At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 45

of the amphitheater had grown fainter and fainter
until now all was as silent as the tomb about me. Faint light filtered
from above through occasional ventilating and lighting tubes, but it
was scarce sufficient to enable my human eyes to cope with the
darkness, and so I was forced to move with extreme care, feeling my way
along step by step with a hand upon the wall beside me.

Presently the light increased and a moment later, to my delight, I came
upon a flight of steps leading upward, at the top of which the
brilliant light of the noonday sun shone through an opening in the
ground.

Cautiously I crept up the stairway to the tunnel's end, and peering out
saw the broad plain of Phutra before me. The numerous lofty, granite
towers which mark the several entrances to the subterranean city were
all in front of me--behind, the plain stretched level and unbroken to
the nearby foothills. I had come to the surface, then, beyond the
city, and my chances for escape seemed much enhanced.

My first impulse was to await darkness before attempting to cross the
plain, so deeply implanted are habits of thought; but of a sudden I
recollected the perpetual noonday brilliance which envelopes
Pellucidar, and with a smile I stepped forth into the day-light.

Rank grass, waist high, grows upon the plain of Phutra--the gorgeous
flowering grass of the inner world, each particular blade of which is
tipped with a tiny, five-pointed blossom--brilliant little stars of
varying colors that twinkle in the green foliage to add still another
charm to the weird, yet lovely, landscape.

But then the only aspect which attracted me was the distant hills in
which I hoped to find sanctuary, and so I hastened on, trampling the
myriad beauties beneath my hurrying feet. Perry says that the force of
gravity is less upon the surface of the inner world than upon that of
the outer. He explained it all to me once, but I was never
particularly brilliant in such matters and so most of it has escaped
me. As I recall it the difference is due in some part to the
counter-attraction of that portion of the earth's crust directly
opposite the spot upon the face of Pellucidar at which one's
calculations are being made. Be that as it may, it always seemed to me
that I moved with greater speed and agility within Pellucidar than upon
the outer surface--there was a certain airy lightness of step that was
most pleasing, and a feeling of bodily detachment which

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