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By R. A. Lafferty

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I remember it all, as of something from another life, the epic thing we did. I was a member of the first party. We flew and climbed higher and higher to truly dizzy heights. We went up the sheer cliffs of the edge-of-the-world mountain; all the strong stories were that this was the one that surely pierced the sky. We ascended more than ten kilometers, fearful always that we would not be able to live at that height. "The sky, we had believed ever since we had received wisdom, was at an infinite distance from us and would always appear at the same distance no matter how high we climbed.

I am the girl who did it; and I did find Hell. Golden Astrobe of the Dream is that Hell. " "But Golden Astrobe is perfect, child-woman," Thomas insisted. " "Sure it is, good Thomas, all rolled into one package and . tied with a golden ribbon. I had been tricked by false teachers who use words to mean their opposites. So. have you been tricked, Thomas, and you should be too intelligent for that. Well, let them so misuse termsl Let them call things what they will. If the Cathead thing and the Barrio thing are Hell, then I am for Hell till a better Hell comes along.

Devil, Devil, rise and die, come and find what thing am I," Evita chanted like a little-girl rhyme, but her eyes were green volcanic fire a billion years old. " Paul shouted. " "I know, I know," the green-robe crooned. "Holy Cathead, it does rise fast! " "Devil, Devil, come in hate! " the wild-girl chanted, but her eyes no longer focused and she was frozen in hysteria. The green-robe leapt clear from big bait-creature at the last possible second. Then the great thing swooped and struck upward: a thousand kilograms of center bulk that swallowed the trussed creature in a single gulp, thirtymeter-long tentacles that reached blindly for more prey, the big eye in the middle mad and livid with malevolence.

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