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THE CRYSTAL FROM OUT OF SPACE

Short story By: Philip Roberts
Science fiction



When a living crystal crashes into a lake and starts to dissolve, what will be the outcome?


Submitted:Dec 19, 2010    Reads: 46    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


It would be a lie to say the object streaked across the sky, in fact it travelled quite slowly. It lingered long enough as it passed overhead to bring people out of their houses to stare gape-eyed up at the fiery orange ball of light which lit up the sky almost as bright as day as it flew over Harpertown -- in the south-eastern Victorian countryside.
"Did you see that?" asked Melinda Stebbins. She leant across the small hedge separating their properties, to call out to where their neighbours, the Carrolls, stood on their own front lawn, gazing up at the orangey glow.
"They could hardly miss it, now could they?" pointed out her husband Merv, failing to get a reaction from his wife, who had long ago learnt to live with, if not appreciate her husband's bursts of sarcasm.
"But what was it?" demanded Cherylyn Carroll. She and her two teenagers, Jayne and Stevie, started out toward the footpath.
"It's only a comet," insisted her husband, Pete. Instinctively he followed suite as the others stepped out into the street and slowly started down Rushcutters' Road, seemingly unaware they had even started after the fiery object.
"Seems pretty low down for a comet," said Merv. He received a sharp glance from Pete, who as the local school teacher was used to having his word accepted without question.
"Well let's find out," said Cherylyn.
So they set off down the street until reaching Hautman's Paddock, a large open field at the end of town, which led directly into the neighbouring forest. After a moment's hesitation at the back of the paddock, they stepped out into the thickly wooded forest of wattles, pines, and grotesquely shaped ghost gums.
They had only followed the object for a few minutes before it became obvious that Merv was right. It was no comet:
"It's going to crash!" said young Jayne excitedly. She pointed overhead to where the shiny orange light had undoubtedly started to come down.
"It's just like in The War of the Worlds!" said Stevie Carroll. He grinned with delight as his mother shuddered at the suggestion of alien invaders.
"Don't be stupid!" chided Cherylyn. Although her wide-eyed look showed that she half believed him.
A couple of minutes later there was a laud explosion not far in the distance and they realised the object had landed nearby.
"Sounds as though it came down near LakeCooper," suggested Pete. This time he was right, except the "comet" had come down in the inland lake, not merely near it.
When they arrived at the lake, there was already a small group of onlookers, including Jim Kane, Sergeant of Harpertown's two-man police force. But they were all too intent on the object in the lake to even notice the arrival of the newcomers.
"Oh my God! My God, it's a diamond! A gigantic diamond!" shrieked Cherylyn as they saw what held the others so transfixed.
"It must be at least a million carets!" cried her husband Pete.
"A billion carets more like it!" corrected Jim Kane, noticing them at last.
And that was exactly what it looked like: a gigantic, multifaceted diamond, the size of a Mini Minor standing on end.
"My God! My God, we're all rich!" shrieked Cherylyn. She rushed out into the shallow water to throw her arms around the "diamond" to hug it from joy.
Beaming like idiots Jayne and Stevie started to wade out after her, then stopped in mid step as she suddenly jumped away from the "diamond" as though stung. "Oh my God! My God!" shrieked Cherylyn. "It's alive!"
"Oh sure mum!" said Stevie. He thought at first she was trying to pay him back for scaring her earlier, until seeing the look of abject terror on her face.
As Cherylyn raced past them, back toward the bank, Jayne and Stevie turned tail and sped after her.
For a few minutes they stood round on the grassy bank, trying to find out from Cherylyn what had happened. Finally, unable to make any sense of her babbling, Jim Kane and Merv Stebbins rolled up their trouser legs, took off their shoes and socks, then waded out to where the "diamond" sat, twenty metres or so from the shore.
After a moment's hesitation both men reached out and placed one hand on a flat edge of the object. At first they felt nothing unusual, but after a few seconds the shiny, diamond-like stone began to pulse softly, but distinctly, with a regular thrumpth, thrumpth, thrumpth.
With each pulse it seemed to radiate out small bursts of yellow light, although they hadn't noticed that from the shore when Cherylyn had hugged the stone.
The two men pulled their hands away from the stone and looked up at each other, obviously both waiting for the other to speak first. Finally it was Jim Kane who took the initiative:
"There's no doubt about it," he said, "it certainly feels like a heartbeat!"
Although he had spoken softly, in the still night his words easily carried to shore and were overheard by everyone. "See! See!" shrieked Cherylyn. "You all thought I was crazy! But I'm right!"
Jim and Merv hurriedly returned to shore to discuss what to do next. But after Jim and Cherylyn's revelation, most of the onlookers only wanted to turn tail and scurry back to the imagined safety of town.
* * *
Early the next morning Jim Kane set out for nearby Glen Hartwell, to collect the nearest thing the area had to a research chemist: local coroner, Jerry Green.
He also collected his Glen Hartwell counterpart, Sergeant Danny Ross. Nicknamed "Bear" by his friends and colleagues, due to his tremendous height and barrel-like chest, though only a sergeant, like Jim, Ross was Jim's immediate superior. (In the Victorian Police Force, when a number of country towns are policed by officers of the same rank, the officer in the largest town has authority over the others. So, since Glen Hartwell dwarfed Harpertown, Bear had authority over Jim.)
When they arrived at LakeCooper, shortly after 10:00 a.m., Jim was in for a shock. The "comet" was only half the size it had been the night before.
"My God!" he said, staring out through the windscreen of the Land Rover as they drove up to the lake. "It's shrunk!"
After wading out to examine the object for a moment, Jerry Green corrected him, "Not shrunk, dissolved. I'm afraid it's only some kind of soluble crystal salt."
"There go my hopes of becoming a multi-zillionaire," joked Jim, although he had guessed the night before it was no diamond. But as Jerry continued to examine the crystal, Jim thought, "But what kind of crystal salt has a heartbeat?"
Speaking for the first time since their arrival at the lakeside, Bear Ross called out to Jerry, "Is it likely to do any harm to the lake?"
Jerry shrugged and said, "Without the proper equipment to run tests, it's hard to say. But if it was really as big last night as Jim says, then so much has already dissolved into the water, that any possible damage has already been done."
* * *
Jim Kane next heard of LakeCooper a week later. He was in Montgomery's General Store in Goodwin Drive, when in rushed Stevie Carroll. Seeing the policeman, young Stevie breathlessly blurted out, "Something's killed all the fish in LakeCooper!"
* * *
When he arrived at the lakeside fifteen minutes later, Jim found his constable, Paul Bell, and Pete Carroll kneeling on the bank, examining a pile of what from a distance looked like white shale. However, as he drew nearer Jim saw it was a metre-wide strip of bones. The chewed and mangled skeletons of seemingly millions of small fish -- extending for a few hundred metres in each direction.
"Stevie and I came down early to do some fishing," explained Pete, seeing Jim approach. "After an hour without a single bite, we set off to find a better spot."
"It was on our third attempt that we found them," added Stevie.
(Although LakeCooper was an inland lake, it was stocked with fish when it periodically overflowed every few winters and joined up with the nearby YannanRiver, which in turn flowed into the Tasman Sea.)
"So what do you think?" asked Pete.
Jim shrugged and said, "Your guess is as good as mine." Taking up a handful be was surprised by the chalky brittleness of the bones, which crushed to powder beneath his grip. As though whatever had devoured the flesh had also sucked away all trace of fluid from the bones, leaving them as fragile as sun-dried pine needles.
"Looks like another job for Jerry Green," suggested Paul Bell.
* * *
Over the next few days Jerry Green and Jim Kane investigated the cause of the killings, without reaching any conclusion. Except that, "Whatever did it certainly seems to have devoured every single fish in the lake," as Jerry pointed out.
"But what could have done it?" demanded Jim.
"Some kind of dingo pack, perhaps," suggested Jerry without any enthusiasm.
"Some kind is right," said Jim cuttingly. "This lake bobs and weaves around for two kilometres or more. And parts of it are many metres deep. No dingo pack could completely clear that out."
"Then what's your guess?" retaliated Jerry, forcing the policeman to concede that he didn't have one.
After finally conceding there was nothing more to be gathered from them, Jim arranged to have the small mountain of rotting fish bones carted away and buried.
* * *
By the first week in summer it was already obvious it was going to be a scorching summer.
"Bloody greenhouse effect!" grumbled Merv Stebbins, blaming it for the record summers Victoria had been having in recent years. He helped Melinda pack the last of their lunch into the hamper, ready for their picnic with the Carrolls.
After they finished packing, he picked up a blue can of insect repellent and started spraying his arms, to the amusement of his daughter, Louise.
"What the Hell are you laughing at?" he demanded.
"Dad! You're the one causing the greenhouse effect, with that spray," she teased him.
"One can won't make any difference!" he insisted. He pretended not to notice the wry smiles Melinda and Louise exchanged at his expense.
Ten minutes later, waiting outside for the Carrolls, Merv eyed the growing line of traffic down Rushcutters' Road and said, "Stupid bastards! Why drive all the way to Glen Hartwell, when there's a perfectly good lake virtually on their doorsteps?"
"The Glen is only fifteen Kays away," pointed out Melinda, "not half a million," drawing giggles from Louise and her brother Shane, and a sharp glance from Merv.
"That's not the point," persisted Merv. "Why waste time driving all that way to the YannanRiver, when you can walk a few hundred metres to LakeCooper?"
"Yes dear," said Melinda. She rolled her eyes heavenward, drawing more snickers from her two teenagers. She was tempted to point out that a shallow tributary of the YannanRiver ran less than a kilometre from Harpertown, then thought better of it.
When they finally reached the lakeside, however, their first paddle was a great disappointment. Although clear as glass, the water felt strangely thick and oily.
"Oh my God, it's so clammy!" complained Cherylyn. She quickly headed back to shore.
"What do you mean clammy? How can such clear, clean water be clammy?" demanded Merv, wading out a few metres. But he soon found an excuse to return to shore.
Yet the slick feel of the water didn't seem to bother the five teenagers who were with the two couples.
"How can you bear to be in that filthy muck?" demanded Cherylyn. She watched as Jayne, Stevie, and their cousin Dianne Matthews (who was staying with them over the Christmas break) continued to swim about in the lake.
"It's not so bad once you get used to it!" called back Jayne, leading the others out into deeper water.
"Don't go out too far!" Merv called out to his own two teenagers.
"No dad!" called back Louise. She sighed in exasperation, as if to say "Fathers!", drawing snickers from the other teenagers.
Despite their assurances, however, the five teenagers were soon paddling toward one of the many bends in the twisting, serpentine river.
"Are you guys sure you want to swim in this gunk?" asked Dianne Matthews. She grimaced in disgust at the slimy water which felt like half melted petroleum jelly.
"No," replied Louise, as they rounded the bend, "but let's keep going till we're well out of sight of the old folks. Then we can swim to shore and sunbathe in peace."
"Smart thinking, Lou," said Shane, chuckling at his sister's deviousness.
They swam on a few hundred metres more then started toward the bank.
Feeling something nip her left foot, Louise looked down in terror, remembering the scene from the classic horror film, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, where the creature brushed the heroine's foot as it swam underneath her.
"Something bit my foot!" she called to the others, who were all way ahead of her.
"Jaws lives!" teased Shane. Unlike his sister, he preferred modern horror films to the early black-and-white classics.
"Very funny!" retorted Lou, still peering down at her foot through the clear water. Finally convinced there was nothing else in the water with them, she looked up and started to swim after the others.
Feeling a sharp stab of pain in her left foot, she looked down again, just as her foot vanished and hot blood began to pump into the water from the stump of her leg.
"Shane! Shane, help!" she called as she felt a stabbing pain in her right side and her leg vanished to the thigh on that side. "Help me! For God's sake help me!"
Only metres from the bank Shane looked back and shouted, "Lou's in trouble!" The four teenagers swam back to help her.
"Give me your hand, Sis," Shane yelled as they reached Louise.
She started to raise it toward him, when with another spasm of pain her entire arm vanished, allowing blood to stream out from her shoulder blade.
"Oh my God, what's happening?" shrieked Dianne. Before their eyes Louise vanished bit by bit, until nothing remained of her but a film of blood in the water. But even as they watched the film thinned out leaving the water clear as pristine glass.
* * *
While Cherylyn and Melinda laid out the picnic lunch, Merv and Pete erected a large beach umbrella a few metres away, then fell asleep under it, leaving the two women to swelter under the summer sun.
"Isn't that just like men!" complained Cherylyn. "They get a day out relaxing in the shade and we're left to swelter and do all the work."
By a quarter to noon the lunch was set out, so the two women went to the water's edge to call to the five teenagers.
"They've been gone a long time," ventured Melinda.
"Yes," agreed Cherylyn. She shivered at the memory of her own paddle in the oily water. "I don't know how they can stand to be in that dreadful muck at all."
"Shane! Louise! Dianne! Time for lunch!" called Melinda.
"Jayne! Stevie!" called Cherylyn.
Five minutes later their calls had failed to produce the teenagers, but had woken the two men.
"What's all the shouting about?" demanded Merv, annoyed at having his nap so rudely disturbed.
"For God's sake the kids are missing!" snapped Melinda. Merv was startled, not used to her answering him back.
"They can't have just disappeared!" stated Pete. The two men went across to join their wives by the water's edge.
"Maybe they swam out of hearing range, then came to shore," suggested Merv.
For nearly ten minutes they continued to call to the teenagers and argue about their best course of action. Finally they decided Melinda and Merv would set out along one side of the lake; Pete and Cherylyn the other, and head toward Perry township.
* * *
The two couples met up again exhausted, at the other end of the lake, just outside the town of Perry, before it occurred to them that one of them should have returned to Harpertown to notify Jim Kane.
"Oh my God! My God, we're not going to find them!" shrieked Cherylyn. She received a contemptuous look from her husband, although Pete was every bit as upset as she was by the disappearance of the teenagers.
"Stay calm honey, we'll find them," asserted Melinda. She only wished she could believe it herself.
Unfortunately Perry is too small to have its own police officer. However, the Stebbinses had relatives in the town, who readily agreed to drive the two couples back to Harpertown to alert Jim Kane.
Nonetheless it was already growing dark before Jim had organised a proper search party to scour the surrounding forestlands for the missing teenagers.
Although armed with powerful search lights, they couldn't help feeling a touch of unease as they traipsed through the eerie night forest. It was only a handful of years since Glen Hartwell and Harpertown had been savaged by a pack of wild dingoes. Though the yellow, native dogs are mainly found in the northern reaches of Australia, around Queensland and the Northern Territory, packs have been known to stray down south. And more than one dingo has been lit up in the headlights of speeding cars, while crossing Highway one, within kilometres of Melbourne itself.
They searched through the night and past dawn without finding any trace of the teenagers. Until shortly after 8:00 a.m. Jim Kane heard a cry of, "Over here!"
By the time he had manoeuvred his way through the thickly wooded forest to reach the point the called had originated from, Jim found a small crowd ahead of him.
"What is it?" he asked the nearest man. He got no response from the old man whose face was as white as a sheet and who looked as though he was about to pass out.
Seeing Paul Bell kneeling by the water's edge, Jim went across to his constable and asked, "What is going...?" He stopped in mid sentence as he saw the mounds of chalky white bones, laying broken and chewed on the bank of the lake. "You've found them," he said stupidly.
"Three of them, by the looks of it," corrected Paul.
"It...it can't be them...!" insisted Merv Stebbins, refusing to believe the worst. "They only disappeared a few hours ago...They can't have been reduced to skeletons already...."
"Something has picked their bones clean," said Paul unthinkingly. He received a sharp glance from Jim which silenced him.
"It...can't be them!" insisted Merv, on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
"No, no, perhaps you're right," agreed Jim. He led him away from the gruesome find.
After taking Merv away from the scene and ensuring that Melinda and Cherylyn were kept well away, they set to arguing about what had killed the teenagers.
"Crocs! It has to be crocs!" insisted Sam Hart from Merridale. "I've seen crocodiles strip a large carcase as clean as these in an hour or less."
Looking at the collection of bones Jim was doubtful. They gleamed in the early morning sunlight as though they had been polished to a high lustre. "How could crocs get into an inland lake?" he demanded.
"Same way the fish do," insisted Hart. "Across from the YannanRiver. You'd be amazed how far those bastards can travel across dry land. A couple of Kays would be nothing to them."
The argument might have raged for hours, except that a quarter of an hour later the skeletons of the two remaining teenagers were located along the bank, a few hundred metres away. That seemed to convince even Jim that Hart was right.
So Jim agreed to organise a crocodile hunt. Rather than go off half cocked, he arranged for all the local constabulary to be involved: Bear Ross and Constable Terry Blewitt from Glen Hartwell; Sergeant Mel Forbes and his constable, Andrew Braidwood, from Merridale; Sgt. Murray Senkans and Const. Leslie Harrison from BeauLarkin, and, most importantly (since he had served five years with the Northern Territory Police and had experience croc hunting) Sgt. Con Rodriguez from LePage.
* * *
It was three days after the death of the five teenagers that the crocodile hunt finally got under way. Nearly two dozen heavily-armed men were split into three teams. Two to patrol along both banks of the lake; the third to set out in a four-man runabout owned by Perry resident Dave Kelly, to search upon the lake itself.
Before the boat could set, out though, there was debate over who should be aboard. Dave Kelly had to go to steer the boat; Con Rodriguez was the only one with any croc-hunting experience, and the killings had occurred in Jim Kane's region, so they all had places. But argument raged over who should be the fourth man. As Jim's superior Bear Ross had expected to go also, but Murray Senkans had other ideas:
"Back off Bear!" demanded Senkans, grabbing him by one arm as Bear started to step aboard the runabout. "I have authority here." (On the other side of Harpertown to the Glen, BeauLarkin is as large as Glen Hartwell and roughly the same distance away. Usually Senkans was content to let Bear Ross take care of the small town's extra policing needs, but on this occasion he decided to argue the point.)
"That's right," agreed Leslie Harrison. He was keen to stay in the good books of his sergeant, who was famous locally for carrying grudges indefinitely against anyone who ever dared cross him.
"No way!" protested Terry Blewitt, coming to Bear's aid. "The Glen has authority over Harpertown."
"Bullshit!" shouted Senkans. He was prepared to argue the point till he got his way no matter how much time was wasted.
So, rather than have the hunt delayed needlessly over a triviality, Bear Ross stood aside and said, "Be my guest, Murray."
Smirking like an idiot at his imagined victory, Murray Senkans climbed aboard the runabout, then was almost thrown into the water as the boat took off suddenly.
"You shouldn't have let that dickhead get away with that," Terry Blewitt said to Bear. He was certain to speak loud enough for Leslie Harrison to overhear.
"It's not important," insisted Bear. "The important thing is to make the lake safe for other kids to swim in."
* * *
The small runabout patrolled back and forth along LakeCooper all day without locating a single crocodile, or anything else that could have done the killings. Until shortly after 4:00 p.m., when Jim Kane called to Dave Kelly to shut off the engine.
"What's up?" asked Con Rodriguez.
"I thought I saw something in the water," explained Jim. He moved across to the front of the boat. Standing on the triangular bow, he held onto the small guard-rail with one hand and peered down into the clear water.
He was soon joined by Con and Dave, however, Murray Senkans stayed near the back of the small boat. Partly from fear it might capsize if they all went forward, partly because he thought he had seen something in the water near the rear of the boat.
Senkans stood gazing over the back of the runabout into the almost glass clear water. Although it was unlikely anything was hiding in such pristine water, he couldn't get over the feeling that something was down there watching him.
"I can't see anything," said Con, at the front of the boat.
Hearing the voice behind him, Murray started to turn and slipped, almost falling into the lake. His right hand actually did go under water, and in an instant the hand was nipped off at the wrist. Blood began to pour from the stump, into the water.
For a moment Murray Senkans held his right arm up before his face, his lips pursed in a question mark, staring gape-eyed in shock and amazement as blood continued to fountain from the stump of his arm. Finally he found his voice and started screaming, more from shock than pain.
"What the Hell!" said Con, turning quickly. Then, seeing the stream of blood pouring from Murray's arm, "Holy shit!"
The three policeman started toward the injured man, when there was a thunderous crash on the bottom of the boat.
Crying out in alarm, Jim Kane flew head-over-heels backward into the lake.
"The croc's under the boat!" shouted Con. The crashing came a second time.
Then, as Jim started to thrash about, screaming hysterically, Dave Kelly said, "My God, Jim's in the water!" He ran forward to help his friend.
Seeing Jim bobbing about less than a metre from the boat, Dave leant over the guard-rail and grabbed him by one hand. Pulling with all his might, he fell backward into the boat, bringing with him one arm, the shoulders, neck, and head of Jim Kane, whose torso had been bitten right through by their still unseen attacker.
"Oh my God, he's dead! Jim's dead!" shrieked Dave. He backed away in horror, yet unable to take his eyes off the lifeless third of a man he had pulled into the boat.
As another thunderous crash sounded on the bottom of the boat, along with a loud splintering of wood, Con cried, "The boat's breaking up! We've got to swim for it!"
"You're crazy!" shrieked Dave. "The croc'll get us if we jump into the water!"
"Not if we head straight for shore," insisted Con. He pointed to where the nearest bank was only fifty or sixty metres away. "While the croc is busy wrecking the boat, we can make it safely to shore if we're quick about it."
"What about him?" asked Dave. He pointed to Murray Senkans, who now lay on the bottom of the small boat, having fainted from shock and loss of blood.
After a moment's hesitation Con said, "We'll have to leave him, we can't possibly take him with us." Seeing Dave Kelly's horrified look, he added, "He's probably already dead from loss of blood anyway."
Without further hesitation both men jumped into the water.
* * *
It was nearly 5:00 p.m. when one of the croc-squads on the shore located the wreck of the small runabout on the bank of the lake. Nearly twenty minutes passed before Bear Ross, Terry Blewitt, and Mel Forbes arrived on the scene.
"What the Hell could have happened?" asked Terry rhetorically. He stared in horror at the mangled boat, whose bottom had been bitten clean through.
"Could a croc have done this?" asked Mel. He fingered the jagged point of a wooden spar that thrust up from the great gaping hole in the bottom of the runabout.
"Possibly," said Bear Ross, "but where the Hell are Jim and the others?"
There was a moment's stunned silence as the small group of men stopped to contemplate what had probably happened to the four missing men.
* * *
Over the next few days the two remaining patrols continued to search for the elusive "croc", as well as some sign of the missing men. Without any success.
The search was already winding down, ready to be abandoned, when one afternoon Bear, Terry, Mel, and Paul Bell plus a few others were slowly searching along the bank of the lake. The other men had already moved a few paces past him, before realising Mel Forbes had stopped.
"What is it Mel?" asked Bear Ross. He started back to where his friend was crouching, peering intently into LakeCooper.
"I'm not sure," said Mel straightening, "but I think I can see a mound of bones on the bottom, a few metres out."
"Where?" asked Bear. He walked up to the very edge of the lake. Too late he realised what Mel intended, and made a futile grab for him, as Mel started to wade out into the shallow water.
"You can't go out there!" protested Bear.
"Don't worry," said Mel without stopping, "there's nothing hiding in this crystal clear water."
Gradually the others all grouped around Bear, watching as Mel waded out into the lake. "Find anything?" asked Paul Bell.
"No," replied Mel. He looked perplexed as he reached the point where from the bank it had looked as though something white lay. Turning back in frustration, he started back to the shore, then stopped and began to scream shrilly.
Bear Ross started to rush forward to his friend's aid, but was held back by Paul Bell and Terry Blewitt.
The surface of the lake began to ripple strangely. Then slowly the water transformed, solidified and took on the shape of a giant mouth.
A mouth which slowly devoured Mel Forbes from the feet up!
Finally Mel's screams ceased as he was completely consumed. Then the watery mouth pursed its lips and spat, sending the mangled bones up onto the bank, at the feet of the search party who ran screaming from terror into the nearby forest, narrowly avoiding high-speed collisions with conifers and ghost gums as they headed for either Harpertown or Perry, depending upon which town each man thought was closer.
* * *
After the gruesome death of Mel Forbes, things quietened down around LakeCooper. With almost a dozen witnesses to Mel's bizarre death, Bear Ross managed to convince the local coroner (a long-time friend of Bear) Jerry Green, to write bogus death certificates for the five men and five teenagers killed.
Then the lake was declared quarantined. A three-metre high chain-link fence ,was erected at great cost around the full two-kilometre length of the lake, to prevent anyone else falling prey to the flesh-eating "water".
It was left up to Jerry Green (as resident scientist) to attempt to explain what had happened. "Suppose," he said to Bear one day, "that the crystal from out of space was a living thing. All life on the planet Earth is based on carbon, but for decades scientists have theorised that life in other galaxies might be based on other chemical elements such as silicon.
"Suppose the crystal was a non-carbon based life form, and when it landed in LakeCooper, because of its crystalline structure it dissolved in the water. But instead of dying, it took over the water in the lake, united with it, and formed a brand new life form. In effect carnivorous water!"
After the deaths of Jim Kane and Mel Forbes, Paul Bell and Andrew Braidwood were promoted to sergeant in their respective towns.
August 2001:
Andrew Braidwood stood in the front office of the Merridale Police Station. Looking down at the sergeant stripes on his left shoulder he remebered how he had got them, the horror of Mel Forbes; gruesome death.
Then hearing the ratta-tat-tat, machine-gun-likr fire of the pelting rain he wondered if the horror was truly over yet?
LakeCooper had been ringed with a six-metre high concrete fence to try to contain the hideous new life-form.
But fears had mounted in the winter of 2000, when the long-time drought had finally broken and reservoirs in Victoria had reached near record levels. The waters of LakeCooper had swollen to record levels and would have flooded over, if not for the concrete retaining wall.
"But how long can it contasin the water … the creature, thought Andrew, "if last years record rains are repeated this year?"
As the rains had poured since late May, Andrew had taken to going down to the retaining wall every day to check the levels. Yesterday's lvel had been barely half-a-metre below the top of the concrete dyke.
Otherwise nothing much happened in the area after the lake was fenced in, until a few years later when in the winter of the year 2001, the Yannan River overflowed, flooding the area around Harpertown and meeting up with Lake Cooper. Then the essence of the living crystal was finally able to move on to seek out new feeding grounds. First around Harpertown, Perry, Glen Hartwell and Merridale as it took over the Yannan. Then further afield, first in Australia, then the rest of the world, as it followed the course of the Yannan River out into the Tasman Sea, then into the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, until it possessed all the oceans of the world. A gigantic, carnivorous organism that surrounded all the Earth's land masses, devoured all of the fish and marine life across the globe, then waited for the greenhouse effect to melt the polar caps, giving it new body and allowing it access to increasingly greater parts of the land, where the human race cowered in terror from this horrible new life form: The new dominant species on the planet Earth.
THE END
© Copyright 2010
Philip Roberts




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