Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 26

of paper-making. Could it be that such grotesque beings
represented the high culture of the human race within the boundaries of
Caspak? Had natural selection produced during the countless ages of
Caspakian life a winged monstrosity that represented the earthly
pinnacle of man's evolution?

Bradley had noted something of the obvious indications of a gradual
evolution from ape to spearman as exemplified by the several
overlapping races of Alalus, club-men and hatchet-men that formed the
connecting links between the two extremes with which he, had come in
contact. He had heard of the Krolus and the Galus--reputed to be still
higher in the plane of evolution--and now he had indisputable evidence
of a race possessing refinements of civilization eons in advance of the
spear-men. The conjectures awakened by even a momentary consideration
of the possibilities involved became at once as wildly bizarre as the
insane imaginings of a drug addict.

As these thoughts flashed through his mind, the Wieroo held out a pen
of bone fixed to a wooden holder and at the same time made a sign that
Bradley was to write upon the paper. It was difficult to judge from
the expressionless features of the Wieroo what was passing in the
creature's mind, but Bradley could not but feel that the thing cast a
supercilious glance upon him as much as to say, "Of course you do not
know how to write, you poor, low creature; but you can make your mark."

Bradley seized the pen and in a clear, bold hand wrote: "John Bradley,
England." The Wieroo showed evidences of consternation as it seized
the piece of paper and examined the writing with every mark of
incredulity and surprise. Of course it could make nothing of the
strange characters; but it evidently accepted them as proof that
Bradley possessed knowledge of a written language of his own, for
following the Englishman's entry it made a few characters of its own.

"You will come here again just before Lua hides his face behind the
great cliff," announced the creature, "unless before that you are
summoned by Him Who Speaks for Luata, in which case you will not have
to eat any more."

"Reassuring cuss," thought Bradley as he turned and left the building.

Outside were several Wieroos that had been eating at the pedestals
within. They immediately surrounded him, asking all sorts of
questions, plucking at his garments, his ammunition-belt and his
pistol. Their demeanor was entirely different from what it had been
within the eating-place and Bradley was to learn that a house of food

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