In the Tombs of the Martian Kings

Mike Resnick

There was really nothing about him to attract any attention – except for the creature lying on the floor at his feet.  At first, it seemed like a dog, but there weren’t any dogs on Mars, and certainly not any that approached the size of a lion. It had for nostrils – two in front, one on each cheek – eyes that seemed to glow even through they were totally shielded from the dim lights, and a tail that ended in such a sharp point that it could very well be used as a weapon, The animal was covered by a dull blue curly down, and when it yawned, it displayed a double row of coal-black fangs.

— What was annoyed got to do with it? I’ll face five duxbollahs a day for my half of what he’s paying us.

I had no idea you valued money was Scorpio’s sardonic thought. I thought you were a superior species.

We are. But we need money when dealing with inferior species, like Earthmen.

And while Mars slept, the ancient king, the Earthman, and the Venusian settled down for a long night of hard negotiations.

a cosmic beast

A Cosmic Beast. Illustration : Megan Jorgensen

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