So intense was the green-blue light that spilled from the interior of his backpack that he could barely stand to look at it. He could just make out the source of the light and heat: a single uneven mass where earlier there had been two. The individual stones must have melted into one when he fell.
His fingers hovered over the lambent mass. The heat was substantial, but not unbearable. How did one separate commingled stones? How did the Parramati stonemasters do it? He felt he had to at least try. Maybe a good, strong, old-fashioned tug on both ends simultaneously, he speculated. He pulled, twisting first in one direction and then in the other. As he worked his hands and wrists, he thought he felt something give within the mass.
The stone exploded.
No, he decided, aware that he had not lost consciousness. The glassy mass had not blown up. In fact, he and the conjoined stones were the only things that had not exploded.
It was the universe that had detonated.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Howling Stones by Alan Dean Foster. . Excerpted by permission of Del Rey, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.