The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 29

between his shoulders and his waist against his broad back.

Once as he stood looking down at a newly fallen antagonist my eyes
happened to fall upon this mirror and in its shiny surface I saw
pictured a sight that caused me to whisper:

"Move not, Tars Tarkas! Move not a muscle!"

He did not ask why, but stood like a graven image while my eyes watched
the strange thing that meant so much to us.

What I saw was the quick movement of a section of the wall behind me.
It was turning upon pivots, and with it a section of the floor directly
in front of it was turning. It was as though you placed a
visiting-card upon end on a silver dollar that you had laid flat upon a
table, so that the edge of the card perfectly bisected the surface of
the coin.

The card might represent the section of the wall that turned and the
silver dollar the section of the floor. Both were so nicely fitted
into the adjacent portions of the floor and wall that no crack had been
noticeable in the dim light of the chamber.

As the turn was half completed a great beast was revealed sitting upon
its haunches upon that part of the revolving floor that had been on the
opposite side before the wall commenced to move; when the section
stopped, the beast was facing toward me on our side of the
partition--it was very simple.

But what had interested me most was the sight that the half-turned
section had presented through the opening that it had made. A great
chamber, well lighted, in which were several men and women chained to
the wall, and in front of them, evidently directing and operating the
movement of the secret doorway, a wicked-faced man, neither red as are
the red men of Mars, nor green as are the green men, but white, like
myself, with a great mass of flowing yellow hair.

The prisoners behind him were red Martians. Chained with them were a
number of fierce beasts, such as had been turned upon us, and others
equally as ferocious.

As I turned to meet my new foe it was with a heart considerably

"Watch the wall at your end of the chamber, Tars Tarkas," I cautioned,
"it is through secret doorways in the wall that the brutes are loosed
upon us." I was very close to him and spoke in a low whisper that my
knowledge of their secret might not be disclosed to our tormentors.

As long as we

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