Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

a man who, while taking every
precaution against possible danger, permitted no gloomy forebodings to
weigh down his spirit. When danger threatened, he was prepared; but he
was not forever courting disaster, and so it was that when about one
o'clock in the morning of the fifteenth, he heard the dismal flapping
of giant wings overhead, he was neither surprised nor frightened but
idly prepared for an attack he had known might reasonably be expected.

The sound seemed to come from the south, and presently, low above the
trees in that direction, the man made out a dim, shadowy form circling
slowly about. Bradley was a brave man, yet so keen was the feeling of
revulsion engendered by the sight and sound of that grim, uncanny shape
that he distinctly felt the gooseflesh rise over the surface of his
body, and it was with difficulty that he refrained from following an
instinctive urge to fire upon the nocturnal intruder. Better, far
better would it have been had he given in to the insistent demand of
his subconscious mentor; but his almost fanatical obsession to save
ammunition proved now his undoing, for while his attention was riveted
upon the thing circling before him and while his ears were filled with
the beating of its wings, there swooped silently out of the black night
behind him another weird and ghostly shape. With its huge wings partly
closed for the dive and its white robe fluttering in its wake, the
apparition swooped down upon the Englishman.

So great was the force of the impact when the thing struck Bradley
between the shoulders that the man was half stunned. His rifle flew
from his grasp; he felt clawlike talons of great strength seize him
beneath his arms and sweep him off his feet; and then the thing rose
swiftly with him, so swiftly that his cap was blown from his head by
the rush of air as he was borne rapidly upward into the inky sky and
the cry of warning to his companions was forced back into his lungs.

The creature wheeled immediately toward the east and was at once joined
by its fellow, who circled them once and then fell in behind them.
Bradley now realized the strategy that the pair had used to capture him
and at once concluded that he was in the power of reasoning beings
closely related to the human race if not actually of it.

Past experience suggested that the great wings were a part of some
ingenious mechanical device, for the limitations of the human mind,

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