White Rock

Zanu fell into the forest clearing. At its centre was a giant white rock, which glowed in the sunshine, like a turnip at night. It didn’t seem real for a moment – more a ghost stone, or a movie prop, but as he drew closer, he saw crags and shadows. When he touched the rock, his hand went straight through the surface, and he was unable to pull it back. His groping fingers felt nothing. He tried for an hour to extract himself, and screamed and shouted, but no one came. Eventually he fell forward in exhaustion, and was enclosed by the rock.

Everything was white within. There was no ground or sky, or trees around him, just blankness. His body adjusted to the cool, but his legs began trembling, unsure what they were standing on. It wasn’t a surface. It was like a thickness, somehow heavy enough to support him. But where did it stop?

There was a flash of golden. Where had it come from? Maybe he wasn’t inside a rock after all. It could be a thick mist, with yellow leaves falling around him. There were balls and fragments of lustrous light. Brightness in this blankness made him cheerful.

But immediately he felt a sharp blow to his ribs, and was shoved from the back. He fell forward, but onto what? Zanu’s smile became a grimace. People kicked him, and he heard their muffled voices, but couldn’t make out any words. He rolled into a ball, and stayed there, floating in nothing. More than anything he needed to be brave right now. But there was nothing he could do. His bawling filled the blankness and hurt his own ears. Maybe he passed out.

Then a person appeared – literally appeared – as if the mist changed form into a golden being. And this was no ordinary person. Zanu knew an angel when he saw one. She was twelve feet tall with golden skin and hair, and transparent wings. She said something unintelligible, then lifted him, held him close for a moment, kissed his forehead, and placed him back in the blankness, except this time on his feet.

His eyes adjusted. There was a mango tree with one ripe mango dangling high up. This was the source of the golden light, as if that mango were reflected in misty mirrors all around. And then he saw translucent forms of people crowding around the tree, grasping for its fruit. Some people fell and got trampled, like Zanu had earlier.

“What are they doing?” he said to himself, but his voice was transformed and boomed out everywhere. People stopped and stared at him. Uh-oh.

A fat boy said, “We’re trying to get the mango. Can’t you see?”

“Well why are you all jostling each other?” said Zanu. “Why don’t you try together?”

“You must be joking! With them? I don’t trust them.”

“How do you know they won’t help you?”

The fat boy stopped to consider this, as if he had never thought of it before. He said, “They won’t. We all want the same thing. There’s only one mango. And I’m called Adam, I was the first one here. I deserve it.” He looked smug, but then worried. “Look, if you help me get it, I’ll give you half. How about that?”

Zanu agreed, but said that they would need to include the other people too. The more players on their team, the better. And that’s how Adam, Brent, Christi, Deva, Ethella, Fong, Giovanni, Harriet, Indi, Javek, Klim, Luqman, Moldy, Nilesh, Ooty, Patsy, Quru, Rachel, Selim, Tanya, Uriko, Victor, Wilhelmina, Xipe, Yosy and Zanu each got a slice of golden mango. They swore that it was the sweetest thing they had ever eaten. Each slice was a smile. And the next thing they knew, they were all lying in the forest clearing beside the giant white rock.

For thirty years, Zanu dreamed constantly of his experience in the White Rock. He had turned it round and around in his head, but it was still mindboggling. How had it happened to him? And why?

One day, he woke a little later than usual, brushed his teeth, had a glass of water, and opened the door to get some air. As he stepped outside, everything disappeared. He turned back but the door, and the whole house, was gone. He was floating in blankness. He had the feeling of being in the White Rock once again, but this time there was total darkness. The words of the angel came back to him now, intelligibly: “Next time, you’re on your own.”

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3 Responses to “White Rock”

  1. “Zanu knew an angel when he saw one.” Yep. Those transparent wings are always a giveaway. A brave protaganist to kick off a brave venture. And that’s ONE down, 365 to go. Awesome.

  2. “Each slice was a smile.” That was a diamond. Onward, creative spark, one day at a time.

  3. I think the way you have fitted in so much of information or the story in other words is great good luck with the rest of the year.

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