For perhaps eighteen months, Roger Tennant has been a captive in a sort of zoo, along with three women: Dana, Olga, and Eudalia. Everything about the 'zoo' is slightly off. It appears like a strangely-designed house surrounded by a lawn, but the grass seems to be made of something like cellophane and the trees are bark all the way through the trunk. The food they eat and the cigarettes they smoke have no odor. And in a place Tennant refers to as the 'training hall', the seemingly-straight walls turn back on themselves at impossible angles.
Their alien captors intend to increase their stock of humans: the prisoners are made to breed, forced by mental commands, and the children grow more quickly than is natural.
The four have been developing superhuman powers, as well--Tennant has been taught to teleport over increasingly large distances with a thought. The reason for this is finally made apparent: Tennant is taken back to Earth and instructed to capture another male specimen for the zoo--Cass Gordon, who has become his wife Agatha's lover in his absence.
In the end, Tennant discovers that the gateway between Earth and the zoo is vulnerable, so he plans to destroy it, protecting other humans from being taken as he was. He arranges for Cass to shoot it by teleporting out of the way of the bullet, thus destroying the doorway, trapping himself--as he intended--on the other side, to be left to his life with Dana, Olga, and Eudalia.
The story's not too interesting. The best part of this one is the description of the not-quite-right 'zoo'.
|Sam Merwin, Jr.||Author|