Like Small Feet Following

                  By Mike Resnick and Robyn Herrington
 

                         "And grass, like small feet following..."
                         That's from a poem I know.
                         It's also from a life I lived—and still live.
 

     Angus called me one afternoon to say he'd figured out
how the six children had disappeared. Wouldn't tell me on
the phone.  Said he had to show me or I wouldn't believe
him.  So I tagged along, mostly to humor him.
     Suddenly he grabbed my arm. "It's beginning!"
     From the hill, in the shade of the old oak, we could
see the whole park.
     I squinted. "I don't see anything."
     "Look!" He grabbed my face and turned it.  "See the grass?
See it moving?"
     "It's the wind, Angus."
     "No!" He shook his head, staring at the approaching ripples.
"No, it isn't.  Come on—get up!  Now!" He headed for the lowest
branches of the tree.  "Come on!"
     I admit I felt a little panicked. That's the thing with
Angus—he's not just a whacko, he's an infectious whacko.
     "Did you hear them?" Angus asked, after the breeze had passed
us by.
     "Hear what?"
     "The children.  They were screaming."
     "Angus, that was the wind howling through the branches."
     He shook his head again and pointed to the grass.  "That's
not the wind.  It's hundreds of little, invisible monsters,
running across the park. Monsters with tiny feet."
     We sat in the tree for thirty minutes.
     Finally he said, "You'd better go to work. Run to the car,
and meet me here later."
     "You're not coming?"
     "Tell them I'm sick.  Now go, while the wind's not blowing."
     I went.  Once inside the car, I paused for a moment, watching
Angus watching the ground.  I saw him call something out.  I wound
down the window.  "I can't hear you!" I yelled.
     Then he dropped from the tree, and started running.
     The wind hit the car before Angus reached it, the strongest
gust yet. It sounded exactly like a scream as it forced its way
through the air vents—and suddenly he wasn't anywhere to be
seen.
     I spent the day in the park.  I never did find Angus—but I
found his shoe, half buried in the ground, as though the grass had
grown around it, like the shoe had always been there.
     I'm in the oak tree now, watching.
     The grass ripples, the wind comes, and he's right.
     It's filled with screams.



Copyright © 2000 Mike Resnick and Robyn Herrington

Mike Resnick is the author of more than 40 science fiction novels, 12
collections, and 130 short stories, as well as editing 25 anthologies.
He has won 4 Hugos and a Nebula, and has won major awards in France,
Japan, Spain, Poland and Croatia.

Robyn Herrington lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, having moved there
from South Australia 21 years ago.  She writes science fiction,
fantasy and the occasional tale of horror, and has sold almost a dozen
short stories to publications like Adventures of Sword and Sorcery,
TaleBones, and the Canadian magazine, OnSpec.  She works as a
graphic designer and editor at the University of Calgary, and this is her web
site.

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