Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 7

them all, the five
men tensed into sudden rigidity.

Above the nocturnal diapason of the teeming jungle sounded a dismal
flapping of wings and over head, through the thick night, a shadowy
form passed across the diffused light of the flaring camp-fire.
Sinclair raised his rifle and fired. An eerie wail floated down from
above and the apparition, whatever it might have been, was swallowed by
the darkness. For several seconds the listening men heard the sound of
those dismally flapping wings lessening in the distance until they
could no longer be heard.

Bradley was the first to speak. "Shouldn't have fired, Sinclair," he
said; "can't waste ammunition." But there was no note of censure in
his tone. It was as though he understood the nervous reaction that had
compelled the other's act.

"I couldn't help it, sir," said Sinclair. "Lord, it would take an iron
man to keep from shootin' at that awful thing. Do you believe in
ghosts, sir?"

"No," replied Bradley. "No such things."

"I don't know about that," said Brady. "There was a woman murdered
over on the prairie near Brighton--her throat was cut from ear to ear,
and--"

"Shut up," snapped Bradley.

"My grandaddy used to live down Coppington wy," said Tippet. "They
were a hold ruined castle on a 'ill near by, hand at midnight they used
to see pale blue lights through the windows an 'ear--"

"Will you close your hatch!" demanded Bradley. "You fools will have
yourselves scared to death in a minute. Now go to sleep."

But there was little sleep in camp that night until utter exhaustion
overtook the harassed men toward morning; nor was there any return of
the weird creature that had set the nerves of each of them on edge.

The following forenoon the party reached the base of the barrier cliffs
and for two days marched northward in an effort to discover a break in
the frowning abutment that raised its rocky face almost perpendicularly
above them, yet nowhere was there the slightest indication that the
cliffs were scalable.

Disheartened, Bradley determined to turn back toward the fort, as he
already had exceeded the time decided upon by Bowen Tyler and himself
for the expedition. The cliffs for many miles had been trending in a
northeasterly direction, indicating to Bradley that they were
approaching the northern extremity of the island. According to the
best of his calculations they had made sufficient easting during the
past two days to have brought them to a point almost directly north of
Fort Dinosaur and as nothing could

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