At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 12

it before. Fully
thrice the size of the sun I had known throughout my life, and
apparently so near that the sight of it carried the conviction that one
might almost reach up and touch it.

"My God, Perry, where are we?" I exclaimed. "This thing is beginning
to get on my nerves."

"I think that I may state quite positively, David," he commenced, "that
we are--" but he got no further. From behind us in the vicinity of the
prospector there came the most thunderous, awe-inspiring roar that ever
had fallen upon my ears. With one accord we turned to discover the
author of that fearsome noise.

Had I still retained the suspicion that we were on earth the sight that
met my eyes would quite entirely have banished it. Emerging from the
forest was a colossal beast which closely resembled a bear. It was
fully as large as the largest elephant and with great forepaws armed
with huge claws. Its nose, or snout, depended nearly a foot below its
lower jaw, much after the manner of a rudimentary trunk. The giant
body was covered by a coat of thick, shaggy hair.

Roaring horribly it came toward us at a ponderous, shuffling trot. I
turned to Perry to suggest that it might be wise to seek other
surroundings--the idea had evidently occurred to Perry previously, for
he was already a hundred paces away, and with each second his
prodigious bounds increased the distance. I had never guessed what
latent speed possibilities the old gentleman possessed.

I saw that he was headed toward a little point of the forest which ran
out toward the sea not far from where we had been standing, and as the
mighty creature, the sight of which had galvanized him into such
remarkable action, was forging steadily toward me, I set off after
Perry, though at a somewhat more decorous pace. It was evident that
the massive beast pursuing us was not built for speed, so all that I
considered necessary was to gain the trees sufficiently ahead of it to
enable me to climb to the safety of some great branch before it came up.

Notwithstanding our danger I could not help but laugh at Perry's
frantic capers as he essayed to gain the safety of the lower branches
of the trees he now had reached. The stems were bare for a distance of
some fifteen feet--at least on those trees which Perry attempted to
ascend, for the suggestion of safety carried by the larger of the
forest giants

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