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A Scientist Rises   By: (1909-1992)

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A Scientist Rises

By D. W. Hall

"The face of the giant was indeed that of a god...."

On that summer day the sky over New York was unflecked by clouds, and the air hung motionless, the waves of heat undisturbed. The city was a vast oven where even the sounds of the coiling traffic in its streets seemed heavy and weary under the press of heat that poured down from above. In Washington Square, the urchins of the neighborhood splashed in the fountain, and the usual midday assortment of mothers, tramps and out of works lounged listlessly on the hot park benches.

[Illustration: All gazed, transfixed, at the vast form that towered above them. ]

As a bowl, the Square was filled by the torrid sun, and the trees and grass drooped like the people on its walks. In the surrounding city, men worked in sweltering offices and the streets rumbled with the never ceasing tide of business but Washington Square rested.

And then a man walked out of one of the houses lining the square, and all this was changed.

He came with a calm, steady stride down the steps of a house on the north side, and those who happened to see him gazed with surprised interest. For he was a giant in size. He measured at least eleven feet in height, and his body was well formed and in perfect proportion. He crossed the street and stepped over the railing into the nearest patch of grass, and there stood with arms folded and legs a little apart. The expression on his face was preoccupied and strangely apart, nor did it change when, almost immediately from the park bench nearest him, a woman's excited voice cried:

"Look! Look! Oh, look!"

The people around her craned their necks and stared, and from them grew a startled murmur. Others from farther away came to see who had cried out, and remained to gaze fascinated at the man on the grass. Quickly the murmur spread across the Square, and from its every part men and women and children streamed towards the center of interest and then, when they saw, backed away slowly and fearfully, with staring eyes, from where the lone figure stood.

There was about that figure something uncanny and terrible. There, in the hot midday hush, something was happening to it which men would say could not happen; and men, seeing it, backed away in alarm. Quickly they dispersed. Soon there were only white, frightened faces peering from behind buildings and trees.

Before their very eyes the giant was growing.

When he had first emerged, he had been around eleven feet tall, and now, within three minutes, he had risen close to sixteen feet.

His great body maintained its perfect proportions. It was that of an elderly man clad simply in a gray business suit. The face was kind, its clear chiselled features indicating fine spiritual strength; on the white forehead beneath the sparse gray hair were deep sunken lines which spoke of years of concentrated work.

No thought of malevolence could come from that head with its gentle blue eyes that showed the peace within, but fear struck ever stronger into those who watched him, and in one place a woman fainted; for the great body continued to grow, and grow ever faster, until it was twenty feet high, then swiftly twenty five, and the feet, still separated, were as long as the body of a normal boy. Clothes and body grew effortlessly, the latter apparently without pain, as if the terrifying process were wholly natural.

The cars coming into Washington Square had stopped as their drivers sighted what was rising there, and by now the bordering streets were tangled with traffic. A distant crowd of milling people heightened the turmoil. The northern edge was deserted, but in a large semicircle was spread a fear struck, panicky mob. A single policeman, his face white and his eyes wide, tried to straighten out the tangle of vehicles, but it was infinitely beyond him and he sent in a riot call; and as the giant with the kind, dignified face loomed silently higher than the trees in the Square, and ever higher, a dozen blue coated figures appeared, and saw, and knew fear too, and hung back awe stricken, at a loss what to do... Continue reading book >>




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