The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 57

day that
she had first been brought to his presence. He stopped there and
fastened his terrible eyes upon her. He did not speak, but his eyes
seemed to be boring straight to the center of her brain. She felt an
almost irresistible force urging her toward the kaldane. She fought to
resist it; she tried to turn away her eyes, but she could not. They
were held as in horrid fascination upon the glittering, lidless orbs of
the great brain that faced her. Slowly, every step a painful struggle
of resistance, she moved toward the horrific monster. She tried to cry
aloud in an effort to awaken her numbing faculties, but no sound passed
her lips. If those eyes would but turn away, just for an instant, she
felt that she might regain the power to control her steps; but the eyes
never left hers. They seemed but to burn deeper and deeper, gathering
up every vestige of control of her entire nervous system.

As she approached the thing it backed slowly away upon its spider legs.
She noticed that its chelae waved slowly to and fro before it as it
backed, backed, backed, through the round aperture in the wall. Must
she follow it there, too? What new and nameless horror lay concealed in
that hidden chamber? No! she would not do it. Yet before she reached
the wall she found herself down and crawling upon her hands and knees
straight toward the hole from which the two eyes still clung to hers.
At the very threshold of the opening she made a last, heroic stand,
battling against the force that drew her on; but in the end she
succumbed. With a gasp that ended in a sob Tara of Helium passed
through the aperture into the chamber beyond.

The opening was but barely large enough to admit her. Upon the opposite
side she found herself in a small chamber. Before her squatted Luud.
Against the opposite wall lay a large and beautiful male rykor. He was
without harness or other trappings.

"You see now," said Luud, "the futility of revolt."

The words seemed to release her momentarily from the spell. Quickly she
turned away her eyes.

"Look at me!" commanded Luud.

Tara of Helium kept her eyes averted. She felt a new strength, or at
least a diminution of the creature's power over her. Had she stumbled
upon the secret of its uncanny domination over her will? She dared not
hope. With eyes averted she turned toward the aperture through which
those baleful eyes had drawn her. Again Luud commanded her to stop, but

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