The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 16

she rose toward the clouds,
racing with the scudding streamers of the storm-swept fragments, and a
moment later she was swallowed by the dense masses billowing above.
Here was a new world, a world of chaos unpeopled except for herself;
but it was a cold, damp, lonely world and she found it depressing after
the novelty of it had been dissipated, by an overpowering sense of the
magnitude of the forces surging about her. Suddenly she felt very
lonely and very cold and very little. Hurriedly, therefore, she rose
until presently her craft broke through into the glorious sunlight that
transformed the upper surface of the somber element into rolling masses
of burnished silver. Here it was still cold, but without the dampness
of the clouds, and in the eye of the brilliant sun her spirits rose
with the mounting needle of her altimeter. Gazing at the clouds, now
far beneath, the girl experienced the sensation of hanging stationary
in mid-heaven; but the whirring of her propellor, the wind beating upon
her, the high figures that rose and fell beneath the glass of her
speedometer, these told her that her speed was terrific. It was then
that she determined to turn back.

The first attempt she made above the clouds, but it was unsuccessful.
To her surprise she discovered that she could not even turn against the
high wind, which rocked and buffeted the frail craft. Then she dropped
swiftly to the dark and wind-swept zone between the hurtling clouds and
the gloomy surface of the shadowed ground. Here she tried again to
force the nose of the flier back toward Helium, but the tempest seized
the frail thing and hurled it remorselessly about, rolling it over and
over and tossing it as it were a cork in a cataract. At last the girl
succeeded in righting the flier, perilously close to the ground. Never
before had she been so close to death, yet she was not terrified. Her
coolness had saved her, that and the strength of the deck lashings that
held her. Traveling with the storm she was safe, but where was it
bearing her? She pictured the apprehension of her father and mother
when she failed to appear at the morning meal. They would find her
flier missing and they would guess that somewhere in the path of the
storm it lay a wrecked and tangled mass upon her dead body, and then
brave men would go out in search of her, risking their lives; and that
lives would be lost in the search, she knew, for she realized now that
never in

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