At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

interpreter. I answered them all truthfully. They seemed
particularly interested in my account of the outer earth and the
strange vehicle which had brought Perry and me to Pellucidar. I
thought that I had convinced them, and after they had sat in silence
for a long time following my examination, I expected to be ordered
returned to my quarters.

During this apparent silence they were debating through the medium of
strange, unspoken language the merits of my tale. At last the head of
the tribunal communicated the result of their conference to the officer
in charge of the Sagoth guard.

"Come," he said to me, "you are sentenced to the experimental pits for
having dared to insult the intelligence of the mighty ones with the
ridiculous tale you have had the temerity to unfold to them."

"Do you mean that they do not believe me?" I asked, totally astonished.

"Believe you!" he laughed. "Do you mean to say that you expected any
one to believe so impossible a lie?"

It was hopeless, and so I walked in silence beside my guard down
through the dark corridors and runways toward my awful doom. At a low
level we came upon a number of lighted chambers in which we saw many
Mahars engaged in various occupations. To one of these chambers my
guard escorted me, and before leaving they chained me to a side wall.
There were other humans similarly chained. Upon a long table lay a
victim even as I was ushered into the room. Several Mahars stood about
the poor creature holding him down so that he could not move. Another,
grasping a sharp knife with her three-toed fore foot, was laying open
the victim's chest and abdomen. No anesthetic had been administered
and the shrieks and groans of the tortured man were terrible to hear.
This, indeed, was vivisection with a vengeance. Cold sweat broke out
upon me as I realized that soon my turn would come. And to think that
where there was no such thing as time I might easily imagine that my
suffering was enduring for months before death finally released me!

The Mahars had paid not the slightest attention to me as I had been
brought into the room. So deeply immersed were they in their work that
I am sure they did not even know that the Sagoths had entered with me.
The door was close by. Would that I could reach it! But those heavy
chains precluded any such possibility. I

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