Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

It stopped. There was no
chance on earth that it would not discover what he was.

With the quickness of a cat, Bradley sprang to his feet and with all
his great strength, backed by his heavy weight, struck the Wieroo upon
the point of the chin. Without a sound the thing crumpled to the
platform, while Bradley, acting almost instinctively to the urge of the
first law of nature, rolled the inanimate body over the edge into the
river.

Then he looked at the open doorway, crossed the platform and peered
within the apartment beyond. What he saw was a large room, dimly
lighted, and about the side rows of wooden vessels stacked one upon
another. There was no Wieroo in sight, so the Englishman entered. At
the far end of the room was another door, and as he crossed toward it,
he glanced into some of the vessels, which he found were filled with
dried fruits, vegetables and fish. Without more ado he stuffed his
pockets and his haversack full, thinking of the poor creature awaiting
his return in the gloom of the Place of Seven Skulls.

When night came, he would return and fetch An-Tak this far at least;
but in the meantime it was his intention to reconnoiter in the hope
that he might discover some easier way out of the city than that
offered by the chill, black channel of the ghastly river of corpses.

Beyond the farther door stretched a long passageway from which closed
doorways led into other parts of the cellars of the temple. A few
yards from the storeroom a ladder rose from the corridor through an
aperture in the ceiling. Bradley paused at the foot of it, debating
the wisdom of further investigation against a return to the river; but
strong within him was the spirit of exploration that has scattered his
race to the four corners of the earth. What new mysteries lay hidden
in the chambers above? The urge to know was strong upon him though his
better judgment warned him that the safer course lay in retreat. For a
moment he stood thus, running his fingers through his hair; then he
cast discretion to the winds and began the ascent.

In conformity with such Wieroo architecture as he had already observed,
the well through which the ladder rose continually canted at an angle
from the perpendicular. At more or less regular stages it was pierced
by apertures closed by doors, none of which he could open until he had
climbed fully

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