“The creature’s torso suggested a heavily-breasted woman with wide hips. Part of one arm had been fashioned, the other side was damaged. But if that was a head then it was the head of an animal. A dog, he thought: a hound thing with a boxy muzzle. In fact, the carving was intricate enough to suggest indents for tiny eyes. This had been made by human hands.
When Matt returned his scrutiny to the darkness of the fissure, his mind leaped into awe at what he held.
Behind his shoulders, the sea rushed in and slapped the pebbles. It then withdrew in a susurration across the stony shore as it had done for tens of thousands of years before this very moment.
Later, when questioned, he would struggle to articulate how he’d felt with the dog-headed thing within his hands. But he did offer, to anyone to whom he told his story, that he’d never felt as insignificant. Tiny, an irrelevant witness and a mere speck upon a great tide of time that surged ever forward. A tide upon which he too would be extinguished: the spark of all he was doused in less than a cosmic moment, just as the mind that had occupied the skull in his bag had been extinguished so many years before.”