Inseminoid by Larry Miller Read Free Book Online

Book: Inseminoid by Larry Miller Read Free Book Online
Authors: Larry Miller
Man was still swinging from trees. I tell you, the intellect that created the substance and the engravings to last for all eternity is vastly superior to anything we’ve encountered so far.”
    One question was gnawing at Karl. “If the inhabitants were so damned smart, what happened to them? They died out, didn’t they?”
    Mitch shrugged. “Who knows? Natural catastrophe, invasion perhaps. Maybe they took the first flight out. That’s what I’ve got to find out.”
    Another question. “Why did they leave behind one of their own. Why only one?”
    Mitch didn’t know the answer. Not yet he didn’t. “Your guess is as good as mine, Karl. Maybe it’s just a souvenir left for explorers like us to find. Their version of a time capsule, perhaps. I just hope I can crack the language. Then I’m sure we’d have the answers.”
    Ricky’s eyes opened and shut involuntarily. He was sweating heavily and his mattress had turned soggy from the moisture. He stood up and staggered across the room, stopping in front of the mirror. There were large bald patches on his head. Clumps of his blond hair remained on the bed where he’d lain. He put his fingers to his scalp. “No! Not my hair!” It was coming out in bunches. “What’s happening to me?” he screamed.
    Ricky reached to the floor and picked up what hair he could find. He was hysterical, holding the loose strands tightly against his scalp. “Stay there, dammit. Go back!” His hand dropped to his side and the hair followed it to the floor.
    Then his eyes caught sight of his forearm. The burn from the explosion had somehow grown larger. The sore was big and deep. Karl’s bandage only covered a small section of the new sore. Ricky pulled it away to get a better look at his wound.
    He could hardly keep his gaze on it, yet he was drawn to the abhorrent sight. Everything but the bone had melted—blood, arteries, muscle, cartilege had all turned into a single russet-colored liquid. He touched the skin around the sore but amazingly there was no pain.
    Ricky stood in the middle of the cabin, reeling out of his mind. With his good hand he felt inside the wound—inside his arm. The temperature of the fluid was so hot it nearly scalded his fingers. He forced his fingers deeper, to the bone. He felt his own bone but experienced no pain. He continued to probe past the bone to the inner flesh.
    Suddenly there was pain. It shot through the length of his body. He screamed. It was a wretched, wailing sound. The pain increased. It became so bad he thought he was burning in hell. Then a buzzing sound grew louder in his brain. Ricky grabbed at his face. Crazed, he pulled at the skin, trying desperately to claw his way through to his brain to put himself out of his misery forever. But the pain only grew worse and the buzzing louder.
    He couldn’t stand it any more. He smashed his head against the wall. Again and again until his scalp was little more than a bloody pulp.
    Then, just as suddenly as it had come, the pain was gone. He felt nothing, he knew nothing and he questioned nothing. A force had taken control and was guiding him. His eyes began revolving. Ricky was blind yet he could see. He was told to leave his cabin and he followed the order.
    Karl had just left Mitch’s study when he met Sharon. He liked her. She was often brusque and straightforward, but there was no bullshit about her. You always knew where you stood. He respected that quality.
    “The expedition started out boring,” Karl was just making conversation, “but it’s got pretty exciting in the last day or so.”
    The crewmates turned a corner and continued in the direction of the Space Preparation Chamber. Inside it, Ricky was pulling his suit on and he held a helmet in his hand. As soon as he saw Karl and Sharon approaching he froze like a frightened animal.
    “Ricky?” Karl called out.
    Ricky pulled on his helmet and went for the airlock.
    “No! Wait!” Karl said.
    “What’s the matter with him?”

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