The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 56

my
clutching fingers. The hammer fell with a futile click upon an empty
chamber.

Before he could fire again I had pulled him so far over the edge of the
deck that he was forced to drop his firearm and clutch the rail with
both hands.

My grasp upon his throat effectually prevented any outcry, and so we
struggled in grim silence; he to tear away from my hold, I to drag him
over to his death.

His face was taking on a livid hue, his eyes were bulging from their
sockets. It was evident to him that he soon must die unless he tore
loose from the steel fingers that were choking the life from him. With
a final effort he threw himself further back upon the deck, at the same
instant releasing his hold upon the rail to tear frantically with both
hands at my fingers in an effort to drag them from his throat.

That little second was all that I awaited. With one mighty downward
surge I swept him clear of the deck. His falling body came near to
tearing me from the frail hold that my single free hand had upon the
anchor chain and plunging me with him to the waters of the sea below.

I did not relinquish my grasp upon him, however, for I knew that a
single shriek from those lips as he hurtled to his death in the silent
waters of the sea would bring his comrades from above to avenge him.

Instead I held grimly to him, choking, ever choking, while his frantic
struggles dragged me lower and lower toward the end of the chain.

Gradually his contortions became spasmodic, lessening by degrees until
they ceased entirely. Then I released my hold upon him and in an
instant he was swallowed by the black shadows far below.

Again I climbed to the ship's rail. This time I succeeded in raising
my eyes to the level of the deck, where I could take a careful survey
of the conditions immediately confronting me.

The nearer moon had passed below the horizon, but the clear effulgence
of the further satellite bathed the deck of the cruiser, bringing into
sharp relief the bodies of six or eight black men sprawled about in
sleep.

Huddled close to the base of a rapid fire gun was a young white girl,
securely bound. Her eyes were widespread in an expression of horrified
anticipation and fixed directly upon me as I came in sight above the
edge of the deck.

Unutterable relief instantly filled them as if

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