Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 14

was killed by a saber-tooth
tiger--September 13, 1916. Beneath a jarrah tree on the stony plateau
on the northern edge of the Sto-lu country in the land that Time
forgot, he lies in a lonely grave marked by a rough headstone.

Southward from his grave marched three grim and silent men. To the
best of Bradley's reckoning they were some twenty-five miles north of
Fort Dinosaur, and that they might reach the fort on the following day,
they plodded on until darkness overtook them. With comparative safety
fifteen miles away, they made camp at last; but there was no singing
now and no joking. In the bottom of his heart each prayed that they
might come safely through just this night, for they knew that during
the morrow they would make the final stretch, yet the nerves of each
were taut with strained anticipation of what gruesome thing might flap
down upon them from the black sky, marking another for its own. Who
would be the next?

As was their custom, they took turns at guard, each man doing two hours
and then arousing the next. Brady had gone on from eight to ten,
followed by Sinclair from ten to twelve, then Bradley had been
awakened. Brady would stand the last guard from two to four, as they
had determined to start the moment that it became light enough to
insure comparative safety upon the trail.

The snapping of a twig aroused Brady out of a dead sleep, and as he
opened his eyes, he saw that it was broad daylight and that at twenty
paces from him stood a huge lion. As the man sprang to his feet, his
rifle ready in his hand, Sinclair awoke and took in the scene in a
single swift glance. The fire was out and Bradley was nowhere in
sight. For a long moment the lion and the men eyed one another. The
latter had no mind to fire if the beast minded its own affairs--they
were only too glad to let it go its way if it would; but the lion was
of a different mind.

Suddenly the long tail snapped stiffly erect, and as though it had been
attached to two trigger fingers the two rifles spoke in unison, for
both men knew this signal only too well--the immediate forerunner of a
deadly charge. As the brute's head had been raised, his spine had not
been visible; and so they did what they had learned by long experience
was best to do. Each

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