The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 28

hound, with
several rows of long needle-like fangs; its mouth reaches to a point
far back of its tiny ears, while its enormous, protruding eyes of green
add the last touch of terror to its awful aspect.

As it crept toward me it lashed its powerful tail against its yellow
sides, and when it saw that it was discovered it emitted the terrifying
roar which often freezes its prey into momentary paralysis in the
instant that it makes its spring.

And so it launched its great bulk toward me, but its mighty voice had
held no paralysing terrors for me, and it met cold steel instead of the
tender flesh its cruel jaws gaped so widely to engulf.

An instant later I drew my blade from the still heart of this great
Barsoomian lion, and turning toward Tars Tarkas was surprised to see
him facing a similar monster.

No sooner had he dispatched his than I, turning, as though drawn by the
instinct of my guardian subconscious mind, beheld another of the savage
denizens of the Martian wilds leaping across the chamber toward me.

From then on for the better part of an hour one hideous creature after
another was launched upon us, springing apparently from the empty air
about us.

Tars Tarkas was satisfied; here was something tangible that he could
cut and slash with his great blade, while I, for my part, may say that
the diversion was a marked improvement over the uncanny voices from
unseen lips.

That there was nothing supernatural about our new foes was well
evidenced by their howls of rage and pain as they felt the sharp steel
at their vitals, and the very real blood which flowed from their
severed arteries as they died the real death.

I noticed during the period of this new persecution that the beasts
appeared only when our backs were turned; we never saw one really
materialize from thin air, nor did I for an instant sufficiently lose
my excellent reasoning faculties to be once deluded into the belief
that the beasts came into the room other than through some concealed
and well-contrived doorway.

Among the ornaments of Tars Tarkas' leather harness, which is the only
manner of clothing worn by Martians other than silk capes and robes of
silk and fur for protection from the cold after dark, was a small
mirror, about the bigness of a lady's hand glass, which hung midway
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

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