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The Zondon
by robby s charters  Robby Charters 

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Science Fiction

Publisher:  Create Space ISBN-10:  1461060753 Type: 


Copyright:  2002 ISBN-13:  9781461060758

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Ernie Magawan has been bothered by bizarre recurring dreams of outer space and a green crystal. He's tempted to agree with his twin that he might be off in the head - until, during an archaeology dig, he finds the very crystal and realises he's on an mission that started before he was born. The stability of the universe depends on their success. He has to find and wake up six others like himself..

"This story is refreshing and completely new in concept and legend. The details of the worlds created in this story are unique and beautiful, with a great plot ... this is a masterpiece of history mixed with Sci-Fi."

Ernie Magawan has been bothered by bazaar recurring dreams of outer space and a green crystal. He's tempted to agree with his twin that he might be off in the head - until, during an archaeology dig, he finds the very crystal and realises he's on an mission that started before he was born. The stability of the universe depends on their success. He has to find and wake up six others like himself. On the way, he and his growing team rub shoulders with international terrorists, Neo Nazis, migrant farm workers, and a mystic rabbi; in a rollercoaster ride that takes them from the streets of Bangkok to the mountains of Afghanistan, to Jerusalem, to a nuclear silo in North Korea.

Prologue: The Zondon

The seven Zondon lounged about their craft, visible to one another by the light of the fast approaching stars that glistened in their compound eyes, barely outlining their robed exoskeletons. No matter which direction they faced, the clear walls gave them an unobstructed view of the galaxy.

Phondesh, sat more or less in the middle, facing forward, minding an array of crystals that floated in front of him. One of these, he moved this way or that every so often, or else turned it on its axis ever so slightly to change the course of the ship, to counteract the tidal pull of dark matter, or divert the course around dense areas, especially around the galaxy's centre.

The seven watched as more stars came within viewing range; some apparently jumping out from behind patches of dark matter (the illusion caused by dense gravity bending the light towards itself); then over there, a nebula appearing to change shape like an amoeba, as their angle of view changed; closer by, the dance of a binary star with its black-hole-twin, producing a magnificent spiral of light; then more stars, more stellar clusters, and in the distance, a quasar blinking its ultraviolet rays at them.

Each star expressed its own uniqueness. Some shone a love for truth, others of knowledge, beauty, liberty and other virtues in varying measures. All shared an intense love of life in whatever form it exists. Thus knowing each star, no Zondon ever got lost in their part of the galaxy.

But this was not familiar space. All they could do here was gaze, while the stars appeared to look back at them with equal curiosity. There was a sense that they had paused in their conversations to take a look at the strange vessels that had intruded into their sector of the galaxy -- this one and the one in pursuit.

Even as they gazed, the seven were well aware of their situation. This was anything but an exploration party. It was a mission, the success of which would affect the well being of each star, indeed, of every planet and comet, and each moon and asteroid. Already the mission was in jeopardy.

Not being distracted by what was behind, Phondesh maintained his focus straight ahead. He noted a stellar cluster appearing and tilted the control crystal so that the ship changed direction and sped towards it.

The others followed his gaze.

Drovshi spoke up: 'I recognise none of those stars, not even from the knowledge caches.'

'I know of them only as markers,' responded Phondesh, again adjusting the course. 'My instructions indicate it is here we must pull into a wide orbit. If you note the arc of our present course, you should see it at the centre.'

'Ahh,' said both Drovshi and Draz at once.

'That star I know,' said Draz, 'from my training.'

'The knowledge caches contain extensive information about it,' said Zikh.

Indeed, it was the only star in the galaxy that didn't radiate a joy of life. By that alone, it was easy to pick out.

'But isn't that the forbidden star?' inquired Zhondri.

'Yes, Phondesh, are you sure we're doing the right thing?' said Drovshi. 'You know this solar system is supposed to be the exclusive domain of the infant species.'

'I don't understand it either,' said Phondesh. 'I was given these co-ordinates, and I know that this endeavour is the only hope we have to contain the evil. The crystal will tell us more.'

Tsav spoke up. 'We don't have much time. The Glaat vessel is gaining on us!'

Their attention was immediately riveted to the point of light some distance behind but steadily growing in size. It had now entered the same circular path as the Zondon vessel.

Just as each star revealed its nature in the light it shone, so did the Glaat ship. Those who had once been mesmerised by their spell but had broken free, were the quickest to recognise it.

Its aura flooded the compartment. The ratio between the ships distance and its brilliance was an indicator that the pilot was a high ranking Glaat with powerful weapons at his disposal.

'I hope you know a way out of this,' said Zikh. 'It doesn't look good.'

'Yes,' said Phondesh calmly. 'It has come close - perhaps too close for us to carry out our original plan for the time being. But I was told this could happen. Our hope isn't in our strength, but Wisdom in its purest form.'

From a fold in his robe Phondesh produced a multifaceted gem and placed it in their midst. There it remained suspended, turning this way and that as though it had a mind of its own. It radiated a green, sometimes blue glint, depending on the angle, or which facet was giving off the glow.

'A knowledge cache,' said Tsav.

'Yes,' replied Phondesh, 'but much more.'

Indeed, it was. A typical knowledge cache is usually a simple cube, a cone or pyramid shaped crystal. This one was the shape of a Zondon compound eye on one side, and mostly flat on the other. It looked almost like a visual corrective device for ageing Zondon.

'This one carries not just knowledge, but also the Wisdom.'

Phondesh signalled for all to move closer.

'As you know,' he began, 'each of us was specifically chosen for this mission, and but for all of us working together and doing our part, it will fail. Now, the crystal, in its capacity as a knowledge cache, will instruct each of you what you must do, and how to do it. First, we must join our minds and look.'

The crystal began to emit a low hum and the green and blue light increased in intensity.

They joined their minds and looked. Their doubts were answered.

* * *

The brilliance was visible from the Glaat vessel. Dosh knew something was up. He took two pyramid shaped crystals and placed one on the scaly surface of his forehead. Then he pressed the other into the soft crystal wall of his craft where it submerged and worked its way to the outer surface. From there it went speeding towards the Zondon vessel.

Crystals of this sort, be they 'knowledge caches' or probes, Zondon or Glaat, are capable of conversion into other forms of existence, enabling speeds many times faster than a space ship.

Just as it approached the Zondon vessel, there was a green flash of light, and a small object left the ship streaking across the black expanse towards a star not a great distance away.

Why this particular star? wondered the Glaat.

Scanning the interior of the vessel, the probe spotted the Zondon, but now they were seven still bodies. No life could be found. No green brilliance.

What's the meaning of this?

After further scanning, he detected something - a powerful explosive device had been set to go off that would easily engulf both the Zondon ship along with his own. It couldn't be undone.

The probe sped back to its sender, and Dosh turned his ship around and began speeding in the opposite direction.

Another problem surfaced: The Zondon had programmed their ship to automatically follow the Glaat should he change direction. There was no way Dosh could get clear in time.

There was only one recourse. The probe...

Again, it sped off as fast as is possible for crystal to travel, following a course that would cross paths with the green one at its apparent destination, the forbidden solar system.

Straight ahead, was a blue and white planet, third from the central star.

There was no time to be lost -- not even to check on the green crystal. The clear crystal sped into the atmosphere, and began a quick search for a suitable host, zipping back and forth from continent to continent.

Here, he found a witch with a crystal ball. The use of a crystal was intriguing, but it wasn't good enough (it was no more than common crystal, entirely composed of the same primitive molecular structure throughout). There, he found a star gazer looking into the heavens. No. Then, a doctor with three comatose patients -- a good possibility here. Was there something better? Out of time -- the doctor would have to do.

The doctor was a good prospect; he wished for more power and wealth, and would do anything to get it. All Dosh had to do was make the probe appear to him and promise him all that and more. The doctor accepted, and obediently placed the small crystal pyramid on his forehead. It was still hot from moving so fast within Earth's atmosphere so it burned his forehead. Though it smoked and sizzled he couldn't remove it. Then it began to melt through the surgical gloves.

The part of the deal the doctor wasn't told about was that once having gained entry, the Glaat was in control. The doctor was reduced to no more than a passenger inside his own body -- hardly better off than the comatose patients (though it would take a while for the doctor to fully realise this as Dosh would give him some leeway -- a honeymoon period -- and then the doctor's lusts would incline him to do anything the Glaat wanted anyway). Now, Dosh of Asvork had a human body. With it, came the doctor's memory (so he could carry on as though nothing strange had happened), a limited knowledge of the human body and fluency in about five Earth languages.

However, there was still more to be done.

A Glaat brain (and a Zondon one too, for that matter) has far more capacity than a human's. That's where the comatose patients came in. Immediately on gaining control of the doctor's body, he went first to one and then another of the patients, placing the crystal on their foreheads until all the knowledge known by Dosh of Asvork was downladed into the brains of the doctor and his three patients.

Finally, the other crystal pyramid departed from the now lifeless body of the Glaat, taking with it two or three other crystal objects from the ship, and sped off, clearing the area just in the nick of time. All this had happened in the space of about ten minutes.

* * *

The explosion was visible to the naked human eye, if one happened to be looking in the right direction at that precise moment in time. A point of light appeared in a part of the sky where no stars are generally seen, stayed a few seconds and then went away.

The astrologer who had been bypassed by the Glaat probe saw it. The next day, his newspaper column said those born under Sagittarius would be in for a brilliant but short-lived flash of opportunity.

* * *

After the third orbit, scanning every inch of earth's surface, the crystal probe returned to Dosh without a single trace of the green crystal nor the seven lives that it contained.

Dosh had expected as much. It left only one possibility. This meant biding his time.

He'd make use of that time. He'd worm his way to the highest circles of power. He'd amass riches.

His human vessel was game -- for now, anyway.

Chapter 1

The ringing phone woke him. Daylight invaded his eyes, telling Ernie he should have been up long ago. He sighed as he stretched his arm towards the receiver. It had to be Eddie, his twin.

'Ernie! Look at the time!' It was him all right. 'The aliens abduct you again or what?'

Ernie mumbled an apology, slammed the receiver and began to pull on his clothes. Five minutes later, minus shave, he was outside his flat trying to wind up the old Toyota. Just as the starter began to die, the engine puttered to life and backfired. A timely tap on the accelerator kept it alive.

This was becoming a regular occurrence. He knew exactly what Eddie would say when he walked in:

The dreams again?

Yeah, the same dream again. The space ship, the stars, a green crystal, all that stuff.

This is ruining your life, Eddie would say. When are you going to get professional help?

Eddie was probably right. What brought on this plague of vivid dreams anyway? Why couldn't he just be normal like everyone else?

On the other hand, did he really want them to go away? They were almost a second reality. There were concepts that could keep him pondering for hours. Then, there were others that seemed to make more sense while dreaming than in real life.

Sitting in a cloud of exhaust fumes, his toe pumping to keep the old heap alive, while still twenty cars from the traffic signal, is an unmistakable feature of real life. What should have been a twenty-minute drive down Gardener Street, around the old customs house and over the River Liffey, was taking an hour in Dublin rush-hour traffic -- another reason to have started early.

At long last, he glided into one of the parking spaces allotted to his brother's flat cum office and removed the ignition key. The engine, just as reluctant to stop now as it had been to start, puttered a few more times and backfired before it died.

'I should'a walked,' sighed Ernie as he glanced at his watch. Not bothering to lock the car, he trudged to the front door.

The tiny plastic strip on the door read, 'Dr. Edward Magawan, Professor of Archaeology'.

Everything happened on cue: Eddie's usual tirade about getting his life together, his declaration that he was doing all in his power to help Ernie find a life, and why wouldn't Ernie at least co-operate, pull himself together and do something to help himself for a change.

Finally, he shoved Ernie a list of people to call, appointments to make and letters to write. Ernie took it to his side of the room while Eddie rushed off to do his second lecture of the morning.

What used to be a lounge had been partitioned, using bookshelves and file cabinets, into two workspaces. Ernie's side was away from the window that overlooked Trinity College -- all the better for concentration.

The first task was to do the email. He checked his brother's first, printed them out for him to read later, answered the previous day's as he'd been instructed, and then the ones from this morning that he already knew the answers to. Then he went on to his own.

He spent the mid-morning break answering his personal email, accompanied by a mug of the strong black stuff from his brother's espresso steamer. A couple were from old school chums he'd known in Bangkok. While their father's archaeology career had taken them all over the world, it was this one particular group of former classmates that most interested him. Being the children of ex-pats, they were now mostly scattered all over America. Now, thanks to Internet and email they were back in touch.

Finally, it was on to the snail-mail and the phoning. There was enough today to keep his mind on earthly things -- or rather, under the earth.

A lot of his energy, of late, was spent both in negotiating with the Egyptian Department of Antiquities for permission, and in seeking a grant, for a proposed dig at the tomb of Thakanamen. It was a project that their father, Alec Magawan had started years ago, before the twins were born. It had to be called off just when they were beginning to make a breakthrough, because funding was suddenly cut. Later, when the timing would have otherwise been right, the war with Israel prevented them from going back. Though Alec had never been able to pick it up again, the project had lived in his heart ever since.

It had also been a life long dream of Ernie's. It was his desire to go there that finally inspired Ernie to complete his bachelors in Archaeology after changing his major four times times. Something about the place always caught his imagination. As a boy, his father's stories about that dig captivated him, even when they bored his brother.

In fact, it was Ernie who practically picked the project from a list of other candidates and talked Eddie into it. Eddie was reticent, but only because it wasn't his idea. As far as he was concerned, Ernie wasn't even supposed to see the list. But he did see its merits and decided to go for it.

Funny -- it was immediately after that, that the dreams started.

Today, it looked as though they were beginning to make headway. The more answers that came from the various powers-that-be, the faster things moved, and the less Ernie's thoughts lingered on his dreams. By late morning, after six cups of strong coffee and a shot of brandy, Ernie was as steady as any workhorse.

Now it was time to knock off for lunch. Eddie, just back from his lecture, was in a better frame of mind, other issues and achievements having clamoured for his attention so that any doubts about Ernie's sanity had gone the way of the morning mist.

If only night-time didn't come once a day.

'So it looks like the Egypt thing is going through,' said Ernie, as they sat in a nearby pub.

Eddie grunted something to the effect that it was a good thing.

'What does Pop have to say about all this?' asked Ernie, after a pause.

'Don't know. Haven't asked.'

'I should think he'd have something useful to say.'

'I have his notes, and all the photos,' grunted Eddie. 'That should give us a start.'

'But what about any personal observations that he didn't write down -- or maybe thought about later, or wasn't concrete -- you know -- feelings...'

'Oh Ernie, give it a rest! Look, if you really think it will make a smidgen of difference, pop up to Belfast yourself and ask him. Then you be the right brain of the expedition.'

'But he's longing to see you, Eddie. When's the last time you went? I don't think he even knows this is on!'

'C'mon, you know I have important things to do.'

'I don't think the old heap can make such a long trip.'

'Take mine then.' Eddie threw him the keys. 'Go on. It'll get your mind off flying saucers.'

So it was that Ernie took it on himself to visit Pop over the weekend, while Eddie did his 'more important things'.

Chapter 2

The drive from Dublin to Belfast is a pleasant one if one doesn't stick to the motorways. Being in no hurry, Ernie not only diverted to the small roads, but even took a few 'long-cuts' where the countryside looked especially serene.

This was good therapy. It gave the prospect of the upcoming digs and the dreams of space a chance to fight for dominance over his thoughts.

Other things were were swirling around in between, such as, why Eddie had to make such a big deal of it all. What's wrong with a few daydreams? Why couldn't Ernie just be himself? Was he that self-destructive?

Twin brother indeed! How could two look so much alike and yet be so different, Ernie wondered, not for the first time, nor the last. Nor was he the only one who asked.

Despite the one only shaving every other day, wearing just what he felt comfortable in and letting his hair grow into a pony tail, while the other dressed immaculately in a business suit and went regularly to the hair stylist; nothing could hide the fact that they were twins. So identical they were, even their parents often had problems telling them apart. There was even doubt who was born Ernie and who, Eddie.

But looks were one thing; personality and the path one took were another matter entirely.

Both had followed -- or tried to follow -- in the footsteps of their father. The one who followed was Edward. The one who tried, of course, was Ernie. Had Ernie not managed to finish his Bachelor's degree when he did, he would have had to sit through lectures by his own brother, by now, a Ph.D.!

After a series of county roads through Pointspass, Scarva and Lurgan, he got on to the motorway near Lough Neigh. That took him to the turn-off that led to the outer ring road, and followed the familiar route that led to the Braniel housing estates.

His parent's house was on a little lane facing the golf course. Behind it, beyond a few more lanes were rolling hills and farms, and some of Ernie's favourite walks.

He'd make his return trip early Monday morning, just so he'd have time for at least one long walk.

Mum and Pop were, of course, overjoyed to see him. Mum lost no time in arranging the teapot on the coffee table, surrounded by biscuits, cakes, tarts, scones, butter, jam, leftover apple pie and a few Kitkat bars.

'I don't know if Eddie told you or not, Pop,' began Ernie, as he poured his second cup, 'but we're almost set to start the digging at Thakanamen's Tomb.'

'Well! You don't say!' said Pop. 'Marie, did you hear that?'

'Yes, Alec love, that's where we made twins, so it is.' She said it with a tone of voice no different than had she said she baked a cake.

'Pardon me?' said Ernie.

Alec came to the rescue: 'Your mum and I were there exactly nine months before you and Eddie were born, so we were.'

'Oh, it was a romantic evening,' interjected Marie.

'Indeed it was.'

Ernie wasn't used to hearing his mother talk like this. Was old age finally creeping up on her?

'The stars were all out, and we were sitting on the edge of the mound looking over the desert, and I was just thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could have twins.'

'A crazy idea, I thought,' said Alec. 'No one on either side of our family has ever had twins, so you know what chances there was of that.'

'... And then there was a vivid green shooting star...'

'I thought it was more a blue colour...'

'No, it was green love, and it left a tail clear across the sky, so it did, and I thought I saw it turn and come towards us before it disappeared ...'

'... which is ridiculous of course,' said Alec. 'Shooting stars don't turn. But anyway, I said, "Make a wish".'

'... and I said, "Twins".'

'... and I said, "My dear! No one on either side of our family has ever had twins".'

'... and I said, "But you said make a wish, Love, and I did!'"

'I, knowing you can't change a woman's mind, said, "We can always try, though, can't we!'"

'So we went into the caravan and we made twins, so we did!' finished Marie, speaking as though that were the standard procedure.

'So we did, indeed. The next day, word came that the funding had been cut off, so it did, so we had to pack up and come back to Ireland. Then, of course, there was the war with Israel, and all sorts of other things, so we never did go back.'

'Yes, and it's such a pity. You were so interested in that part of the world.'

'Was I?' said Ernie.

'Indeed you were,' answered Mum. 'Why, once, when you were five, we found you in Pop's study, so we did, standing on a chair looking at the globe. Your finger was on South-west Egypt, exactly where the excavation was. You had one eye open, close to the globe as you turned it slowly, as though you were an aeroplane coming in towards it.'

Pop added, 'You did indeed, but the uncanny thing was, you'd never been shown how to read a map.'

'After that, you seemed to have an interest in ancient Egypt.'

This wasn't exactly the sort of information Ernie had in mind when he proposed talking to Pop about the digs. In fact it didn't help him concentrate on the digs at all.

Apart from that there were no striking observations, save that Alec thought that had they been given one more week, they would have found a door or a passage into the underground chambers. Abdul Kalif, he said, could help them with that. He had spotted something about the site that could have been of utmost value had they been allowed to continue.

'Uncle Abdul?'

'Yes. You'd remember Uncle Abdul. He visited us several times when we lived in Bangkok, so he did.'

'Is he still about?'

'He is indeed, and he's still in the business, so he is. If you can obtain his services, he'd be a great asset.'

The walk the next day was pleasant. This time, he wandered down country roads turning here and there until he came to a hotel. He had a pint in the hotel pub, and then walked back. All the way, he tried to focus on the trip to Egypt, but his mind kept returning to the green shooting star. There was a slight tinge of familiarity about it that made him uncomfortable.

Why did mum have to bring it up, anyway?

Was it just a shooting star, or did it really turn and come towards them? Of course it didn't! It was an illusion, probably caused by a layer of hot air over the desert sand.

Then why did it bother him?

He didn't know. It just did.

When he got back to the house, he buried his doubts in such a plate of sausage, bacon, egg and potato furls as only his mother could fry.

Early Monday morning he started back for Dublin.

Chapter 3


From: Ernie

Subject: Re: long time no see

Hello Beta,

Beta wrote:

> It's really great being back in

> touch like this. You say you're

> working with your brother? What

> are you doing? I heard you were

> archaeologists like your dad.

Ernie answered:

> That's right. We're currently

> trying to get things together to

> go to Egypt. There's a tomb of a

> high priest that my dad began

> digging at but had to discontinue.

> That was just before we were born.


> Have you heard much from any other

> 'Salemites' - like Sam or Boz?


Beta answered:

> Sam is working for the city transit

> service in Seattle. He started there

> driving a bus, and now has an office

> job, married his boss ...

> Boz o'Brian is still in Thailand and

> has a Thai wife ... My sister got her

> degree in sociology ...

Ernie answered:

> Things are coming together for the

> dig so we should be going to Egypt in a

> couple of weeks.


Beta answered:

> That sounds exciting. Egypt is one of

> the places I haven't been to yet.

> You'll have to give a full story


Ernie's reply:

Do you remember Uncle Abdul, whom my

dad brought to the school at Salem House?

He's the one who gave us the lecture on

Egypt on our special Saturday class.

Anyway, he's been back in Egypt for quite

some time, still working along with

different archaeological projects. I've

contacted him and it looks like he'll be

with us on this dig. Now all we need is a

rich old bloke who has pots and pots of

money and doesn't know what t do with

it all, to fund the digs. I really hope

it works out.



End email

Two weeks before kick-off a rich bloke was found, permissions were granted, and volunteers began coming out of the woodwork. During the final week, Ernie managed to obtain visas for all of them through the Egyptian consulate, make hotel reservations, and arrange for pick-ups.

Two a.m., the morning they were to depart, Ernie heaved a sigh of relief, picked up everything they'd need, placed it in his folder, put that into his shoulder bag along with his notebook computer, and went home to wash up before leaving for the airport for their six o'clock flight.

He went out quietly so as not to awaken Eddie. He'd give him a wake-up call later.

At home, he took a shower, threw a few belongings into his big backpack along with his sleeping bag and called the taxi company.

The taxi on its way, Ernie took his backpack and shoulder bag, locked the flat and went to the bottom of the stairs to wait. He made sure his passport was in the pouch about his neck under his clothing, and his palm-top was in his inside coat pocket.

He was early, but thought it better to get to the airport first, and then maybe catch a few winks.

The taxi arrived. On the way, he gave Eddie a wake-up call .

The airline flight counter opened a few minutes after Ernie arrived, so he went to get his boarding pass. He sent his backpack through with the checked in luggage. The gate hadn't been assigned yet, so he found a seat near the centre of the departure area.

He couldn't sleep, so he got up and walked about the shops, looking at all the duty free goods for sale. It was nice to look even if he never had enough money for things like that (the notebook computer was originally his brother's, who had bought a nicer one, and the Palm Pilot was a birthday present from Pop).

He soon got tired of looking and found a seat. He went through his bag to double check that he had everything -- as though knowing something was missing would be of any use now that it was too late to go back for it.

Everything was there.

After some more walking about, the gate assignment flashed on the monitor, so he went to the appropriate waiting area and sat down.

He still couldn't sleep, so his mind went from this to that -- to the digs in Egypt -- to his dad's opinion that in a week they would have found the underground chamber -- to the green (or was it blue) shooting star.

Close to boarding time, he gave Eddie another call. He was checking in.

He appeared just as it was time to board.

They recognised a few of the other workers for the digs. Having all checked in separately, they sat in different parts of the plane.

They took off. Breakfast was served.

As the hostesses collected the empty breakfast trays, the fatigue of the past day or two and the sleepless night caught up, and Ernie dozed off.

Maybe it was because he was so tired, or that he was flying, and the last thought in his mind was the green shooting star. He dreamed he was a shooting star, flying over desert, looking for a place to rest.

Though the dream lasted only a few seconds, he was acutely aware of every passing millisecond, and took in every detail of the landscape below. He wasn't alone. There were six others with him. They came to a mound with a shallow pit dug into the top exposing a stone marker. He recognised it immediately as middle Groount architecture. On the far edge of the mound, two living beings were seated, facing away from them. He took note that they were humans, natives to this planet. Around about was an encampment of some sort. Though he saw it in vivid detail, he could just barely discern the function of each item. It struck him as being horribly quaint, but that was to be expected, as the residents of this planet were known to be a primitive race.

It only took him a split second to make all these observations. Now they were coming down towards one side of the marker, into the dug out area around it. As they descended, the dust and small rocks were blown out from beneath them until a bare rock floor was exposed. There, a square panel opened for them, and they went down in.

They were now inside a long passage. They proceeded in the direction away from the stone marker, sloping downward along a path with several angles to the left and to the right, until they entered a chamber. Inside were sculpted images and other items, some made from a yellowish metallic substance. Though the passage and chamber reflected middle Groount craftsmanship, the sculpted objects did not. He could tell by the way the yellow metal was used that it was considered a commodity of utmost value -- probably rare on this planet.

In the middle of the chamber was a pedestal on which stood a sculpture of something that looked part human, but had a different sort of head. As they approached, it slid backwards out of the way until it fell off. They came to rest in it's place.

Suddenly, he felt a release of his innermost being from whatever it was he was in. It was a sensation of being reduced, or stripped down, as though suddenly finding himself naked, not only of clothing, but of everything else that had ever been a part of his being. He was now no more than a particle of dust.

He and the six others flew upward and outward, and looked back at the pedestal.

There they saw a multifaceted crystal, now glowing green, now blue as the source of light moved about inside among the various facets.

An air pocket woke him up.

'Oh God!' he thought. 'Not the dreams!'

He went over the details of this one -- first the primitive looking encampment.

A primitive encampment?! Those were caravans and tents, three Land-rovers and a lorry! How could they have looked so primitive?

Then he remembered the two humans.

They looked like none other than...

'Oh God!' he said, slapping his own face with both hands.

'You -- er -- forgot something?' enquired the passenger next to him.

'Oh, no -- er -- sorry,' he said. Then he got up, and walked, shaking, to the toilets. He didn't really need to 'go'. He just wanted to get completely by himself.

One of them was vacant. He went in and sat down with his head in his hands.

Why hadn't he recognised them? Then it dawned on him. If the dream were indeed that of the green shooting star, he would never have met them yet.

Of course, that would make sense in real life, but for goodness sakes, this was a dream! How could he dream about seeing his own parents in such vivid detail, and yet not know them, as though they had never met? And since when does one make the observation, 'These are humans, they are native to this planet'? In a science fiction film, maybe, but be real!

As vivid and recurring as they were before, at least the dreams had never intruded into the real world in the way this one did.

He finally gained his composure and walked back to his seat. The passenger next to him only gave him a funny look as he sat down, but said nothing.

Try as he might, he couldn't sleep any more for the rest of the trip.

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Blood Spiders and Dark Moon by R David Fulcher

Blood Spiders and Dark Moon contains fourteen tales of terror and wonder. From an earth-devouring spider, a forbidden pact with the devil, a golden city across time and space, a n..  
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