The Stone Man
The stars twinkled in the New Moon sky. The tall, prairie grass that surrounded the old steel factory site swayed in the late-summer breeze. Crickets played a sweet melody as the bats danced their way to the bugs that darted around the light polls that led up to the guard shack.
The old Chevy truck’s engine revved up and down and misfired as Eliot, a middle-aged, bald-headed, security guard, drove it to make his hourly drive around the property. He needed to check all four gates to make sure they were locked, and that there were no signs of a break-in.
The drive to the first gate was rocky. There were many potholes in the gravel road which made Eliot bounce in his seat. When he arrived, the headlights revealed a light patch of fog the size of a boulder forming. When he came to a full stop, Eliot noticed the gate was still locked. Not thinking about it, he turned the truck around and drove to the second gate.
The drive was worse than the first. His head came inches from hitting the ceiling of the truck. When he pulled up, the gate was locked, and like the first, a light patch of fog surrounded it. Still, he thought nothing out of the ordinary. He backed the truck up and turned to the gravel road that led to the third gate.
The road to the third gate was far worse than the first two. This time the truck died and Eliot would start it up, only for the truck to die again, a few feet further. This kept happening all the way to the third gate. When the headlights hit the gate, he saw what appeared to be a stone man on the other side, surrounded by a light patch of fog. When Eliot drove closer, he saw that the gate was locked and no stone man. He rolled down the driver side window and noticed the dead silence that surrounded him.
The fog, it’s playing tricks on me. Eliot rolled up the window, backed out, and drove to the fourth gate.
The security guard slammed on the breaks as the wind picked up and the gravel formed a six-foot tornado twenty feet in front of the truck. As he stared, he watched the rocks come together in human form — a stone man formed in front of him, with a smooth head and quartz eyes. The man stomped towards the truck.
Eliot tried to back up, but the back tires lost their traction in the potholes. The tires spun and spun and dug bigger holes.
The stone man made it to the truck and touched the driver side window with his index finger. Marble stones encased the window, and Eliot heard the glass break from within it before they rolled down to the road and in the truck’s floorboard.
Eliot’s eyes widened, and his brows rose. “What do you want?”
The stone man grinned. His teeth were made from sharpened white stones. “I just want to talk.”
Eliot shook his head, and with a death grip on the wheel, his knuckles turned white. “I… I… I’m good. Thanks anyway.”
The stone man kept his grin. His hands hovered where the window once stood. “It’s about your future.”
Eliot froze in place. He did not know what to do but sit there and listen to the stone man. “Okay, okay.”
The stone man lifted two fingers from his right hand. “There are two things I must tell you.” He lowered one finger. “First, I was born eight years before they crucified Jesus Christ. A year later, after his death, an old witch cursed me to walk this earth in loneliness, and whatever I touch will turn to stone.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “You know all those stone statues at the museums?”
Eliot nodded. “Yes.”
The stone man shook his head. “Those weren’t carved as everyone says.” He pointed at himself with this thumb. “I created those statues, just by touching them.” He peered down to the gravel road. “Most of those people, they brushed up against me.” He peered up at Eliot. “I didn’t mean to do it.”
Eliot relaxed his grip on the steering wheel. “I’m sorry.”
Eliot shook his head. Witches, yeah right. “Why did the witch cruse you?
The stone man glanced up to the sky and back to Eliot. “She told me her god made her do it.”
The stone man shook his head and raised another finger. “The second thing I need to tell you about is this. People think about doing good things but never do. Every human needs to stop thinking about doing good and just do good.”
Eliot stared into the stone man’s eyes. “You mean instead of saying we want to do good or write it down in a book or a note that we want to do good, we should act on it instead?”
The stone man nodded. “Humans talk too much. They are too busy seeing the differences instead of the similarities. They think about money instead of the whole picture. Humans see each other as different races instead as of one species.”
Eliot nodded. “We need to learn to get along with each other.”
The stone man nodded. “Once humans learn they are the same, peace will reign throughout the world.” He backed up away from the truck.
Eliot yelled at him. “Why are you telling me this?”
The stone man grinned. “I must tell this to someone every hundred years, if not, Hell on earth will be unleashed.”
“WAIT!” Eliot yelled.
Eliot shrugged. “Why did you tell me you were lived when Jesus lived?”
The stone man shook his head and laughed. “My way of telling you how old I am.”
Eliot slid his hand across his bald head. “And my future.”
The stone man grinned. “You will become a great writer, and what I told you here tonight will help you succeed. Your characters will reflect what I told you.”
Eliot nodded. “Thanks.”
The stone man nodded at Eliot before the stones dropped to the gravel road. The crickets started back up their melodies, and the bugs returned to the heat of the lights.
Eliot backed the truck up and headed to the guard shack. Once inside, he went to the monitors and rewound the tape. All he saw was the truck and him staring at nothing.