Fungal Halo

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Cultural Heritage

It’s just folklore.

You try to learn it anyway, even if it doesn’t make much sense. After all, you’re traveling to visit the land of your ancestors, trying to connect with some kind of heritage, and what’s the use if you don’t put the effort into it?

This ring of rocks feels like a tourist trap, though. You follow the signs, walk the well-marked path, and now you stand at the Seven Sisters.

According to the story, there were seven sister-goddesses—or one that was shattered into seven—of chaos and destruction.

They were so dangerous that the other gods had to stop them by scattering them far and wide, so they could never reunite and wreak havoc again.

And also they’re rocks. And also they’re right here. But scattered! In a non-literal, spiritual sense, you guess.

Whether they’ve been around a hundred years, or a thousand, or a million, you can’t recall, and honestly you’re trying to remember what it was you thought you’d find by coming here.

You approach the Seven Sisters with a feeling less like reverence and more like embarrassment.

“Don’t touch,” the sign says, but who cares. The damn rocks lasted this long, they can survive one more tourist trying to find herself halfway across the world from where she grew up, right?

You put your hand on the first one, hoping to feel anything at all.

It’s warm. From baking in the sun, you suppose. Is it your imagination, or is that a faint vibration you feel?

You put your ear to it, and yes, there’s a low hum. It’s almost like some distant song. It’s fascinating.

Why didn’t you see anything about this phenomenon in anything you’ve read?

Maybe it’s some geothermal activity deep underground that’s coming through the stone. Makes sense that people would tell stories about these being alive in some way, you suppose.

You walk around the ring, letting your fingertips graze each of them in turn, until you arrive at the last one.

It just feels like stone, which is only notable in contrast with the others. This one is cooler to the touch and lacks any hint of vibration.

Your curiosity is piqued. You lean against this last one, and you hear no hum at all.

It feels somehow lonely, hollow, and filled with a howling emptiness. It tugs at something within you—perhaps at that vague longing to go in search of your heritage—and you cling to it.

It’s yours, can’t you tell? You press your body into the stone. You press your lips to it with the desperate desire that burns in your heart for nobody you remember in this lifetime. You wash it with the tears streaming down your face.

This stone was waiting here for you all this time, but its wait is over. You spill yourself onto it and pour yourself into it and fill it with your note in the song.

The earth shudders. None of you will have to wait much longer now that you are all reunited.