DANGER around every corner, they warn. Scorpions and disease, landslides and string-rays, ladrones and murderers, lava and corruption. Sunlight!
“Don't go up there! You'll be robbed.”
“Up there? But that's where I came from. It's beautiful. So peaceful.”
“Burglars. They'll take your things, traveler.”
“But I carry nothing, look at me!”
“Beware of that place.”
“Yet I've returned unscathed.”
“Only crooks lie yonder.”
“But what of the flowers and the birds?”
“There’s nothing for you.”
“But I saw children. Scores of them, with broad and curious grins. Old women smiling in their rocking chairs, tears in their eyes. Slow-moving gentlemen, nodding signs of trust and of pride. Retired revolutionaries, telling tales of friends fallen, of freedoms found. Even the dogs and cats, so placid and kind.”
“There are bugs there. Snails and snakes, too.”
“It is true! I dipped my feet into the forest, heard sounds I'd never before heard. I paddled around isles, painted in greens brighter than in my wildest dreams. I harvested the fruits of the most rare of rare trees. I bathed in a waterfall, the edge of a volcano. I tasted its sulfuric breath, the crater of its mouth. I dove deep underneath, the dark belly of it all.”
“There are bats that will bite.”
“They had plenty else to eat.”
“The steam is too toxic.”
“It smelled of old Earth."
“The sun is too strong.”
“I kept to the shade.”
“There are poisonous plants.”
“I took very high steps."
“The water is no good."
“I drank only the beer.”
“Night will come fast.”
“I followed the moon."
“The walk is too far.”
“I went as slow as I could. Never too fast. Yet no slower than I should."
“DON'T GO THERE.”
“I don't go that way!”