Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 58

sides of the shaft were clotted thick with a dried, dark brown
substance that the Englishman knew had once been blood. The place had
the appearance of having been a veritable shambles. An odor of
decaying flesh permeated the air.

The Englishman crossed to the shaft and peered into the opening. All
below was dark as pitch; but at the bottom he knew was the river.
Suddenly an inspiration and a bold scheme leaped to his mind. Turning
quickly he hunted about the room until he found what he sought--a
quantity of the rope that lay strewn here and there. With rapid
fingers he unsnarled the different lengths, the girl helping him, and
then he tied the ends together until he had three ropes about
seventy-five feet in length. He fastened these together at each end
and without a word secured one of the ends about the girl's body
beneath her arms.

"Don't be frightened," he said at length, as he led her toward the
opening in the shaft. "I'm going to lower you to the river, and then
I'm coming down after you. When you are safe below, give two quick
jerks upon the rope. If there is danger there and you want me to draw
you up into the shaft, jerk once. Don't be afraid--it is the only way."

"I am not afraid," replied the girl, rather haughtily Bradley thought,
and herself climbed through the aperture and hung by her hands waiting
for Bradley to lower her.

As rapidly as was consistent with safety, the man paid out the rope.
When it was about half out, he heard loud cries and wails suddenly
arise within the room they had just quitted. The slaying of their god
had been discovered by the Wieroos. A search for the slayer would
begin at once.

Lord! Would the girl never reach the river? At last, just as he was
positive that searchers were already entering the room behind him,
there came two quick tugs at the rope. Instantly Bradley made the rest
of the strands fast about the shaft, slipped into the black tube and
began a hurried descent toward the river. An instant later he stood
waist deep in water beside the girl. Impulsively she reached toward
him and grasped his arm. A strange thrill ran through him at the
contact; but he only cut the rope from about her body and lifted her to
the little shelf at the river's side.

"How can we leave here?" she asked.


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