Eclipse 25

He also spoke neither Modern English nor Ancient English.  His ‘Standard Edited English’ was close to real English, but he would say ‘perhaps’ not ‘mayhaps’, ‘Ayup’ not ‘OK’, and would split infinitives as the correct way to talk.  More peculiarly, part of his mind was not there.  He would talk about how his country was governed, and every so often his thoughts would vanish.  Moments later he would be talking again, but there would be mysterious gaps in his logic, as though he could think and say things, but no one else could be aware of them.  He was under very close observation when he suddenly disappeared, every atom in his body vanishing at the same moment. 

I needed more food, but the healing matrix said first I needed some rigorous stretch and bend exercises, my partly-healed ribs protesting where force fields kept them clamped absolutely rigidly together.  Then I got to eat.  Cooking is a big time sink, there being only one of me, but I actually can cook, so some of my lentil, spinach, and kielbasa stew moved from freezer to microwave, followed by shredded lettuce, slivered carrots, and a few artichokes onto a big salad plate.  Lemon juice, a scoop of chickpeas and chopped onions marinated in Roman salad dressing, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese followed.  After dinner I’d take a short nap, and then chemistry and astronomy.  I’d cleaned the house thoroughly before I left.  It could wait a few more days. 

OK, be honest with myself.  The short nap was another nine hours.  I lay down on my bed, pulled the quilt up to my shoulders, and when I awoke it was well closer to dawn than dusk.  Yes, when I need to I can really draw deeply on my gifts.  Afterward I pay a price, and not a small one, either.  Mayhaps someday, when I grow up, the price will be smaller.  But right now I’m only me, I only have the gifts that I have, and I’m paying the price for drawing deeply on them.  On the positive side, I always liked getting up early enough to watch the sun rise.  After nine hours of deep sleep, I really was awake again.  I’d be happy to say the stretches and bends weren’t as uncomfortable as yesterday, except they were worse. 

Chapter Four

The Wells Residence

Arbalest Street

Medford, Massachusetts

Evening

For the Wells family, dinner approached completion.  Wind from the blizzard rattled tree branches and whistled through their house’s ornate eves.  All the blinds in the breakfast room were pulled, covering three walls of glass with bright-white honeycomb fabric.  A brass and crystal chandelier hanging from the high ceiling gave brilliant light.  The fourth wall opened onto a large, modern kitchen filled with cooking gadgets: bread maker, ice cream maker, coffee grinder, six burner gas stove,…only the classic nickel-plated drip coffee pot referred to an earlier century. 

 “That was really good Indian pudding, mom,” Janie Wells said, pushing pitch-black falls of hair back from her ears.  Thanking Mom was always safe, she thought, so long as you gave brother Brian credit for whatever he cooked.  His cooking was superb, as good as Mom’s.  Janie’s much-taller year-older sister Jessamine Trishaset nodded enthusiastic agreement, her curly red hair bobbing as she nodded. 

“Thank you,” Abigail Wells said.  Three children had left her with a slightly stocky build.  Her still-raspberry-blonde hair was tied into a bob. “My recipe, but Brian did all the work.  And grades?  It being that day for you seventh and eighth-graders?”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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