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Today, a Rock; Tomorrow, Dust

Beside where the river meets the land, tucked between the thorny bushes and the leafless trees, lay Barry, a small smooth stone glistening in the summer sun.

Barry the stone watched for millennia as animals and things passed by, not giving so much a glance his way. Life unfolded before him and he longed to be a part of it; death there was, sure, but to move, to be graceful - Barry longed for nothing more.

But he was a rock. He could not move the slightest of his own volition. So every night on that sandy shore he would be consumed by the pointed gaze of the starlight daze; he would wish to himself as he looked upon the stars - he did not want to be a rock, he wanted to live, to prance like the deer, chase like the foxes, charge like the bears. Even to swim and leap like the fish. Barry wanted nothing more than to feel the sweet kiss of life.

Each night that circled 'round his head he wished; lost count somewhere in the hundreds of thousands - oh how long he waited. Each night, begging the stellar powers his desires to come true, each day finding he was still a pebble on the same sandy shore.

One day, some humans came from a structure floating along the river; men and boys, women and girls, a whole band of humans came out of the beast that sprayed water; they made the shores their home for the day.

How they played in the sunlit gleam; as Barry saw the vital splashes, the timid lashes of the human stock, he felt worse and worse that he was a rock.

Suddenly, Barry felt himself lifted into the air - something was happening beyond his own volition - was he becoming one of them? Were his nightly prayers finally being answered?

High and higher he rose, greater and greater his excitement brewed. Something was happening, something knew - soon he would know what life was like living.

All too quick, he felt himself rushed over the rushing waters - he was falling lower, lower - after one skirting splash over the surface, into the water he went.

Barry's first thought - a fish! A fish I am! But as he gave a last glance to the shore he'd called home before sinking down, down in to the river stream, the pushing, constant river stream, he realized what that strange floating-into-the-sky feeling was.

Barry's hopes crumbled - a human boy picked up a pebble and threw it into the river; that was all it had been, a grab, a toss a single skip before the fall. The human child seemed gleeful, but annoyed at what the pebble had done, so reached for another to skip it 'cross the river again.

Barry never saw that shore again, never saw much but water ever again - millennia and millennia the water wore on Barry Stone, shrinking him, eroding the rock thin, until there was nothing left of Barry save for infinite particles of dust spread about the endless vastness of the interconnected watery tree.

Barry was no longer a rock, it was true; but Barry was not; a life of wishing meant nothing to the cruel mistresses, the stars.

Wither Words

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