Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 2

cave bear--the monstrous
thing that should have been extinct ages before--ran for it and fired
even as the beast was almost upon Bradley. The men in the trees
scarcely breathed. It seemed to them such a futile thing for Tippet to
do, and Tippet of all men! They had never looked upon Tippet as a
coward--there seemed to be no cowards among that strangely assorted
company that Fate had gathered together from the four corners of the
earth--but Tippet was considered a cautious man. Overcautious, some
thought him. How futile he and his little pop-gun appeared as he
dashed after that living engine of destruction! But, oh, how glorious!
It was some such thought as this that ran through Brady's mind, though
articulated it might have been expressed otherwise, albeit more
forcefully.

Just then it occurred to Brady to fire and he, too, opened upon the
bear, but at the same instant the animal stumbled and fell forward,
though still growling most fearsomely. Tippet never stopped running or
firing until he stood within a foot of the brute, which lay almost
touching Bradley and was already struggling to regain its feet.
Placing the muzzle of his gun against the bear's ear, Tippet pulled the
trigger. The creature sank limply to the ground and Bradley scrambled
to his feet.

"Good work, Tippet," he said. "Mightily obliged to you--awful waste of
ammunition, really."

And then they resumed the march and in fifteen minutes the encounter
had ceased even to be a topic of conversation.

For two days they continued upon their perilous way. Already the
cliffs loomed high and forbidding close ahead without sign of break to
encourage hope that somewhere they might be scaled. Late in the
afternoon the party crossed a small stream of warm water upon the
sluggishly moving surface of which floated countless millions of tiny
green eggs surrounded by a light scum of the same color, though of a
darker shade. Their past experience of Caspak had taught them that
they might expect to come upon a stagnant pool of warm water if they
followed the stream to its source; but there they were almost certain
to find some of Caspak's grotesque, manlike creatures. Already since
they had disembarked from the U-33 after its perilous trip through the
subterranean channel beneath the barrier cliffs had brought them into
the inland sea of Caspak, had they encountered what had appeared to be
three distinct types of these creatures. There had been the pure
apes--huge, gorillalike beasts--and those who walked, a trifle more
erect and

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