The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 30

was a traitor, how could I
know that there were not other traitors among us? I cursed myself for
my folly in going out upon the deck, and then this thought suggested
another--a hideous one: who was it that had really been responsible for
my being here?

Thinking to attract attention from inside the craft, I again ran down
the ladder and onto the small deck only to find that the steel covers
of the conning-tower windows were shut, and then I leaned with my back
against the tower and cursed myself for a gullible idiot.

I glanced at the bow. The sea seemed to be getting heavier, for every
wave now washed completely over the lower deck. I watched them for a
moment, and then a sudden chill pervaded my entire being. It was not
the chill of wet clothing, or the dashing spray which drenched my face;
no, it was the chill of the hand of death upon my heart. In an instant
I had turned the last corner of life's highway and was looking God
Almighty in the face--the U-33 was being slowly submerged!

It would be difficult, even impossible, to set down in writing my
sensations at that moment. All I can particularly recall is that I
laughed, though neither from a spirit of bravado nor from hysteria.
And I wanted to smoke. Lord! how I did want to smoke; but that was out
of the question.

I watched the water rise until the little deck I stood on was awash,
and then I clambered once more to the top of the conning-tower. From
the very slow submergence of the boat I knew that Benson was doing the
entire trick alone--that he was merely permitting the diving-tanks to
fill and that the diving-rudders were not in use. The throbbing of the
engines ceased, and in its stead came the steady vibration of the
electric motors. The water was halfway up the conning-tower! I had
perhaps five minutes longer on the deck. I tried to decide what I
should do after I was washed away. Should I swim until exhaustion
claimed me, or should I give up and end the agony at the first plunge?

From below came two muffled reports. They sounded not unlike shots.
Was Benson meeting with resistance? Personally it could mean little to
me, for even though my men might overcome the enemy, none would know of
my predicament until long after it was too late to succor me. The top
of the conning-tower was now awash.

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