At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 89

chasm; but on the left a
narrow ledge rounded the shoulder of the overhanging cliff. Along this
I advanced, and at a sudden turning, a few yards beyond the canyon's
end, the path widened, and at my left I saw the opening to a large
cave. Before, the ledge continued until it passed from sight about
another projecting buttress of the mountain.

Here, I felt, I could defy an army, for but a single foeman could
advance upon me at a time, nor could he know that I was awaiting him
until he came full upon me around the corner of the turn. About me lay
scattered stones crumbled from the cliff above. They were of various
sizes and shapes, but enough were of handy dimensions for use as
ammunition in lieu of my precious arrows. Gathering a number of stones
into a little pile beside the mouth of the cave I waited the advance of
the Sagoths.

As I stood there, tense and silent, listening for the first faint sound
that should announce the approach of my enemies, a slight noise from
within the cave's black depths attracted my attention. It might have
been produced by the moving of the great body of some huge beast rising
from the rock floor of its lair. At almost the same instant I thought
that I caught the scraping of hide sandals upon the ledge beyond the
turn. For the next few seconds my attention was considerably divided.

And then from the inky blackness at my right I saw two flaming eyes
glaring into mine. They were on a level that was over two feet above
my head. It is true that the beast who owned them might be standing
upon a ledge within the cave, or that it might be rearing up upon its
hind legs; but I had seen enough of the monsters of Pellucidar to know
that I might be facing some new and frightful Titan whose dimensions
and ferocity eclipsed those of any I had seen before.

Whatever it was, it was coming slowly toward the entrance of the cave,
and now, deep and forbidding, it uttered a low and ominous growl. I
waited no longer to dispute possession of the ledge with the thing
which owned that voice. The noise had not been loud--I doubt if the
Sagoths heard it at all--but the suggestion of latent possibilities
behind it was such that I knew it would only emanate from a gigantic
and ferocious beast.

As I backed along the ledge

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