A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 102

swung the
chain above my head and crashed the links with all my strength upon his
skull. Without a sound he slipped to the floor, stone dead.

Laughing and chattering like the idiot I was fast becoming I fell upon
his prostrate form my fingers feeling for his dead throat. Presently
they came in contact with a small chain at the end of which dangled a
number of keys. The touch of my fingers on these keys brought back my
reason with the suddenness of thought. No longer was I a jibbering
idiot, but a sane, reasoning man with the means of escape within my
very hands.

As I was groping to remove the chain from about my victim's neck I
glanced up into the darkness to see six pairs of gleaming eyes fixed,
unwinking, upon me. Slowly they approached and slowly I shrank back
from the awful horror of them. Back into my corner I crouched holding
my hands palms out, before me, and stealthily on came the awful eyes
until they reached the dead body at my feet. Then slowly they
retreated but this time with a strange grating sound and finally they
disappeared in some black and distant recess of my dungeon.



Slowly I regained my composure and finally essayed again to attempt to
remove the keys from the dead body of my former jailer. But as I
reached out into the darkness to locate it I found to my horror that it
was gone. Then the truth flashed on me; the owners of those gleaming
eyes had dragged my prize away from me to be devoured in their
neighboring lair; as they had been waiting for days, for weeks, for
months, through all this awful eternity of my imprisonment to drag my
dead carcass to their feast.

For two days no food was brought me, but then a new messenger appeared
and my incarceration went on as before, but not again did I allow my
reason to be submerged by the horror of my position.

Shortly after this episode another prisoner was brought in and chained
near me. By the dim torch light I saw that he was a red Martian and I
could scarcely await the departure of his guards to address him. As
their retreating footsteps died away in the distance, I called out
softly the Martian word of greeting, kaor.

"Who are you who speaks out of the darkness?" he answered

"John Carter, a friend of the red men of Helium."

"I am of

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