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Prison of a Billion Years   By: (1928-2008)

Prison of a Billion Years by Stephen Marlowe

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Imagination April 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Prison Of A Billion Years


C. H. Thames

Illustrated by H. W. McCauley

Adam Slade was a man who had nothing to lose by making a break for it. The trouble was, he knew that no one had ever escaped from the

Adam Slade crushed the guard's skull with a two foot length of iron pipe. No one ever knew where Slade got the iron pipe, but it did not seem so important.

The guard was dead. That was important.

And Slade was on the loose. With a hostage.

That was even more important.

The hostage's name was Marcia Lawrence. She was twenty two years old and pretty and scared half out of her wits. She was, before she became a hostage, a reporter for Interplanetary Video. She had been granted the final pre execution interview with Adam Slade and she had looked forward to it a long time but it had not worked out as planned.

It had not worked out as planned because Slade, only hours from the execution chamber with absolutely nothing to lose, had splattered the guard's brains around the inside of his cell and marched outside with a frightened Marcia Lawrence.

Outside. Outside the cell block while other condemned prisoners roared and shouted and banged tin cups on bars and metal walls and judas hole grills. Outside the prison compound and across the dome enclosed city which served the prison.

Then outside the dome.


Outside the dome there was rock. Rock only, twisted and convoluted and thrusting and gigantic like monoliths of a race of giants. Rock alone under the awesome gray sky. Steaming rock, for some of the terrestrial waters were still trapped at great depths. And the sea far off, booming against rocky headlands, hissing tidally and slowly, in an age long process, pulverizing the rock. The sea far off, a clean sea, not sea smelling sea, a sea whose waters must evaporate countless times and be borne up over the naked rocks in vapor and clouds and come down in pelting, endless rain and rush across the rock, frothing and steaming a sea which must do this countless times in the eons to come, and would do it, to bring salinity to its own waters.

"It kind of scares the hell out of you, doesn't it?" Adam Slade said. He was a big man with a thick neck and heavy, sleepy looking eyes and a blue beard shadow on his stubborn jaw. He said those words as he climbed out of the prison tank with Marcia Lawrence. The tank's metal was still warm from over heated travel.

"I didn't think anything would scare you," Marcia Lawrence said. She had conquered her initial terror in the five hours of clanking tank flight from the prison. They had come a great many miles from the prison dome, paralleling the edge of the saltless sea and then finally, when their fuel was almost gone, clanking and rattling down toward the sea. She was a newspaperwoman, that above all now. She must not be afraid. She had a story here. A story.

"Get moving," Adam Slade said. "I got nothing against you, lady," he told her for the tenth time. "But you try anything, you're dead. You get that? I got nothing to lose. One time is all they can kill me. But first they got to find me, but they won't be able to take me as long as you're here. Just stay meek and you'll stay alive."

"How long do you think you can hold out?" Marcia Lawrence asked practically. They had begun to walk away from the now useless tank. Adam Slade was carrying the dead guard's M gun in the crook of his bent left arm and walking with long, easy, ground consuming strides. Marcia almost had to run to keep up with him as they went down a stretch of slightly sloping black rock toward the steaming, hissing, pounding, roaring, exploding surf... Continue reading book >>

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