The Tree of Life Revisited

Cathan L. Moore

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2010 Cathan L. Moore

A Norawest Smith story.

A Gender Switch Adventure.

Over time-ruined Illar the searching planes swooped and circled. Norawest Smith, peering up at them with a steel pale stare from the shelter of a half-collapsed temple, thought of vultures wheeling above, carrion. All day long now they had been raking these ruins for her. Presently, she knew, thirst would begin to parch her throat and hunger to gnaw at her. There was neither food nor water in these ancient Martian ruins, and she knew that it could be only a matter of time before the urgencies of her own body would drive her out to signal those wheeling Patrol ships and trade her hard won liberty for food and drink. She crouched lower under the shadow of the temple arch and cursed the accuracy of the Patrol gunner whose flame-blast had caught her dodging ship just at the edge of Illar's ruins.

Presently it occurred to her that in most Martian temples of the ancient days an ornamental well had stood in the outer court for the benefit of wayfarers. Of course all water in it would be a million years dry now, but for lack of anything better to do she rose from her seat at the edge of the collapsed central dome and made her cautious way by still intact corridors toward the front of the temple. She paused in a tangle of wreckage at the courtyard's edge and looked out across the sun-drenched expanse of pavement toward that ornate well that once had served travelers who passed by here in the days when Mars was a green planet.

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