The Moon is Green
Publication date: June 2011
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
Anybody who wanted to escape death could, by paying a very simple price--denial of life! Excerpt "Effie! What the devil are you up to?" Her husband's voice, chopping through her mood of terrified rapture, made her heart jump like a startled cat, yet by some miracle of feminine self-control her body did not show a tremor. Dear God, she thought, he mustn't see it. It's so beautiful, and he always kills beauty. "I'm just looking at the Moon," she said listlessly. "It's green." Mustn't, mustn't see it. And now, with luck, he wouldn't. For the face, as if it also heard and sensed the menace in the voice, was moving back from the window's glow into the outside dark, but slowly, reluctantly, and still faunlike, pleading, cajoling, tempting, and incredibly beautiful. "Close the shutters at once, you little fool, and come away from the window!" "Green as a beer bottle," she went on dreamily, "green as emeralds, green as leaves with sunshine striking through them and green grass to lie on." She couldn't help saying those last words. They were her token to the face, even though it couldn't hear. "Effie!" She knew what that last tone meant. Wearily she swung shut the ponderous lead inner shutters and drove home the heavy bolts. That hurt her fingers; it always did, but he mustn't know that. "You know that those shutters are not to be touched! Not for five more years at least!" "I only wanted to look at the Moon," she said, turning around, and then it was all gone--the face, the night, the Moon, the magic--and she was back in the grubby, stale little hole, facing an angry, stale little man. It was then that the eternal thud of the air-conditioning fans and the crackle of the electrostatic precipitators that sieved out the dust reached her consciousness again like the bite of a dentist's drill. "Only wanted to look at the Moon!" he mimicked her in falsetto. "Only wanted to die like a little fool and make me that much more ashamed of you!" Then his voice went gruff and professional. "Here, count yourself." She silently took the Geiger counter he held at arm's length, waited until it settled down to a steady ticking slower than a clock--due only to cosmic rays and indicating nothing dangerous--and then began to comb her body with the instrument. First her head and shoulders, then out along her arms and back along their under side. There was something oddly voluptuous about her movements, although her features were gray and sagging. The ticking did not change its tempo until she came to her waist. Then it suddenly spurted, clicking faster and faster. Her husband gave an excited grunt, took a quick step forward, froze. She goggled for a moment in fear, then grinned foolishly, dug in the pocket of her grimy apron and guiltily pulled out a wristwatch. He grabbed it as it dangled from her fingers, saw that it had a radium dial, cursed, heaved it up as if to smash it on the floor, but instead put it carefully on the table. "You imbecile, you incredible imbecile," he softly chanted to himself through clenched teeth, with eyes half closed. She shrugged faintly, put the Geiger counter on the table, and stood there slumped. He waited until the chanting had soothed his anger, before speaking again. He said quietly, "I do suppose you still realize the sort of world you're living in?"