Beyond the Barrier by Damon Knight

By Damon Knight

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He held Wells' eyes with his. "All right, then," said Wells reluctantly. "Let's see. . " Naismith lay back. The hum and the tickling in his skull began again. "I direct your attention," said Wells, "to your childhood. Any scene from your childhood. " Naismith went rigid. Something swam up toward his consciousness, something so dreadful that if he saw it, he would go mad. Then it was gone. So it had been a flop. Angrily, as he stood on the path outside Wells' home, Naismith massaged his temples with his fingers.

It's not just a question of time, Mr. Naismith. " They looked at each other in silence for a moment. " Naismith asked bluntly. The two aliens glanced at each other with resigned expressions. Churan sat down, holding the helmet and the control unit on his lap. "Mr. " Her fingers stretched into claws, then relaxed. "Because they are selfish and cowardly. After they had made up their minds to create the Barrier, they felt the Shefthi would be more a danger than a—" "Wait," said Naismith with an impatient gesture.

Not so far now, Mr. Naismith," said Churan. Below, the round world was rolling back at an incredible speed; there was a glint of silver that Naismith recognized as Boulder Dam; then the mighty scar of the Grand Canyon, filled with shadow, passed beneath. Then there were more mountains, and a threadlike river that must be the Colorado. Down on the plain beyond the mountains, Naismith caught sight of a city sprawled like a scattering of silver dominoes. It glittered in the parched land. "Denver," he said.

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