Become a Fan
The Stone and the Glass House (Short Story)
By Abe Rossi Jr
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Rated "PG" by the Author.
The man’s voice on the radio at Billy’s house said, “We have gone to war.”
Billy didn’t think much about war and what it meant. After all, he was just a kid and had other things on his mind. He had just gotten home from school. Being that he lived near the ocean, everyday after school, he would run down to the shore.
Billy was ten years old and his head was full of dreams. He was too young to understand what war was all about. What Billy did think about was his secret place. Each afternoon, he would go there and look to see what new creatures had decided to move into the little habitat Billy had built just for them. It wasn’t really much, just some driftwood piled up here and there with a couple of rocks rolled over next to a little pool of water that Billy tended.
Like any young boy, Billy had quite the imagination. He loved the idea of all those small creatures that would make a home in the place that Billy thought of as his "World." The inhabitants that lived there seemed to like it, too. There was quite an assortment, from crabs to birds and insects of all kinds. There were even a couple of furry mice that would scurry by undeterred.
The really nice thing about this place was that all the creatures seemed to live side by side in peace, no matter how different they were from one another. They didn’t even know who or what Billy was, just that he was big and he came to help them out.
Sometimes, when Billy was feeling particularly enthusiastic, he would try to improve upon what he had already created. He would scour the shoreline for bits and pieces that he could use to make his secret place even more interesting for the wildlife to enjoy. Other times, Billy would sit for long periods of time. He would stare at them and wonder what it must be like to be so very little and of all the neat places there must be to hide!
Today, Billy hoped that his favorite crab would be around when he arrived. Although he knew he would surely be there, just as he was every other time Billy showed up at the little pond. He would be lazing beneath his favorite log as always. This one was larger than the rest, with a natural mark on the back of its shell. Because of the shape of this mark, Billy had nicknamed this crab, Starman.
Each time Billy made his way to his favorite spot, he could not contain the smile upon his face. There was no other place, anywhere, that could make him feel quite as happy as when he was there with all of his creatures around him. It was an extra special day, too, as he saw that two new crabs had found their way to this spot and had taken up residence next to Starman beneath his old, dark log. So Billy just sat down and watched all the goings on until he had to hurry home for supper.
Billy had never told anyone about this spot. It was his secret.
Yet, the next day at school, he couldn’t contain himself any longer. He told one of his friends all about his favorite place. It was wonderful to finally be able to share it with someone else. However, in his excitement, Billy did not realize just how loud he had spoken. One of the older kids, Roger, had been sitting nearby and overheard everything that Billy had said to his friend.
Unbeknownst to Billy, while he went home to check in with his parents after school, Roger had run straight down to the shore to find Billy's secret place. When he got there, Roger was so jealous of what Billy had created, he stomped and tore and kicked the life out of everything around him till there was nothing left.
Now, the creatures that lived there didn’t know who or what this thing was that came to destroy and kill they just knew he was big. They could not tell the difference between one of these big things and another, they all seemed alike to them.
When Billy got to his favorite spot and saw what someone had done, he ran to the log where Starman lived. Carefully, he lifted it up and saw the crab crushed and broken. Starman was dead.
Billy could not hold back the flood of emotions that coursed through him. He ran until he hit the beach and laid there in the sand sobbing uncontrollably. Eventually drained, Billy fell into a deep sleep.
While he was sleeping, the creatures that had survived that day spotted him laying there. Being that all big creatures were the same to them, they sought revenge for what had been done to their home and friends upon Billy. As he lay there motionless, he was tied up with twigs and seaweed and whatever else could be found to keep him from getting away.
When high tide began to roll in and wet Billy's face, he tried to get up but found himself unable to move. He yelled for help, but nobody heard him all the way down by the crashing ocean. By the time the water rushed over him and reached his feet, Billy had drowned in the unrelenting waves that crashed above him.
After the creatures were sure Billy wouldn’t be able to hurt them, they untied him and scurried away. Time passed and they all went on to live their lives. Yet now, it was no longer in peace.
The story did not end for Billy that last day upon the shoreline, however. He awoke again in a place called Heaven. There, Billy found another ocean with which to content himself. One day, while walking along the shoreline, he could not believe his eyes. Yet there he was, it was Starman!
Now, the difference between earth and Heaven is that in Heaven all creatures can understand one another. So, when Billy approached Starman, the crab spoke to him sorrowfully. He wanted to know why he had torn up his home and killed so many of the creatures that had lived there, including him. Billy choked back tears as he explained to Starman that he had not been the one to do such a thing. Billy pleaded with him to believe that he would never have done something like that.
One look in Billy's eyes and the crab knew without a doubt that he was telling the truth. With a tear in his eye, Starman said, "I'm sorry for what the other creatures did to you." Billy's heart was heavy as he looked at the crab and replied, "I am sorry, too, for what my people did to you."
From that time on, Billy and Starman took many long walks together. They spent hours talking and sometimes shaking their heads at what they could see happening down on earth.
You see, from up there, Billy could see so much more clearly than he ever had before. Now, he finally understood exactly what war was all about.
The man's voice on the radio at Billy’s house said, “Innocent people die in wars. That’s just the way it is.”
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!