“Well, of the official version of the case.”
bella Brothers partnership was dissolved, but I stayed on with Sam, and am at present part proprietor of the show.
Motioning her gently to a far corner, he rasped at the others. “Walk your dogs, please!”
He settled his problem by telling them baldly and plainly, without looking at their faces and without waiting for their questions, everything that had happened. He told them about Hatcher and about the room in which he had come to. He told them about the pinkish light that showed only what he concentrated on—and explained it to them, as he had not understood it at first; about Hatcher's people, and how their entire sense-world was built up of what humans called E.S.P., the "light" being only the focusing of thought, which sees no material objects that it is not fixed on. He told them of the woman from the other ship and the cruel, surgical touch on his brain that had opened a universe to him. He promised that that universe would open for them as well. He told them of the deadly, unknowable danger to Hatcher's people—and to themselves—that lay at the galaxy's core. He told them how the woman had disappeared, and told them she was dead—at the hands of the Old Ones from the Central Masses—a blessing to her, McCray explained, and a blessing to all of them; for although her mind would yield some of its secrets even in death, if she were alive it would be their guide, and the Old Ones would be upon them.
Further arrivals confused her, the schoolmaster and his family, parties of villagers, contingents from neighbouring parishes; she mixed up their names, could not confine her attention to their polite remarks; her usual calm self-assurance had fled, everything seemed curiously changed and unreal.
The copter came and dropped food and water. When it left, they practiced. When it came again they were not practicing, but when it went away they practiced. They were a naked man and a naked Thrid, left upon a morsel of rock in a boundless sea, rehearsing themselves in an art so long-forgotten that they had to reinvent the finer parts of the technique. They experimented. They tried this. They tried that. When the copter appeared, they showed themselves. They rushed upon the dropped bag containing food and water as if fiercely trying to deny each other a full share. Once they seemed to fight over the dropped bag. The copter hovered to watch. The fight seemed furious and deadly, but inconclusive.
At the foot of Pickering Hill, near Crooked Creek, newcomers frequently met, as though by chance, some “strangers” who explained that they were on their way to Illinois. The unwary emigrants continued their travel accompanied by persons who seemed honest men. The “strangers” soon gained their confidence, and if, by the time Ford’s Ferry was reached, the desirability and possibility of a hold-up had not been ascertained, the united party crossed over into Illinois. At Potts’ Hill, or before reaching that wayside tavern on the south hillside, the newcomer was either robbed or permitted to continue his journey unmolested. It is said that many a traveler who was found weak and destitute by the “strangers” was given money and other help by them. On the other hand, the traveler who exhibited evidence of wealth and prosperity almost invariably met his fate along the road, at the ferry or at Potts’ Hill.详情 ➢
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