Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Book of Stones

by Thomas Reynolds

Browsing a book market near Fort Scott,
Fanning through a stack of hardbacks,
I spot an oversized gray copy
Propping open the screen door.
Examining the weathered binding,
I label it a possible first edition,
Worn smooth by a million hands—
Wind, sky, rain, and sea.

Publishing's oldest self-help manual.
The Stone’s Method of Relieving Stress.
How to remain calm in all situations—
Storms, wars, and ravaging time.

A violent revenge western, with a twist.
The sheriff’s posse and the outlaw band
Shoot it out in the canyon rocks
Until a massive rockslide kills them all.

A murder mystery without an end.
The weary detective paces the floor,
Grilling the only witness to the crime,
The pet rock on Colonel Buddwing’s desk.

An epic of triumph and struggle,
The story of a grand limestone boulder,
Its spectacular fall, how its descendants
Scatter across countries and continents.

A charming childrens' fable,
About a lonely little stone named Rocky,
Whose only friend is the fossil on its back,
Who teaches him the meaning of loyalty.

A cautionary science fiction tale.
The scientist tracking a meteor hurdling
Toward earth sees a pebble at his feet
And screams, “They’re here! They’re here!”

© 2011 Thomas Reynolds

Find more by Thomas Reynolds in the Author Index.

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