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Theraxis Comes to Visit (standard:fantasy, 3935 words)
Author: HardenAdded: Aug 28 2009Views/Reads: 1490/1557Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Henry observes a new planet entering the solar system. It has frightening effects on some people but not others. In a state of wild panic, he runs till he comes to the answer.

Theraxis Comes to Visit 

By Harden Taylor 

Bundles of scintillating photons form a single tiny spot on the soft,
dark curvature of his retina, the source 9 or 10 light minutes away - 
at least a hundred million miles - the width of an astronomical 
eyelash.   Henry Prentiss scans the southwest early morning sky 40 
degrees above the horizon.  A new planet is passing through.  It rivals 
Venus with its bright glow. 

Word of the new planet had stirred a terrible panic.   But after its
course was well defined, the world heaved a united sigh of relief to 
learn there would be no collision.  In the way of celebration, it was 
named “Theraxis” by international agreement - a name suggested by the 
African amateur astronomer who made the discovery.  He thought it 
appropriate because the name, like the planet, had no known history.  
While he peers through his telescope, Henry wonders how the ancients 
would have reacted, they'd have burned 10 virgins every week until it 
went away.  Poor things - locked in their superstitious illusions. 

Harsh buzzing from his morning-get-ready-for work alarm brings Henry
back to the reality of Wednesday.  He turns off the alarm and with the 
efficiency that comes from years of practice, breaks down his telescope 
and camera, and stuffs them into a black leather carrying case.  It's a 
heavy lug from the flat roof to the bedroom closet in his apartment.  
The next stop is the adjacent room where Henry imagines a bemused Eva 
patiently waiting for his enthusiastic report while she practices her 
morning meet-the-world rituals. 

She'll like these even more than the last set.  Gotta.  She's got such
an eye for beauty, Henry thinks, picturing Eva combing her long, 
lustrous night-black hair, counting the streaks of gray but too proud 
to dye them out.   A face that belies her 40 trips around the sun - not 
as smooth as that of a marble goddess but always animated, always 
showing the richness inside.  Her shoulders jerk slightly in surprise 
as Henry plunges into the room. 

“Look ... I took these with the new plates.  What d'ya think?”   Henry
is talking to Eva but his eyes are transfixed on his prizes.  He sits 
next to her, lays the plates down on the counter top in front of her 
and raises his eyes to meet hers ... they are not there! 

“Eva!  What ... what have you done to your face?  My God ... that's so
clever.  Beautiful!  How do ...  Eva, it's so very clever and ... but 
it's not like you.  I don't understand.    Eva, what is it?  How can 
you do that?”  Henry's energetic smile fades.  Images in the mirror, in 
his eyes directly show the same impossible amorphous masses of 
swirling, exploding colors.  No clear boundary, no detectable shapes 
other than vaguely round.  Eva's hands and head have been replaced by a 
chaotic violence of colored gases. 

“Eva ... Eva ... EVA!!  Can you hear me!  Are you there?  Please, if
this is a trick, stop it now.  You win.  I'm fooled ... please stop now 
... please!” 

The restless matter that was once her hands moves quickly around and
toward him, sending him into a wild terror.  Henry jerks to his feet 
stumbling and falling backward as he does, the advancing dangerous 
spheres are within inches of his body.  He crashes to the floor his 
back hitting the edge of the chair frame.  The fall stuns him.  Several 
minutes are absorbed with internal clarions. 

Pain diminishes and he looks up at Eva.  Her arms move back to their
former position.  There is something else about her ... she is taller 
... she is floating several inches above the chair - impossibly 
floating in air. 

Henry sits, eyes frantic and wide as the night's full moon.  Long
seconds pass and he slips from panic to fascination. How could 
something so physically impossible be happening?  What does it mean?  
Danger?  Omen?  Sign from God, infection of alien presence?  He cannot 
take his eyes off the soft apparition before him. Curiosity sets in - 
Henry's innate, unstoppable curiosity.  Maybe it would be safe for me 
to touch the blobs ... see if they're real, what they feel like.  Henry 

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