I gained the deck. The girl nodded to me to approach her.
As I bent low she whispered to me to release her.
"I can aid you," she said, "and you will need all the aid available
when they awaken."
"Some of them will awake in Korus," I replied smiling.
She caught the meaning of my words, and the cruelty of her answering
smile horrified me. One is not astonished by cruelty in a hideous
face, but when it touches the features of a goddess whose
fine-chiselled lineaments might more fittingly portray love and beauty,
the contrast is appalling.
Quickly I released her.
"Give me a revolver," she whispered. "I can use that upon those your
sword does not silence in time."
I did as she bid. Then I turned toward the distasteful work that lay
before me. This was no time for fine compunctions, nor for a chivalry
that these cruel demons would neither appreciate nor reciprocate.
Stealthily I approached the nearest sleeper. When he awoke he was well
on his journey to the bosom of Korus. His piercing shriek as
consciousness returned to him came faintly up to us from the black
The second awoke as I touched him, and, though I succeeded in hurling
him from the cruiser's deck, his wild cry of alarm brought the
remaining pirates to their feet. There were five of them.
As they arose the girl's revolver spoke in sharp staccato and one sank
back to the deck again to rise no more.
The others rushed madly upon me with drawn swords. The girl evidently
dared not fire for fear of wounding me, but I saw her sneak stealthily
and cat-like toward the flank of the attackers. Then they were on me.
For a few minutes I experienced some of the hottest fighting I had ever
passed through. The quarters were too small for foot work. It was
stand your ground and give and take. At first I took considerably more
than I gave, but presently I got beneath one fellow's guard and had the
satisfaction of seeing him collapse upon the deck.
The others redoubled their efforts. The crashing of their blades upon
mine raised a terrific din that might have been heard for miles through
the silent night. Sparks flew as steel smote steel, and then there was
the dull and sickening sound of a shoulder bone parting beneath the
keen edge of my Martian sword.
Three now faced me, but the girl was working her way to a point that
Short hair grew upon a large portion of their limbs and bodies, which still retained a considerable trace of apish progenitors.Page 9
He shot a startled glance up into the black void above and then burying his face in his arms began to sob like a child.Page 11
The four returned cautiously to the spot where the creature lay and after convincing themselves that it was quite dead, came close to it.Page 15
"Where is Lieutenant Bradley?" asked Sinclair.Page 16
"They are still there!" And he fell to his knees, sobbing.Page 21
A striking feature of the decorations consisted of several engaged columns set into the walls at no regular intervals, the capitals of each supporting a human skull the cranium of which touched the ceiling, as though the latter was supported by these grim reminders either of departed relatives or of some hideous tribal rite--Bradley could not but wonder which.Page 26
Could it be that such grotesque beings represented the high culture of the human race within the boundaries of Caspak? Had natural selection produced during the countless ages of Caspakian life a winged monstrosity that represented the earthly pinnacle of man's evolution? Bradley had noted something of the obvious indications of a gradual evolution from ape to spearman as exemplified by the several overlapping races of Alalus, club-men and hatchet-men that formed the connecting links between the two extremes with which he, had come in contact.Page 33
"I may only guess from what I have heard since I was brought here," she answered; "but by reports and chance remarks I take it to be a beautiful land in which there are but few wild beasts and no men, for only the Wieroos live upon this island and they dwell always in cities of which there are three, this being the largest.Page 37
He saw the rags rise higher and higher above him until at last they tumbled upon the floor from the body of a naked man--a thin, a bony, a hideous caricature of man, that mouthed and mummed and, wabbling upon its weak and shaking legs, crumpled to the floor again, still laughing--laughing horribly.Page 38
It brought the man to a sitting posture, his hands off the ground.Page 43
Feeling his way along the narrow ledge, Bradley came presently to a blank wall that stretched out over the water swirling beneath him, as far as he could reach.Page 44
He had promised to return for An-Tak if it proved humanly possible to do so, and he knew that in the blackness of the tunnel he could locate the foot of the ladder in no other way.Page 45
With an oath he pushed his gruesome companion out into mid-stream to float on down toward the great pool and the awaiting scavengers of the deep.Page 53
Bradley could guess all this by the increased volume of sound and the dismal greetings; but the sudden silence that almost immediately ensued he could not fathom, for he could not know that from beneath one of the hides that covered him protruded one of his heavy army shoes, or that some eighteen large Wieroos with robes either solid red or slashed with red or blue were standing gazing at it.Page 58
If there is danger there and you want me to draw you up into the shaft, jerk once.Page 59
Bradley could not but muse upon the joy of the man on the opposite side when he should drop down to him with food and a new hope for escape.Page 63
"We are just below the place of the yellow door," she said.Page 66
He told the girl that she should remain in hiding; but she refused to be left, saying that whatever fate was to be his, she.Page 70
up the man saw a white-robed Wieroo circling slowly above him.Page 85
that 132 10 splashes splashed 134 3 know know not know].