Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 16

that into the mind
of neither entered the thought or the temptation to desert his
companion--they would reach the fort together if both survived, or
neither would reach it.

They encountered the usual number of savage beasts and reptiles; but
they met them with a courageous recklessness born of desperation, and
by virtue of the very madness of the chances they took, they came
through unscathed and with the minimum of delay.

Shortly after noon they reached the end of the plateau. Before them
was a drop of two hundred feet to the valley beneath. To the left, in
the distance, they could see the waters of the great inland sea that
covers a considerable portion of the area of the crater island of
Caprona and at a little lesser distance to the south of the cliffs they
saw a thin spiral of smoke arising above the tree-tops.

The landscape was familiar--each recognized it immediately and knew
that that smoky column marked the spot where Dinosaur had stood. Was
the fort still there, or did the smoke arise from the smoldering embers
of the building they had helped to fashion for the housing of their
party? Who could say!

Thirty precious minutes that seemed as many hours to the impatient men
were consumed in locating a precarious way from the summit to the base
of the cliffs that bounded the plateau upon the south, and then once
again they struck off upon level ground toward their goal. The closer
they approached the fort the greater became their apprehension that all
would not be well. They pictured the barracks deserted or the small
company massacred and the buildings in ashes. It was almost in a
frenzy of fear that they broke through the final fringe of jungle and
stood at last upon the verge of the open meadow a half-mile from Fort
Dinosaur.

"Lord!" ejaculated Sinclair. "They are still there!" And he fell to
his knees, sobbing.

Brady trembled like a leaf as he crossed himself and gave silent
thanks, for there before them stood the sturdy ramparts of Dinosaur and
from inside the inclosure rose a thin spiral of smoke that marked the
location of the cook-house. All was well, then, and their comrades
were preparing the evening meal!

Across the clearing they raced as though they had not already covered
in a single day a trackless, primeval country that might easily have
required two days by fresh and untired men. Within hailing distance
they set up such a loud shouting that presently heads appeared above
the top of

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