Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 21

ceiling of the room which
was about thirty feet square, or roughly square, being irregular in
shape, one side curving outward, another being indented by what might
have been the corner of another building jutting into it, another
alcoved by three sides of an octagon, while the fourth was serpentine
in contour. Two windows let in more daylight, while two doors
evidently gave ingress to other rooms. The walls were partially ceiled
with thin strips of wood, nicely fitted and finished, partially
plastered and the rest covered with a fine, woven cloth. Figures of
reptiles and beasts were painted without regard to any uniform scheme
here and there upon the walls. A striking feature of the decorations
consisted of several engaged columns set into the walls at no regular
intervals, the capitals of each supporting a human skull the cranium of
which touched the ceiling, as though the latter was supported by these
grim reminders either of departed relatives or of some hideous tribal
rite--Bradley could not but wonder which.

Yet it was none of these things that filled him with greatest
wonder--no, it was the figures of the two creatures that had captured
him and brought him hither. At one end of the room a stout pole about
two inches in diameter ran horizontally from wall to wall some six or
seven feet from the floor, its ends securely set in two of the columns.
Hanging by their knees from this perch, their heads downward and their
bodies wrapped in their huge wings, slept the creatures of the night
before--like two great, horrid bats they hung, asleep.

As Bradley gazed upon them in wide-eyed astonishment, he saw plainly
that all his intelligence, all his acquired knowledge through years of
observation and experience were set at naught by the simple evidence of
the fact that stood out glaringly before his eyes--the creatures' wings
were not mechanical devices but as natural appendages, growing from
their shoulderblades, as were their arms and legs. He saw, too, that
except for their wings the pair bore a strong resemblance to human
beings, though fashioned in a most grotesque mold.

As he sat gazing at them, one of the two awoke, separated his wings to
release his arms that had been folded across his breast, placed his
hands upon the floor, dropped his feet and stood erect. For a moment
he stretched his great wings slowly, solemnly blinking his large round
eyes. Then his gaze fell upon Bradley. The thin lips drew back
tightly against yellow teeth in a grimace that was nothing

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