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The Venus Trap by Evelyn E. Smith

One thing Man never counted on to take along into space with him was the Eternal Triangle--especially a true-blue triangle like this!

"What's the matter, darling?" James asked anxiously. "Don't you like the planet?"

"Oh, I love the planet," Phyllis said. "It's beautiful."

It was. The blue--really blue--grass, blue-violet shrubbery and, loveliest of all, the great golden tree with sapphire leaves and pale pink blossoms, instead of looking alien, resembled nothing so much as a fairy-tale version of Earth.

Even the fragrance that filled the atmosphere was completely delightful to Terrestrial nostrils--which was unusual, for most other planets, no matter how well adapted for colonization otherwise, tended, from the human viewpoint, anyway, to stink. Not that they were not colonized nevertheless, for the population of Earth was expanding at too great a rate to permit merely olfactory considerations to rule out an otherwise suitable planet. This particular group of settlers had been lucky, indeed, to have drawn a planet as pleasing to the nose as to the eye--and, moreover, free from hostile aborigines.

[Illustration]

As a matter of fact, the only apparent evidence of animate life were the small, bright-hued creatures winging back and forth through the clear air, and which resembled Terrestrial birds so closely that there had seemed no point to giving them any other name. There were insects, too, although not immediately perceptible--but the ones like bees were devoid of stings and the butterflies never had to pass through the grub stage but were born in the fullness of their beauty.

However, fairest of all the creatures on the planet to James Haut--just then, anyhow--was his wife, and the expression on her face was not a lovely one.

"You do feel all right, don't you?" he asked. "The light gravity gets some people at first."

"Yes, I guess I'm all right. I'm still a little shaken, though, and you know it's not the gravity."

* * * * *

He would have liked to take her in his arms and say something comforting, reassuring, but the constraint between them had not yet been worn off. Although he had sent her an ethergram nearly every day of the voyage, the necessarily public nature of the messages had kept them from achieving communication in the deeper sense of the word.

"Well, I suppose you did have a bit of a shock," he said lamely. "Somehow, I thought I had told you in my 'grams."

"You told me plenty in the 'grams, but not quite enough, it seems."

Her words didn't seem to make sense; the strain had evidently been a little too much. "Maybe you ought to go inside and lie down for a while."


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