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"It reaches to the sky it does! Repeatin' smaller an' smaller each time, like ... like some kinda pattern." The boy gestured with his hands trying to indicate the immense size of the object.
The scholar wrinkled his face in doubt, "It looks like a rock." The object at hand did in fact look a little like a rock, though in truth it was fairly obviously a device of unknown technology. "But let's say I believe you, how does it ... open?" The white object was perhaps five feet tall and half as much wide, oblong like some kind of enormous pill. It was decidedly not infinitely tall and reaching for the heavens.
The boy frowned in return, "You gots ta believe me! It jus' happened on it lonesome. The water was lappin at the rock an' it just started to grow." He scratched a filthy arm with dirt encrusted fingers, "T'was a full moon during the day, would that matter?"
"Now we're getting somewhere," the scholar muttered to himself, "Yes, yes indeed, that may well make all the difference..."
The scholar found a small cottage, rented it with trade of services identifying items culled from ruins, or providing healing of the sick, and with his spare time he studied the eastern ocean. He kept a journal of the high and low tides, of the moon and its phases, and in time he was able to discern when next the full moon would be visible during the day at a time of high tide.
Six years passed before the scholar returned. The boy was a young man now, and he recognized the scholar as the older man rode into town on a strange beast. He remembered the questions that the scholar had asked and he knew why the man had returned. He returned once more to the beach, and found the stone, or whatever it was, half buried in sand and wet with the incoming tide. The young man looked to the sky and saw the crescent moon. In three weeks he suspected that he would see the stone unfurl once more, that alien device reaching upward to the heavens again.