Gather Yourselves Together
Philip K. Dick
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Gather Yourselves Together is one of Philip K. Dick’s earliest novels, written when he was just twenty-four years old. It tells the story of three Americans left behind in China by their employer, biding their time as the Communists advance. As they while away the days, both the young and naïve Carl Fitter and the older and worldly Verne Tildon vie for the affections of Barbara Mahler, a woman who may not be so tough-as-nails as she acts. But Carl’s innocence and Verne’s boorishness could end up driving Barbara away from both.
isn’t any light to see by.” His trousers were muddy at the knees. Bits of grass stuck out from the wool fibers. “Easy to fall over things.” He rubbed his chin slowly, meditating. The expression on his face had changed. The enigmatic smile was gone. He was frowning, frowning as if he were in violent pain. His eyebrows knitted together, jerking tight. His fingers pressed against each other, suddenly twisting. “I fell.” He bit his lip. “I fell.” He reached into his coat pocket and felt slowly
because the sun was too hot, the fog too gloomy and cold. Like a man in a shower bath, spinning the knobs first one way, then another. Never satisfied. Right now, the hot was turned too far up. But night time it would be the other way around. But either way, they were not going to like it. Carl, perhaps. But not either of them. What Carl did and thought was another matter. But Carl was not being considered. For them, for himself and for Barbara, things were not going to be right, not until they
Presently he reached up and pushed his hair back from his forehead. “I’m ready,” Barbara said. “Any time.” Carl nodded. “All right. It’s quite a strange place here, isn’t it? So silent. Not a sound. No one at all, anywhere around us. We might be the only two people left in the world. Like in those English doom stories that were popular in the thirties. Where the world has come to an end. Except for a young man and a young woman. No one else left but them. Civilization in ruins. Apes and bats
cold. “Will you let the shade down?” Verne muttered from under the covers. “Sorry.” Carl let the shade back in place. He slid out of the bed and onto the floor. The floor was warm where the sunlight had touched it. He began to dress, climbing into his clothes, whistling under his breath. “What’s going on?” Verne raised his head, peering out from under the covers. He felt around on the floor and found his glasses. “What the hell time is it?” He put his glasses on and examined the clock.
that lived, big and little. They appeared, struggling out of the sticky wetness. And then, after a time, they died. Carl looked up at the day again, at the sunlight and the hills. It did not look the same, now, as it had looked a few moments before. Perhaps he saw it more clearly than he had, a moment ago. The sky, blue and pure, stretched out as far as the eye could see. But blood and feathers came from the sky. The sky was beautiful when he stood a long way off from it. But when he saw too