Recalled To Life
From: After London
As Professor Jameson came to, he became aware of a strange feeling. He
was sick. The doctors had not expected him to live; they had frankly
told him so--but he had cared little in view of the long, happy years
stretched out behind him. Perhaps he was not to die yet. He wondered how
long he had slept. How strange he felt--as if he had no body. Why
couldn't he open his eyes? He tried very hard. A mist swam before him.
His eyes had been open all the time but he had not seen before. That was
queer, he ruminated. All was silent about his bedside. Had all the
doctors and nurses left him to sleep--or to die?
Devil take that mist which now swam before him, obscuring everything in
line of vision. He would call his nephew. Vainly he attempted to shout
the word "Douglas," but to no avail. Where was his mouth? It seemed as
if he had none. Was it all delirium? The strange silence--perhaps he had
lost his sense of hearing along with his ability to speak--and he could
see nothing distinctly. The mist had transferred itself into a confused
jumble of indistinct objects, some of which moved about before him.
He was now conscious of some impulse in his mind which kept questioning
him as to how he felt. He was conscious of other strange ideas which
seemed to be impressed upon his brain, but this one thought concerning
his indisposition clamored insistently over the lesser ideas. It even
seemed just as if someone was addressing him, and impulsively he
attempted to utter a sound and tell them how queer he felt. It seemed as
if speech had been taken from him. He could not talk, no matter how hard
he tried. It was no use. Strange to say, however, the impulse within his
mind appeared to be satisfied with the effort, and it now put another
question to him. Where was he from? What a strange question--when he was
at home. He told them as much. Had he always lived there? Why, yes, of
The aged professor was now becoming more astute as to his condition. At
first it was only a mild, passive wonderment at his helplessness and the
strange thoughts which raced through his mind. Now he attempted to
arouse himself from the lethargy.
Quite suddenly his sight cleared, and what a surprise! He could see all
the way around him without moving his head! And he could look at the
ceiling of his room! His room? Was it his room! No-- It just couldn't
be. Where was he? What were those queer machines before him? They moved
on four legs. Six tentacles curled outward from their cubical bodies.
One of the machines stood close before him. A tentacle shot out from the
object and rubbed his head. How strange it felt upon his brow.
Instinctively he obeyed the impulse to shove the contraption of metal
from him with his hands.
His arms did not rise, instead six tentacles projected upward to force
back the machine. Professor Jameson gasped mentally in surprise as he
gazed at the result of his urge to push the strange, unearthly looking
machine-caricature from him. With trepidation he looked down at his own
body to see where the tentacles had come from, and his surprise turned
to sheer fright and amazement. His body was like the moving machine
which stood before him! Where was he? What ever had happened to him so
suddenly? Only a few moments ago he had been in his bed, with the
doctors and his nephew bending over him, expecting him to die. The last
words he had remembered hearing was the cryptic announcement of one of
"He is going now."
But he hadn't died after all, apparently. A horrible thought struck him!
Was this the life after death? Or was it an illusion of the mind? He
became aware that the machine in front of him was attempting to
communicate something to him. How could it, thought the professor, when
he had no mouth. The desire to communicate an idea to him became more
insistent. The suggestion of the machine man's question was in his mind.
Telepathy, thought he.
The creature was asking about the place whence he had come. He didn't
know; his mind was in such a turmoil of thoughts and conflicting ideas.
He allowed himself to be led to a window where the machine with waving
tentacle pointed towards an object outside. It was a queer sensation to
be walking on the four metal legs. He looked from the window and he saw
that which caused him to nearly drop over, so astounded was he.
The professor found himself gazing out from the boundless depths of
space across the cosmic void to where a huge planet lay quiet. Now he
was sure it was an illusion which made his mind and sight behave so
queerly. He was troubled by a very strange dream. Carefully he examined
the topography of the gigantic globe which rested off in the distance.
At the same time he could see back of him the concourse of mechanical
creatures crowding up behind him, and he was aware of a telepathic
conversation which was being carried on behind him--or just before him.
Which was it now? Eyes extended all the way around his head, while there
existed no difference on any of the four sides of his cubed body. His
mechanical legs were capable of moving in any of four given directions
with perfect ease, he discovered.
The planet was not the earth--of that he was sure. None of the familiar
continents lay before his eyes. And then he saw the great dull red ball
of the dying sun. That was not the sun of his earth. It had been a great
deal more brilliant.
"Did you come from that planet?" came the thought impulse from the
mechanism by his side.
"No," he returned.
He then allowed the machine men--for he assumed that they were machine
men, and he reasoned that, somehow or other they had by some marvelous
transformation made him over just as they were--to lead him through the
craft of which he now took notice for the first time. It was an
interplanetary flyer, or space ship, he firmly believed.
25X-987 now took him to the compartment which they had removed him to
from the strange container they had found wandering in the vicinity of
the nearby world. There they showed him the long cylinder.
"It's my rocket satellite!" exclaimed Professor Jameson to himself,
though in reality every one of the machine men received his thoughts
plainly. "What is it doing here?"
"We found your dead body within it," answered 25X-987. "Your brain was
removed to the machine after having been stimulated into activity once
more. Your carcass was thrown away."
Professor Jameson just stood dumfounded by the words of the machine man.
"So I did die!" exclaimed the professor. "And my body was placed within
the rocket to remain in everlasting preservation until the end of all
earthly time! Success! I have now attained unrivaled success!"
He then turned to the machine man.
"How long have I been that way?" he asked excitedly.
"How should we know?" replied the Zorome. "We picked up your rocket only
a short time ago, which, according to your computation, would be less
than a day. This is our first visit to your planetary system and we
chanced upon your rocket. So it is a satellite? We didn't watch it long
enough to discover whether or not it was a satellite. At first we
thought it to be another traveling space craft, but when it refused to
answer our signals we investigated."
"And so that was the earth at which I looked," mused the professor. "No
wonder I didn't recognize it. The topography has changed so much. How
different the sun appears--it must have been over a million years ago
when I died!"
"Many millions," corrected 25X-987. "Suns of such size as this one do
not cool in so short a time as you suggest."
Professor Jameson, in spite of all his amazing computations before his
death, was staggered by the reality.
"Who are you?" he suddenly asked.
"We are the Zoromes from Zor, a planet of a sun far across the
25X-987 then went on to tell Professor Jameson something about how the
Zoromes had attained their high stage of development and had instantly
put a stop to all birth, evolution and death of their people, by
becoming machine men.
Next: The Dying World
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