The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 6

proportioned as to torso and lower
extremities precisely as is earthly man.

Their arms, however, were very short, and from where I stood seemed as
though fashioned much after the manner of an elephant's trunk, in that
they moved in sinuous and snakelike undulations, as though entirely
without bony structure, or if there were bones it seemed that they must
be vertebral in nature.

As I watched them from behind the stem of a huge tree, one of the
creatures moved slowly in my direction, engaged in the occupation that
seemed to be the principal business of each of them, and which
consisted in running their oddly shaped hands over the surface of the
sward, for what purpose I could not determine.

As he approached quite close to me I obtained an excellent view of him,
and though I was later to become better acquainted with his kind, I may
say that that single cursory examination of this awful travesty on
Nature would have proved quite sufficient to my desires had I been a
free agent. The fastest flier of the Heliumetic Navy could not quickly
enough have carried me far from this hideous creature.

Its hairless body was a strange and ghoulish blue, except for a broad
band of white which encircled its protruding, single eye: an eye that
was all dead white--pupil, iris, and ball.

Its nose was a ragged, inflamed, circular hole in the centre of its
blank face; a hole that resembled more closely nothing that I could
think of other than a fresh bullet wound which has not yet commenced to

Below this repulsive orifice the face was quite blank to the chin, for
the thing had no mouth that I could discover.

The head, with the exception of the face, was covered by a tangled mass
of jet-black hair some eight or ten inches in length. Each hair was
about the bigness of a large angleworm, and as the thing moved the
muscles of its scalp this awful head-covering seemed to writhe and
wriggle and crawl about the fearsome face as though indeed each
separate hair was endowed with independent life.

The body and the legs were as symmetrically human as Nature could have
fashioned them, and the feet, too, were human in shape, but of
monstrous proportions. From heel to toe they were fully three feet
long, and very flat and very broad.

As it came quite close to me I discovered that its strange movements,
running its odd hands over the surface of the turf, were the result of
its peculiar method of feeding, which consists in

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