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Planet of Dreams   By: (1923-)

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The climate was perfect, the sky was always blue, and best of all nobody had to work. What more could anyone want?

Planet of Dreams

By James McKimmey, Jr.

Illustrated by Paul Orban

It was a small world, a tiny spinning globe, placed in the universe to weather and age by itself until the end of things. But because its air was good and its earth was fertile, Daniel Loveral had placed a finger upon a map and said, "This is the planet. This is the Dream Planet."

That was two years before, back on Earth. And now Loveral with his selected flock had shot through space, to light like chuckling geese upon the planet, to feel the effect of their dreams come true.

Loveral was sitting in his office, drumming his long fingers against his desk while the name, Atkinson, ticked through his brain like the sound of a sewing machine.

Would he be the only one, Loveral asked himself, or was he just the first? In either case, it was up to Loveral, as leader and guiding hand, to stop this thing and stop it quickly.

Loveral stood up and put on his jacket, although there was no need for it, other than the formality it gave his figure.

He stepped out of his office into a clear bright day, where the air was clean and fresh in his lungs, at once like frost and fire and sweet perfume. He walked along a winding path, which was bordered by slim necked flowers and a short hedge whose even clipped lines were kept neat by tireless robot hands.

Trees pointed to a blue sky, rocking and fluttering their leaves in a soft breeze, and glinting metallic houses lay peacefully beyond in wooded hollows and upon slight hills.

A whole small world was before his eyes, set there upon his direction, maintained by himself with the help of a dozen complex machines which lay locked and sealed in the Maintenance Room for only his fingers to touch.

It was a busy life for Loveral, up at dawn to work until deep night, keeping his flock happy and free from spirit killing labor. But it was a perfect plan, one which had been tested and turned in his mind for years. If he had to work hard to keep it running smoothly, that was all right. In fact, he had never been happier.

Now, however, there was this business about Atkinson. Loveral was disturbed about that.

He walked on, over the quiet path which would lead to the house where Atkinson and his wife lived. Loveral smiled, in readiness for any happy face that might appear before him, to greet him, to show with thankful eyes appreciation for his wonderful world. But that, too, brought thoughts that were a bit disturbing.

Lately there had been few such faces. Most of his flock no longer seemed to care about walking along the cultivated paths, or smiling, or nodding, or touching a leaf here or a flower there. They preferred, it appeared, to remain deep inside their houses, as though they might have become tired of the soft perfection of Dream Planet. As though they might have become weary of quiet woods and sweet bird music or a sky which was always blue.

Loveral shook his head as he walked, puzzling out his thoughts. It was strange, but nothing to worry about certainly.

Just this business about Atkinson. That was his only worry.

He came slowly up a hill, the top of which held a low curving house, with a silver roof and wide, sweeping windows. There were yellow and blue and deep red flowers, skirting the sides of the house, and green ivy grew thickly between the glistening windows. The lawn, dotted with small leafy trees and round bushes, sloped down from the front of the house, looking like a carefully arranged painting.

Loveral pressed a button beside a shining door and waited, smiling through his pale blue kindly eyes.

Mrs. Atkinson appeared after several moments and stood blinking at him. She was a thin woman, who seemed to have gotten even thinner, Loveral noticed. She was working her fingers at the neck of her dress. She smiled but her lips wavered... Continue reading book >>

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