Выбрать главу

And the mucker was about to kill the prostrate man.

The phang rose in a high energy-profligate arc to be slammed down and divide the body like a pig’s dead carcase. Through the glass door of the clinic whitened faces paler than any Asiatic’s ought to be gazed fascinated, hypnotised, frozen to stillness with horror.

Donald was alone on a fifty-foot stretch of the walkway, and no one was close bar the man on the ground, the injured in the sand-garden, and the mucker.

The sword was at the apex of its swing and he launched himself off the balls of his feet. He hit the mucker with his shoulder and it was like charging a wooden statue, the flesh was so rigid with insanity. It was too late to countermand the decision to slash, but the man went off balance as Donald passed behind him, one hand cushioning his collision with the wall and diverting him like a bounced ball to a point out of reach. The phang met tiles, not flesh, and rang with a metal scream and turned in the mucker’s hand and lost him his dry grip, making the hilt slippery with blood, and shed some of the sharpness of its edge. Also the jar made the steel-stiff muscles of the man’s arm disobey him for a second.

Weapon.

In the middle of the sand-garden, five rocks smoothed by water into curves and holes. He went for them, remembering where the mucker had been and trying to calculate so that he could throw without aiming when he got to the little pile. The nearest was heavier than it looked and that wasted his calculations. The flung rock passed the mucker at shoulder level and fell to the floor and the mucker raised the phang again and made to spring straight at Donald—

And his foot landed on the rounded stone and slid from under him.

There was only one other rock he could hope to throw: a whitish one with a hole to hold it by weighing seven or eight pounds. He lobbed it at the mucker’s groin, exposed by the parting of his legs in a skidding fall, and it and the mucker landed on the floor together, hammering his testicles against the pavement.

Incapable of feeling pain in his present state, the mucker was not immune to the reflex consequences of a blow in the genitals or on the coccyx. His breath stopped from the latter, and there seemed to be universal silence, for Donald had lost the power to recognise anything but that ghastly gulp and grunt.

Yet he was superoxygenated by now, of course. He would not miss the ability to fill and empty his lungs …

He clawed the sword back from where it had fallen and Donald threw a handful of sand in his eyes while he was spending time on that. The blade whistled again, and this time touched Donald on the right forearm with a sting like a bee.

Weapon.

He had used up what there was: two rocks, sand. The sand had blinded only one of the mucker’s eyes and losing parallax would not bother him. He was up on his feet, armed, about to jump at Donald from the foot-higher vantage of the walkway.

Weapon.

Donald saw it. And damn them.

The mucker made his leap and Donald fell sideways and the phang bit into sand and was slow in recovery. (It was as though the man were an extension of the weapon, not the weapon of the man.) He rolled and kicked and his shod foot met the mucker’s elbow just above the joint and opened his fingers, making him release the phang. A second kick, badly aimed but helpful enough, put the hilt out of reach and the mucker recovered his breathing reflex and was able to scream a curse and went for the weapon without caring what part of it he grasped and took the blade, not the hilt, and cut open two of his own fingers and picked it up and threw it at Donald who had to duck the whirling arc of steel and threw himself after it and Donald got one leg under him and put his head down and met the mucker’s nose and mouth with the crown of his own head and chopped inwards with both hands at the sides of the mucker’s waist and used all the strength in the leg which was beneath him to lift himself off the ground with the sand shifting and threatening to betray him and pitch forward with his head still down and butt the mucker’s nose flat against his face and his head against the providentially placed rocks in the middle of the sand-garden.

But that’s not my weapon.

He felt momentarily stupid. The mucker wasn’t fighting back. He was underneath and gone limp and at his nape, which was in Donald’s field of vision about as close as he could take a proper focus, there was a big rock that he must have hit as he tumbled backward.

But I had a weapon, didn’t I?

A little foggily he remembered what it was, and rose to his feet and brought the mucker with him and got up over the edge of the walkway and ignored the man with the cut buttocks lying near the glass door of the clinic and likewise the people behind it who were scattering backwards with exclamations of dismay and used his weapon.

Which was, as he had been taught, a sheet of glass that could be smashed to make cutting edges.

He saw without interest as he turned the mucker over that there was already a smear of blood on his nape from the contusion the rock had caused. Then he used the head as a hammer and broke the door and cut the man’s throat on one of the pieces that remained in the frame.

He said in Yatakangi to the frightened little people beyond the door, “You pig-fucking yellow cowards. You shit-eating children born from a buggered arsehole. You piss-coloured piles of carrion. You dung-flies. You prickless and ball-lacking catamites. You street-walking widows who never had a man except for money. You cock-sucking blood-licking arse-kissing defilers of sacred shrines, you brainless heartless gutless cockless offspring of an imbecile and a deformed cow, you flea-bitten child-robbers who poisoned your fathers and raped your mothers and sold your sisters to the Dutch and carved up your brothers for sale in a butcher’s shop, you gutter-hugging traders in second-hand excrement, why didn’t you do anything about this?”

And after that he realised that he was carrying a corpse and he had cut both his hands so that he could not tell whether the blood dripping down his chest was his own or the mucker’s and he understood what he had just done and he let the body fall and crumbled on top of it and began to cry.

the happening world (12)

THE GENERAL FEELING

“You do realise what it means, don’t you? In effect, all

“You do realise what it means, don’t you? In effect, all

“You do realise what it means, don’t you? In effect, all

our children are going to be handicapped!”

our children are going to be handicapped!”

our children are going to be handicapped!”

“What good are all our gadgets going to be when we’re up

“What good are all our gadgets going to be when we’re up

“What good are all our gadgets going to be when we’re up

against people who can think better than us?”

against people who can think better than us?”

against people who can think better than us?”

“You know what you can do with the Eugenics Board, don’t

“You know what you can do with the Eugenics Board, don’t

“You know what you can do with the Eugenics Board, don’t

you? You can—”

you? You can—”

you? You can—”

“It’s going to reduce us, relatively speaking, to being

“It’s going to reduce us, relatively speaking, to being

“It’s going to reduce us, relatively speaking, to being

morons and cripples.”

morons and cripples.”

morons and cripples.”

“Did you see that Engrelay Satelserv decided to send an

“Did you see that Engrelay Satelserv decided to send an

“Did you see that Engrelay Satelserv decided to send an

expert in genetics to Yatakang?”

expert in genetics to Yatakang?”