Page:Avon Fantasy Reader 10.djvu/117

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hydrogen and oxygen. And those gases are found everywhere in the universe astronomers say.

So I say that if the elements of our life can be boiled down to gases, then why can't gases combine as gases and still have the element of life? Water is always present in the atmosphere as vapor, then why not a life as a sort of water vapor variant?

I think it makes sense. I think it might smell odd if we accidentally inhaled such a vapor life. Because we could inhale it like we do water vapor. It might smell, say for example, like burning rubber and zinc ointment.

Because in that last moment when the storm was at its height and the area of unearthly air was compressed to its smallest I noticed that at one point a definite outline could be seen against the black clouds and the blue-white glare of the lightning. A section of the otherworldly air had been sort of trapped and pinned off from the main section. And it had a definite shape under that terrible storm pressure.

I can't say what it was like because it wasn't exactly like anything save maybe a great amoeba being pushed down against the ground. There were lots of arms and stubby wiggly things sticking out and the main mass was squashy and thick. And it flowed along the ground sort of like a snail. It seemed to be writhing and trying to slither away and spread out.

It couldn't because the storm was hammering at it. And I definitely saw a big black mass, round like a fist, hammer at one section of the thing's base as it tried to spread out.

Then the storm smashed down hard on the odd outline and it squashed out flat and was gone.

I imagine there were others and I think that when they aren't being compressed they could have spread out naturally about a hundred yards along the ground and upwards. And I think we have things like that only of Earthly origin right in the atmosphere now. And I don't think that our breathing and walking and living right through them means a thing to them at all. But they objected to the invaders from space. They smelled differently, they were different, they must have come from a different sort of planet, a planet cooler than ours with deserts and vegetation different from our own. And they would have tried to remake our atmosphere into one of their own. And our native air-dwellers stopped them.

That's what I think.