Warm phlegm gathered in Eckels' throat; he swallowed and pushed it down. The muscles around
his mouth formed a smile as he put his hand slowly out upon the air, and in that hand waved a
check for ten thousand dollars to the man behind the desk.
"Does this safari guarantee I come back alive?"
"We guarantee nothing," said the official, "except the dinosaurs." He turned. "This is Mr. Travis,
your Safari Guide in the Past. He'll tell you what and where to shoot. If he says no shooting, no
shooting. If you disobey instructions, there's a stiff penalty of another ten thousand dollars, plus
possible government action, on your return."
Eckels glanced across the vast office at a mass and tangle, a snaking and humming of wires and
steel boxes, at an aurora that flickered now orange, now silver, now blue. There was a sound like
a gigantic bonfire burning all of Time, all the years and all the parchment calendars, all the hours
piled high and set aflame.
A touch of the hand and this burning would, on the instant, beautifully reverse itself. Eckels
remembered the wording in the advertisements to the letter. Out of chars and ashes, out of dust
and coals, like golden salamanders, the old years, the green years, might leap; roses sweeten the
air, white hair turn Irishblack, wrinkles vanish; all, everything fly back to seed, flee death, rush
down to their beginnings, suns rise in western skies and set in glorious easts, moons eat
themselves opposite to the custom, all and everything cupping one in another like Chinese boxes,
rabbits into hats, all and everything returning to the fresh death, the seed death, the green death, to
the time before the beginning. A touch of a hand might do it, the merest touch of a hand.
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