The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 65

Running toward it, I saw that it was
Thirty-six, and as I stopped and raised the Grabritin's head in my
arms, I heard a faint moan break from his lips. He was not dead, but
that he was badly injured was all too evident.

Delcarte and Taylor came up a moment later, and the three of us worked
over the fellow, hoping to revive him that he might tell us what had
happened, and what had become of the others. My first thought was
prompted by the sight I had recently had of the savage native. The
little party had evidently been surprised, and in the attack Thirty-six
had been wounded and the others taken prisoners. The thought was
almost like a physical blow in the face--it stunned me. Victory in the
hands of these abysmal brutes! It was frightful. I almost shook poor
Thirty-six in my efforts to revive him.

I explained my theory to the others, and then Delcarte shattered it by
a single movement of the hand. He drew aside the lion's skin that
covered half of the Grabritin's breast, revealing a neat, round hole in
Thirty-six's chest--a hole that could have been made by no other weapon
than a rifle.

"Snider!" I exclaimed. Delcarte nodded. At about the same time the
eyelids of the wounded man fluttered, and raised. He looked up at us,
and very slowly the light of consciousness returned to his eyes.

"What happened, Thirty-six?" I asked him.

He tried to reply, but the effort caused him to cough, bringing about a
hemorrhage of the lungs and again he fell back exhausted. For several
long minutes he lay as one dead, then in an almost inaudible whisper he
spoke.

"Snider--" He paused, tried to speak again, raised a hand, and pointed
down-river. "They--went--back," and then he shuddered convulsively and
died.

None of us voiced his belief. But I think they were all alike: Victory
and Snider had stolen the launch, and deserted us.



7


We stood there, grouped about the body of the dead Grabritin, looking
futilely down the river to where it made an abrupt curve to the west, a
quarter of a mile below us, and was lost to sight, as though we
expected to see the truant returning to us with our precious
launch--the thing that meant life or death to us in this unfriendly,
savage world.

I felt, rather than saw, Taylor turn his eyes slowly toward my profile,
and, as mine swung to meet them, the expression upon his face recalled
me

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