Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 37

a hollow
groan. Bradley felt his hair rise upon his head. He struggled with
the slowly parting strands that held him. The thing beside him rose up
higher than before and the Englishman could have sworn that he saw a
single eye peering at him from among the tumbled cloth. For a moment
the bundle remained motionless--only the sound of breathing issued from
it, then there broke from it a maniacal laugh.

Cold sweat stood upon Bradley's brow as he tugged for liberation. He
saw the rags rise higher and higher above him until at last they
tumbled upon the floor from the body of a naked man--a thin, a bony, a
hideous caricature of man, that mouthed and mummed and, wabbling upon
its weak and shaking legs, crumpled to the floor again, still
laughing--laughing horribly.

It crawled toward Bradley. "Food! Food!" it screamed. "There is a
way out! There is a way out!"

Dragging itself to his side the creature slumped upon the Englishman's
breast. "Food!" it shrilled as with its bony fingers and its teeth, it
sought the man's bare throat.

"Food! There is a way out!" Bradley felt teeth upon his jugular. He
turned and twisted, shaking himself free for an instant; but once more
with hideous persistence the thing fastened itself upon him. The weak
jaws were unable to send the dull teeth through the victim's flesh; but
Bradley felt it pawing, pawing, pawing, like a monstrous rat, seeking
his life's blood.

The skinny arms now embraced his neck, holding the teeth to his throat
against all his efforts to dislodge the thing. Weak as it was it had
strength enough for this in its mad efforts to eat. Mumbling as it
worked, it repeated again and again, "Food! Food! There is a way
out!" until Bradley thought those two expressions alone would drive him
mad.

And all but mad he was as with a final effort backed by almost maniacal
strength he tore his wrists from the confining bonds and grasping the
repulsive thing upon his breast hurled it halfway across the room.
Panting like a spent hound Bradley worked at the thongs about his
ankles while the maniac lay quivering and mumbling where it had fallen.
Presently the Englishman leaped to his feet--freer than he had ever
before felt in all his life, though he was still hopelessly a prisoner
in the Blue Place of Seven Skulls.

With his back against the wall for support, so weak the reaction left
him, Bradley stood watching the creature

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