By Colin Kapp

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No clues as to who or why. Dalroi swore and kicked the sullen stove from its moorings, toppling it to the floor and scattering the hot embers. Paper rekindled the flame and the fire had gained irrevocable hold of timbers as he paid his last respects. Only as he turned did he notice on the door, scratched hastily in the paint, a single word: Gormalu. But this was the mystery rather than the answer, for Gormalu was blind and no more capable of committing this atrocity than of flying. He was about to leave when he remembered the recorder in Zdenka's car.

The apron in front of the cabin was occupied with Zdenka's car, so Dalroi turned his own car at the foot of the slope to a point where years of usage had worn a partial track amidst the silver birch. As he alighted he stopped in sudden dismay, for the track never used except by himself, was marked with fresh tyre tracks in the damp forest loam. He stooped to the ground for a careful examination. A medium-heavy vehicle had come and gone again, and footprints trailed up the hill in the direction of the cabin.

He prayed silently as he felt the little key beneath his fingers. For a second the engine failed to start, then coughed twice and broke into life with the noise of vibrant thunder. Dalroi urged the vehicle into lumbering life and charged it across the intervening space straight at the steel-shuttered doors. With the engine warming rapidly he felt his luck returning. Then impact! The truck was doing fifty when it hit the shutters, and the slam and the scream of tortured metal would have made a fitting prelude to the last days of the universe.

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Transfinite Man by Colin Kapp


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