(Sorry I was late!!!!)
He didn’t laugh, not that I expected him too. He just looked back at me, exhaling his cigar. I noticed too that the curtains were drawn over the windows. Just like in the kitchen. They were hiding what was outside. Or hiding from it.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?” I asked him.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he returned. “We don’t have armed guards that are going to stop you. But if you walk outside, I guarantee you won’t be able to get down the driveway.”
He wasn’t lying to me. I knew that. He had that grim and uncompromising tone in his voice and on his face. I crossed my arms.
“Why are the curtains closed?” I asked. It was off subject. But it bothered me. Especially when I noticed crows were cawing outside. Constantly.
He looked back over his shoulder at the windows. The curtains were thick. I couldn’t see anything through them.
“The crows,” he answered, turning back around. “The Double Effect doubles everything in a certain area. Well, the crows decided to move over here. We’ve got too many out there. Probably more than double.”
“So that’s the containment breach?” I asked. Except why were they dying?
“Yes,” he answered. “And the Double is spreading. That’s why you won’t be leaving.”
“What does ‘spreading’ mean?” I asked, but already had guessed something in my head. I hoped it wasn’t true. Unfortunately, he didn’t answer my question right away.
“As you can probably guess, we had trouble getting a place to experiment the Effect on,” he continue, almost casually. “I volunteered my place. You see, with the amount of stock I have in all the settlement business, anything that would benefit it, benefits me. The Effect really isn’t about transportation. It’s the ability to copy certain objects, certain places, and deposit them into another place. The goal is to have no limit to how far we can deposit the Double. If we achieve this Settlements will be far easier to build. You can probably imagine.”
“I can imagine a bunch of a hologram settlements settling space” I returned.
“They won’t be. Well, except people building them,” he corrected, laughing, smirking. “But once the settlement is built we can send people over and they’ll already have a built place. Built by Doubles who can work much longer and much faster.”
“But the building,” I emphasized. “It won’t be real. How is that building a settlement?”
“Who says it won’t be real? Right now you can turn off the Effect with a flip of a switch. It won’t always be that way. Even if we can’t achieve that, doppelgangers will still be useful.”
He didn’t say anything more. Neither did I. We just looked at each other. If that what was the Double Effect, then I didn’t want anything to do with it. If it was going to stop men from being sent up to the stars, then I was out. And as much as I complained about the Enceladus Project, I had chosen that profession for a reason.
I turned around and walked out the door. Crows or no crows I was leaving.
He didn’t try to stop me when I left the room. I didn’t even hear anyone as I walked to the door. I opened it, pulling huge mahogany . It had long stopped raining.
But now the sky looked like it would be raining crows.
Everywhere they swarmed overhead. Cawing, cawing. For a moment I stood there. They flew in circles in the sky, like black feathered whirlpools. Well, he was right. They were everywhere. And I wondered what they would do if they saw he step out.
I made a break for it. I dashed off the porch and the three steps, running over the gravel to the driveway. My car was parked there. Though they were still above me, I could practically feel the crows hitting me. Beating the air.
But I looked up and stopped. The forest covered the driveway, when it hadn’t been there before. The trees crowded in. They had spread till they were nearly at the house. There was no way out. The forest was as thick as the crows were in the air. The wind blew up around me. I turned back towards the house.
A huge murder of crows flew up in front of me.
I flung myself down against the car. They flew straight towards me. I crouched, covering my head. Their feathers beat against me. Some of their claws caught my jacket. My ears throbbed with the noise. They were circling the car. A huge group of them had swept down.