No. 523

The boulder fell to earth with an enormous noise. It landed on the corner of Hershey and Lyon, square in the heart of the city. Nobody knew the origin of the giant rock, and even the scientists who rushed to the scene were baffled.

“It’s not from space,” said an astronomer. “We would have tracked it.”

“I can’t drill it,” said a geologist. “It’s too hard. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The only clear consensus was that, now, after it had come to rest, it was unlikely to cause any further damage.

“It’s a rock,” said the police representative. “Until we find a way to move it, it’s going to be a part of our lives.”

“There’s no radiation?” asked a person in the crowd.

“It’s not some sort of monster egg?” asked another, more paranoid citizen.

“No,” said the policeman. “It’s been thoroughly tested.”

 

The boulder proved more difficult to move than anybody had initially expected. It was so heavy that all efforts to raise it had failed, and still it resisted penetration by drills. Explosives were brought in to be set off in controlled detonations. These had no effect on the surface of the rock. Months had passed, and it was still in the same place.

And still, the public asked questions.

“Why do I feel different?” asked a person in the crowd.

“When will it hatch?” asked another, more paranoid citizen.

“Don’t worry,” assured the policeman.

 

It was three days before the one-year anniversary of the arrival when the first worker became sick. He collapsed and began to speak incoherently. His crew rushed to his side.

“I can see it,” he mumbled. “I can see inside.”

“Inside what?” the others pressed. “Inside the rock? Relax. You’ll be ok. The ambulance is coming.”

The fallen man began to twitch, his entire body shaking. “They’re here,” he screamed. “I can see all of them!”