“You’re the best father in the world,” she whispered.
“Now I see,” she said. “I understand.”
She lay back and closed her eyes, holding his hand. “Is it a very lovely journey?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Perhaps,” she said, “perhaps, some night, you might take me on just a little trip, do you think?”
“Just a little one, perhaps,” he said.
“Thank you,” she said. “Good night.”
“Good night,” said Fiorello Bodoni.
* * *
IT WAS almost midnight. The moon was high in the sky now. The Illustrated Man lay motionless. I had seen what there was to see. The stories were told; they were over and done.
There remained only that empty space upon the Illustrated Man’s back, that area of jumbled colors and shapes.
Now, as I watched, the vague patch began to assemble itself, in slow dissolvings from one shape to another and still another. And at last a face formed itself there, a face that gazed out at me from the colored flesh, a face with a familiar nose and mouth, familiar eyes.
It was very hazy. I saw only enough of the Illustration to make me leap up. I stood therein the moonlight, afraid that the wind or the stars might move and wake the monstrous gallery at my feet. But he slept on, quietly.
The picture on his back showed the Illustrated Man himself, with his fingers about my neck, choking me to death. I didn’t wait for it to become clear and sharp and a definite picture.
I ran down the road in the moonlight. I didn’t look back. A small town lay ahead, dark and asleep. I knew that, long before morning, I would reach the town. . . .