At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 11

can we be?" I asked, turning to Perry.

For some moments the old man did not reply. He stood with bowed head,
buried in deep thought. But at last he spoke.

"David," he said, "I am not so sure that we are ON earth."

"What do you mean Perry?" I cried. "Do you think that we are dead, and
this is heaven?" He smiled, and turning, pointing to the nose of the
prospector protruding from the ground at our backs.

"But for that, David, I might believe that we were indeed come to the
country beyond the Styx. The prospector renders that theory
untenable--it, certainly, could never have gone to heaven. However I
am willing to concede that we actually may be in another world from
that which we have always known. If we are not ON earth, there is
every reason to believe that we may be IN it."

"We may have quartered through the earth's crust and come out upon some
tropical island of the West Indies," I suggested. Again Perry shook
his head.

"Let us wait and see, David," he replied, "and in the meantime suppose
we do a bit of exploring up and down the coast--we may find a native
who can enlighten us."

As we walked along the beach Perry gazed long and earnestly across the
water. Evidently he was wrestling with a mighty problem.

"David," he said abruptly, "do you perceive anything unusual about the
horizon?"

As I looked I began to appreciate the reason for the strangeness of the
landscape that had haunted me from the first with an illusive
suggestion of the bizarre and unnatural--THERE WAS NO HORIZON! As far
as the eye could reach out the sea continued and upon its bosom floated
tiny islands, those in the distance reduced to mere specks; but ever
beyond them was the sea, until the impression became quite real that
one was LOOKING UP at the most distant point that the eyes could
fathom--the distance was lost in the distance. That was all--there was
no clear-cut horizontal line marking the dip of the globe below the
line of vision.

"A great light is commencing to break on me," continued Perry, taking
out his watch. "I believe that I have partially solved the riddle. It
is now two o'clock. When we emerged from the prospector the sun was
directly above us. Where is it now?"

I glanced up to find the great orb still motionless in the center of
the heaven. And such a sun! I had scarcely

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