by Tom Lichtenberg
Copyright 2012 by Tom Lichtenberg
Smashwords Edition Copyright 2012 by Tom Lichtenberg
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Alex Kirkham returned to Spring Hill Lake one summer morning. He was sixty one years old, had taken early retirement a few months earlier and had been doing nothing at all with his life. Then his brother Argus turned up missing. There were no clues, none at all. Argus' wife knew nothing. His son knew nothing either. It was totally out of character, because Argus had been as stable as the moon, following a strict routine, and completely avoiding any risks. Alex had nothing to go on, except for some weird vivid dreams of a giant space-bubble creature extending out through the asteroid belt, past Mars, floating in space and slowly breathing in and out, shifting and reshaping continually, its extremity lightly touching the surface of the Earth.
"If it thinks it can talk to me through dreams," Alex thought, "it's got a lot to learn. No one knows anything about dreams, how they work or what they mean, if anything. There are many theories, and there's been a lot of research, but all of it has lead nowhere. The thing has got to do better than that if it wants to tell me anything. If there is such a thing in the world."But Sapphire Karadjian had never returned, and his uncle, Charlie Kirkham, had never re-appeared again either, and now Argus was gone. Had the thing now taken him too? It had come in the form of a bus for Charlie, who had been a bus driver. What had it been for Sapphire? A war? She was always attracted by those. Alex chuckled to himself as he sat on the park bench along a gravelly path, surveying the greenery that was now Sea Dragon Park, its gently rolling lawn interrupted only by the occasional oak for shade, and a few picnic benches strewn about for the rare families who would challenge the daunting Arizona heat.