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The Dark Goddess   By: (1907-1975)

The Dark Goddess by Richard S. Shaver

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The Dark Goddess

By Richard S. Shaver

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy February 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: Deep within her caverns the great mer woman longed for death to end her loneliness. But then came a voyager from space a man also lonely....]

The black emerald water swirled and broke in many silver gleamings. From the misty center of the pool rose a vast but beautiful head. The long dripping hair was not hair, but had a rippling life of its own. The great lonely eyes and wide scarlet mouth were far more lovely than any human's. The gleaming green shoulders and shapely long arms ended in graceful webbed fingers. The red tipped breasts were proud, naked mounts where beauty lived forever. The pillaring waist the strong arched hips that did not divide into legs but into two great serpentine drivers ended in the wide tail fins of a fish.

The dark sea scented lapping green water was circled by tiers of marble seats, where many human people sat, their eyes upon the throne seat into which the tremendous female figure vaulted in one powerful thrust from the water, as a tall wave uncurls effortlessly upon a golden beach.

The people bowed their heads and waited for her words, and she sat for a long time looking on them sadly and somehow conveying that they had long disappointed her. When her voice came, a great bell of meaning in the sea cavern, the humans began to weep, for they knew now in their hearts they had failed her.

"My people, when the first of you came here I welcomed you. I was glad, for I had been long alone. I never knew my own origin, my own race, and the wisdom that I learned here in these caverns I was glad to give to the young and ignorant voyagers that first came.

"An age ago, before any of you saw life, the work began. Today, this home of ours is the fruit of long labor, of generations of men. We do not like to give up our home, built to house our genius, to provide everlasting protection against the unstable elements."

Her people, of several shapes and sizes, sourcing from an amalgam of many human races of divergent strains from several near forgotten planets, all sighed together, like a little wind of sadness. And something about that resignation of theirs seemed to anger the great green mer woman's eyes, but her voice did not reflect that anger. All about them, below and above and on and on around the ancient bedrock of the dark planet, tier on tier and level on level, their cavern city stretched, a myriad homes for a myriad individuals.

"Today we face a contingency long foreseen. One which we hoped time itself would change, through some new force changing the motions of those bodies which circle ahead of us in space. It was foretold that in time this planet in its free course through space would be attracted to one or the other of two great suns which it will pass or encounter. It is most probable that our planet will find an orbit about one of those suns ahead.

"Today that fate is no longer a prediction from an astronomer peering into far space. It is a fact we face within short weeks, not in some far future time. Already the surface ice is melting, seas forming above. Already those who used to travel on the surface on their duties and observations have been affected by the powerful radiations of those suns. Those radiations when we are caught and held close will shorten the life span to a hundredth of what it is now. You must go, and go now. You must seek out a new home in the darkness of space where no sun shines to cut your lives short."

A low sob broke from the almost silent people; then another. For years they had known this would occur, but now there was no time left. It was hard to think of leaving their ancient home... Continue reading book >>

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