At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 10

David, since we started. You know that."

I did know it; but here we were with our drill racing in pure air, and
copious volumes of it pouring into the cabin.

"We couldn't have turned in the ice stratum, Perry, I know as well as
you," I replied; "but the fact remains that we did, for here we are
this minute at the surface of the earth again, and I am going out to
see just where."

"Better wait till morning, David--it must be midnight now."

I glanced at the chronometer.

"Half after twelve. We have been out seventy-two hours, so it must be
midnight. Nevertheless I am going to have a look at the blessed sky
that I had given up all hope of ever seeing again," and so saying I
lifted the bars from the inner door, and swung it open. There was
quite a quantity of loose material in the jacket, and this I had to
remove with a shovel to get at the opposite door in the outer shell.

In a short time I had removed enough of the earth and rock to the floor
of the cabin to expose the door beyond. Perry was directly behind me
as I threw it open. The upper half was above the surface of the
ground. With an expression of surprise I turned and looked at
Perry--it was broad daylight without!

"Something seems to have gone wrong either with our calculations or the
chronometer," I said. Perry shook his head--there was a strange
expression in his eyes.

"Let's have a look beyond that door, David," he cried.

Together we stepped out to stand in silent contemplation of a landscape
at once weird and beautiful. Before us a low and level shore stretched
down to a silent sea. As far as the eye could reach the surface of the
water was dotted with countless tiny isles--some of towering, barren,
granitic rock--others resplendent in gorgeous trappings of tropical
vegetation, myriad starred with the magnificent splendor of vivid
blooms.

Behind us rose a dark and forbidding wood of giant arborescent ferns
intermingled with the commoner types of a primeval tropical forest.
Huge creepers depended in great loops from tree to tree, dense
under-brush overgrew a tangled mass of fallen trunks and branches.
Upon the outer verge we could see the same splendid coloring of
countless blossoms that glorified the islands, but within the dense
shadows all seemed dark and gloomy as the grave.

And upon all the noonday sun poured its torrid rays out of a cloudless
sky.

"Where on earth can

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