To Free a City A small town finds itself trapped inside an impenetrable dome.

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Aug 1, 2018 No Comments ›› admin

FICTION
By Lynn Woolley

Editor’s note: Again, a short from issue #7 of my old fanzine, the Symbol. When I dug this story out of my moldy old magazine archive, I couldn’t help but smile. Remember, I was only 17 when I wrote this, and the story is quite simplistic. Ah, but the basic concept worked well 40 years later in “The Simpsons Movie,” and 42 years later for famed novelist Stephen King. In retrospect, I should have entitled this tale “Under the P-Dome.”

A very relieved Paul Young had a very deserving sleep on the night of June 24th.

The day before he had met, to his discomfort, a being called Uranus the Invader. Getting out of bed about noon, he turned on the radio to hear his favorite program, and thought to himself: I haven’t heard that show in days. I’ve been working too hard as the Ghost. I should take today off and not even go on patrol.

As Paul (the Ghost) Young’s radio came on, he heard the voice of a familiar announcer – just as a news bulletin came on:

“We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin.”

The town of Chester’s Mill — “Under the Dome” (c) CBS & Stephen King

The bulletin continued as Paul listened awestricken.

“A perfectly circular dome has entirely enclosed the city. The barrier seems to be virtually impenetrable. Tanks from nearby Fort Hood have failed to dent it. Digging teams have set to work, but the dome extends underground also. Stay tuned to this station for details as they occur.”

Stripping to his Ghost uniform, Paul thought all about the fun he had had on his “day off.” While Paul, in his guise as the Ghost, examined the dome, a recording was received at the local police station. The Ghost was summoned, and these words were heard:

TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS CITY: As you have probably discovered by now, the P-Dome enclosing your city is impenetrable. It is my greatest invention. You see, the dome is fed rays from a small transmitter, which is carefully hidden somewhere inside the city. Like a radio station, it sends out these signals in all directions, thus, forming the P-Dome. Even lead cannot stop these rays from reaching their destination. Therefore, the only way to eliminate the dome is either to destroy the transmitter, or turn it off. I am the only one who can do this since I am the only one who knows its whereabouts. Since I am safely outside the dome, I will explode the transmitter by using a small bomb inside it and setting it off by radio waves, for a price of one million dollars to be collected in 24 hours. This small bomb will hurt nothing except the transmitter. You, of course, realize that your food supply is cut off and you will starve before long if I don’t get the million dollars. Place the $1,000,000 in a metal box and put it on the roof of the First National Bank. I’ll get it from there.

It was signed: Professor Benjamin X. Peabody.

The Ghost, of course, by willing himself, could pass through the dome, but that didn’t help anybody else. An intensive search failed to locate the transmitter. The 24 hours were drawing to a close.

Suddenly, the Ghost cried, “I’ve got it!” He flew up into the air, took some pictures, figured out the diameter of the circle from them, and figured on that. Then, he sent the police to a certain spot – and there was the transmitter, which they destroyed.

My character “the Ghost” as drawn by Gary Lancaster on the cover of the Symbol #6 (1966). This story ran in issue #7 (January 1967).

The dome vanished.

Everyone was happy, but mystified. They asked the Ghost to explain how he knew where the transmitter was. He finally explained.

“The recording said, ‘like a radio station, the transmitter sends out rays in all directions,’ and the globe was a perfect circle. Therefore, the transmitter had to be directly in the center of the circle. All it took was common sense and a little geometric figuring.”

The only thing wrong was that Professor Peabody was still on the loose. Will he return? Only time will tell.

THE END

© 2018 by Lynn Woolley. All rights reserved.

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