The Land That Time Forgot

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

women must have returned from the
pool; yet as I drew near, I saw no sign of life whatever. "They have
remained longer," I thought; but when I was quite close to the base of
the cliffs, I saw that which dashed my hopes and my happiness to earth.
Strewn along the ground were a score of mute and horrible suggestions
of what had taken place during my absence--bones picked clean of flesh,
the bones of manlike creatures, the bones of many of the tribe of
Sto-lu; nor in any cave was there sign of life.

Closely I examined the ghastly remains fearful each instant that I
should find the dainty skull that would shatter my happiness for life;
but though I searched diligently, picking up every one of the
twenty-odd skulls, I found none that was the skull of a creature but
slightly removed from the ape. Hope, then, still lived. For another
three days I searched north and south, east and west for the hatchetmen
of Caspak; but never a trace of them did I find. It was raining most
of the time now, and the weather was as near cold as it ever seems to
get on Caprona.

At last I gave up the search and set off toward Fort Dinosaur. For a
week--a week filled with the terrors and dangers of a primeval world--I
pushed on in the direction I thought was south. The sun never shone;
the rain scarcely ever ceased falling. The beasts I met with were fewer
in number but infinitely more terrible in temper; yet I lived on until
there came to me the realization that I was hopelessly lost, that a
year of sunshine would not again give me my bearings; and while I was
cast down by this terrifying knowledge, the knowledge that I never
again could find Lys, I stumbled upon another grave--the grave of
William James, with its little crude headstone and its scrawled
characters recording that he had died upon the 13th of
September--killed by a saber-tooth tiger.

I think that I almost gave up then. Never in my life have I felt more
hopeless or helpless or alone. I was lost. I could not find my
friends. I did not even know that they still lived; in fact, I could
not bring myself to believe that they did. I was sure that Lys was
dead. I wanted myself to die, and yet I clung to life--useless and
hopeless and harrowing a thing as it had become. I clung to life
because some

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