Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

Categories Navigation Menu

– 7 –

– 7 –

Emily goes outside to play.

She has burned out even Navvy Jim’s endless patience with her variant symbols and her insistence on incorporating new elements into the game; he takes joy in her but she has made him dizzy; so she leaves him behind for this, and she goes out to hunt for fun and treasure in the grass.

She is alone, far from home, and helpless; and she will never remember how she found the strength in her to call to him, or how it was he came.

She is just standing there, in her perfectly safe little town on her perfectly safe little planet that nothing bad could ever happen to.

Then scissors fall.

The first pair lands not far from Emily. It buries itself three inches into the soil, humming, deadly, before going still and leaning softly against the grass.

Emily looks up.

She looks at the scissors, then up, then down again. They have safety plastic handles so that they do not cut anybody who is sneaking up behind them when they are flying along in space.

Another pair comes down.

She wobbles over to them. She squats down beside them. She pokes them with a chubby finger.

In falling to earth without burning up the scissors have exhausted their malevolence; the injury to the soil is all that this particular pair will do.

A few more scissors fall.

At this point in most of the world — most of the sunlit world, of course, the scissors falling only from a single side of the planet, a ten-hour band, really, with flurries at their edges, as seen from Earth — the malevolence of them isn’t obvious yet. Here and there they do damage. There are a few humans who get killed. There are cars whose alarms go off. If only humans had heeded their warnings! There is damage done to delicate sails, and wires that are cut, and animals that take hurt. A breaching whale gets scissors to the blowhole and — while not really injured injured — is never thereafter quite the same.

At this point you could think it’s a fluke. Then, as a few more fall, you would think, instead: phenomenon.

Not even the adults are scared by the scissor-fall. Not yet. Not even Eldri.

They’re not frogs, after all, those scissors. They’re not fish, they’re not jaguars, and they’re certainly not men. There’s certainly no way, not with scissors, that you could get a solid rain.

. . . except you do.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *