Category Archives: Destopian

Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.
Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the last segment:

He wanted to protest but quickly realized his present situation did not allow him to do so. He still had his wits about him, which was a good sign. He knew that everything was done under N.R.’s instructions, and that a constant struggle – maybe even hatred and resentment – would forever rule the air between them. The look she directed at him was full of investigative curiosity. She didn’t believe his explanations, he suspected.

He left them shortly thereafter and went up to his room, thinking that at least this stage was successfully accomplished. The Monster no longer existed within the “sane” colony’s walls. She wouldn’t disturb the “proper” way of life here anymore, or threaten in any way the “forward” progression and development of this golden race.

He rushed to take a long, decontaminated shower, as if wishing to shed down the drain each and every remnant of his sojourn outside. He felt he had to get rid of the impressions that the world he had visited left him with. Especially, he had to let go of the bug that may had bitten him and taken possession of him. Over there in the cave’s ground, with that daughter of nature.

Afterwards, following a meal he hastily prepared and ate, he lay down in his bed, listening to his beloved music; music from a different world and era, preformed by the colony’s music-computer. Maybe a man named Beethoven composed it originally; maybe it was based on his Moonlight Sonata. He had read about him once, being deaf and all, and had heard this piece of music once before. He remembered it fondly, and so had chosen to enter the word “moonlight” into his electronic distance-device. He was honoring not only the memory of a bygone world, age and man, but also – still so alive within him – the magnificent moon and moonlight he had witnessed before entering the colony.

He remembered the dream he had dreamed in the cave. He thought about it and about what had preceded it. What he had gone through with Z.Z. He didn’t have a word for it – or was afraid to search for it. He was not completely at ease yet, revisiting in his head all that had happened to him outside during that long, eventful day, and all the places and vistas he had seen.

Finally, a good feeling began to spread throughout his body and mind, unassisted by drugs and pills. He felt stronger; he felt wiser. He needed only courage.

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Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi

Sex War One

To give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.
Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the last segment:

He wanted to protest but quickly realized his present situation did not allow him to do so. He still had his wits about him, which was a good sign. He knew that everything was done under N.R.’s instructions, and that a constant struggle – maybe even hatred and resentment – would forever rule the air between them. The look she directed at him was full of investigative curiosity. She didn’t believe his explanations, he suspected.

He left them shortly thereafter and went up to his room, thinking that at least this stage was successfully accomplished. The Monster no longer existed within the “sane” colony’s walls. She wouldn’t disturb the “proper” way of life here anymore, or threaten in any way the “forward” progression and development of this golden race.

He rushed to take a long, decontaminated shower, as if wishing to shed down the drain each and every remnant of his sojourn outside. He felt he had to get rid of the impressions that the world he had visited left him with. Especially, he had to let go of the bug that may had bitten him and taken possession of him. Over there in the cave’s ground, with that daughter of nature.

Afterwards, following a meal he hastily prepared and ate, he lay down in his bed, listening to his beloved music; music from a different world and era, preformed by the colony’s music-computer. Maybe a man named Beethoven composed it originally; maybe it was based on his Moonlight Sonata. He had read about him once, being deaf and all, and had heard this piece of music once before. He remembered it fondly, and so had chosen to enter the word “moonlight” into his electronic distance-device. He was honoring not only the memory of a bygone world, age and man, but also – still so alive within him – the magnificent moon and moonlight he had witnessed before entering the colony.

He remembered the dream he had dreamed in the cave. He thought about it and about what had preceded it. What he had gone through with Z.Z. He didn’t have a word for it – or was afraid to search for it. He was not completely at ease yet, revisiting in his head all that had happened to him outside during that long, eventful day, and all the places and vistas he had seen.

Finally, a good feeling began to spread throughout his body and mind, unassisted by drugs and pills. He felt stronger; he felt wiser. He needed only courage.

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Filed under Destopian, Literary, Sci-fi

Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.

Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the twenty-eighth segment:

The approaching night began to close in on him. But there was still some light outside, at this hour of dusk, and he was able to find his way down to the valley below. From there, the searchlights of the colony’s Periscopic-Tower were guiding him along, as they were looking out for him. He began his run toward the colony, fully aware that he would be forever affected by the events of this day. His mind was pure and clear as the mind of a small child. Only one thought was there: survival! He would have to report to the citizens of the colony. He would have to tell them what took place outside. He needed to find a good, convincing excuse for his long absence.
Before he had reached the small hill on top of the colony, he was able to see a sight he had never before seen. He saw the moon: a white, glowing moon rising, washing the darkening plains with an expansive, majestic silver light. He stood on top of the hill for one more moment, savoring this unequal sight, before going down the stairs leading to the Periscopic-Tower.
*
Inside the colony he was received with opened arms. Literally: two men met him in the Transfer-Room and helped him to take off his outside trip-suit. In the long corridors of the colony he met many of the citizens, anxiously waiting to find out how he was, and learn what had happened to him. They were glad to see him alive, and with him the dress he had brought back. Z.Z.’s dress.
In the main Control-Room, N.R. and B.F. were waiting for him. He rushed to return the radiation-gun to Robot W.1, who immediately deposited it inside the Weapons-Cell. He threw the nylon dress at N.R. and she caught it in midair, holding on to it for a moment and twisting her nose in disgust, before throwing it away on the floor.
D.L. told them – not looking at them though, busying himself with checking one of the large, oval-shaped computer screens – that he had exterminated the Monster. He had taken a rest lying down, he further told them, and had fallen asleep till sunset. Only then did he wake up, and then hurried back to the colony. He further told them that the air outside was mostly clear of nuclear radiation. It was possible for him, he emphasized, to breathe without the trip-suit helmet and its special, built-in gas mask. He watched the sun rising and setting, and saw the moon appearing up in the darkening skies. He estimated that in not too many years ahead, some flora, maybe even insects and other such living things, would start growing and living outside again.
N.R. and B.F. looked at each other and smirked in disbelief. They gave him a report on what had taken place inside the colony while he was gone. They told him about the steady development of the babies in the last tier; on the current situation in the semen-freezer; and the damage, later fixed, to the electronic sucking-pump of the female eggs. They had conducted an experiment in the Birth-Laboratory with the graduating tier, working on the birth-production-line. The experiment was a success. The backyard down at the bottom level of the colony was cleared and cleaned. It was as if the Monster’s shack was never there in the first place. Nor was she!

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The Monster

Sew War One, CoverTo give you a taste of my book, “Sex War One,” I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for this book.

Sex War One – a dystopian, Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful Sex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

Here then is the twenty-seventh segment:

The sun was about to disappear behind the red mountains, far on the other side of the valley. Her last golden rays were filling the dark cave with light, hitting D.L.’s eyes directly. He opened them, discovering he was covered with cold sweat. He had difficulty comprehending where he was, at first, so terrifying was his dream.

He looked at Z.Z., lying peacefully beside him, her mouth slightly opened. A ringlet of hair had fallen over her forehead and eyes, moving slightly to the rhythm of her breathing. Her skin was smooth and delicate, her chest going up and down in perfect rhythm, without skipping a beat. She was so beautiful.

He remembered everything at once, and therefore felt better. It was just a dream, after all. Why had he never dreamed like that before? Normally, just like the other colony-citizens, he hadn’t dreamed much, or maybe dreamed but remembered almost nothing afterwards. Their lives in the colony streamed so smoothly and steadily without dreams. There was no need for dreams; life in the colony was a dream.

And as he was thinking of the colony, he realized that he had to return there. If he didn’t, they would come looking for him. He was sure of that, as he would have done the same thing, had it been someone else outside, not him. Even more so: he wished suddenly to be back in the safety of his room, behind its closed door. Z.Z. and her force-of-nature – the force-of-nature that had created her, probably, to begin with – frightened him now. He wished to be his old self again: D.L., the Secretary of Underground-Colony B/365; D.L., the cold and calculated colony-citizen; D.L., an advanced creature of science and technology; D.L., the Birth-Laboratory chief scientist.

He got off the ground, careful not to wake Z.Z. up. He put on his trip-suit, with the unused radiation-gun in one big pocket, and Z.Z.’s nylon dress in the other. He looked at her for the last time and a thought flashed through his mind: How easy, painless even, would it be to exterminate her now. Lying on the ground so deep in her sleep. She would never know.

It was a troubling idea, which he quickly rejected. He wanted her to live, and she deserved to live – even here in the cave – though the reason behind his thinking was not entirely clear to him just yet. Nonetheless, he covered her with the blanket and hurried to leave the darkening cave. He was unaware that his last act of kindness had woken her up, and that those beautiful, deep brown eyes he had left behind were now open, looking at his vanishing figure. An image she would carry with her for the rest of her life. Short or long as it might be.

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Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-sixth segment:

D.L. keeps running and running. Familiar corridors become foreign catacombs. He feels as if he is running within them looking for an escape but cannot find any. There are no doors. The moving tracks are not moving. The colony-citizens look at him from their cages. They look at him very curiously, laughing at him. They are all dressed – he is the only one naked. Something strange has happened to him, he is sure of that. Still, he keeps on running, refusing to believe that he is doomed. He meets a small child suddenly and stops running. She is sitting on the corridor’s floor playing with a computer toy. He wants to ask her something but the girl gives him a remote, apathetic look. She looks up at someone else. So does he, seeing N.R. now. She stops beside them, holding a strange, huge radiation-gun in her hands, blocking his way. She laughs wildly, yet soundlessly, threatening to devour him. From her mouth she is spitting black smoke. He uses it as cover and manages to escape into a side door he finds suddenly in the corridor. But S.O. is not there in her room. She has disappeared. He can only see all of the colony men now. They are gathered in the backyard, and are tied to the swimming pool with their heads in the blue water. He finds it hard to believe that the water is blue, and that they are all dead. But blood keeps pouring from their heads, painting the pool red now. Or maybe these are just the faraway red mountains reflecting in the water. It doesn’t matter anymore, as he charges to the fence surrounding Z.Z.’s shack. He doesn’t want to be dead like them, not yet. He breaks in and enters the shack. But she is not there, Z.Z. S.O. is there instead, naked as he is. From between her white thighs comes a dark, silky animal, which she holds in both hands. That animal keeps sliding out, lashing out a threatening, long thin tongue at him. He is flashed suddenly by strong searchlights. He turns his head.

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Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-fifth segment:

His knees were buckling underneath him. He felt it coming, even before he fell down to the ground. He couldn’t control himself; neither could he control her. He was tired and weak; she was strong and energetic. And that was why he stayed with her: She made him feel strong again. So he touched her naked body, so soft and so warm. And she held him in her arms, preventing him from going away. Nature ruled and directed her actions. Between the two of them now, she was the leader, and he was the follower. He got naked as well. For the first time in his life his actions were not controlled by his brain anymore, but by his pure impulses and emotions.

He heard her cry again when he penetrated. The joy of the flesh mixed so perfectly with the joy of the soul and became one. And so did they.

He felt safe in this dark cave. He felt protected. He remembered that the girls in the colony lost their virginity in a very different way, and at a much earlier age, with special scalpels at the medical station in the health laboratory. Doing it that way was meant to prevent stronger attachments later on between the sexes. Such powerful desire, it was suspected, could lead to personal preference and individual, ever lasting attachment, which was against the colony-rules. After all, they were meant to be equal and non-individual.

He stayed a long time inside Z.Z. Longer than he had ever stayed inside any of the women in the colony. He felt the warmth coming from her, and remembered the coldness that always came from the women-citizens. He remembered, as well, that they never screamed or cried; they always moaned, talked or laughed, or just stayed mute.

And thus, in the deepest of all places, he felt for the first time a strong desire to die. Dark energy, which nonetheless was surrounded by a halo of bright light, engulfed him and forced him to close his eyes. He felt her wet eyes, full of tears, resting now on his bare chest. He surrendered completely then to her wish, and yes, to his own wish as well. He lay quiet and calm with her on the ground of the cave. They were united, at last, with each other and with nature.

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Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-fourth segment:

He paused again, advertently this time, realizing only now that when he had asked her in the colony’s shack to gather food, drinks and fire-balls, he had done so not just as an excuse, or as an incentive to get her going. There was a deeper, predestined reason for his decisions and actions.
“The air is clean, it seems,” he said. “You will be able to live here for a while, in this cave.”
He saw that she was trembling, and realized she understood the full meaning of his words. She was scared for the first time since they had left the colony.
“I’m so sorry, Z.Z. I don’t…” he couldn’t finish the sentence. He choked, as drops of fluid – yes, tears, for the first time in his life – were beginning to well up in his eyes. He turned and rushed toward the cave opening. He knew that he had to run away from here. Leave her alone. Escape her presence while he still could. Go back to the colony. Return to the cold…
“No!…”

It was an alien shout: more like a scream. A wild scream. Before he was able to stop and turn, Z.Z. was in front of him. Her blanket fell down when she stretched her arms to catch him, to hug him with a strength he didn’t know she possessed.
D.L. stood still. A simple, yet momentous revelation flashed in his head: she talked! She called on him not to leave! The one thing he had been trying so hard, for such a long time to get her to do, as she used to do in her childhood – before the brutality and cruelty of the other children had taken it away from her – came back to her now. Out of her mouth, so naturally. In this dark, isolated cave.
He moved her slightly and gently away from him, looking at her lips. He smiled at her. The fire and dizziness in his head were gone. The rapid racing of his heartbeat was gone. Everything was crisp as the air: she had uttered a coherent word. She called on him not to go away. Not to leave her here alone.
He looked at her naked body now and thought about the women in the colony; thought about their lean, white bodies; thought about their small, upright breasts. But here, in front of him, Z.Z. had fuller, rounder breasts. Her nipples were deep brown, not light pink, as were her belly and her thighs. Just like the color of the ground in the cave, down below her bare feet.

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Sex War One

Sew War One, CoverSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-third segment:

The strange, awakened look in Z.Z.’s brown eyes was still there, directed at him and disturbing him. It forced him, for some reason, to think of her life in the last eighteen colony-years. He remembered each of those years since she was born. He remembered how he had used to tell her stories before she fell asleep, stories about the days, as he himself had been taught in school, before the Great-Nuclear-War, stories she probably couldn’t entirely comprehend. Still, she had lain quietly and listened to him. He remembered how he had taught her to walk, and eat properly, and play and draw. Yes, draw and paint. He looked at her work now, those childish paintings she took with her from the shack before leaving it forever, as she had innately understood.
He felt weak all of a sudden; so weak that he was afraid his legs were going to give out. To prevent a fall he hurriedly sat down on the cave floor, not far from her. He didn’t look at her but knew, somehow, that she took pity on him. He also knew that, at least in that moment, she was stronger than he was. He couldn’t understand that; he had never been so emotional or so hesitant before. But then, he never before had to kill anyone. Certainly not anyone who was so alive, like her. His Z.Z.
He challenged himself: Could he do it? Was he, or was he not, the Secretary of Underground-Colony B/365? Was he really so meek and weak that he should no longer be the leader of such an advanced, superior race? Should he instead give up, and stay here with her?

He shuddered. Then he got up from the ground promptly, and – full of renewed determination – drew the radiation-gun from his pocket and aimed it at Z.Z. But she continued to sit still, squaring her deep, peaceful, wondering brown eyes at him.
He felt how his fingers were hardening around the small electronic keyboard handle of the gun, and how his index finger was itching closer to the trigger releasing key. He was unsteady, and his head was spinning. He saw her very clearly, yet at the same time she was isolated from him and from everything else around her. It was as if her image alone was staring back at him, devoid of place and time. He knew then, with absolute certainty, that he could not go ahead with it. Could not shoot her. Could not execute her.
He put the gun back into his pocket and moved closer to her. He signaled her to get up. She did so, but stood opposite him as if in a challenging manner. In her eyes he saw a daring look that freedom had touched, reflecting newly found strength and confidence.
“I was about to kill you, Z.Z. To put an end to your life right here and now. It was the decision of the General-Assembly, you must understand. I did not have a choice in the matter. But I cannot do it. I…”
He paused inadvertently, his lips sore and his throat dry. His mind was on fire. “You will remain here all by yourself,” he continued, “you have food, drinks and some fire-balls. It will be enough to sustain you for some time.”

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Sex War One

SWOSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-second segment:

For almost an entire colony-hour, as measured by the watch attached to his trip-suit, they sat like that: she outside in the sun, on the edge of the big rock, and he inside in the cave’s shade, sitting on the small rock. He looked at her, deliberating what to do next, and she looked ahead at the valley below her, inhaling nature and allowing its forces to flow freely inside her, giving life to her true being.
He remembered, suddenly, that he needed proof. The decision by the General-Assembly demanded that of him. Or was it just N.R. who insisted on that? He couldn’t remember now. It didn’t matter to him anymore who was behind it; he knew what was ahead of him, and what he had to do. He hurried to open Z.Z.’s sack of belongings, placing it at the corner of the cave and spreading its contents around on the ground. In his hand he was left holding only her nylon blanket.
“Z.Z.,” he called. “Come over here.”
She trembled, at first, but didn’t move or look back at him. After a moment though, when he again called her, she turned her head back and stared at him. Her look, he was surprised to see even from a distance, was new and unfamiliar to him. It was devoid, he realized instantly, of the old fear and submission. It was free. Yet she got up slowly and stepped into the cave, looking around with much curiosity. She stood in front of him, her long, dark hair falling gently on her shoulders and down her back. Her questioning eyes were directed up at him.
He looked down and away from those eyes, even while touching her dress and talking to her. “Give me your dress,” he said, “and use this blanket instead.” He handed her the blanket, using his hands to further describe what she had to do.
She looked at him puzzled, and for a moment motionless, as if trying to absorb and comprehend his words. Maybe she was deliberating, too, whether to obey his request or not.
“Quickly,” he commanded.
This time she obeyed, and took her one-piece dress off in one easy move.
He turned his eyes away from her and looked outside the cave. Not out of consideration, but out of apathy. Seeing her naked body inspired no curiosity in him whatsoever. Or so he thought.
Outside, as before, all was quiet. Not a bird, not even one single insect. He heard no sound but the rustle of her dress being folded hastily. She handed it to him and, covered with the blanket, stepped back in and sat down on the small rock. She looked at him from there, her small, bare feet tapping on the ground. She was cold now, he realized, or just nervous all of a sudden. Nonetheless, he turned away from her and busied himself with folding her dress even tighter. He stuck it in the other large pocket of his trip-suit, and then, determined, turned back and looked at her.

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Sex War One

SWOSex War One – my dystopian Sci-fi novel – is available for purchase in all eBooks & iBooks stores & devices. “Fast-moving plot and skillful characterization,” said the Science Fiction Studies journal. “This book unifies within it the principles of major Science-Fiction literature,” said This World. Kindle Edition & Smashwords Edition (for iTunes, Kobo, B&N & more.) For further details please check my books page.

To give you a taste of the book, I’ve been posting segments of my award-winning short story, “The Monster,” which serves also as the basis for the book. Here then is the twenty-one segment:

D.L. began a slow climb toward her, following her footprints in the soft ground. How small her bare footprints were, he marveled. He was surprised, and not for the first time, by her calmness: she did not look once in his direction when he was climbing up the mountain. Now, when he reached the rock and stopped beside her, she remained still and quiet, looking away and ahead. He was breathing hard, surveying the valley and the faraway mountain range at the other side of it. Those mountains had a shade of red embedded in them, he could see that clearly. For a fleeting moment he thought that he saw, down at the foot of those faraway mountains, a bluish color as well. He was hallucinating, probably, tired and thirsty, but nonetheless thought he saw the color of a large pool of water.
Inadvertently, again, he touched the radiation-gun in his pocket, feeling it with his gloved fingers. He thought to end it all here and now, without any further hesitations or delays. He would shoot her from the back, as she sat motionless on the rock’s edge, with her eyes closed, soaking up the sun. With one hit on the electronic trigger key he would transform her into a small pile of ash: a cloud of dust that the wind, once returning later in the day, would spread on and around the rock.
The notion of eliminating her disturbed him greatly, though. It caused him to look away from her. He was surprised to discover a cave there, just a short distance behind them, unseen from the slope of the mountain below the rock. Curious, he walked closer and stood by the cave opening, looking inside. It was not a big cave at all, and there was a small rock in the middle of it. He stepped inside, amazed to find that the ground beneath his feet was solid. Even the color of the soil was more brown than gray, and it didn’t raise any dust when he stepped on it. The air inside was cooler, as if it contained some moisture, in addition to shade.
D.L. was tired. The walk across the valley and the climb atop the mountain were strenuous activities for an underground colony-citizen. He was used to sitting and standing, mostly, and occasionally walking over the slow moving tracks in the colony’s corridors and tunnels. He felt the weight of the trip-suit, with the radiation-gun inside it, as well as the weight of the task ahead of him. He sat down on the small rock in the cave, his conflicted mind heavy with the burden of indecision, and laid Z.Z.’s belongings beside it. He looked at the sunlit cave opening and could see Z.Z. through it. She was sitting as before on the edge of that big rock. Ahead of her in the background he saw the valley and the red mountains at the other side of it.

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