Friday, November 30, 2012

It came and went

"Go back?" he whispers.

I desperateley shake my head and wave my fist right in his visor — Cut that out. For God's sake! You never know which way to look with these novices — at the Zone or at them... And here my mind goes blank. Over the pile of ancient trash, over the colorful rags and broken glass, drifts a tremor, a vibration, just like the hot air above a tin roof at noon; it floats over the mound and continues, cuts across our path right beside a marker, lingers over the road, waits for half a second — or am I just imagining that? — and slithers into the field, over the bushes, over the rotten fences, toward the old car graveyard.

Damn these eggeheads, a great job they did: ran their road down here amid the junk! And I'm a smart one myself — what on Earth was I thinking while mooning over their stupid map?

"Go on at low speed," I tell Kirill.

"What was that?"

"God knows! It came and went, thank God. And shut up, please. Right now, you aren't a person, got it? Right now, you are a machine, my steering wheel, a lever..."

— from Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

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