Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 41

for him to
visualize the scheme, it appeared simpler. In fact, it seemed even
less difficult of comprehension than that with which he was familiar.

For several minutes after An-Tak ceased speaking, his voice having
trailed off weakly into silence, neither spoke again. Then the Galu
recommenced his, "Food! Food! There is a way out!" Bradley tossed him
another bit of dried meat, waiting patiently until he had eaten it,
this time more slowly.

"What do you mean by saying there is a way out?" he asked.

"He who died here just after I came, told me," replied An-Tak. "He
said there was a way out, that he had discovered it but was too weak to
use his knowledge. He was trying to tell me how to find it when he
died. Oh, Luata, if he had lived but a moment more!"

"They do not feed you here?" asked Bradley.

"No, they give me water once a day--that is all."

"But how have you lived, then?"

"The lizards and the rats," replied An-Tak. "The lizards are not so
bad; but the rats are foul to taste. However, I must eat them or they
would eat me, and they are better than nothing; but of late they do not
come so often, and I have not had a lizard for a long time. I shall
eat though," he mumbled. "I shall eat now, for you cannot remain awake
forever." He laughed, a cackling, dry laugh. "When you sleep, An-Tak
will eat."

It was horrible. Bradley shuddered. For a long time each sat in
silence. The Englishman could guess why the other made no sound--he
awaited the moment that sleep should overcome his victim. In the long
silence there was born upon Bradley's ears a faint, monotonous sound as
of running water. He listened intently. It seemed to come from far
beneath the floor.

"What is that noise?" he asked. "That sounds like water running
through a narrow channel."

"It is the river," replied An-Tak. "Why do you not go to sleep? It
passes directly beneath the Blue Place of Seven Skulls. It runs
through the temple grounds, beneath the temple and under the city.
When we die, they will cut off our heads and throw our bodies into the
river. At the mouth of the river await many large reptiles. Thus do
they feed. The Wieroos do likewise with their own dead, keeping only
the skulls and the wings. Come, let us

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