Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 22

but hideous.
It could not have been termed a smile, and what emotion it registered
the Englishman was at a loss to guess. No expression whatever altered
the steady gaze of those large, round eyes; there was no color upon the
pasty, sunken cheeks. A death's head grimaced as though a man long
dead raised his parchment-covered skull from an old grave.

The creature stood about the height of an average man but appeared much
taller from the fact that the joints of his long wings rose fully a
foot above his hairless head. The bare arms were long and sinewy,
ending in strong, bony hands with clawlike fingers--almost talonlike in
their suggestiveness. The white robe was separated in front, revealing
skinny legs and the further fact that the thing wore but the single
garment, which was of fine, woven cloth. From crown to sole the
portions of the body exposed were entirely hairless, and as he noted
this, Bradley also noted for the first time the cause of much of the
seeming expressionlessness of the creature's countenance--it had
neither eye-brows or lashes. The ears were small and rested flat
against the skull, which was noticeably round, though the face was
quite flat. The creature had small feet, beautifully arched and plump,
but so out of keeping with every other physical attribute it possessed
as to appear ridiculous.

After eyeing Bradley for a moment the thing approached him. "Where
from?" it asked.

"England," replied Bradley, as briefly.

"Where is England and what?" pursued the questioner.

"It is a country far from here," answered the Englishman.

"Are your people cor-sva-jo or cos-ata-lu?"

"I do not understand you," said Bradley; "and now suppose you answer a
few questions. Who are you? What country is this? Why did you bring
me here?"

Again the sepulchral grimace. "We are Wieroos--Luata is our father.
Caspak is ours. This, our country, is called Oo-oh. We brought you
here for (literally) Him Who Speaks for Luata to gaze upon and
question. He would know from whence you came and why; but principally
if you be cos-ata-lu."

"And if I am not cos--whatever you call the bloomin' beast--what of it?"

The Wieroo raised his wings in a very human shrug and waved his bony
claws toward the human skulls supporting the ceiling. His gesture was
eloquent; but he embellished it by remarking, "And possibly if you are."

"I'm hungry," snapped Bradley.

The Wieroo motioned him to one of the doors which he threw open,
permitting Bradley to pass out onto another roof on

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