Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Venus Needs Women!

Here's a bit from a story of mine called "The Rocket-Ship" that no one seems interested in buying:

A young boy with eyes like Ann’s father answered the door after three determined knocks. “We’ve been expecting you,” he said, taking her hand. “It’s almost over now. You’re in the water already.” He pulled her more quickly down the well-appointed hall. “Hurry.”

They moved through a set of double doors into a large, humid room. Heated pools flanked a thin sandbar leading to an open-walled hut where an old woman lay fanning herself on a pale blue sofa. Large shapes moved in the mist above the pools, splashing quietly in the water and mooing to each other like cows.

The boy started down the walkway, turning back when he realized Ann hadn’t followed. “It’s all right,” he said, taking her hand. “They’re Venusians. They don’t bite.” This last did little to reassure her, but Ann hadn’t come this far to turn back now. She forced a shaking foot onto the sandbar and moved haltingly forward.

“You have a very reassuring nature,” she told the boy. “What is your name?”

“John Potter,” he said, smiling proudly. “Named after my grandfather.”

The old woman on the island looked very frail, but a curious stubbornness smoldered in her intense blue stare. “Ann,” she said, standing with the help of a cane and offering so welcoming a smile that Ann stepped forward and embraced her.

“Remember how you felt when you first read the American philosopher, David Hume?” the woman asked. “If there is one thing I’ve learned in my long, extraordinary life, it’s that human beings have a naturally poor understanding of cause, effect, and identity.”

“But how could you know about my reading Hume?” Ann asked.

The old woman smiled and tapped her temple. “I have a very good memory.”


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