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Omega, the Man   By:

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A Classic Reprint from AMAZING STORIES, January, 1933

[Illustration]

OMEGA, the MAN

By LOWELL HOWARD MORROW

Illustrated by MOREY

The silver airship cut swiftly through the hot thin air. The noonday sun blazed down upon it and the desert world below. All about was the solemn silence of death. No living thing appeared either in the air or on the drab, gray earth. Only the aircraft itself displayed any signs of life. The sky, blue as indigo, held not the shadow of a cloud, and on the horizon the mountains notched into it like the teeth of a giant saw.

The airship finally came to a hovering stop, then dropped rapidly toward the salt encrusted plain. It came to rest at last on the bottom of a great, bowl shaped hollow situated at the end of a chasm whose gray, rock strewn sides rose in rugged terraces for miles back into the sky. In a few moments a panel in the vessel's side rolled noiselessly upward, disclosing a brilliant light, and from the interior of the airship soon appeared two figures who paused at the aperture and gazed out over the parched earth. Then without fear or visible effort although they were seventy five feet above the ground they emerged from the ship and floated down to earth.

These two humans the sole survivors of all earth's children were man and wife Omega and Thalma. They were burned a deep cherry by the fierce rays of the sun. In stature they were above the average man now on earth. Their legs were slender and almost fleshless, because for many centuries man had ceased to walk. Their feet were mere toeless protuberances attached to the ankle bone. Their arms were long and as spare as their legs, but their hands, although small, were well proportioned and powerful. Their abdominal regions were very small, but above them were enormous chests sheltering lungs of tremendous power, for thus nature had armored man against the rarefaction of the earth's atmosphere. But the most remarkable parts about this truly remarkable couple were there massive heads set upon short, slim necks. The cranial development was extraordinary, their bulging foreheads denoting great brain power. Their eyes set wide apart were large and round, dark and luminous with intelligence and their ears were remarkably large, being attuned to all the music and voices of life. While their nostrils were large and dilated, their mouths were very small, though sensuous and full lipped. They were entirely hairless for even the eyebrows and the eyelashes of man had entirely disappeared ages before. And when they smiled they betrayed no gleam of teeth, for nature had long discarded teeth in man's evolution.

The great, silver ship of the sky now rested in a deep pocket on the floor of an ancient sea. Millions of years, under the sucking energy of the sun and the whip of many winds, had sapped its waters, until only a shallow, brackish lake remained. Along the shores of this lake, which covered scarcely more than a hundred acres, a rim of yellowish, green grass followed the water's edge and struggled against the inevitable, and here and there among the grasses flowers of faded colors and attenuated foliage reared their heads bravely in the burning sunshine. And this lone lake, nestled in the lowest spot among the mountains and valleys which once floored the Pacific, now held the last of earth's waters. Barren and lifeless the rest of the world baked under a merciless sun.

Now clasping hands, like children at play, Omega and Thalma approached the lake. They glided over the ground, merely touching their feet to the highest points, and finally stopped with their feet in the warm, still water.

Omega ran his cupped hand through the water, then drank eagerly.

"It is good," he said in a low, musical voice. "And there is much of it. Here we may live a long time."

Thalma laughed with sheer joy, her large, red rimmed eyes aglow with mother light and love.

"I am glad," she cried. "I know that Alpha will be happy here... Continue reading book >>




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