The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

hand
gripped the stock of the bull whip. A single blow was all that would
have been needed to silence Professor Maxon forever. There was murder
in the wounded heart. The man took a step forward into the room, and
then something drew his eyes to a spot upon the wall just above
Professor Maxon's shoulder--it was a photograph of Virginia Maxon.

Without a word Number Thirteen turned upon his heel and passed out into
the storm.



8

THE SOUL OF NUMBER 13


Scarcely had the Ithaca cleared the reef which lies almost across the
mouth of the little harbor where she had been moored for so many months
than the tempest broke upon her in all its terrific fury. Bududreen
was no mean sailor, but he was short handed, nor is it reasonable to
suppose that even with a full crew he could have weathered the terrific
gale which beat down upon the hapless vessel. Buffeted by great waves,
and stripped of every shred of canvas by the force of the mighty wind
that howled about her, the Ithaca drifted a hopeless wreck soon after
the storm struck her.

Below deck the terrified girl clung desperately to a stanchion as the
stricken ship lunged sickeningly before the hurricane. For half an
hour the awful suspense endured, and then with a terrific crash the
vessel struck, shivering and trembling from stem to stern.

Virginia Maxon sank to her knees in prayer, for this she thought must
surely be the end. On deck Bududreen and his crew had lashed
themselves to the masts, and as the Ithaca struck the reef before the
harbor, back upon which she had been driven, the tall poles with their
living freight snapped at the deck and went overboard carrying every
thing with them amid shrieks and cries of terror that were drowned and
choked by the wild tumult of the night.

Twice the girl felt the ship strike upon the reef, then a great wave
caught and carried her high into the air, dropping her with a
nauseating lunge which seemed to the imprisoned girl to be carrying the
ship to the very bottom of the ocean. With closed eyes she clung in
silent prayer beside her berth waiting for the moment that would bring
the engulfing waters and oblivion--praying that the end might come
speedily and release her from the torture of nervous apprehension that
had terrorized her for what seemed an eternity.

After the last, long dive the Ithaca righted herself laboriously,
wallowing drunkenly, but apparently upon an even keel in less turbulent
waters.

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