THE SUN DARKENS. At first imperceptibly, and then with greater speed, it casts an unfamiliar veil over itself. It is the first eclipse in years.
The people look up at the sky, where some of them notice to the east a star falling to its death, and others watch the hulking disk of the moon that obscures the sun. It was all there in the sky that day, above Barker’s Mill.
After a few minutes, the eclipse is over. The planets creak slowly along their orbits, and soon everything is as it was.
On the ground far below, life teeters on the edge of changing forever, but for today at least, it changes its mind and proceeds as it always has, grinding along the rusting tracks of its normality. It forgets quickly the strange orange dusk that had descended from the middle of the day.
On the edge of a tree-lined bay, with water the same deep green that you find in the glass of old bottles, stands Barker’s Mill. The town has been laid out with the same care that a child gives to the arrangement of a new set of blocks. Its houses sit solidly, arranged in neat rows, portly squires gathered around a dinner table on their foundation seats of brick and bluestone. It is a most respectable gathering; everyone is well behaved.
It has been like this since the town began. To the people who live there, it feels as though it has been like this since the beginning of time. Which, of course, is not the case.
Meanwhile, far away, the General dreams, and Bark dreams. For now, they don’t remember the things they dream, but in time that will change; for one of them at least, and for the other it won’t matter.
Their paths are linked, like the curls of a tattoo of snakes; but also like a tattoo, the effect will not be to everyone’s taste.
Oh well. These things happen.
THE PLANET HAD BEEN TRAVELLING through the cold, deathless silence for a long time. Like a marble worn smooth with age, it rolled across the black expanses of deep space, patiently following its preordained path. The planet’s orbit was a huge ellipse, and the sun that held it in its sway was growing closer now as the planet tumbled into the star’s inner system, towards perihelion.
The star’s radiance began to heat the frozen orb. The liquid and gas that had long since been frozen solid by the unyielding cold of the vacuum of space began to thaw. If there had been anyone on the planet’s bleak surface to see, the approach to its star would have been greeted first with wisps of vapor as the atmosphere began to return to its gaseous state. Then clouds of mist formed, covering the entire globe in wreaths of swirling white. As the approach continued, continents of ice crumbled, disintegrating into the seas that had begun to form.
Life that had been suspended in the death of absolute zero began to stir. Life cycles resumed as seed found sustenance in the chilled tundra, and creatures emerged from eggs hatching in the slight warmth of the sun. Spores drifted through the reconstituted atmosphere, seeking and finding refuge.
Deep in the frozen earth, other processes were set in motion.
Ice fell from hollowed, gaunt faces; deep black eyes flickered and opened. Muscles that had been as solid as ice for eons flexed and moved again. Tall forms moved through dark caverns.
Nefilim, they called themselves.
* * *
“Scanning over the reviews of this book which you have already received, I see that all the good superlatives have already been ably employed; the richness of praise so opulent and resounding that even a great big word freak like myself is hard put to say anything that would glitter for an instant in the clamoring tide.So, all I can say is that I love this book as much as I love all of my favorite science fiction books, and that’s a quantity that defies quantifiers. Everything in this book is perfect. The ending is perfect; the villians are perfect; the characters and images and settings are perfect. I, too, could barely put it down.And I want to also say, thank you.” — P. Deering
“This was an excellent read. Elements of Moorcock, Heinlein and Barker. Deserves serious consideration for the avid SF reader. Hopefully will spawn some more installments in the story line. Also feel it has the makings of a good screenplay. Thanks for the great writing David!” — Ron W
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