At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 99

Jubal was rushing upon me now with the only
remaining weapon that he carried--a murderous-looking knife. He was
too close for a careful bowshot, but I let drive at him as he came,
without taking aim. My arrow pierced the fleshy part of his thigh,
inflicting a painful but not disabling wound. And then he was upon me.

My agility saved me for the instant. I ducked beneath his raised arm,
and when he wheeled to come at me again he found a sword's point in his
face. And a moment later he felt an inch or two of it in the muscles
of his knife arm, so that thereafter he went more warily.

It was a duel of strategy now--the great, hairy man maneuvering to get
inside my guard where he could bring those giant thews to play, while
my wits were directed to the task of keeping him at arm's length.
Thrice he rushed me, and thrice I caught his knife blow upon my shield.
Each time my sword found his body--once penetrating to his lung. He
was covered with blood by this time, and the internal hemorrhage
induced paroxysms of coughing that brought the red stream through the
hideous mouth and nose, covering his face and breast with bloody froth.
He was a most unlovely spectacle, but he was far from dead.

As the duel continued I began to gain confidence, for, to be perfectly
candid, I had not expected to survive the first rush of that monstrous
engine of ungoverned rage and hatred. And I think that Jubal, from
utter contempt of me, began to change to a feeling of respect, and then
in his primitive mind there evidently loomed the thought that perhaps
at last he had met his master, and was facing his end.

At any rate it is only upon this hypothesis that I can account for his
next act, which was in the nature of a last resort--a sort of forlorn
hope, which could only have been born of the belief that if he did not
kill me quickly I should kill him. It happened on the occasion of his
fourth charge, when, instead of striking at me with his knife, he
dropped that weapon, and seizing my sword blade in both his hands
wrenched the weapon from my grasp as easily as from a babe.

Flinging it far to one side he stood motionless for just an instant
glaring into my face with such a horrid leer of malignant triumph as to
almost unnerve me--then

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