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The Messiah

Below is the fourth segment of my short story, ‘The Messiah,’ published originally in ‘Sambatyon, a Journal of Jewish Writing,’ in 2006. The story is in an excerpt from my novel, ‘Very Narrow Bridge,’ published in 2011. Enjoy.

“And Ray was in Vietnam, right?”
Sid nodded, suspiciously. “Is that why you’re looking for him, some old army business?”
“No, not at all. I was hired to find him. Family business.”
“What are you, a private dick or something?”
“Kind of. My first case here in America, actually.”
“I see… an immigrant trying to make a buck.”
Gideon nodded.
“What’s in it for me then?”
Good question, as far as Gideon was concerned. And the first sign that Sid knew, maybe, something concrete.”
“Name your price, Mr. Landau.”
“Now he’s talking,” shouted Ben from his corner, where he was busy watching a portable TV set, resting on the kitchen counter. “Finally talking.”
“Shut up, Ben. What you watching?”
“Gilligan’s Island.”
“Then watch it and be quiet. I’m not going to take any money from an Israeli soldier.”
“Why not?”
“I’ve got principles, that’s why.”
His son answered that by filling his mouth with air, then punching his blown-up cheeks with both fists, producing a fart-like noise.
“Do you believe, Gideon, that I’m a man of principles?”
“I sure do.”
“Then you’re my man, son. Do you have anything from Israel that you can give me?”
“What: pictures, books, records?”
“No, I’ve got plenty of those. What else do you have?”
Gideon looked around, feeling caged – no escape in sight.
“An Ozi or two will do,” suggested Ben.
Gideon stared at him coldly and shook his head. But then he remembered something, and spoke before he had the chance to give it a second thought.
“I have some soil from Israel, actually, if–”
“Soil!” cried the old man.
“That’s right. From my father’s garden, in the kibbutz.”
“Then bring it over, son, on the double. I need it for my grave.”
“You’re crazy, Dad,” shouted the real son, “he’ll go out and dig some dirt outside. How can you–”
“Shut up, Ben, how many times I have to tell you,” said the annoyed father. “He’s not like you and me, got it? He’s an Israeli, born and bred. A kibbutznik, no less. A double-sabra. They don’t cheat over there. Right, Gideon?”
“Right,” confirmed Gideon, who was not about to dispute – not at that moment, anyhow – the old man’s idealized notion of his birthplace.
“So go home, young man, and bring me soil from the Holy Land. A place I will never see in my own dying eyes.”
Gideon felt the need to say an encouraging word here, but was afraid he would just aggravate the situation even more by doing so. So he retreated to the door and opened it, allowing a flood of bright sunlight to wash this dark cave. The rain was gone, it seemed, unforeseen as when it suddenly had arrived.
“You’ll get some valuable information about Ray in return,” promised Sid.
“Good. It will take me two hours or so. I live in the Valley.”
“In the Valley… what on earth for?”
“I’m a Valley Boy, Sid, I was born in the Jordan Valley. I guess I will die in a valley.”
“Suit yourself. I’m not going anywhere, as you can see,” said the old man and tapped lightly on his knees. “Bring with you a Supreme Combo pizza, too, with everything on it. If you don’t mind.”
“Sure thing.”
“And a six-pack of Miller Light,” shouted Ben from his corner, just before Gideon closed the door.

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The Messiah

Below is the third segment of my short story, ‘The Messiah,’ published originally in ‘Sambatyon, a Journal of Jewish Writing,’ in 2006. The story is in an excerpt from my novel, ‘Very Narrow Bridge,’ published in 2011. Enjoy.

“Please yourself,” said the old man. “So stubborn, you must be a sabra.”
“I’m a double-sabra, actually.”
“A double-sabra… never heard of that one before.”
“Not only I was born in Israel, but in a kibbutz. That’s why.”
“A kibbutznik, I see. What brought you to this meshuga land, then?”
“A woman, naturally. Some dreams, too.”
“Big mistake, Gideon, big mistake. On both accounts.”
“You’re telling me.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” said Sid and hit a button in his remote control. The screen came alive with the sound and picture of war. From, Gideon identified right away, Stanley Kubrick’s film: Full Metal Jacket.
“If you’re not taking me to Israel, Gideon, to your kibbutz,” continued Sid, disregarding the film’s noisy soundtrack, “what the hell are you doing here in my digs, ha?”
“I’m looking for Mr. Raymond De Rosi. I thought–”
“Raymond who?”
“De Rosi. He worked with you in the Film Processing Department at Quality Labs.”
“Is that a fact?”
“I think so.”
“Forgot everything about that bloody place, Gideon. Still there, is it, on Lake Street?”
“Apparently so,” said Gideon, who was suffocating in this small, un-air-conditioned studio
apartment, with all the windows closed.
“I was a film producer once, Gideon, you know. I lived in Beverly Hills.”
“I have no doubt about that, Sid,” said Gideon, somewhat doubtful; giving the Oscar statuette another look, though.
“So don’t treat me like shit. Hear me?”
“I hear you well.”
“Good. What happened to Ray?”
“I don’t know. He disappeared.”
“Disappeared… don’t tell me that. No one disappears, Gideon. You either lucky enough to be dead, or unlucky to go on living. No two ways about it.”
“You disappeared once, Dad,” shouted Ben, who was sitting at a small table in an open kitchen area, very much a part of the room, still eating his potato chips. “Remember the IRS?”
“Shut up, Ben, adults are talking now,” the old man raised his voice. Then lowered it, addressing Gideon while putting the film on pause again.
“Couldn’t they help you over there, at the bloody labs?”
“They don’t know a thing,” Gideon replied, happy to get his investigation back on track. “He
quit his job one day, out of the blue. Left no address, no telephone number. Nothing.”
“Good for him. I knew he had it in him.”
“You knew?”
Sid nodded, then said: “Old soldiers are like old dogs, Gideon, they never die. Were you in the Israeli army?”
“Sure.”
“Sure what, where?”
“Paratroops. Here and there.”
“No kidding. I was in Korea, man. What a bloody war.”
Gideon was tempted to ask him about his legs, immobile under the blanket, but thought the better of it.

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The Messiah

Below is the second segment of my short story, ‘The Messiah,’ published originally in ‘Sambatyon, a Journal of Jewish Writing,’ in 2006. The story is in an excerpt from my novel, ‘Very Narrow Bridge,’ published in 2011. Enjoy.

“Good morning,” said Gideon, “I’m looking for Mr. Sid Landau.”
“Who are ya?”
“Ah… he doesn’t know me. I’d like a word with him.”
“Why?”
“I’d rather explain it to him myself, if he is around,” said Gideon, and felt an itch in his arm, urging him to punch this mutant right on his fat mouth. Instead, he just added: “I’m not from the IRS, I can assure you.”

“Who is it, Ben?” a shouting voice came from somewhere deep behind the dark doorway.
“Donno,” Ben shouted back. “Wants to talk to ya.”
“I can hear an accent,” the voice kept shouting.
“Yeah, a bit.”
“Ask him where from.”
“Israel,” Gideon shouted back, deciding to cut a corner here, or he’ll never meet the owner of the voice inside.
“Israel…” the voice cried, “let him in, Ben, what you waitin’ for. The Messiah has arrived!”

And with these words, toned firmly as an order, Ben didn’t have a choice but to clear the doorway. Allowing Gideon, who opened the screen door himself, to break through him and face the darkness inside.
“Come here, young Israeli,” Gideon heard a voice calling him and made his way toward it.

What helped him was a large television set showing a video film, on pause now. It threw its blue light on the old man, who was seated in a wheel¬chair opposite the screen, his legs covered with a blanket. He was completely bald, wore thick eyeglasses but his face – in spite of his advanced age and apparent discomfort – radiated vitality. He stretched his hand.

“I’m Sid Landau. Take me with you.”
Gideon shook the old man’s hand, finding it determinedly strong.
“I’m Gideon Gold. Where to?”
“To Israel, dammit. Where else can the Messiah take me?”
“I’m not the Messiah, Mr. Landau. I’m–”
“Drop the bloody mister, all right!” ordered Sid. “Told you my name, didn’t I?”

Gideon decided to play the situation cool here and go with the flow, instead of against it; which was, usually, his immediate inclination.
“You sure have,” he said.
“Good. Take a seat, then. Movie’s free.”

“I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind,” said Gideon, who by then got accustomed to the semi-darkness and could see no chair around him; just piles of cloths, old newspapers and magazines, books and empty pizza boxes. The TV set and the VCR looked rather new, though, with plenty of videotapes on both sides of the set and on the floor around Sid. And, to top it all – looking like the real deal, in spite of a heavy blanket of dust – an Oscar statuette standing on the TV set, supporting a few movie scripts.

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You Won’t Believe This

Below is the eighth and final segment of a new short story—’You Won’t Believe This’—never before published. As I say at its beginning, I’m telling you this incredible story to: “Test your core belief in the divine, or your firm conviction in reality and reason.” Enjoy the ride.

From the small round table I picked up my glass. A crust of white dust had settled nicely over the surface of the lemonade, just as a golden blanket of light had covered the sea below. I took a thirsty sip, disregarding the dust like a nomad in the desert, too thirsty to bother. It tasted so heavenly sweet all of a sudden. I was still alive, lucky devil, still looking down at the sea. I listened to the ancient music of the waves, and saw how they were crashing into the sand so majestically, so methodically, and so full of zest. The sea breeze was stronger now, too, and was drying the sweat off my skin.

I no longer saw sadness in the sea, just peaceful waters glowing with life. The last of the beachgoers—swimmers, surfers and sunbathers—were leaving the sand and heading back into the asphalt of the city streets, where artificial lights were coming on in lampposts everywhere. Life was normal, it seemed, the summer invincible.

A subconscious smile forced itself out of me, spreading independently of my will all over my face. I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, then leaned forward over the railing of my balcony and blew the smoke out directly against the wind. It must’ve been a coincidence, I thought at first, since no other explanation was available to me at the time. I didn’t believe in divine intervention back then, you see, nor do I believe in it much now. And yet, many years later—some happy, some sad—I still wonder who was the caller who threw me this lifeline, and saved my life.

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You Won’t Believe This

Below is the third segment of a new short story—’You Won’t Believe This’—never before published. As I say at its beginning, I’m telling you this incredible story to: “Test your core belief in the divine, or your firm conviction in reality and reason.” Enjoy the ride.

She was just another bad joke playing at my expense. So I lowered my eyes and continued my humble, defeated walk into the confines of the building. I was nevertheless followed, in a purposeful, tormenting kind of way, by the cloud of her perfume. It reminded me of the blossom of cyclamens on my mountain of youth, where my kibbutz was nestled on the slope so naturally, so securely, and where I’d left behind my happy childhood. It encouraged also an intriguing, disturbing thought: Perhaps she was—that unidentified woman, that arrogant beauty—the last person to see me alive.

With that thought buzzing in my head, I first checked my mailbox, as if it still mattered to me what I would find there. Bills galore, that what I found, which I swore would remain unopened and unpaid forever. But the most glaring envelope, a frightfully familiar brown one, did catch my eye and my attention. Here we go again, I told myself: the army is calling on you, oh eternal soldier. A reserve duty is coming your way soon, like it or not. You have a problem with that? You have better things to do with your time? Screw you—the army doesn’t care. It’s time to defend your country, man. It’s time for uniformity and patriotic songs. Another good reason to just disappear from the face of this earth. Maybe I should look for my old Uzi, hidden somewhere in my apartment. A weapon meant, originally anyway, to be used against a potential terrorist attack from the sea. I might as well use it against myself.

Oh boy, how much I hated the army. Why did I ever volunteer to the Paratroops’ Brigade? Why did I ever go to the damn Officers’ Training Course? Why did I become a young lieutenant, now a captain already, old and bruised? Why? My life was forever cursed by these terrible, patriotic, youthful mistakes. And this duty call was probably an emergency draft to do with the impending war up in the north, in the Galilee Mountains, where the border with Lebanon was heating up once more, generating winds of war that blew hard all over the country. There was no escape from the imminent storm they were ushering, I concluded, but death.

I felt sick to my stomach as I climbed laboriously upstairs to the third floor. Above me lived the daughter of my landlord, a film editor, together with her girlfriend, a model of some sorts. I dreaded meeting her, or hearing the sound of her running footsteps, as my monthly rent was now more than two months overdue. Not to mention the general house maintenance dues, which as a renter I refused to pay on principle, since I’d moved in here over a year ago. I was a man of principles back then, you see, still relatively young and naïve in the ways of the world. No wonder Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot was my true bible. I should open it one more time and read some pages, the idea occurred to me, before closing the book of my life.

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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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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

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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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 twentieth segment:

They crossed the valley. Z.Z., who had opened some distance between them, was running and skipping merrily, raising thin dusty clouds, heading as if magnetically toward the mountain and the rising sun. The enchanted D.L. was walking behind her, carrying her sack of belongings on his back. He stopped now and then to catch his breath, surveying the scenery ahead of him. Behind him, the colony hill and the Periscopic-Tower were disappearing slowly from sight. In one hand, deep in his large suit’s pocket, he felt the firm, cold touch of the radiation-gun. Once or twice he thought of using it to end Z.Z.’s life.
He didn’t, though; he didn’t know exactly why. Maybe it was due to the majestic scenery of the earth awakening to a new day, or because the fantastic light of the sun was hitting him head on, or maybe it was because of Z.Z. herself, and her absolutely carefree and joyous run toward the mountain and the sun. At that singular moment in time he was unable, and unwilling, to destroy the tranquility and beauty before him with such an act. He was in no hurry, he figured: the whole day was ahead of him.
Z.Z. didn’t stop her mad dash when she reached the mountain. She didn’t even look back to see where D.L. was. Not even once. She continued to run, as she had done since they left the colony, and was now climbing up the mountain slope. She fell here and there, but quickly rose up and continued her climb to the top. Or to the single rock that was looming near the top.
D.L. stayed behind at the bottom of the mountain. He lay down to rest at a spot where the sunlight was warming him up. He looked around but could not see any signs of growth: a flower, a bush or a tree. There were no signs, either, of any living things: insects, birds, or animals of any kind. Everything had been destroyed and was now extinct. He raised a handful of soil and allowed it to pour down smoothly and slowly between his gloved fingers. The falling soil, more like ash, left a trail of dust on the way down. Randomly, his fingers would catch a small clod, which he would then toss away in the air, or play with in his hand until it collapsed into pieces.
After some restful time he rose up, thinking that he may have fallen asleep. He looked up toward the summit of the mountain and saw Z.Z. there. She was sitting on the edge of that bulging rock, her knees raised and held together with her arms, while her head was resting on her laced hands. It was as if she were compressed into that stone, looking quietly at the scenery down in front of her. The sunbeams were hitting her directly; she was now, at last, part of nature.

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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 eighteenths segment:

They traveled up for quite some time before they reached the upper level. Once there, they walked a short distance to the Periscopic-Tower, then took another elevator up to the Command-Post. From there they continued, through a windowless sealed tube, to the Transfer-Room with its transparent walls.
At first, the unusual light almost blinded them. Z.Z. stopped walking, laid down her blanket of belongings and covered her eyes with her hands. It took a long moment before she dared to take them off, and open her eyes again. D.L. knew, of course, that the light – a combination of the inside artificial light and the outside natural light – was regulated and posed no real danger to their eyes. Confident of that, he pulled her along with him into the tunnel, which led them from the Transfer-Room to the last sealed partition, where he stopped and put on his helmet.

This frightened Z.Z. somewhat. She had never before seen him wear such a thing, and she pushed back against the wall. He signaled her with his hand to come over to him. She obeyed and took hold of the sleeve of his thick trip-suit. She was cold, so he turned up the heat and lowered the air pressure, slowly bringing it down to the level outside. He waited a while, until he noticed to his relief that she had gradually stopped shivering and was becoming more comfortable with her new surroundings. He disconnected the electronic seal mechanism, which in turn enabled him to unlock and open the partition door. He stepped outside.
The air pounded hard on him. He was shaky for a moment before regaining his balance, but the special trip-suit withstood the pressure well, and he was able to see that Z.Z. was hiding by the open doorway of the partition, refusing to step out. He was forced to pull her along with him. She tried to resist, pushing back and even kicking him, but it was a useless attempt, since he was stronger and had the advantage of wearing the trip-suit. So he pulled her out and shut closed the partition door behind them.
They were outside now, but not on solid ground yet. They were standing at the bottom of the stairs, the stairs that led up into the world outside. D.L. saw that it was hard on her to breathe. Of course, it was her first time to venture out of the underground colony, where she had been born and had lived all her eighteen colony-years; and of course, she was not wearing his kind of special outside trip-suit and helmet. He took hold of her hand and again, forcefully, pulled her along with him. If she were to die like that, the thought flashed in his head, because of the unclean air and the cold temperature, so be it. He would not have to use his weapon. It would be easier on him that way, and maybe on her, too.

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