Chapter 41 of The Empty City

By Andrew Looney

On Sunday afternoon, The Four walked through the front door of the Asylum.

Peter and Paul went downstairs to the basement to talk to Bill.

Bert went into the kitchen.

Dave went upstairs to Jim's room.

"Hey," he said to Jim, "what happened on Friday night with the People From Mars?"

Jim was reclined on the floor near the window, reading. "Oh, not a lot," he said, looking up, "They're a bunch of-Hey! You have red hair!"

Dave looked at Jim blankly and then said "You have a fine grasp of the obvious. So what?"

"You're a Martian!"


"You have red hair. That makes you a Martian."

"I see."

"This is what I was asking you about on Friday. There's this group of people called the Children of Mars, and they claim that people with red hair are descendants of the ancient race of people that used to live on Mars."

Dave made a sort of grunting noise, and smiled. "Well, that's pretty strange."


For about 45 seconds, neither of them said anything. Jim closed his book and set it down. Dave stared out the window at the cool autumn afternoon. Wind stirred the trees, and colored leaves floated through the air.

"Hey, want to read my new story?" asked Jim.

"Sure," said Dave, with moderate enthusiasm.

Jim got up and went into his closet. After a moment he emerged with a typed manuscript, and handed it to Dave. The story was entitled, "The Empty City."

Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

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