Pandora’s  Box

Mars had been declared lifeless. Now it was time for real humans to set foot on the red planet.The world watched as the first men walked on the dusty surface in triumph; superlatives filled the media and at NASA great cheers resounded. 

The next day both men were dead. They lay waxen like old Egyptian Mummies , their skin stretched and  pock-marked   heads almost skeleton- like. It looked as if both men had died in their sleep from a cause unknown. The situation was dire, as the whole trip was designed around manpower.

The  next day their bodies began to dissolve and all organic materials in the ship began to break up and turn to dust. The watching world was filled with horror. The eccentric scientist Coburne Cox declared it was a virus that had laid dormant for millions of years and we in our exuberant foolishness had fed the beast.

Other more religious groups spoke of the wrath of God on the human race that had gotten too clever for its own good.

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The Watch

Jimmy stared fascinated by the hairspring-wheel : he could hardly believe such a tiny spring could ever be made, let alone act as if it were alive , coiling and uncoiling. Spinning first one way , slowing , then the other way , driving the tiny notched wheel that measured out the ticks of the timepiece. He looked in boyish wonder at the the great mainspring which did not seem to move: it was releasing its pent up energy slowly like a great dam of water might drive a turbine wheel.The only outlet of power the mainspring had was the hairspring- wheel which slowly sapped its energy until the next wind up was necessary.

‘What’s that tiny screw on the top of the hairspring wheel Grandfather? Jimmy gazed up into those old grey knowledgeable eyes. The old face wrinkled in smiles ‘ Its the spring adjuster and alters the time-keeping of the watch  making it fast or slow’. The boy gazed again lost in wonder and Grandfather clicked his pocket watch shut.

‘ Come ‘he said , ‘ it’s time for lunch’.