Basil Wells, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been doing research concerning life in the area during the period prior to and following the War of 1812. Here he turns to a different problem--the adjustment demanded of a pioneer woman, not in those days but Tomorrow--on Mars.
Her eyes loved the two paintings, the dark curls of the pink-and-white doll sitting prissily atop the dresser, and the full-length mirror on the open closet door.
The pictured design of the wallpaper, its background merging with the pastel blue of the slanted ceiling.... Almost as they had blended together that first day when she was twelve. Yet not the same, she corrected her thoughts, frowning. Sometimes, as today, the design seemed faded and changed. The gay little bridges and the flowered, impossibly blue trees seemed to change and threaten to vanish.
She laughed over at the demurely sitting doll. Essie had been her favorite doll when she was younger. Of course now that she was fourteen she did not play with dolls any more. But it was permissible that she keep her old friend neatly dressed and ever at hand as a confidant. She smiled at the thought. Essie never tattled.
"It must be from that polio," she told Essie, knowing all the time that she was almost well now and needed plenty of rest and careful doses of exercise. "It makes my eyes--funny."
What starts out as a teenaged girl's daydreams in her bedroom turns into something disturbing and pathetic.
A deceptive story, worth sticking with to the end.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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