A Matter of Importance by Murray Leinster

By Murray Leinster

"Nobody ever observed the message-torp. It wasn't to be anticipated. It got here in on a path that prolonged backward to someplace close to the Rift—where there was once Huks—and for a really, very good way it had traveled as merely message-torps do trip. It hopped part a light-year in overdrive, and got here again to normality lengthy sufficient for its photocells to examine the star-filled universe all approximately. Then it hopped one other part light-year, and so forth. For an extended, very long time it traveled during this jerky fashion."

A compelling brief tale by way of Murray Leinster.

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She showed her how to bind herself, how to wash the cloth and bind again. " She drew the girl to the window they had fashioned of the useless door, and together they looked out at the forest below. " She pictured the clearing in the woods, imagined them joining the coven's flight. Already, as if it had been days instead of years, she could feel the swift climb, the unstoppable cresting, like a tide in her veins. The next day, instead of heading for the village, Tabby hurried to the sacred grove.

As she listened to the shallow, even breaths of the babe in her lap, she closed her eyes and tried to feel her way through the years that lay ahead. Tabby was not blessed, as some in the coven were, with the gift of second sight, so the image she saw was more yearning than certainty, but it was a comfort nonetheless—a girl fair enough to be a princess, with a slender, graceful form and a laugh that tumbled like falls down a mossy bank. She did not know how long they sat, the little one curled against her with her left thumb in her mouth, Tabby rigid with bliss, counting the small heartbeats that drummed against her own chest.

That first day and many after, Tabby and the girl scrubbed and polished. They hauled bedding, benches, and trestles from the house they had left behind and dragged them up the winding stairs. For though they placed a few sconces and a braided rug in the hall on the ground floor, most of their belongings had to be carried to the topmost room, where the window and the old doorway let in a comforting, buttery light. They pushed a chest against the larger opening and hung thick curtains, turning it into a passable window.

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