Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

is always loath to accept aught beyond its own little experience,
would not permit him to entertain the idea that the creatures might be
naturally winged and at the same time of human origin. From his
position Bradley could not see the wings of his captor, nor in the
darkness had he been able to examine those of the second creature
closely when it circled before him. He listened for the puff of a
motor or some other telltale sound that would prove the correctness of
his theory. However, he was rewarded with nothing more than the
constant flap-flap.

Presently, far below and ahead, he saw the waters of the inland sea,
and a moment later he was borne over them. Then his captor did that
which proved beyond doubt to Bradley that he was in the hands of human
beings who had devised an almost perfect scheme of duplicating,
mechanically, the wings of a bird--the thing spoke to its companion and
in a language that Bradley partially understood, since he recognized
words that he had learned from the savage races of Caspak. From this
he judged that they were human, and being human, he knew that they
could have no natural wings--for who had ever seen a human being so
adorned! Therefore their wings must be mechanical. Thus Bradley
reasoned--thus most of us reason; not by what might be possible; but by
what has fallen within the range of our experience.

What he heard them say was to the effect that having covered half the
distance the burden would now be transferred from one to the other.
Bradley wondered how the exchange was to be accomplished. He knew that
those giant wings would not permit the creatures to approach one
another closely enough to effect the transfer in this manner; but he
was soon to discover that they had other means of doing it.

He felt the thing that carried him rise to a greater altitude, and
below he glimpsed momentarily the second white-robed figure; then the
creature above sounded a low call, it was answered from below, and
instantly Bradley felt the clutching talons release him; gasping for
breath, he hurtled downward through space.

For a terrifying instant, pregnant with horror, Bradley fell; then
something swooped for him from behind, another pair of talons clutched
him beneath the arms, his downward rush was checked, within another
hundred feet, and close to the surface of the sea he was again borne
upward. As a hawk dives for a songbird on the wing, so this great,
human bird

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