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The Ultroom Error   By: (1913-2002)

The Ultroom Error by Gerald Allan Sohl

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Space Science Fiction May 1952. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration]

THE ULTROOM ERROR

by JERRY SOHL

Smith admitted he had made an error involving a few murders and a few thousand years. He was entitled to a sense of humor, though, even in the Ultroom!

HB73782. Ultroom error. Tendal 13. Arvid 6. Kanad transfer out of 1609 complete, intact, but too near limit of 1,000 days. Next Kanad transfer ready. 1951. Reginald, son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Laughton, 3495 Orland Drive, Marionville, Illinois, U. S. A. Arrive his 378th day. TB73782.

Nancy Laughton sat on the blanket she had spread on the lawn in her front yard, knitting a pair of booties for the PTA bazaar. Occasionally she glanced at her son in the play pen, who was getting his daily dose of sunshine. He was gurgling happily, examining a ball, a cheese grater and a linen baby book, all with perfunctory interest.

When she looked up again she noticed a man walking by except he turned up the walk and crossed the lawn to her.

He was a little taller than her husband, had piercing blue eyes and a rather amused set to his lips.

"Hello, Nancy," he said.

"Hello, Joe," she answered. It was her brother who lived in Kankakee.

"I'm going to take the baby for a while," he said.

"All right, Joe."

He reached into the pen, picked up the baby. As he did so the baby's knees hit the side of the play pen and young Laughton let out a scream half from hurt and half from sudden lack of confidence in his new handler. But this did not deter Joe. He started off with the child.

Around the corner and after the man came a snarling mongrel dog, eyes bright, teeth glinting in the sunlight. The man did not turn as the dog threw himself at him, burying his teeth in his leg. Surprised, the man dropped the screaming child on the lawn and turned to the dog. Joe seemed off balance and he backed up confusedly in the face of the snapping jaws. Then he suddenly turned and walked away, the dog at his heels.

"I tell you, the man said he was my brother and he made me think he was," Nancy told her husband for the tenth time. "I don't even have a brother."

Martin Laughton sighed. "I can't understand why you believed him. It's just just plain nuts, Nancy!"

"Don't you think I know it?" Nancy said tearfully. "I feel like I'm going crazy. I can't say I dreamt it because there was Reggie with his bleeding knees, squalling for all he was worth on the grass Oh, I don't even want to think about it."

"We haven't lost Reggie, Nancy, remember that. Now why don't you try to get some rest?"

"You you don't believe me at all, do you, Martin?"

When her husband did not answer, her head sank to her arms on the table and she sobbed.

"Nancy, for heaven's sake, of course I believe you. I'm trying to think it out, that's all. We should have called the police."

Nancy shook her head in her arms. "They'd never believe me either," she moaned.

"I'd better go and make sure Reggie's all right." Martin got up out of his chair and went to the stairs.

"I'm going with you," Nancy said, hurriedly rising and coming over to him.

"We'll go up and look at him together."

They found Reggie peacefully asleep in his crib in his room upstairs. They checked the windows and tucked in the blankets. They paused in the room for a moment and then Martin stole his arm around his wife and led her to the door.

"As I've said, sergeant, this fellow hypnotized my wife. He made her think he was her brother. She doesn't even have a brother. Then he tried to get away with the baby." Martin leaned down and patted the dog... Continue reading book >>




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