Friday, December 07, 2012

The Infinity Concerto 1 - Greg Bear

"A lock blocked the iron latch. He knew instinctively he couldn’t just climb over—if he did, he would find nothing but darkness on the other side. He fumbled frantically for the key in his pocket, the only key he had been given. The figure in the flounced dress had closed the distance between them to six or seven yards. It lurched slowly and deliberately toward him as if it had all the time in the world. The key fit the lock, but just barely. He had to jerk it several times. A sigh behind him, long and dry, and he felt cold pressure on his shoulder, the rasp of something light and brittle brushing his jacket sleeve— Michael flinched, crouched, pushed the gate open with his forearm, and fell through. He crawled and scrambled across broken dirt and withered stubble, fell again, gravel digging into the flesh of his cheek. No use fleeing. He closed his eyes and clutched the crumbling clods and twigs, waiting. The gate clanged shut and the latch fell into place with a snick. Several seconds passed before he even allowed himself to think he hadn’t been followed. The quality of the air had changed. He rolled over and looked at the stone wall. The figure should have been visible above the wall, or through the openwork of the gate, but it wasn’t. He let his breath out all at once. He felt safe now—safe for the moment, at least. “It worked,” he said, standing and brushing off his clothes. “It really worked!” Somehow, he wasn’t all that elated. A strange thing had just happened, and he had been badly frightened. It couldn’t have taken Michael more than fifteen minutes to do everything in the instructions, yet dawn was a hazy orange in the east. He had crossed over. But to where?" 3 out of 5