The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

of the headless things that
the towers and the walls hid. Those by day and the banths by night! Ah,
was it any wonder that she shuddered?

With the coming of the Sun the great Barsoomian lion rose to his feet.
He turned angry eyes upon the girl above him, voiced a single ominous
growl, and slunk away toward the hills. The girl watched him, and she
saw that he gave the towers as wide a berth as possible and that he
never took his eyes from one of them while he was passing it. Evidently
the inmates had taught these savage creatures to respect them.
Presently he passed from sight in a narrow defile, nor in any direction
that she could see was there another. Momentarily at least the
landscape was deserted. The girl wondered if she dared to attempt to
regain the hills and her flier. She dreaded the coming of the workmen
to the fields as she was sure they would come. She shrank from again
seeing the headless bodies, and found herself wondering if these things
would come out into the fields and work. She looked toward the nearest
tower. There was no sign of life there. The valley lay quiet now and
deserted. She lowered herself stiffly to the ground. Her muscles were
cramped and every move brought a twinge of pain. Pausing a moment to
drink again at the stream she felt refreshed and then turned without
more delay toward the hills. To cover the distance as quickly as
possible seemed the only plan to pursue. The trees no longer offered
concealment and so she did not go out of her way to be near them. The
hills seemed very far away. She had not thought, the night before, that
she had traveled so far. Really it had not been far, but now, with the
three towers to pass in broad daylight, the distance seemed great
indeed.

The second tower lay almost directly in her path. To make a detour
would not lessen the chance of detection, it would only lengthen the
period of her danger, and so she laid her course straight for the hill
where her flier was, regardless of the tower. As she passed the first
enclosure she thought that she heard the sound of movement within, but
the gate did not open and she breathed more easily when it lay behind
her. She came then to the second enclosure, the outer wall of which she
must circle, as it lay across her route. As she passed close along it
she distinctly heard not only movement

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