Bones in the Rock

I am hunting for my lover’s bones in the desert.

Proper women do not splay out their legs, but there’s no sitting side-saddle on a Mongolian camel. My skirts are hitched high up my knees, but I am at an age where men won’t look twice at a bare stretch of calf or pale flash of thigh. Withered mother, old crone—human skin does not wear well. It sweats, it tears, it stinks, it shrivels with age. It burns under the hard desert sun, cracks in the cold desert nights.

The ride is rough, but there’s something soothing about the camel’s rocking gait, how I can find my center as my hips swing from side to side. It reminds me of how I walked in my old body. My old body, my true body, lost, buried, and burned, crushed under countless years, pressed between the pages of sediment and stone, the hidden memory of Earth.

I don’t care about finding my own lost bones, but I will find my love’s. Life lingers in the skeleton, the seed and scaffolding of it. Her bones first, then her blood. Then sinew and muscle, skin and scale, feathers, teeth, and glistening eyes. I will bring her back.

Our guides lead us to the excavation site, where the “dragon remains” were discovered. There is a pull within my marrow. It’s her, surely it’s her.

Through the interminable months of this expedition, I’ve kept to the middle of the caravan, as befits my station. Now, I goad my heels into my ill-tempered mount, then whip it, trying to drive it ahead. Rebelling, the camel groans at me, coming to a stubborn stop. I snarl, gather my skirts, and leap off the saddle, bracing my knees to land in the sand. For an old woman, I am stronger, more agile than I look, but still I slip and fall. It happens when I’m overcome—forgetting how to walk. Without a tail, my balance is forever flawed, my two-step gait teetering and uncertain, even though I’ve lived nine long lives, reborn into a human body.

I fall hard, and come up spitting sand. My camel trots away, glad to be rid of me. The caravan men are alarmed, and two gallants jump off their mounts to lift the poor old crone back to her feet. I shove them aside and run ahead, finding my balance, outpacing the lead camels.

I reach the bones first. Clawing away dust and dirt, I bring up the first layer, and there she is, frozen in sandstone, her neck arched at a graceful angle that should have broken her spine.

I don’t care who is watching. Bending low, I lick her bones. The years between us don’t matter. I will always know the taste of her.

But all I taste is dust and dirt, dead and bitter rock, grit on my tongue. It’s not her, this lonely twisted skeleton.

I tilt my face to the sun, open my jaws to pour out the feeling in me. The camels bray and shift away. The guides mutter prayers against evil. The expeditionary men make the sign of the cross, and one of them puts a hand on his flintlock pistol. They’ve never heard a sound like that, coming from a woman’s throat. I sound almost like myself.

I pick myself up, calm again, using my filthy handkerchief to brush the sand off my lips and hands and skirt. Nine lives lived, nine lives wasted, once this body was used up. But I have bargained with the tar pit for ten lives, and I have one last chance to find her.

I remembered how it ended. A second sun, a seed of light, fell from the sky. As it struck the ocean, it bloomed.

When I could see again, a vast plume rose from the water, spreading a ravenous dark cloud. The dark consumed the shore, then the plains, then the forests below us. There was no more hunter and hunted—everything screamed, everything ran. Everything except her.

She stood her ground, to watch death come. She was always braver. Alone, I would have fled, but I stood beside her instead, leaning my flank against hers so she could steady me. I would not leave her.

She was right—there was no running from this kind of pack. The dark was faster. The dark would pursue us, and pick us clean. Better not to let the hunter herd you. Better to bare your teeth against death, before it ripped out your throat.

The wind raged. The darkness roared, and she roared back against it. I closed my eyes and pressed my neck against hers, not caring to see the last colors in the sky before the sun was swallowed. What I wanted to remember was her scent, the rhythm of her blood-beat, the symmetry of her bones against mine.

I’ve searched for her bones by moonlight, by oil lantern. Now I scour the rock under the blaze of LED bulbs. The “Age of Man” shifts quickly, but I do not.

In the Fossil Lab, it’s important to keep up appearances. I can act like one of them.

I haven’t changed on the inside. Though I’m a different kind of hunter now, far more patient, much more careful. I no longer measure the chase in swift strides, but in slow milimeters pursued through rock and dirt, ground down over days, months, years. It takes another sort of endurance.

A new specimen is on my work bench, bones ready to be cut free of their stone matrix. It’s the head and neck of an oviraptor, “egg thief,” a distant cousin, not a true raptor, as we were. Oviraptors were sneaks and opportunists—my love and I had to chase them away from our kills.

This is a difficult extraction, slogging through the hardest of sedimentary rock, getting into the tight hollows of the prominent skull-crest and curved beak.

I adjust my lamp, pretending to seek out the perfect angle of approach. In truth, I don’t need the light. I work by touch, feeling for the soft heat of the bones beneath the surface. I’m the fastest preparator in the Lab by far, though I work even faster sightless.

I’m always first to arrive, last to leave. The best times are when I’m alone in the Lab. I can close my eyes, and lose myself. I don’t have to watch my own hands. While I appreciate their nimbleness and dexterity, even ten lives in, they’re still a distraction—the fleshy palms, the dull and brittle nails, too many twitching joints.

Keep your eyes open, open, open, I have to remind myself. Assume they’re always watching you. There’s more morning chatter than usual, about alliances and shifts in authority. To drown it out, I focus on the whining hum of the air scribe as its point bears down, the gentle warmth of the bone beneath. It whispers to me. The more I free it, the clearer it speaks. My specimens all call to me in different ways, yearning to be heard. We have an affinity—we have died, we are lost, but we remember. Their voices are familiar now, comforting in a way, but their conversation leaves me bereft.

It’s her voice I’m waiting for.

I work, till I’m aware of how much I ache. Once more, I’ve forgotten to set the timer that reminds me to stand and stretch, to rub my arms and wrists. Youth is on my side, but in a few years my shoulders and back will become an issue. I don’t know how long I’ll have to hunch down over specimens before I find her. Too long. Not enough time.

When I roll my stiff right shoulder, a hand comes down on it from behind. Not an unfriendly hand, but it is unwelcome. I’ve yet to come to terms with primate forms of affection—there’s too much grabbing and grasping, pressing and rubbing, the useless meeting of mouths. In earlier lives, I’d experimented with their copulation, but my experiences with any gender were repellant.

It’s Dr. Brenner at my back, our Senior Principal Preparator at the Museum. “Don’t work yourself to death, Tenea. Why don’t you join us for lunch? I’m treating the group.” His thumb delves against the tight muscle behind my scapula, kneading.

I stiffen under his touch. I should smile—women are supposed to smile when they refuse you—but I don’t smile well. “I’m not hungry. Perhaps some other time.”

“You said that last week.” Brenner’s hand stays on my shoulder. I’m still poor at gauging sexual interest, but I don’t think it’s that. It’s a possessiveness, a certain ownership. Brenner believes he made me what I am. He’s hovered over my shoulder, critiquing and “correcting” my technique. It took two wasted years, till he deemed me worthy of touching the rare and precious vertebrate fossils. I’ve been preparing bone long before the advent of electricity.

I stare at the space above Brenner’s clavicle, wondering idly if my new jaws have enough strength to crush his trachea. I need Brenner’s favor, and detest that.

It has taken ten lives to earn this place, crossing desert and mountain and sea, planning and scheming, doing jobs I despised for those I loathed more, moving from dig to dig, then lab to lab. I have traded things I didn’t know could be lost. And now I was exactly where I needed to be, in this renowned institution. I had access to the largest Paleontology collection in the world, the Big Bone Room, floor after floor of it. If my love had been found, she’d likely be there, or she’d be brought there.

I will not jeopardize my position.

“Come on,” says Brenner. “There’s a great blueberry cheesecake at the cafeteria.”

I nod, acquiescing, submitting. Before I can stand, a hand lands on Brenner’s shoulder, and not gently—the fingers dig in with threat. A slight, auburn-haired woman stares him down. She’s not in a lab coat—I’ve never met her, but Brenner certainly knows who she is.

“Don’t interrupt her progress,” she says.

“Of course, Dr. Murray,” says Brenner, already edging back.

“Don’t let me interrupt you, either,” she tells me.

“I won’t.”

She goes from preparator to preparator, examining our work, but her eyes are really all on me.

My love did not like hunting by the tar pit. She didn’t hear its voice, as I did. She couldn’t listen to its stories, know what it had seen. All that bubbled up for her was the stink of ancient death, from countless bodies so beyond rot that they seemed the purest black.

The tar pit wasn’t black. From a distance, it reflected the sky. Up close, its rainbow sheen swirled, even without the wind. My love kept a cautious distance, suspicious. I came right to the tar pit’s marshy edge, till I could see myself mirrored back. Even a talon’s-depth of pitch could trap me, but I wasn’t leery. We had an understanding.

The tar pit had eaten far lesser and greater than me. Dragonflies stuck to its surface, their fragile wings trembling. The lumbering, thunder-trodding hunters, those we fled from, stuck too. They were lured in by the keening of others, those newly trapped in the black. The big hunters sank quickly—the tar pit would always have the hungrier mouth.

I chased prey into the tar pit, to feed it. To my love, it was a wasted kill.

It could take many days for prey to go under. The more they struggled, the faster the tar pit swallowed them. Some were quiet, and some called out till their mouths filled up with black.

One day, I would know the tar pit as they did.

I remembered how it ended, and how it began; my last conversation with the tar pit.

The dark had eaten the world, eaten the sun. I should have been dead, but I was not. My love was not beside me. I called to her, till the ash and acrid air seared my lungs and throat. There was no finding her. The world was lost and burning, the sky rained blazing rock.

The tar pit was burning, as well. I could still follow its scent. I writhed and crawled toward it, trailing scales and charred feathers.

I dragged myself to the tar pit’s edge, dipped my talons in its thick pitch, reached my tongue to lap it. The fires on its surface had made it warm as blood. I tasted life, not rot.

“Nine lives I have given you,” I said silently. “And now I give you this one. I offer you this broken body. Ten lives, you will owe me. Ten lives.”

The tar pit seethed and bubbled, reflecting the fires upon it. In the black that was not black, an age upon age of lives, of deaths great and small, reached out for me: Come. You belong with us.

I crawled into the tar, letting pitch cover my eyes and seep between my teeth. I waited, waited, as the tar pit slowly embraced me.

Dr. Abigail Murray becomes a mainstay at the Paleo Department. The Division Chair goes out of his way to ingratiate himself to her, while the Curators are wary. She spends a lot of time at the Lab, and with the Collections staff.

The Museum’s petty politics, and Murray’s place in them, are of no interest to me. Not till the day Murray disrupts my search. 

I spend my breaks and every spare hour in the Big Bone Room, looking for my love. Usually, the Room is empty, or nearly so, and I have the privacy I need. Today, a pack of interlopers block the entrance. I don’t recognize their badges. Someone from Collections is with them, the sole Museum staff. Murray leads them all in, opening the door herself—she has been granted unsupervised access.

I leave the Museum, seething. Once, my rage would have been dangerous.

“Dr. Murray ordered an inventory of the Big Bone Room,” says Arjun, one of the research associates. We’re in the subway together, waiting for the C train. I was too distracted to avoid him. Outside work, I take pains to steer clear of other preparators. They leave me uneasy. In my dreams I’m frozen in stone, blind, trapped, listening to their drills and needles cut closer and closer.

I engage, but keep Arjun a step away. “The Bone Room doesn’t need outside inventory. What gives Murray the authority?”

“Haven’t you heard?” says Arjun. “Have you been stuck under a rock? We’ve signed a deal with the Devil.”

I shake my head.

“Joint research with the Owen Corporation.” Arjun flaps his hands. “It’s all anyone can talk about! They gave the Museum a grant so big they couldn’t say no. Now they get to fondle whatever parts they like at Paleo.”

Owen Corp is a Biotech company with controversial goals. They specialize in reviving ancient agriculture and livestock, then splicing them with modern lineages. Their CEO is a visionary and a madman, ruthless, obsessed: “The best of the past, brought to the future.”

Paleontology is Owen’s extravagant hobby. Articles about him pepper the Lab’s group email. In press pictures, he sits on his glass coffee table, a full ichthyosaur under it, fins artfully posed. It’s not a replica, but true living bone. The extent of Owen’s private collection is unknown. He has millions upon millions to burn.

We’ve become a rich man’s pet project.

“Dr. Murray is his right hand,” says Arjun. “Maybe she’s looking for something nice, to complete his dining room set. Hey. That was a joke, Tenea.”

I study the subway railways, till I can control my expression. A lone rat scurries across the railway’s worn wood ties, scavenging through litter. It drinks from a puddle of grey water. These vermin mammals survived, outlasted us, because they adapt.

I breathe out. “What legitimate interest could Owen Corp have with Paleo?”

Arjun only grins. He whistles the slow, grand theme to Jurassic Park. He sways, waves like a conductor, pretending to mock, but there’s a lightness to his movements that betrays him.

The bone-scrapers are disturbed. They lock themselves away with a dead they cannot hear or speak to, cataloging, covering themselves in dust. It must titillate them, arouse them, the thought of bringing their great fantasy lizards to life.

I’ve watched every Jurassic movie countless times, out of spite. They incensed me—not the inaccuracies, or the ridiculous velociraptors, but the caricature of us.

Others in the subway join Arjun whistling. The Jurassic theme echoes off the white tile walls, into my skull. Because this is the Museum’s stop, mosaics of fauna and flora decorate the walls, frogs and fish and elephants. Directly behind, cruelly, a grey mosaic raptor shadows me.

They whistle on. I’m the shadow, a dusty relic, a ghost in ill-fitting skin. I want to drive them all into the tar pit, give them the chance to truly commune with the dead.

The C arrives, its rumbling entrance mercifully drowning out the whistlers. Arjun turns to me, expecting me to sit next to him on the train.

I stare at him, through him, till he hurries away to board. The doors chime, then close. The train speeds away.

I don’t wait for the next C. I run back up the stairs, seeking open air.

I need to run. I run when I’m angry with my own weakness, so enraged it threatens to spill from my eyes.

The Museum borders Central Park. I enter, not seeking the kept trails of the wooded Ramble, but the expanse of the Great Lawn.

A rain comes, clearing the crowds. It becomes savage, and my soaked clothes plaster to me, heavy and clammy. But the rain gives me what I want.

The city fades behind a curtain. I run across the open lawn, with as much speed as these legs give me. The trees have changed, but the grass is the same, the mud still smells like mud.

I run, forgetting the weight of my arms, my weak knees, the burden of my drenched clothing. For a moment there is no other time, I have no other lives, and I race the plains, hunting through the herd, my love beside me. I feel where she is; I don’t have to call to her. We move as one, and she’s wherever I need her to be.

Lab work proceeds as usual, for several months. But one day, with minimal notice, Brenner dismisses us in the early afternoon. The Museum is upgrading Lab equipment, implementing long-delayed renovations, but a brief shutdown is necessary. Brenner expounds on what we can look forward to—updated fume hoods, tools, work stations, microscopes, lighting. He saves a special smile for me—his proud, weak reassurance that all will be well.

Murray is there, too. She stays well behind Brenner, a silent presence, but the shift in power is palpable.

I leave the Lab, carrying a small bag of my personal picks and drill bits. As I pass the Museum’s grand entrance hall, I spot Murray. The hall funnels in the gawkers before they buy their tickets, and I avoid it. Murray has no reason to be there, but she stands beneath the massive dinosaur display, gazing up.

It’s a famed centerpiece, the two skeleton combatants. An Allosaurus charges, jaws wide. A Barosaurus mother rears, defending her young, her long neck stretched taller than the hall’s decorative red pillars. The fighters are posed for maximum drama. They’re Jurassic, before my time, but instinct tells me their stances are unnatural.

Murray has no reason to be awed. She knows the public displays are all staged theater. True, complete skeletons are rare, too fragile. Display skeletons are mostly from casts, clever replicas. The visitors come to see patchwork puppets, assembled from false bones around the world. I could never wrap my mind around it, their grotesque fascination for our dead. A forged dead, at that—what’s real is hidden below, in the collection.

Murray doesn’t seem to care.

I walk to Murray, drawn in by something I can’t name. Murray sees me, smiles knowingly, then turns back to the fighters. She’s been waiting for me to come to her.

“You’re wasted here, under Brenner,” she says. “But you already know that.”

“I’m not here for the money.”

“Of course not. You’re here for the love, like they all are. But love will only take you so far. Love is not skill. You’re unique, Tenea. Exceptional. We’ve watched you a while. No one gets to the bones as cleanly and easily as you do. No one preserves them as well. It’s as if they speak to you.”

Murray studies me, quickly tilts her head one way, then the other, like a curious sparrow. I dislike birds—their movement is both familiar and alien, a language just out of my grasp.

“You’re making too much of me,” I say. “I have no formal training.”

Murray laughs. For the first time, her face softens, and I realize how young she is. Early twenties—roughly as old as my current body.

“I’ve been a Senior Director at Owen Corp for two years. How does a young woman, with no connections or status, reach my position? Owen didn’t hand it to me, my chance to lead the way. He made me fight for it, made me prove I wanted it more than anything. I see it in you. You’ve fought for your place, too. It’s not passion—passion is a hobby. It’s not ambition—ambition can be broken. You’re obsessive, driven by something larger, beyond yourself. You take the work personally. Like I do.”

“Your work is based on unproven assumptions.” It’s built on fantasy. Other institutions had already attempted to bring dinosaurs back. But DNA degrades—it lasts a few million years, at best. Science has hard limits. The only way to bring us back is my way, the old way.

“Our work is proven.” Murray smiles again. She’s on the verge of revealing something, but holds back. She turns to the display towering over us. There’s a strange gleam in her eyes. It’s not the bone-madness of the visitors and collectors, but something else. “We’ve found… ways. With a sufficiently… intact specimen, genetic degradation is not an issue.”

I step closer to Murray, staring her down, testing how well she maintains her story. But no, she doesn’t doubt her lie. She’s swallowed the hook, consumed Owen’s madness whole.

Suddenly, I catch a musk on her, distinct, unmistakable. It must have been what drew me to her. Even in this body, I recognize our scent, and it shakes me, the possibility that Owen has cheated time and grabbed us back.

But the musk fades in and out, ever so faint. It’s my own wishful fantasy. I’m just another bone-gatherer, scraping for dreams, seeing what they want to see.

A group of teenagers arrive. Two pair off, standing directly in front of us. One kneels and bares his teeth, playing the Allosaurus, while the other acts the rearing Barosaurus mother. They take picture after picture, hooting, braying, laughing.

“Tell me when you’re tired of this place,” says Murray. “And I can show you what I’ve seen.”

Specimens begin to go missing from the Big Bone Room—our most complete, pristine skeletons. There is no record of them being loaned out, no record of them at all. Few wander the Room like I do, but I’m certain others have noticed. I know better than to go to Brenner with my concerns.

People begin to go missing, those who push back against Murray’s authority. They quietly resign, or they disappear and can’t be contacted. There are hushed conversations throughout Paleo, but none of it leads to action.

At the Lab, with its sleek new work stations, the preparators are subdued. I seethe inside, but keep my head down. There’s a hybridized insignia on the doors, now. At its center is the Museum’s wavy-rayed sun. Around the sun circles Owen’s DNA-helix, orange and purple strands, entwined. The emblem is accurate—they surround everything we do.

During the day, I work at the Lab. At night, I forgo sleep, stealing into the Big Bone Room. I’ve kept careful track of the Dromaeosaurida, know every raptor large and small.

There is a backlog of specimens still bound in rock who sit in limbo, gathering dust on the shelves. I focus on the neglected ones, with plaster jackets still unopened. Those with no interior picture, or documentation so old the ink has faded. The collection is vast, running back over a hundred years, filling three underground Museum floors. There are so many forgotten ones.

Surely I haven’t missed her. If Owen Corp finds her first, they will drill into her bones for a clean core sample. They will drill again and again, looking for their mythical DNA, till she is nothing but dust.

Things worsen. Owen Corp brings in additional security. They wear the Museum’s guard uniforms, with subtle differences, detailing at the collar and sleeves and jacket pockets in Owen Corp colors, their own orange and purple. All of them are armed.

They guard the Bone Room, track who visits. Ten lives, I have searched, and I have never felt so far away from her.

Her bones arrive at the Lab. I don’t have to taste them. Beneath my hand a warmth spreads, up my arm, then through my chest. She whispers to me. For the first time in an eon, something in me unclenches. She’s with me again. I’m not alone.

She’s in reasonable condition, embedded in soft sandstone. Her skeleton is wonderfully complete, though it’s been cut into three slabs for transport. I claim her head and arms and torso, but allow help with the other sections—by myself, it may take months, and she is in danger here.

It’s my turn to hover over Brenner’s shoulder, hounding him to be cautious. When Brenner accidentally scratches her vertebra, I stab my pick into his work bench, between his thumb and forefinger. I’m reprimanded, but Murray favors me, and Brenner is swapped for another preparator.

I piece her back together, filling in the damaged gaps with glues and resins, with my anxiety and love and hope.

When she’s finally free, spread out across the tables, I don’t leave her side. Late that night, when everyone has departed, I lock myself in the Lab, and barricade the door.

Carefully, I arrange my lover’s bones on the floor. I kneel, pressing my hands to the ground. “Help me bring her back,” I ask the tar pit. “I have the right to implore. I have swallowed tar, and life after life, your tar remains in me.”

But the tar pit is no longer what it was. The black lake has been burned, processed, refined, used to fuel cars and planes and human progress. It is soot, smog in the air. It is petrochemical and plastic. It surrounds me, but its voice is scattered.

“Help me,” I ask the bones around me, the ones caged in the Room, the true fragments locked in displays. One by one, they answer, they sing, their voices joining mine.

I feel my kin. I feel every old bone in the Museum, and under the earth. I feel every tar pit, every ancient vein of oil. We are more than life. We are more than death. We are recycled elements-immortal, an unbroken circle of potential.

We pour life back over her—sinew and blood, nerve and muscle, feathers and talons and glistening eyes. We bring her back whole.

My love breathes again, opens her eyes, rises. She sways, unsteady, reborn.

Deinonychus antirrhopus. I see her with different eyes, but she’s still more beautiful than any paleontologist’s vision of her. I pause, adjusting to my new perspective. I’m taller than her now.

Ten lives, I’ve waited. I don’t touch her, just raise a hand near her jaw, letting her take in my scent, feeling her warm breath.

“You know me,” I say.

She studies my every feature with cutting focus. Leans forward, ever so close. Then she spreads her jaws and roars, like she did at the end of the world, when the dark came to take us.

Her cry is still defiant, but it’s anguished. She thinks she is alone. I croon to her, trying to find a voice she recognizes, but my throat fails me. I will never sound like myself.

My love backs away, hissing. I’m a strange and loathsome creature, walking wrong on two stick legs, naked flesh exposed.

I want, so much, to calm her, protect her. I want to lean to her, and have her steady me. If I press my neck against hers once more, she’ll see me. I lunge forward to embrace her, but she’s always been faster. She slips down and away, teeth ripping open my thigh—it’s how we escaped when cornered. I fall, but it’s not my pain that concerns me.

This world confuses her, terrifies her. Her talons clatter as she runs along the wall, then back, but there’s no escape. She leaps on tables, overturns workstations, smashes glass. The smell of acetone and resin fills the room, disorienting her more. She calls out, again and again, turning, frantic. It’s me she’s looking for.

I limp to her, trailing blood, but she runs again. I chase. I limp till I can’t walk.

Someone bangs at the Lab door, yelling, then it’s smashed off its hinges. Murray runs in, followed by her Owen Corp guards. They are armored like soldiers.

“It’s alright,” she says to me. “We won’t injure her. We’ll take care.”

“Surround it, and sedate it,” she orders her soldiers. Murray’s cool and collected, unpreturbed by a resurrected raptor, or my torn flesh. She’s rushed here from sleep, throwing a shawl over casual clothes. She slides it off, tears a strip, and starts a tourniquet around my leg.

Murray looks at me the way she looked at the bones in the great hall. I am more than life, I am more than death. I am infinite potential.

“Your necromancy works better than ours,” she says. “I knew you were one of us.”

I wake in a private clinic, with a neat row of beds. I’m the only patient, alone with Murray, who sits in a folding chair to my right. There’s an IV in my hand. My leg is swollen, but it’s been stitched and bandaged. My head hurts, hanging heavy on a spindly neck. I hate this body, hate my hands, but I know what they can still do for me.

Murray looks up when she hears me stir. She doesn’t ask how I feel, which I appreciate. No false, replicated concern.

“She’s still here,” Murray says. “We can only bring them back for an hour, at best. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to sequence a genome with those time constraints.” She leans forward, hungrier than any raptor. I know what she wants from me.

“Come,” Murray says. “You belong with us.” I think of drowning in tar, drowning for my love. It was the only way to save her, then. This is the only way to save her, now.

Murray waits for my answer. I don’t smile well, but I smile for her, showing teeth. She will never know what I am, underneath.

Forgive me, my love. Forgive me for my selfishness and short-sightedness. I see now that it was cruel of me to bring you back, with no place to belong. I will not visit on you what I have experienced.

There is still time. I have one life left, but I will use that last life well. I will make us a place to nest in this barren hell, better than what we knew. I will bring our lives back from the darkness, pull life out of the rock.

I will rebuild the world for you.


R.K. Kalaw

R.K. Kalaw does a reasonable job, most times, when she plays at being human. Her work has previously appeared in Uncanny. Her writing is fueled by coffee, peanut butter, and the inevitability of death. She enjoys cursing and sculpting, watching weeds thrive in her garden, experimenting with lambanog infusions, and collecting the bones of small animals. Find her on Twitter at @rk_kalaw.

One Response to “Bones in the Rock”

  1. xuwriter

    Gorgeous story! I love how you make dinosaurs and oil deposits lyrical and lovely. That takes talent!

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