter use.

Hmm, progressing this tale? I'd have to give that some thought.

Hah, yours is delightfully dark. And the finger as punctuation is a great touch.

Morganna - yours made me do some quick research on this code and I am intrigued by the results. So thank you for that!

Aholiab - some great descriptions and analogies in yours :)

g2 - it took me a bit, but I did manage to remember this setting from your previous visit(s?). Glad to see you come back to it.

Also: clever take on the prompt. Almost missed the connection :P