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´╗┐Title: I'll Kill You Tomorrow
Author: Huber, Helen
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration]


 _The entities were utterly, ambitiously evil; their
 line of defense, apparently, was absolutely impregnable._


I'll Kill You Tomorrow

By Helen Huber

Illustrated by Kelly Freas


It was not a sinister silence. No silence is sinister until it acquires
a background of understandable menace. Here there was only the night
quiet of Maternity, the silence of noiseless rubber heels on the
hospital corridor floor, the faint brush of starched white skirts
brushing through doorways into darkened and semi-darkened rooms.

But there was something wrong with the silence in the "basket room" of
Maternity, the glass-walled room containing row on row, the tiny hopes
of tomorrow. The curtain was drawn across the window through which,
during visiting hours, peered the proud fathers who did the hoping. The
night-light was dim.

The silence should not have been there.

Lorry Kane, standing in the doorway, looked out over the rows of silent
baskets and felt her blonde hair tighten at the roots. The tightening
came from instinct, even before her brain had a chance to function, from
the instincts and training of a registered nurse.

Thirty-odd babies grouped in one room and--_complete silence_.

Not a single whimper. Not one tiny cry of protest against the annoying
phenomenon of birth.

Thirty babies--_dead_? That was the thought that flashed, unbidden, into
Lorry's pretty head. The absurdity of it followed swiftly, and Lorry
moved on rubber soles between a line of baskets. She bent down and
explored with practiced fingers.

A warm, living bundle in a white basket.

The feeling of relief was genuine. Relief, even from an absurdity, is a
welcome thing. Lorry smiled and bent closer.

Staring up at Lorry from the basket were two clear blue eyes. Two eyes,
steady and fixed in a round baby face. An immobile, pink baby face
housing two blue eyes that stared up into Lorry's with a quiet
concentration that was chilling.

Lorry said, "What's the matter with you?" She spoke in a whisper and was
addressing herself. She'd gone short on sleep lately--the only way,
really, to get a few hours with Pete. Pete was an interne at General
Hospital, and the kind of a homely grinning carrot-top a girl like Lorry
could put into dreams as the center of a satisfactory future.

But all this didn't justify a case of jitters in the "basket room."

Lorry said. "Hi, short stuff," and lifted Baby Newcomb--Male, out of his
crib for a cuddling.

Baby Newcomb didn't object. The blue eyes came closer. The week-old eyes
with the hundred-year-old look. Lorry laid the bundle over her shoulder
and smiled into the dimness.

"You want to be president, Shorty?" Lorry felt the warmth of a new life,
felt the little body wriggle in snug contentment. "I wouldn't advise it.
Tough job." Baby Newcomb twisted in his blanket. Lorry stiffened.

_Snug contentment?_

Lorry felt two tiny hands clutch and dig into her throat. Not just
pawing baby hands. Little fingers that reached and explored for the
windpipe.

She uncuddled the soft bundle, held it out. There were the eyes. She
chilled. No imagination here. No spectre from lack of sleep.

Ancient murder-hatred glowing in new-born eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Careful, you fool! You'll drop this body." A thin piping voice. A
shrill symphony in malevolence.

Fear weakened Lorry. She found a chair and sat down. She held the boy
baby in her hands. Training would not allow her to drop Baby Newcomb.
Even if she had fainted, she would not have let go.

       *       *       *       *       *

The shrill voice: "It was stupid of me. Very stupid."

Lorry was cold, sick, mute.

"Very stupid. These hands are too fragile. There are no muscles in the
arms. I couldn't have killed you."

"Please--I ..."

"Dreaming? No. I'm surprised at--well, at your surprise. You have a
trained mind. You should have learned, long ago, to trust your senses."

"I don't understand."

"Don't look at the doorway. Nobody's coming in. Look at me. Give me a
little attention and I'll explain."

"Explain?" Lorry pulled her eyes down to the cherubic little face as she
parroted dully.

"I'll begin by reminding you that there are more things in existence
than your obscene medical books tell you about."

"Who are you? What are you?"

"One of those things."

"You're not a baby!"

"Of course not. I'm ..." The beastly, brittle voice drifted into silence
as though halted by an intruding thought. Then the thought voiced--voiced
with a yearning at once pathetic and terrible: "It would be nice to kill
you. Someday I will. Someday I'll kill you if I can find you."

"Why? Why?" Insane words in an insane world. But life had not stopped
even though madness had taken over. "Why?"

The voice was matter-of-fact again. No more time for pleasant daydreams.
"I'm something your books didn't tell you about. Naturally you're
bewildered. Did you ever hear of a bodyless entity?"

Lorry shuddered in silence.

"You've heard of bodyless entities, of course--but you denied their
existence in your smug world of precise tidy detail. I'm a bodyless
entity. I'm one of a swarm. We come from a dimension your mind wouldn't
accept even if I explained it, so I'll save words. We of the swarm seek
unfoldment--fulfillment--even as you in your stupid, blind world. Do you
want to hear more?"

"I ..."

"You're a fool, but I enjoy practicing with these new vocal chords, just
as I enjoyed flexing the fingers and muscles. That's why I revealed
myself. We are, basically of course, parasites. In the dimension where
we exist in profusion, evolution has provided for us. There, we seek out
and move into a dimensional entity far more intelligent than yourself.
We destroy it in a way you wouldn't understand, and it is not important
that you should. In fact, I can't see what importance there is in your
existing at all."

"You plan to--kill all these babies?"

"Let me congratulate you. You've finally managed to voice an intelligent
question. The answer is, no. We aren't strong enough to kill them. We
dwelt in a far more delicate dimension than this one and all was in
proportion. That was our difficulty when we came here. We could find no
entities weak enough to take possession of until we came upon this
roomful of infants."

"Then, if you're helpless ..."

"What do we plan to do? That's quite simple. These material entities
will grow. We will remain attached--ingrained, so to speak. When the
bodies enlarge sufficiently ..."

"_Thirty potential assassins...._" Lorry spoke again to herself, then
hurled the words back into her own mind as her sickness deepened.

The shrill chirping: "What do you mean, potential? The word expresses a
doubt. Here there is none." The entity's chuckle sounded like a baby,
content over a full bottle. "Thirty certain assassins."

"But why must you kill?"

Lorry was sure the tiny shoulders shrugged. "Why? I don't know. I never
thought to wonder. Why must you join with a man and propagate some day?
Why do you feel sorry for what you term an unfortunate? Explain your
instincts and I'll explain mine."

Lorry felt herself rising. Stiffly, she put Baby Newcomb back into his
basket. As she did so, a ripple of shrill, jerky laughter crackled
through the room. Lorry put her hands to her ears. "You know I can't say
anything. You'd keep quiet. They'd call me mad."

"Precisely."

Malicious laughter, like driven sleet, cut into her ears as she fled
from the room.

       *       *       *       *       *

Peter Larchmont, M.D., was smoking a quick cigarette by an open
fire-escape door on the third floor. He turned as Lorry came down the
corridor, flipped his cigarette down into the alley and grinned. "Women
shouldn't float on rubber heels," he said. "A man should have warning."

Lorry came close. "Kiss me. Kiss me--hard."

Pete kissed her, then held her away. "You're trembling. Anticipation,
pet?" He looked into her face and the grin faded. "Lorry, what is it?"

"Pete--Pete. I'm crazy. I've gone mad. Hold me."

He could have laughed, but he had looked closely into her eyes and he
was a doctor. He didn't laugh. "Tell me. Just stand here. I'll hang onto
you and you tell me."

"The babies--they've gone mad." She clung to him. "Not exactly that.
Something's taken them over. Something terrible. Oh, Pete! Nobody would
believe me."

"I believe the end result," he said, quietly. "That's what I'm for,
angel. When you shake like this I'll always believe. But I'll have to
know more. And I'll hunt for an answer."

"There isn't any answer, Pete. I _know_."

"We'll still look. Tell me more, first."

"There isn't any more." Her eyes widened as she stared into his with the
shock of a new thought. "Oh, Lord! One of them talked to me, but maybe
he--or it--won't talk to you. Then you'll never know for sure! You'll
think I'm ..."

"Stop it. Quit predicting what I'll do. Let's go to the nursery."

They went to the nursery and stayed there for three-quarters of an
hour. They left with the tinny laughter filling their minds--and the
last words of the monstrous entity.

"We'll say no more, of course. Perhaps even this incident has been
indiscreet. But it's in the form of a celebration. Never before has a
whole swarm gotten through. Only a single entity on rare occasions."

Pete leaned against the corridor wall and wiped his face with the sleeve
of his jacket. "We're the only ones who know," he said.

"Or ever will know." Lorry pushed back a lock of his curly hair. She
wanted to kiss him, but this didn't seem to be the place or the time.

"We can never tell anyone."

"We'd look foolish."

"We've got a horror on our hands and we can't pass it on."

"What are we going to do?" Lorry asked.

"I don't know. Let's recap a little. Got a cigarette?"

They went to the fire door and dragged long and deep on two from Lorry's
pack. "They'll be quiet from now on. No more talking--just baby
squalls."

"And thirty little assassins will go into thirty homes," Lorry said.
"All dressed in soft pink and blue, all filled with hatred. Waiting,
biding their time, growing more clever." She shuddered.

"The electric chair will get them all, eventually."

"But how many will they get in the meantime?"

Pete put his arms around her and drew her close and whispered into her
ear. "There's nothing we can do--nothing."

"We've got to do something." Lorry heard again the thin, brittle
laughter following her, taunting her.

"It was a bad dream. It didn't happen. We'll just have to sleep it off."

She put her cheek against his. The rising stubble of his beard scratched
her face. She was grateful for the rough touch of solid reality.

Pete said, "The shock will wear out of our minds. Time will pass. After
a while, we won't believe it ourselves."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

"It's got to be that way."

"We've got to do something."

Pete lowered his arm wearily. "Yeah--we've got to do something. Where
there's nothing that can be done. What are we--miracle workers?"

"We've got to do something."

"Sure--finish out the watch and then get some sleep."

       *       *       *       *       *

Lorry awoke with the lowering sun in her window. It was a blood red sun.
She picked up the phone by her bedside. "Room 307 Resident's extension."

Pete answered drowsily. Lorry said, "Tell me--did I dream, or did it
really happen."

"I was going to ask you the same thing. I guess it happened. What are
you doing?"

"Lying in bed."

"So am I. But two different beds. Things are done all wrong."

"Want to take a chance and sneak over? I've got an illegal coffee pot."

"Leave the door unlocked."

Lorry put on the coffee. She showered and got into her slip. She was
brushing her hair when Pete came in. He looked at her and extended
beckoning, clutching fingers. "The hell with phantoms. Come here."

After a couple of minutes, Lorry pulled away and poured the coffee. She
reached for her uniform. Pete said, "Don't put it on yet."

"Too dangerous--leaving it off."

He eyed her dreamily. "I'll dredge up will power. I'll also get scads of
fat rich clients. Then we'll get married so I can assault you legally."

Lorry studied him. "You're not even listening to yourself. What is it,
Pete? What have you dreamed up?"

"Okay. I've got an idea. You said something would have to be done."

"What?"

"A drastic cure for a drastic case. With maybe disaster as the end
product."

"Tell me."

"I'll tell you a little, but not too much."

"Why not all?"

"Because if we ever land in court. I want you to be able to say under
oath, 'He didn't tell me what he planned to do.'"

"I don't like that."

"I don't care if you like it or not. Tell me, what's the one basic thing
that stands out in your mind about these--entities?"

"That they're ..."

"Fragile?"

"Yes--fragile."

"Give me some more coffee."

       *       *       *       *       *

Lorry demanded to know what was in Pete's mind. All she got was kissed,
and she did not see Pete again until eleven o'clock that night. He found
her in the corridor in Maternity and motioned her toward the nursery. He
carried a tray under a white towel. He said, "You watch the door. I'm
going inside. I'll be about a half an hour."

"What are you going to do?"

"You stay out here and mind your business. Your business will be to
steer any nosey party away. If you can't, make noise coming in."

Doc Pete turned away and entered the nursery. Lorry stood at the
doorway, in the silence, under the brooding night-light, and prayed.

Twenty-five minutes later, Pete came out. His face was white and drawn.
He looked like a man who had lately had a preview of Hell's inverted
pleasures. His hands trembled. The towel still covered the tray. He
said, "Watch them close. Don't move ten steps from here." He started
away--turned back. "All hell is scheduled to break loose in this
hospital shortly. Let's hope God remains in charge."

Lorry saw the sick dread of his heart underneath his words.

       *       *       *       *       *

It could have been a major scandal. An epidemic of measles on the
maternity floor of a modern hospital indicates the unforgivable medical
sin--carelessness. It was hushed up as much as possible, pending the
time when the top people could shake off the shock and recover their
wits. The ultimate recovery of thirty babies was a tribute to everyone
concerned.

Wan, done-in, Doc Pete drank coffee in Lorry's room. Lorry gave him
three lumps of sugar and said, "But are you sure the sickness killed the
entities?"

"Quite sure. Somehow they _knew_ when I made the injections. They
screamed. They knew they were done for."

"It took courage. Tell me: why are you so strong, so brave? Why are you
so wonderful?"

"Cut it out. I was scared stiff. If _one_ baby had died, I'd have gone
through life weighing the cure against the end. It isn't easy to risk
doing murder--however urgent the need."

She leaned across and kissed him. "And you were all alone. You wouldn't
let me help. Was that fair?"

He grinned, then sobered. "But I can't help remembering what that--that
invisible monster said: '_Never before has a whole swarm gotten through.
Only a single entity on rare occasions._'

"I can't help wondering what happens to those single entities. I think
of the newspaper headlines I've seen: Child Kills Parents in Sleep.
Youth Slays Father. I'll probably always wonder--and I'll always
remember...."

Lorry got up and crossed to him and put her arms around him. "Not
always," she whispered. "There will be times when I'll make you forget.
For a little while, anyhow."


THE END



Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from _If Worlds of Science Fiction_ November
    1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
    copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
    typographical errors have been corrected without note.





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