Bradbury Daily: “The Traveler”

A third in the saga of the Elliotts, the family of vampires and other such nightmare creatures. This one takes place a scant six months after “Homecoming,” and follows Cecy, older sister to the mortal Timothy from the first story. It also features her mad, ostracized Uncle John.

Cecy has a particularly unusual power, a sort of astral projection that allows her to inhabit any living thing, and even possess her host. We’re first introduced to this power in brief in “Homecoming,” but we get a much more in depth exploration of it here.

And what an incredible power it is. She’s even said to be able to inhabit amoebas. Imagine experiencing the existence of a single-celled organism. Difficult, yes? Not for Bradbury.

The premise is simple enough. Uncle John is experiencing some sort of madness, and he wants Cecy to inhabit him and drive it out. Unfortunately, his past is a bit… sordid, and the family doesn’t really want much to do with him. So he begs, and pleads, and finally threatens to get Cecy’s help — but Cecy isn’t in her body.

So we follow John on his quest to find Cecy as well as on his descent into madness.

To be honest, until I got to end, I thought this the weakest of the tales about the Elliotts. Though the descriptions are rich and the premise solid, it didn’t feel like it worked as well as the other two.

Then I read the last paragraphs.

How did I miss that twist? It should have been so obvious! But in a masterstroke worthy of Rod Serling, the ending manages to creep up and stun despite all the obvious clues.

There’s something a bit terrifying about Cecy, something that’s not really clear until you’ve read this tale and reflected on it.

Anyway, I’ve already said too much, probably. It’s a worthwhile story, to be sure, whether you’re in it for the story itself or even just interested in the lush descriptions of the various lives Cecy inhabits.

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