And suddenly he was there.
Over the white heat of the planet’s noontime some few avenues of trees gave shade and respite to the voyager.
As he looked out of his ship, surveying for the targeted place, feeling removed, distant, as a fish might in an aquarium…worlds apart, the visitor understood how ancient sculptors had taken the marble from the soil to form the human bodies which had graced their buildings, some of which now were in museums in his land: – for there it was clearly, scattered through the red soil lay marble outcroppings, like bones over the flesh-colored soil.
Heat vibrated from the interior roads in waves which were visible and strong enough to penetrate the voyager’s bubble-like vehicle. He stopped to drink, getting childlike pleasure in the naturalness of drinking from a stream which burbled in its grove. The water was cool, even at this hour, coming as a gift from the high mountains surrounding. He dried his face and noted the sign, “The Spring of the Muses”, got into his transportation and continued into the foothills, taking the downward curve. His purpose was near.
Surveying elevations for signs of quaintness like a farmhouse, he was startled to see he was staring at a city which walls were perfect mimics of the hills beyond. “It’s much closer than I thought,” he reported into his call device. He stopped in the middle of the empty road.
“How could a primitive tribe of humanoids, more than four thousand year ago, without lasers, without automatons have possibly shaped, moved and placed these huge stones”, he continued his report. Walking down toward the city he shivered in the sunlight. “I hope the water was not tainted.”
The City’s entrance was topped by two huge headless lion sculptures. As he got closer, he was startled to see he was not alone. In front, about fifteen yards away, stood three people in black. “How those natives survive in that color in this heat? I wonder if they’ll understand my words in their language?”
A breeze blew their black veils. “The ugliest women I’ve ever seen. NO. The smaller was once not bad. “Why did you do that?” Querulously he demanded, turning to face a gape-toothed mouth rippling with laughter.
She jabbed him again. “Such outlandish clothes, Maximillian?” She chortled.
“Well, where I come from…” how could she know…? Alarms rang in his head.
“We know about you, Maxi, and have patiently waited. You have gotten your instructions crossed; entered the wrong worm-hole.
His guides swooped , surrounding, and linking arms with his began the downhill march.
“Where are we going?” he asked in his native tongue, his hand frantically reaching for his call device. But his arms were in an iron grip. Now he knew he and his captain had badly calculated earthlings. He could hardly breathe. Somehow he got to his device and pressed Alarm. This crone was going to bite him. And then he was limp in her arms, blood pouring from him.
“His blood is blue,” she shrieked, and she tore his mouth from his face.