Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 74

Then the clanging of a chain,
and a noise as of the snapping back against stone of a broken link.

Again came silence. But for a moment only. Now he heard once
more the soft feet approaching him. He thought that he discerned
wicked eyes gleaming fearfully at him through the darkness. He
knew that he could hear the heavy breathing of powerful lungs.

Then came the rush of many feet toward him, and the THINGS were
upon him.

Hands terminating in manlike fingers clutched at his throat and
arms and legs. Hairy bodies strained and struggled against his
own smooth hide as he battled in grim silence against these horrid
foemen in the darkness of the pits of ancient Aaanthor.

Thewed like some giant god was Carthoris of Helium, yet in the
clutches of these unseen creatures of the pit's Stygian night he
was helpless as a frail woman.

Yet he battled on, striking futile blows against great, hispid
breasts he could not see; feeling thick, squat throats beneath his
fingers; the drool of saliva upon his cheek, and hot, foul breath
in his nostrils.

Fangs, too, mighty fangs, he knew were close, and why they did not
sink into his flesh he could not guess.

At last he became aware of the mighty surging of a number of his
antagonists back and forth upon the great chain that held him, and
presently came the same sound that he had heard at a little distance
from him a short time before he had been attacked--his chain had
parted and the broken end snapped back against the stone wall.

Now he was seized upon either side and dragged at a rapid pace through
the dark corridors--toward what fate he could not even guess.

At first he had thought his foes might be of the tribe of Torquas,
but their hairy bodies belied that belief. Now he was at last
quite sure of their identity, though why they had not killed and
devoured him at once he could not imagine.

After half an hour or more of rapid racing through the underground
passages that are a distinguishing feature of all Barsoomian cities,
modern as well as ancient, his captors suddenly emerged into the
moonlight of a courtyard, far from the central plaza.

Immediately Carthoris saw that he was in the power of a tribe of
the great white apes of Barsoom. All that had caused him doubt
before as to the identity of his attackers was the hairiness of
their breasts, for the white apes are entirely hairless except for
a great shock bristling

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