The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Photo courtesy of FCHS Photography students.


I open my eyes and look around to the best of my ability. Sunlight flashes down on my face from between the leaves above my head. It doesn’t take me long to notice that I can’t feel its warmth. I look ahead of me. A rugged looking man with gray hair is pulling me uphill on a sled. I try to move, but find that I am unable to. To my right, also on the sled, is a small device with a cord attaching to me. It is making small, robotics noises. I try to speak, but nothing happens. I’ve lost my voice completely as I realize when I try to scream and nothing comes out. 

The old man stops pulling the sled and looks down at me. His long, scraggly, gray beard blows slightly in the wind. “Do that again,” the man says in a deep, gravelly voice. I try to inhale, but panic as I realize no air is entering my lungs. I start to wonder if I even have lungs at this point. If that’s true, then how am I alive? What’s going on? I try to scream again and this time the device makes a louder noise. I realize it’s some filtered version of my own voice. 

“Oh my god. You’re alive!” the man exclaims. I prepare to scream again. 

“Wha — hap — d?” the device spits. 

“Can you repeat that?” the man asks. “If you’re screaming, try to think hard about what you want to say. That device filters your emotions into words. It doesn’t work like an actual mouth.” I do what he says and the device sounds much clearer. 

“What happened to me?” I repeat. 

“You’re not gonna believe this,” the man says. 

“What?” I ask. 

“You’re a rock now,” the man laughs while shaking his head. At first I’m bewildered by this line, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I can’t talk, or at least not as I normally would. Luckily I can see and hear. I don’t know how, but my mind is too focused on the fact that he said I’m a rock to focus on the smaller details. 

“I am not a rock,” I say, refusing to believe that what he said could possibly be true. 

“No, really,” he says. “You are physically a rock. You’re a stone.” 

“How is that possible?” I panic. 

“Okay,” the man says. “You were a sorcerer. You got into a battle with a more powerful sorcerer. He killed you. Then he sealed your soul in a rock so he wouldn’t be charged with murder.” 

“Why don’t I remember any of this?” I ask. 

“Because rocks don’t have brains,” he scoffs. “You won’t remember anything that isn’t embedded in your soul. Clearly your skills as a sorcerer weren’t very important to you. Luckily, you’ve been talking long enough to know how to talk without a brain. Do you remember your name?” 

“Alton…” I say, “I think.” 

“My name’s Karsel,” he says. “Nice to meet you. Or what’s left of you. Man, in all my years of helping people like you, I’ve never seen something like this before,” he states as he starts to laugh again. 

“You’re going to turn me back to normal?” I ask. 

“To the best of my ability,” Karsel answers. “Your body is too decayed for you to return to. It took too long for anyone to realize your soul was sealed in that rock. I’m taking you to another sorcerer who can seal your soul in a new body, but you’ll have to piece together your past and learn to live again on your own.” 

“Great,” I groan as the sun peeks out of the trees. For the next few hours, Karsel and I talk about life. I ask him many questions about what I’ll have to learn to live on my own again. I become more and more disappointed by everything he tells me. Finally, I begin to wonder if living as a human is really worth it. 

We finally arrive at a looming mansion. Its pointed roof soon blocks out the sunlight, replacing it with a dark shadow. It’s clearly ancient, but it has been well kept. If it weren’t for the architecture you would never be able to tell that it was built over a century ago. 

“This is it,” Karsel says. “the home of Dahn Verx Supreme, the world’s leading sealer.” Karsel knocks on the door. It creaks open on its own and Karsel looks around for someone who could have opened it. “Hello? Can we come in or did the door just blow open?” 

“Come in,” a booming voice answers from deep within the manor. 

“Okay,” Karsel says as he drags me through the door. We pass by a mirror and I finally see myself. Just as Karsel said, I’ve been reduced to nothing but a stone. What he didn’t say was that he had glued plastic eyes and ears to my new form so I could see and hear. 

“How can I see if all you did was glue on these funny eyes?” I ask. 

“They say your eyes are the gateway to your soul,” he responds. “I guess if you’re nothing but a rock, your soul will recognize anything it can as a pair of eyes, including googly ones. Same with the ears.” Ahead of us is a massive staircase leading up to a balcony, where a tall man with black hair and a red cape stands silently. He looks down at us, his eyes glimmering with pride. Suddenly, he disappears into thin air, leaving behind a cloud of black smoke. 

“Wow!” I hear his voice echo as if from inside a long metal tunnel. He reappears right over my eyes, looking down at me with astonishment. “I’ve never seen a soul sealed in a stone before!” Dahn Verx Supreme says. 

“I know, that’s what I said!” Karsel agrees. Dahn Verx Supreme examines me for a moment longer before teleporting over to the other side of the room where he grabs something out of a drawer. “His name is Alton, by the way. Or at least he thinks it is,” Karsel explains. Dahn Verx Supreme teleports back to my sled holding a small, rusty gadget with a crank on it. 

“This won’t hurt, will it?” I ask. 

“I’m not sure,” Dahn Verx Supreme answers. “My clients are usually struck with a severe case of amnesia following my procedures. If you do feel an unpleasant sensation, at least you won’t remember it.” 

“That doesn’t help,” I say. Dahn Verx Supreme holds the device to my surface and begins cranking it. Glowing matter that resembles sparks rises from the other end of the gadget as I feel an astounding sense of relief. “What is that you’re doing?” 

“It’s called a Deplic,” Dahn Verx Supreme answers. “It gets rid of any excess emotion so your soul is fresh by the time I remove it. Just relax and try not to think about anything. It will go much smoother.” I continue to enjoy the relaxation as he lifts the device away from me. Then he tosses it aside, the crash of metal hitting the floor echoing through the room. The feeling of annoyance that rushes over me suddenly disrupts state of tranquility. “And now, we proceed with the unsealing,” Dahn Verx Supreme announces. 

“Um, I’m not feeling so relaxed now,” I say. 

“Don’t worry,” Dahn Verx Supreme says as Karsel scratches his nose carelessly on the other side of the room. Dahn Verx Supreme drags a synthetic body over and drops it next to the sled, then draws the seal around me with chalk. “You can’t help feeling emotion. What matters is the buildup of emotional weight. As long as your soul is not clouded in any way, you will be fine.” The seal begins to glow with bright red light as Dahn Verx Supreme pours his power into it. 

“Okay,” I reply. I look around at my surroundings, then back at Dahn Verx Supreme. “Do you think it’s really worth being human again? I mean, without a brain or body, wouldn’t it be a lot easier?” 

“Alton, if you keep this up, there will be trouble!” Dahn Verx Supreme yells over the wind now being generated by his spell. 

“Then stop the spell!” I shout. 

“It’s too late now!” Dahn Verx Supreme yells as his belongings begin to fly across the room. “Calm yourself!” 

“Alton! Your life was cut short! Somewhere, there’s a finish line for you, but this is not it!” Karsel encourages me. 

“I don’t want to live as a human!” I shout. “I don’t want to suffer anymore!” 

“Alton, suffering is a part of life!” Karsel yells. “What point is there in living if you don’t experience what the world has to offer, good or bad!?” 

I think about that for a moment. “How am I going to recover from this?” I finally ask. “I can’t start over!” 

“You don’t recover,” Karsel says. “This is your second chance at life. If being a sorcerer wasn’t important to you, then spend your next life differently. Some day, it will be time for your soul to fly free, but today is not that day!” 

Finally, I feel my soul calming down. The emotional weight is gone. “It is time!” Dahn Verx Supreme yells. 

“Karsel?” I say. 

“Yeah?” he responds. 

“Thank you,” I say. “I’ve enjoyed talking with you.” 

“I’ve enjoyed talking with you as well,” he replies. “I hope to be as important to you in your next life…once you’re not a rock.” 

A haziness overcomes me as I feel my soul fading away. In the moment, I imagine how my next life will turn out. I wonder if I’ll be a stick… 

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