The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 43

so I turned
with my back toward her that I might be in a position to shield her
from the strange reptile should it really succeed in reaching the deck;
and as I did so I saw the thing raise one flipper over the rail, dart
its head forward and with the quickness of lightning seize upon one of
the boches. I ran forward, discharging my pistol into the creature's
body in an effort to force it to relinquish its prey; but I might as
profitably have shot at the sun.

Shrieking and screaming, the German was dragged from the deck, and the
moment the reptile was clear of the boat, it dived beneath the surface
of the water with its terrified prey. I think we were all more or less
shaken by the frightfulness of the tragedy--until Olson remarked that
the balance of power now rested where it belonged. Following the death
of Benson we had been nine and nine--nine Germans and nine "Allies," as
we called ourselves, now there were but eight Germans. We never
counted the girl on either side, I suppose because she was a girl,
though we knew well enough now that she was ours.

And so Olson's remark helped to clear the atmosphere for the Allies at
least, and then our attention was once more directed toward the river,
for around us there had sprung up a perfect bedlam of screams and
hisses and a seething caldron of hideous reptiles, devoid of fear and
filled only with hunger and with rage. They clambered, squirmed and
wriggled to the deck, forcing us steadily backward, though we emptied
our pistols into them. There were all sorts and conditions of horrible
things--huge, hideous, grotesque, monstrous--a veritable Mesozoic
nightmare. I saw that the girl was gotten below as quickly as possible,
and she took Nobs with her--poor Nobs had nearly barked his head off;
and I think, too, that for the first time since his littlest puppyhood
he had known fear; nor can I blame him. After the girl I sent Bradley
and most of the Allies and then the Germans who were on deck--von
Schoenvorts being still in irons below.

The creatures were approaching perilously close before I dropped
through the hatchway and slammed down the cover. Then I went into the
tower and ordered full speed ahead, hoping to distance the fearsome
things; but it was useless. Not only could any of them easily
outdistance the U-33, but the further upstream we progressed the
greater the number of our besiegers, until fearful of navigating a
strange river

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