Thirteen Wicked Tales Ė Extract
A WOMAN PEELED from the loneliness of her bed in the
virility chambers. She stood. Slowly she approached the window. She heard them
before she saw them. First a sound of distant laughter growing louder, heartier.
Then the clip of strong heels along sandstone in the patio. Multiple heels.
The door rattled.
THE BRAIN SAID danger. The body
said darn it.
Jat Cole sought his balance,
remembering, relearning, so to speak, how to walk until he got his legs back.
Alone, naked, weaponless in a world where he did not
know what the primary life form was. He huddled by a rock, unsure of what to do
next, especially in this danged darkness.
It didnít take Jat long to find the first
primary life form. In fact, heíd been on the planet less than an hour when the
primary life form found him.
A NANOPROBE DID IT. Preliminary examination was, to Prof.
Peter Veldcamp, procedural, as were the interim
diagnostics. Invading the patientís bloodstream with an eight-foot transfusion
tube brought no complications, and the robotic probe travelled fine. There was
nothing abnormal about the procedure at all, right up to the moment that
Charles Parkerís heart closed its beat. Medically, in six minutes, he was dead.
--Platelets to History
THE SECOND TIME
Earl came abruptly, like a game of sudden death. No announcement of his brand
new Chevvy 57 grinding into the driveway. And though
he had been drinking all day, he did not make effort to slap or abuse Landry.
He simply sat at the edge of his bed and quietly spoke.†
ĎThe Bayou,í he said. ĎShe so deep, the only thing she good for is
the gator and the cottonmouth. The critters, they donít make much never mind
about drowned folk that are all swole up. Them creatures nibble some but it donít
hurt near as much as what the Bayou gonna do to you.
And that big hair you got, so big you can spread it to seven more heads and
more to spare, it ainít gone float you to safety.í
Wordlessly, terror shining his eyes to metal, Landry pulled down his
-- Ecclesiastes Chapter Ten