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The Dark Edge


Taken by Force


Hidden from View


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THE COLOURS IN THE AIR --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The storm broke simultaneously all across the sky. It was as if some kind of charge had built up to bursting point. Lines of colour sluiced down towards the ground.

There were shouts of warning and cries of dismay. The members of Group Nine and the 'special tools' group held their hands up over their heads.

It wasn't rain and it wasn't lightning. It was colour -- slanting vertical lines of colour. It was like watching the air open up in thin seams, unzipping all the way from the sky to the ground. And in the seams -- strange lurid colours, coiling shapes of blood-red, purple, yellowy-green. But only for a moment: then the seams sealed over again.

At first there were just a few, then dozens, then hundreds. More and more colours, pouring down out of the sky. Now bluey-blacks appeared, and mottled browns, and greys streaked with white. An infinite variety of colours -- but always lurid, glistening, somehow disgusting. It was like looking into the depths of a wound, like a momentary glimpse of entrails . . .

The men and women in the workers' dormitory area ducked and jumped and jinked as though being shot at. Many ran for the walls, flattening themselves into corners, crouching and cowering. But the walls offered little protection when the lines of colour came slanting down in different directions.

More and more colours: violet, orange and rust, livid lime green. People yelled and shrieked with horror as the colours touched them.

"Aghhh!"

"Watch out!"

"I can't --"

"No!"

Beano jinked and jumped like everyone else. Even Jaralax was hopping from side to side. Only ev Ghair didn't move. His white hair blew in the wind like an aureole round his head.

"Stay calm!" he thundered.

 

 
   
   
   
 

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Richard Harland.