Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 40

roar broke from
his titanic lungs--a roar which ended in a long-drawn scream that is
more human than the death-cry of a tortured woman--more human but more
awesome. I could scarce restrain a shudder.

Slowly the beast turned and moved toward the girl. Then it was that I
came to myself and to a realization of my duty. Quickly and as
noiselessly as possible I ran down the arena in pursuit of the grim
creature. As I ran I drew one of my pitifully futile weapons. Ah!
Could I but have had my lost express-gun in my hands at that moment! A
single well-placed shot would have crumbled even this great monster.
The best I could hope to accomplish was to divert the thing from the
girl to myself and then to place as many bullets as possible in it
before it reached and mauled me into insensibility and death.

There is a certain unwritten law of the arena that vouchsafes freedom
and immunity to the victor, be he beast or human being--both of whom,
by the way, are all the same to the Mahar. That is, they were
accustomed to look upon man as a lower animal before Perry and I broke
through the Pellucidarian crust, but I imagine that they were beginning
to alter their views a trifle and to realize that in the gilak--their
word for human being--they had a highly organized, reasoning being to
contend with.

Be that as it may, the chances were that the tarag alone would profit
by the law of the arena. A few more of his long strides, a prodigious
leap, and he would be upon the girl. I raised a revolver and fired.
The bullet struck him in the left hind leg. It couldn't have damaged
him much; but the report of the shot brought him around, facing me.

I think the snarling visage of a huge, enraged, saber-toothed tiger is
one of the most terrible sights in the world. Especially if he be
snarling at you and there be nothing between the two of you but bare
sand.

Even as he faced me a little cry from the girl carried my eyes beyond
the brute to her face. Hers was fastened upon me with an expression of
incredulity that baffles description. There was both hope and horror
in them, too.

"Dian!" I cried. "My Heavens, Dian!"

I saw her lips form the name David, as with raised javelin she rushed
forward upon the tarag. She was a tigress then--a primitive savage
female

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