Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 3



Stones Bear Witness

Ibtisam Abujad


Consensus

The clouds darkened as if answering the commands of the matter below
The stones vibrated, reciting incantations that everyone heard (but most ignored)
You could sense the warmth of their pulsating veins
as they filled with the droplets sent down from above
Those who heard the rushing sound, like voices speaking in unison,
did not stop to ponder the source of the melody
Even the interpreters, in their dual- brains
did not pay any mind to the language which the hard surfaces spoke

None knew why, but on a summer day, the humming suddenly became more obvious
Rumors circulated that there was contempt hiding beneath the crusty exterior,
that the stones were actually reciting a prayer
which would topple the mountains above their quaint valley
Some laughed, and others held to their morals, calling it fiction
Others fought hard to have the stones banned,
demanding timed explosions that would destroy the mountains
The stones would, then, be exiled beyond the borders of the town

A group of local developers capitalized on the dilemma
If the mountain was deconstructed, it would no longer pose a threat
The townsfolk applauded this idea
Local and global newspapers congratulated the young thinkers
and called for a stone monument to be built in their honor
The townsfolk shook hands and patted backs
For once, all were in complete agreement

The face of the large monolith was slowly eroded by the workers
who had left their professions and positions to volunteer
They cut the stone into cubed bricks that would be used to encircle the town
The barbed wire, which had usually surrounded the homes,
was replaced with regulation height seven-foot stone barriers
There was an excess of material, so the townsfolk decided to ship it to neighboring villages
The surrounding villages followed suit and wrapped themselves using the stone cubes

Ultimately, the mountain transformed into a peak
and then a hill and then you could only see a pile of rubble
If you had visited the town during that period of time (as many tourists had),
you would mistake the pile of stone remnants for the remains of a sand dune
A sense of despair filled the hearts of the townspeople
Their economy would crumble as their supply of stone dwindled
The mayor called the townspeople to a meeting to search for a solution to the looming misery
City hall was occupied on that day with young and old, some sat and others stood

A consensus was finally reached and the mayor was interviewed on the local TV stations
He argued that the economy could not sustain itself without the brick-making
The town’s economy relied on the selling of stone
He declared that the excavating would continue, now beneath the surface
The townsfolk cheered and the digging began
Deeper they went until, one day, as they had in the past
The rushing of sound permeated the air

The shrieking of the rubble could be heard above the racket of the machinery
and the booming of the dynamite could not drown its waves
Mere seconds would follow until the valley no longer could bear the weight
of the burden it had carried for so many years
The only thing left of the town was a deep depression that reached miles below
The barriers encircling the town hid the tragedy from sight
None of the neighboring villages had come to their aid
Some of the townsfolk who had been away from their homes
due to luck or coincidence, or other unknown reasons, spoke of signs
The town, they said, was always on the verge of collapse


Ibtisam Abujad: "I am a doctoral candidate at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My creative works have been published in a number of literary journals and magazines, including Entropy, Cream City Review 42.2, and Blue Minaret Literary Journal."




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