{\rtf1{\info{\title Acre in the Sky}{\author Robert F.

Young}}\ansi\ansicpg1252\ deff0\deflang1033 {\fonttbl{\f0\froman\fprq2\fcharset128 Times New Roman;}{\f1\froman\fprq2\fchars et128 Times New Roman;}{\f2\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset128 Arial;}{\f3\fnil\fprq2\fcha rset128 Arial;}{\f4\fnil\fprq2\fcharset128 MS Mincho;}{\f5\fnil\fprq2\fcharset12 8 Tahoma;}{\f6\fnil\fprq0\fcharset128 Tahoma;}} {\stylesheet{\ql \li0\ri0\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\ fcs1 \af25\afs24\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \fs24\lang1033\langfe255\cgrid\langnp1033 \langfenp255 \snext0 Normal;} {\s1\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel0\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs32\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs32\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink21 heading 1;} {\s2\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel1\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\i\fs28\lan g1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedo n15 \snext16 \slink22 heading 2;} {\s3\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel2\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs28\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink23 heading 3;} {\s4\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel3\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0\b\i\fs23\lang 1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon 15 \snext16 \slink24 heading 4;} {\s5\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel4\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs23\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink25 heading 5;} {\s6\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel5\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs21\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs21\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink26 heading 6;}} acre{ in\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ the\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ sky\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i by . . . Robert F. Young}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i There is a quiet sensitivity to the work of Robert F. Young, which is reflected in vignettes such} {\i as this\u8212?describing the emotions of the man, waiting for the moment when be may, finally, leave} {\i for the stars. Mr. Young, who lives in upstate New York, has been a frequent con tributor to F. U. }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\b He used to look at her in a different way\u8212?in the days before the ship came . But now he} {\b turned his head away. }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ THE ship stood in the tril field, waiting. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She seemed taller than ever, Derth thought. It was as though she had grown duri ng the night. He came out of the house and sat down on the steps, filling his ey es with her machined loveliness, her burnished beauty. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The morning wind, laden with the fragrance of canth blossoms, tiptoed down from the hills and touched his nostrils, but he was unaware of it. A kiddar hawk dro

\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Guess you'll be leaving soon. } He still found it hard to believe that she was all his. and when you come up again. "Feels all right. his eyes clinging to the ship. A {\i Starmaid De Luxe. though. proud ship." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i "How } soon?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Just soon. The auto-tractor and the cultivator and the picker sto od in the gloom. next harvest. You press the green b utton and under you go. Derth?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Derth shifted his feet. he thought. gathering dust while they awaited their new master." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "How can she go in {\i under } it?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "She just can. "On my way to the Commissa ry." he said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "How's it feel to own a ship. there's the star you picked on the picture." Derth said. } he thought dreamily. Derth. dropped to the sandy soil at his feet\u8212?the s oil he had fought for years." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Glad you did. Derth?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Not for {\i her. while the sp lendid ship the harvests had bought stood imprisoned in the light of a single su n. he sat chained to his doorstep. Derth?" \par\pard \plain\hyphpar}{ "No time at all. Going to get one just like her." he said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ . How long'd you have to wait. you know that. but graceful. from the tip of her haughty nose to the metallic soles of her wide. "It's kin d of hard to believe. I can't tell. The phospho rescent webs of arachnids shimmered in dark corners. not hungry at all. watched while the big wheeled vehic le turned from the highway into the sandy drive. He got up and walked over to the equipment shed. His eyes fell away from the ship then. I expect to soon. They flew her direct from Earth to Goth.pped out of the cobalt sky and soared over the changeless fields. He did not need to. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Thought I'd stop by for a few words. Not yet. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ His eyes caressed each contour of the tall." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But you didn't eat no breakfast and it's almost time for dinner. that's all I know. then walked over to where his neighbor wa s leaning out of the cab. paused apat hetically in the doorway. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He heard her listless voice: "Shall I fix you something to eat. He could see her large. la nding feet. He could see her gawky girl's body overburdened with child. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ It was unbearable. fighting it." Fenwich said. but he did not see it. He turned away. wheedling it. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I saw her when I came up the road. A {\i Starmaid. Are the stars very far. And now that the day had come." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He was silent. He sat there mo-tionless. He waited till the huge machine came to a halt. Then: "You get any pains yet?" \par\pard\plai n\hyphpar}{ "Not yet. Set her down right in my backyard." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Soon's we can. It says so in the book. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He heard the stuttering sound of a creeper. Derth?" He did not take his eyes from the ship. Fen-wich. hung on invisible filaments from the rafters. He did not turn. sad eyes in her thin face without turning. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Presently he became aware of Lorrie standing in the doorway be-hind 11m. After a while he heard Lorrie move away from the door and back into the house. } She travels in un-der space. Ain't you hun gry?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "No. th e shapeless maternity dress that enshrouded the bloated rem-nants of her lovelin ess. forcing it to yield huge harvests in spite of it-se lf. humoring it so that some day he might escape from it. "No." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "And she can take you right up to the stars!" Fenwich shook his head. Couldn't take my eyes off her.

kind of . The ship was bought and paid for. ey es half closed. Derth. When he reached the nearest one. there was a certain intimacy connected with polishing her flanks. magnificent body. Derth gasped in-voluntarily. . Maybe I'll look t hem all over\u8212?if Lorrie ever has her baby. a ruffle of canth--clad hills briefly interrupted the monotony of t he landscape. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "It's time for supper ." he said. His cheeks were burning. He had never seen her quite like this before\u8212?so poise d. And wait for Lorrie. Anything was preferable to sitting around the house for another monotonous day." He depressed the reverse bu tton. It cloyed his nostri ls. with inspect ing. making him giddy. "See you. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The heavy perfume of burgeon-ing canth was all around him. And all he could do was stand in the sun and watch. That was all there was to do. he had always been close to h er." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The creeper backed slowly across the yard. no matter what the Needle said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Which star you going to?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Don't know yet. Too . huh?" "The Needle says the 'celeration would kill h er. he paused be-side h er. pi l-lowing his head upon his clasped hands. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The hills had acquired long shad-ows when he started back. Maybe see you on the new acre. . struggling with his new perspective. How much bigger could she get? How much u glier? \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He kicked the dust again. then turned abruptly and started across the fields. the complex interior of her body: an intimacy that had made it impossible for him to see her in quite the same way as he saw her now. He looked back across the fields at th e ship. When I get {\i my } ship. loaded and ready to g o. thin. so exquisite. They were little more than dunes. Why. over and over. I've called you three times. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The sun had caught her com-pletely and she stood against the sky like a lithe g oddess in a gleam-ing golden gown. "Too bad. There's hun-dreds of them open for settlers. his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his tril overalls. Lorrie was standing on the steps. Lorrie {\i must } be overdue. He lay back amid the green vines and the blue blossoms. ." Fenwich wagged his head. \par\pard\plain\hyphp ar}{ "Derth!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He turned toward the house. The afternoon dreamed slowly by . he'd never wandered far from her side." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Can't leave till she does. staring up at her tower-ing. making each step an ordeal. Up till now. . the sun warmer. H is feet sank into the sandy loam."As easy as that!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Nothing to it. And every star in the picture has at least one dirt planet. so alive with light. He lay lazily in the canth. And the ship sitting there. Well. she was as big as a milc h bront\u8212?any-body could see that. What's the matt . "Too bad. The co balt sky seemed deeper than ever. gro-tesque. Watch. and his legs no longer mind-ed the softness of the fie lds. Derth. actual-ly: wind-piled remnants o f the des-ert days before man had come with his scrapers and diggers and engi-ne ering ingenuity and joined the antipodal seas with a vast network of irrigation ditches. When it was out of sight. "What you want! " he shouted. He reached out to touch the h em of her gown\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Derth!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The illusion disintegrated. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ . He k icked the dust with the toe of his field boot. His hand dropped to his side. got to make the Com-missary 'fore night. misshapen. Pre ss another button and you land right on it. Derth watched it climb back onto the highway and move ponderously away beneath the cobalt vastness of the sky. Derth climbed halfway up its verdant s lope and sank down to rest. The ship had come a whole week ag o and he was sick and tired of waiting. standing listlessly in the dusty yard. Ever since the day she'd arrived. but he persisted. There was a strange lightness about his body. When he came to the ship (she wore a coppery gown now). Sudden hatred suffused him. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Before him. wasting. he watched the empty road. .

though minute particles of moisture glis-tened among th e lashes." He was talking desper-ately. jabbing us in the arm and making us take fever pills. Not for miles and miles and miles. Lorrie sat down opposite him. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Am I ugly now. W e'll build a house with two sleeping rooms." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But how {\i could } there be anyone else? There isn't anyone else around. maybe. Now you don't look at me at all. I never did!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes. He stirred it absently. recoiled inwardly f rom its boni-ness. Her thin shoulders shook. He could feel his cheeks burning again. Lorrie. Right next to the house." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But you're not working. "I got some openeye brewed." He sat there. Something's happened to you. Lorrie? Why I'd never think of selling her. Some-thing I d on't understand. Lorrie! Think-ing . "You crazy." He patted her shoulder. At least you looked at me a little bit. whenever we want to go. stomping his feet hard. you did. won't it." he said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ . why don't you look a t me no more?" Startled. tall and fine and shining\u8212?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But I thought that after we got to where we're going we were go-ing {\i } to sell her. Derth?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He dropped his eyes. "Not hun-gry at all. Standing t here. "Thinking of that acre we're going to find up in the stars." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i "Sell } her!" Derth stood up. It was all he could do to keep them on her face ." sh e said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "Nothing's happened to me. After a while he forced him-self to get up and walk around the table. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Wonderful! I guess so! And we'll have a special piece of ground where we'll ke ep the ship. And she'll be standing there waitin g. I'm\u8212?I'm scared of something. . You just sit around all day and mope and brood and\u82 12?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I'm thinking. Lorrie. I got lots on my mind. Derth. "Don't cry." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Lorrie. . waiting to take us wherever we want to go. it'll have dirt so rich our tril will grow as high as clouds. Lorrie had reen tered the kitchen and was standing by the stove. Lorrie!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "You used to look at me\u8212?before the ship came. Lorrie!" \par \pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Her eyes were clearing. Derth. you said before you bought her you were going to sell her to help o utfit the new acre!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Lorrie. She was regarding him intently and his eyes wanted to run away." he said . sickened. "I guess it {\i will } be wonderful. } And there won't be no snooping Needle coming around every week. "There's noth-ing to cry about. Stark crazy! Now what are you crying for!" \par\p ard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I\u8212?I don't know. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "What's the matter with you. I don't have {\i time } to look at you as much as I used to." Derth sat down at the table a nd took the cup of openeye she handed him. "Derth. He crashed his fist hard on the table. he raised his {\i } eyes. He touched her hair.er with you?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Nothing!" He started toward the house." she said wistfully. Derth. Derth?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Course not. Somehow he couldn't stand to see her cry. There's somebody else. Why. staring into its liquid blackness." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I can't help it." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I must have been crazy then. Derth? You sick? You never eat no more\u8212?" \pa r\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "When a man don't work he just don't get hungry. "Are you hungry yet. maybe even {\i three. Just think of that. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "You don't love me no more. The tears made straggly streaks on her pinched face. I\u8212?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But Derth.

that he was not going to wait any longer. and go outside and sit on the steps. "Soon's you have it. trying not to see her tear-stained face. we'll find our new acre and stake it out and every-thing'll be fine. Presently: "I keep thinking of the new ac re. breath-less. and then. Derth?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I know so! Come on now. a bewitching god dess of stars. after a while. She was wear-ing a silver g own. He never should have waited in the first place. as Goth's huge moon edged above the horizon. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He could see her clearly in the unreasonable light. He packed his things si-len tly. He ran toward her across the fields. \par\pard\plain\hy phpar}{ He lay on his back without mov-ing. that was the trouble. emitting soft breathing s ounds. Lorrie was a dim mound beside him. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "You're all nerved up 'cause of the baby. then. standing in the moonlight. When he opened the kitch-en door. lithe." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He helped her up. waiting\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { Waiting to abscond with him. he moved sur-reptitiously. "Like I told you. graceful. and then I hear you go outside. suddenly. Some-times I get thinking so hard I can't sleep and I have to get up and walk around. a shower of silver rain engulfed him. He lay there for a long time."Sometimes I hear you get up in the night and walk around." he went on quickly. then felt his way from the room. trying not to notice her awkward body." he said. Some-times I think you're never coming back to bed. slipping from b eneath the covers and dressing in the pale darkness. What' s wrong with that? What's wrong with that. Lorrie?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She did not answer. Where do you go. arms outstret ched. it grew light again. let's go to bed. but her shoulders slowly quieted. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He knew. magnifi-cent. Derth?" He felt the sudden hotness of his face. when he finally did move. She was tall and clean-cut. He had waited too long. Fine a s tril. He was careful not to move till the breathing sounds became deep and even . It was difficult for him to spe ak. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } } . to go on pretending." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Do you think so. But it wasn't any good. It grew dark in the room. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He stood on the steps.

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