Cord Of Seven Strands
Sarah, who had been moving silently, pounced on Jaben, and wrapped her arms around him.
Sarah. Just a second.He typed in a few more lines of code, saved his work, and ran make. As the computer began chugging away, Jaben reached down and pinched Sarah's knee. She jumped, and squeaked.
Aren't you ever surprised?
By some things, yes. But I have a preconscious awareness of when you're trying to sneak up on me
Even when you're deep in concentration, programming your whatever-it-is on the computer?
Even when I'm deep in concentration, programming my whatever-it-is on the computer.
Sarah paused, and looked around. They were in the place where their circle of friends met -- a big, old house which an elderly couple in the church was allowing them to use. It had many niches and personal touches, nooks and crannies, and was home to a few mice, especially in the winter. (There was a general agreement not to get a cat or mousetraps, but simply to minimize the amount of food left about.) The house even had a not-so-secret secret passage, a perennial favorite of the children who came to visit. This room had deep blue, textured wallpaper, with a painting hanging on the wall: an earth tone watercolor of the sinful woman kissing Jesus's feet. There were bits and pieces of computers lying about, and a few computer books, some of which were falling apart. That room -- and the whole house -- was a place that bore someone's fingerprints, that said, I have a story to tell.
I was listening to the radio, Sarah said, and the fire danger has gotten even worse. Things have gone from parched to beyond parched. It wouldn't take much to start a blaze.
I know, Jaben said.Thaddeus drove up to the rifle range. He reached into the back seat, and pulled out a blue .22 competition rifle, a box of rounds, some nails, a small hammer, some targets... He sat down on a bench, and slowly cleaned his gun. There was a funny smell, he thought, but he did not pay it much attention.
He went over and nailed a target to a stump, then moved everything in front of him and to the left, lay prone, and slowly waited for target and sight to align, and fired. Nine points. Good, but he could do better. He reloaded, and this time went more slowly. He drew a deep breath, grew still, waited even more slowly for the sight and target to line up, and fired. Ten points, dead center. The same for the third round, and the fourth. "Good." Confident, Thaddeus fired a fifth shot, and frowned. He had only gotten seven points.
He started to go up to replace the target --This time if I slow down and really concentrate, I think I can get 50 points.-- and unwittingly kicked over a small plastic bottle. Then he turned around, and said to himself, I think I'm going to try to shoot the nail. He lay down, loaded another round, and fired. Lead splattered at the top of the target face, and the target fell. He relaxed, and let his gun down.
Boy, the sun is blistering hot today,the air seemed to shimmer as if it were a mirage. Then he looked around a bit. His eyes widened, and his jaw dropped.
There, in the dry grass before him, were dancing flames.
Thaddeus groaned; he immediately recognized the funny smell he'd ignored. He hadn't exactly grabbed the right fluid to clean his gun...
He threw his apple juice on the fire, which hissed and sizzled, but did not diminish much. Then he grabbed his gun and ran to his car.
As he drove away, Thaddeus heard the report as the unused rounds exploded.