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The Contact Paradox by Keith Cooper

The Contact Paradox by Keith Cooper

Author:Keith Cooper
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing


CHAPTER FIVE

Galactic Empire

To the young boy, the tree seemed impossibly high. Craning his neck upwards, he considered how it towered into the sky. Maybe, he wondered, as high as the Moon and stars. Canopies of branches with umbrellas of verdant green foliage stretched out over him, higher layers visible through gaps. Moving down the gnarled trunk of the old oak tree, his vision came to rest where the tree sprouted out of the ground, an eruption of bark and branches and leaves. Clumps of grass and patches of powder-dry dirt ringed the trunk as tiny ants hurried to and fro about their daily insect business, utterly dwarfed by this vast, woody, monolithic structure to which nature had given birth. There was no way the ants could comprehend the scale of the tree from their ground-level existence, much less understand what the tree was. To the boy, however, what the tree stood for was very clear: a challenge, like Mount Everest or crossing the Alps, and today was the day he was going to meet that challenge head on.

For a boy of eight years old, this was a formidable moment. He had climbed trees before – smaller, perhaps safer, ascents – but they had not provided the satisfaction of achievement that scaling this ancient tree would; the boy felt an urge from deep within to push the boundaries in front of him. A low-hanging branch provided the starting point and he heaved himself up, struggling to wrap his legs around it. Clinging to the trunk he reached for the next branch, then the next, pushing past leaves and twigs, disturbing a sparrow on an adjacent branch. Before he knew it, he looked down and the grassy ground seemed far below. He was already halfway to the stars.



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