If a rock talked to you about its pain, would you listen?
I am moving at the speed of a metre a second when I hear the sound of rustling leaves from nearby bushes. I do not want to hear it. I only came out of the house to jog down the road and back, preferably without the listening of suspiciously creepy things like the rustle of leaves when there is no wind nearby for miles, only a cool chill in the air, which seems frozen: both in time and temperature. I do not heed the sound, only giving it a sideways glance as I move down the sloping road and prepare to make a U-turn. I try to jog back up, but I am jerked back by an unknown force, like a string that falls in on itself after being pull taut. Looking around, I see nothing; nothing out of the ordinary, that is. Just the road, concrete but damp from the humid air, the bushes, whose leaves have ceased their incessant rustling, and trees looming above and about at equal intervals near the road. Oh, and a few stones here and there. But who notices the stones?
By now, I am extremely baffled. And annoyed. Obviously, whatever force it was that pulled me back was the same that compelled the curious rustle of the leaves. But do I have time to play Sherlock Holmes, to make a Study in Green? Granted, it is only 5:21 in the morning, but must I not have some time to eat breakfast before I am dragged into the middle of this incident? The leaves have started rustling again, this time more insistent over what the weird forces want to say to me.
A booming voice emissions from somewhere behind me, and I turn around to find... more of the nothing. There is no visible source of the sound, which only serves to add to my bafflement and annoyance. I hold my hands up, showing surrender to the Force. I decide to go with the most logical approach, "Who are—“ my question is interrupted by a most peculiar howling sound, in the same booming voice but now a few octaves higher. It is coming from right underneath me. I lift my right leg, put it down, lift my left. I still see nothing. Again, the howling comes, again, from underneath my shoe. This time I lift my right leg in a way that the sole of my sports shoe is visible to me. There is a pebble stuck in its holes, which I always find very annoying, as the ceremony to remove it includes being scratched off by a perfectly clean and chipped nail. Otherwise the shoe looks fairly clean, having been washed by me the day before yesterday.
Suddenly, the pebble vibrates, coming free from the sole's hold. It drops down soundlessly, and I put my foot back on the ground before I topple over with astonishment.
The Voice comes again, in full force thrown in with a short temper, and now there is no doubt that it is coming from The Stone that got free from my shoe.“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, YOU FILTHY—“
“Hey!” I interrupt it this time, with no small amount of satisfaction, “Who do you think you are, whatever you are? You think you can just interrupt me on my walk, call me names, and make me listen to you all before I’ve had a mongrel in my stomach?” I throw The Stone what I think of as my Most Intimidating Glare, and for a second I think I see it shrink up. But then it re-enlarges, this time a shade more red.
“I WILL NOT TOLERATE SUCH BEHAVIOUR FROM AN INSOLENT SPECIES. SURRENDER YOURSELF TO ME OR YOU WILL PERISH!” The Voice booms again, with the tone getting higher as its anger increased.
Well, that makes two of us.
“Okay, what, exactly, is your problem? And can you not take it up with another unsuspecting specimen of our insolent species?” I have never been more annoyed in my life. Except for the one time my brother got me broom on my birthday. Seriously, what use is a broom, unless you’re Harry Potter? And I, for one, am perfectly fine not being a person with the observational skills of a brick wall. But let’s not get carried away here.
The Stone moves again, this time closer to me. The Voice is so loud and so booming this time that I almost jump at the false assault.
“I AM TIRED! WE ARE TIRED—“ it cuts off abruptly, making me almost jump again.
"Um. Tired of what?" I ask somewhat reassuringly, feeling bad about The Stone's abrupt outburst.
"TIRED OF BEING TREATED SO LOWLY BY THE HUMANS. BY YOUR SPECIES." The Voice is more timid now, which somehow makes me feel even worse.
"What did we do to you?" Obviously the question is, in some sense, rhetorical. People walk over stones all the time. Who knows—or even cares—that even they have feelings, let alone feel tired. I must say, in a way, we all are schadenfreude beings.
"WE—"The Voice begins, but is again cut off abruptly again, this time by another sports shoe similar to mine, which kicks it several yards off the pavement. I look up to see my elder brother, who just shrugs and tells me breakfast is ready. So as my stomach rumbles, I shrug, too and walk with him up to the house.
So long, Mr. Rock.