Page:Avon Fantasy Reader 10.djvu/116

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air above. But the constant lightnings that flickered around it kept it in our sight. Again and again it darted against the mass of clouds and was hurled wildly and furiously about. For a moment we thought it would force its way out of our sight and then there was a sudden flash and a sharp snap that even we heard and a few fragments of glassy stuff came falling down.

I realized suddenly that the storm had actually abated its fury while this strange thing was going on. As if the very elements themselves watched the outcome of the ball's flight. And now the storm raged in again with renewed vigor as if triumphant.

The area was definitely being forced back. Soon not more than twenty yards separated us from the front and we could hear the dull endless rumbling of the thunder. The stink was back again all around us. Tiny trickles of cold wet air broke through now and then but were still being lost in the smell.

Then came the last moment. A sort of terrible crescendo in the storm and the stink finally broke for good. I saw it and what I saw is inexplicable save for a very fantastic hypothesis which I believe only because I must.

After that revealing moment the last shreds of the stellar air broke for good. For only a brief instant more the storm raged, an instant in which for the first and last time Ed and I got soaked and hurled around by the wind and rain and the horses almost broke their tethers. Then it was over. The dark clouds lifted rapidly. In a few minutes they had incredibly thinned out, there was a slight rain, and by the time ten more minutes had passed, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and things were almost dry. On the northern horizon faint shreds of cloud lingered but that was all.

Of the meteor globes only a few shards and splinters remained.

I've talked the matter over as I said and there is no really acceptable answer to the whole curious business. We know that we don't really know very much about things. As a meteorologist I can tell you that. Why, we've been discussing the weather from caveman days and yet it was not more than twenty years ago that the theory of weather fronts was formulated which first allowed really decent predictions. And the theory of fronts, which is what we modern weather people use, has lots of imperfections in it. For instance we still don't know anything about the why of things. Why does a storm form at all? We know how it grows, sure, but why did it start and how?

We don't know. We don't know very much at all. We breathe this air and it was only in the last century that we first began to find out how many different elements and gases made it up and we don't know for sure yet.

I think it's possible that living things may exist that are made of gas only. We're protoplasm you know but do you know that we're not solid matter—we're liquid? Protoplasm is liquid. Flesh is liquid arranged in suspension in cells of dead substances. And most of us is water, and water is the origin of all life. And water is composed of two common gases,