Watching the Wheels Turn

Casey had a rock that was very old.

The rock itself was hundreds of thousands of years old. It had seen species rise and fall. It had watched humanity take its first steps past the animal kingdom. It watched empires stumble over themselves, and hubris overwhelm the most powerful, while the lowest banded together and looked after each other, only occasionally being tricked into the self-indulgent distractions their lords wanted.

Casey thought it was a pretty little rock.

He picked it up on a beach, polished by years of salt water crashing it into other rocks and pulling sand over and around it. It was small enough to fit comfortably in his palm, a soothing feeling in his hand to remind him of the passing nature of life.

Over the years, the rock was imbued with the oils from Casey’s hand. After Casey died, the rock was returned to the ground, left for several thousand years before it was picked up again by a curious scientist.

The scientist examined the rock closely, wondering at what had caused the deep lines of human DNA in the stone. It must, he concluded, have been consumed by earlier humans just before their death, left to sit in a stomach until the body was dead and decayed, and finally picked out and given to another human for the same bizarre ritual.

The scientist published his results in a much-acclaimed paper, and he rose a bit higher in the world. He palmed the stone and carried it with him, waiting for his final days when he could join his predecessors in swallowing it.

The stone continued to watch the wheels turn.


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