At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 13

had evidently attracted him to them. A dozen times he
scrambled up the trunks like a huge cat only to fall back to the ground
once more, and with each failure he cast a horrified glance over his
shoulder at the oncoming brute, simultaneously emitting terror-stricken
shrieks that awoke the echoes of the grim forest.

At length he spied a dangling creeper about the bigness of one's wrist,
and when I reached the trees he was racing madly up it, hand over hand.
He had almost reached the lowest branch of the tree from which the
creeper depended when the thing parted beneath his weight and he fell
sprawling at my feet.

The misfortune now was no longer amusing, for the beast was already too
close to us for comfort. Seizing Perry by the shoulder I dragged him
to his feet, and rushing to a smaller tree--one that he could easily
encircle with his arms and legs--I boosted him as far up as I could,
and then left him to his fate, for a glance over my shoulder revealed
the awful beast almost upon me.

It was the great size of the thing alone that saved me. Its enormous
bulk rendered it too slow upon its feet to cope with the agility of my
young muscles, and so I was enabled to dodge out of its way and run
completely behind it before its slow wits could direct it in pursuit.

The few seconds of grace that this gave me found me safely lodged in
the branches of a tree a few paces from that in which Perry had at last
found a haven.

Did I say safely lodged? At the time I thought we were quite safe, and
so did Perry. He was praying--raising his voice in thanksgiving at our
deliverance--and had just completed a sort of paeon of gratitude that
the thing couldn't climb a tree when without warning it reared up
beneath him on its enormous tail and hind feet, and reached those
fearfully armed paws quite to the branch upon which he crouched.

The accompanying roar was all but drowned in Perry's scream of fright,
and he came near tumbling headlong into the gaping jaws beneath him, so
precipitate was his impetuous haste to vacate the dangerous limb. It
was with a deep sigh of relief that I saw him gain a higher branch in
safety.

And then the brute did that which froze us both anew with horror.
Grasping the tree's stem with his powerful paws he dragged down with
all the great weight of

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