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The Land that Time Forgot
by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Chapter 8

It was a sad leave-taking as in silence I shook hands with each
of the three remaining men. Even poor Nobs appeared dejected as
we quit the compound and set out upon the well-marked spoor of
the abductor. Not once did I turn my eyes backward toward
Fort Dinosaur. I have not looked upon it since--nor in all
likelihood shall I ever look upon it again. The trail led
northwest until it reached the western end of the sandstone
cliffs to the north of the fort; there it ran into a well-defined
path which wound northward into a country we had not as yet explored.
It was a beautiful, gently rolling country, broken by occasional
outcroppings of sandstone and by patches of dense forest relieved
by open, park-like stretches and broad meadows whereon grazed
countless herbivorous animals--red deer, aurochs, and infinite
variety of antelope and at least three distinct species of horse,
the latter ranging in size from a creature about as large as
Nobs to a magnificent animal fourteen to sixteen hands high.
These creatures fed together in perfect amity; nor did they show
any great indications of terror when Nobs and I approached.
They moved out of our way and kept their eyes upon us until we
had passed; then they resumed their feeding.

The path led straight across the clearing into another forest,
lying upon the verge of which I saw a bit of white. It appeared
to stand out in marked contrast and incongruity to all its
surroundings, and when I stopped to examine it, I found that
it was a small strip of muslin--part of the hem of a garment.
At once I was all excitement, for I knew that it was a sign left
by Lys that she had been carried this way; it was a tiny bit torn
from the hem of the undergarment that she wore in lieu of the
night-robes she had lost with the sinking of the liner.
Crushing the bit of fabric to my lips, I pressed on even more
rapidly than before, because I now knew that I was upon the right
trail and that up to this, point at least, Lys still had lived.

I made over twenty miles that day, for I was now hardened to
fatigue and accustomed to long hikes, having spent considerable
time hunting and exploring in the immediate vicinity of camp.
A dozen times that day was my life threatened by fearsome creatures
of the earth or sky, though I could not but note that the farther
north I traveled, the fewer were the great dinosaurs, though they
still persisted in lesser numbers. On the other hand the
quantity of ruminants and the variety and frequency of
carnivorous animals increased. Each square mile of Caspak
harbored its terrors.

At intervals along the way I found bits of muslin, and often they
reassured me when otherwise I should have been doubtful of the trail
to take where two crossed or where there were forks, as occurred
at several points. And so, as night was drawing on, I came to the
southern end of a line of cliffs loftier than any I had seen before,
and as I approached them, there was wafted to my nostrils the pungent
aroma of woodsmoke. What could it mean? There could, to my mind,
be but a single solution: man abided close by, a higher order of
man than we had as yet seen, other than Ahm, the Neanderthal man.
I wondered again as I had so many times that day if it had not been
Ahm who stole Lys.

Cautiously I approached the flank of the cliffs, where they
terminated in an abrupt escarpment as though some all powerful
hand had broken off a great section of rock and set it upon the
surface of the earth. It was now quite dark, and as I crept
around the edge of the cliff, I saw at a little distance a great
fire around which were many figures--apparently human figures.
Cautioning Nobs to silence, and he had learned many lessons in
the value of obedience since we had entered Caspak, I slunk
forward, taking advantage of whatever cover I could find, until
from behind a bush I could distinctly see the creatures assembled
by the fire. They were human and yet not human. I should say
that they were a little higher in the scale of evolution than
Ahm, possibly occupying a place of evolution between that of the
Neanderthal man and what is known as the Grimaldi race. Their features
were distinctly negroid, though their skins were white. A considerable
portion of both torso and limbs were covered with short hair, and
their physical proportions were in many aspects apelike, though not
so much so as were Ahm's. They carried themselves in a more erect
position, although their arms were considerably longer than those
of the Neanderthal man. As I watched them, I saw that they possessed
a language, that they had knowledge of fire and that they carried
besides the wooden club of Ahm, a thing which resembled a crude
stone hatchet. Evidently they were very low in the scale of
humanity, but they were a step upward from those I had previously
seen in Caspak.

But what interested me most was the slender figure of a dainty
girl, clad only in a thin bit of muslin which scarce covered her
knees--a bit of muslin torn and ragged about the lower hem. It was
Lys, and she was alive and so far as I could see, unharmed. A huge
brute with thick lips and prognathous jaw stood at her shoulder.
He was talking loudly and gesticulating wildly. I was close enough
to hear his words, which were similar to the language of Ahm, though
much fuller, for there were many words I could not understand.
However I caught the gist of what he was saying--which in effect
was that he had found and captured this Galu, that she was his
and that he defied anyone to question his right of possession.
It appeared to me, as I afterward learned was the fact, that I was
witnessing the most primitive of marriage ceremonies. The assembled
members of the tribe looked on and listened in a sort of dull and
perfunctory apathy, for the speaker was by far the mightiest of the clan.

There seemed no one to dispute his claims when he said, or rather
shouted, in stentorian tones: "I am Tsa. This is my she.
Who wishes her more than Tsa?"

"I do," I said in the language of Ahm, and I stepped out into the
firelight before them. Lys gave a little cry of joy and started
toward me, but Tsa grasped her arm and dragged her back.

"Who are you?" shrieked Tsa. "I kill! I kill! I kill!"

"The she is mine," I replied, "and I have come to claim her.
I kill if you do not let her come to me." And I raised my pistol
to a level with his heart. Of course the creature had no conception
of the purpose of the strange little implement which I was poking
toward him. With a sound that was half human and half the growl
of a wild beast, he sprang toward me. I aimed at his heart and
fired, and as he sprawled headlong to the ground, the others of
his tribe, overcome by fright at the report of the pistol,
scattered toward the cliffs--while Lys, with outstretched arms,
ran toward me.

As I crushed her to me, there rose from the black night behind us
and then to our right and to our left a series of frightful
screams and shrieks, bellowings, roars and growls. It was the
night-life of this jungle world coming into its own--the huge,
carnivorous nocturnal beasts which make the nights of Caspak hideous.
A shuddering sob ran through Lys' figure. "O God," she cried,
"give me the strength to endure, for his sake!" I saw that
she was upon the verge of a breakdown, after all that she must
have passed through of fear and horror that day, and I tried to
quiet and reassure her as best I might; but even to me the future
looked most unpromising, for what chance of life had we against
the frightful hunters of the night who even now were prowling
closer to us?

Now I turned to see what had become of the tribe, and in the
fitful glare of the fire I perceived that the face of the
cliff was pitted with large holes into which the man-things
were clambering. "Come," I said to Lys, "we must follow them.
We cannot last a half-hour out here. We must find a cave."
Already we could see the blazing green eyes of the hungry carnivora.
I seized a brand from the fire and hurled it out into the night,
and there came back an answering chorus of savage and rageful
protest; but the eyes vanished for a short time. Selecting a
burning branch for each of us, we advanced toward the cliffs,
where we were met by angry threats.

"They will kill us," said Lys. "We may as well keep on in search
of another refuge."

"They will not kill us so surely as will those others out there,"
I replied. "I am going to seek shelter in one of these caves;
nor will the man-things prevent." And I kept on in the direction
of the cliff's base. A huge creature stood upon a ledge and
brandished his stone hatchet. "Come and I will kill you and take
the she," he boasted.

"You saw how Tsa fared when he would have kept my she," I replied
in his own tongue. "Thus will you fare and all your fellows if
you do not permit us to come in peace among you out of the dangers
of the night."

"Go north," he screamed. "Go north among the Galus, and we will
not harm you. Some day will we be Galus; but now we are not.
You do not belong among us. Go away or we will kill you. The she
may remain if she is afraid, and we will keep her; but the he
must depart."

"The he won't depart," I replied, and approached still nearer.
Rough and narrow ledges formed by nature gave access to the
upper caves. A man might scale them if unhampered and unhindered,
but to clamber upward in the face of a belligerent tribe of half-men
and with a girl to assist was beyond my capability.

"I do not fear you," screamed the creature. "You were close to
Tsa; but I am far above you. You cannot harm me as you harmed Tsa.
Go away!"

I placed a foot upon the lowest ledge and clambered upward,
reaching down and pulling Lys to my side. Already I felt safer.
Soon we would be out of danger of the beasts again closing in
upon us. The man above us raised his stone hatchet above his head
and leaped lightly down to meet us. His position above me gave
him a great advantage, or at least so he probably thought, for he
came with every show of confidence. I hated to do it, but there
seemed no other way, and so I shot him down as I had shot down Tsa.

"You see," I cried to his fellows, "that I can kill you wherever
you may be. A long way off I can kill you as well as I can kill
you near by. Let us come among you in peace. I will not harm you
if you do not harm us. We will take a cave high up. Speak!"

"Come, then," said one. "If you will not harm us, you may come.
Take Tsa's hole, which lies above you."

The creature showed us the mouth of a black cave, but he kept at
a distance while he did it, and Lys followed me as I crawled in
to explore. I had matches with me, and in the light of one I
found a small cavern with a flat roof and floor which followed
the cleavage of the strata. Pieces of the roof had fallen at
some long-distant date, as was evidenced by the depth of the
filth and rubble in which they were embedded. Even a superficial
examination revealed the fact that nothing had ever been
attempted that might have improved the livability of the cavern;
nor, should I judge, had it ever been cleaned out. With considerable
difficulty I loosened some of the larger pieces of broken rock which
littered the floor and placed them as a barrier before the doorway.
It was too dark to do more than this. I then gave Lys a piece of
dried meat, and sitting inside the entrance, we dined as must have
some of our ancient forbears at the dawning of the age of man, while
far below the open diapason of the savage night rose weird and
horrifying to our ears. In the light of the great fire still
burning we could see huge, skulking forms, and in the blacker
background countless flaming eyes.

Lys shuddered, and I put my arm around her and drew her to me;
and thus we sat throughout the hot night. She told me of her
abduction and of the fright she had undergone, and together we
thanked God that she had come through unharmed, because the great
brute had dared not pause along the danger-infested way. She said
that they had but just reached the cliffs when I arrived, for on
several occasions her captor had been forced to take to the trees
with her to escape the clutches of some hungry cave-lion or saber-
toothed tiger, and that twice they had been obliged to remain for
considerable periods before the beasts had retired.

Nobs, by dint of much scrambling and one or two narrow escapes
from death, had managed to follow us up the cliff and was now
curled between me and the doorway, having devoured a piece of the
dried meat, which he seemed to relish immensely. He was the
first to fall asleep; but I imagine we must have followed suit
soon, for we were both tired. I had laid aside my ammunition-
belt and rifle, though both were close beside me; but my pistol
I kept in my lap beneath my hand. However, we were not disturbed
during the night, and when I awoke, the sun was shining on the
tree-tops in the distance. Lys' head had drooped to my breast,
and my arm was still about her.

Shortly afterward Lys awoke, and for a moment she could not seem
to comprehend her situation. She looked at me and then turned
and glanced at my arm about her, and then she seemed quite
suddenly to realize the scantiness of her apparel and drew away,
covering her face with her palms and blushing furiously. I drew
her back toward me and kissed her, and then she threw her arms
about my neck and wept softly in mute surrender to the inevitable.

It was an hour later before the tribe began to stir about.
We watched them from our "apartment," as Lys called it.
Neither men nor women wore any sort of clothing or ornaments,
and they all seemed to be about of an age; nor were there any
babies or children among them. This was, to us, the strangest
and most inexplicable of facts, but it recalled to us that
though we had seen many of the lesser developed wild people
of Caspak, we had never yet seen a child or an old man or woman.

After a while they became less suspicious of us and then quite
friendly in their brutish way. They picked at the fabric of our
clothing, which seemed to interest them, and examined my rifle
and pistol and the ammunition in the belt around my waist.
I showed them the thermos-bottle, and when I poured a little water
from it, they were delighted, thinking that it was a spring which
I carried about with me--a never-failing source of water supply.

One thing we both noticed among their other characteristics: they
never laughed nor smiled; and then we remembered that Ahm had
never done so, either. I asked them if they knew Ahm; but they
said they did not.

One of them said: "Back there we may have known him." And he
jerked his head to the south.

"You came from back there?" I asked. He looked at me in surprise.

"We all come from there," he said. "After a while we go there."
And this time he jerked his head toward the north. "Be Galus,"
he concluded.

Many times now had we heard this reference to becoming Galus.
Ahm had spoken of it many times. Lys and I decided that it was
a sort of original religious conviction, as much a part of them
as their instinct for self-preservation--a primal acceptance of
a hereafter and a holier state. It was a brilliant theory, but
it was all wrong. I know it now, and how far we were from
guessing the wonderful, the miraculous, the gigantic truth which
even yet I may only guess at--the thing that sets Caspak apart
from all the rest of the world far more definitely than her
isolated geographical position or her impregnable barrier of
giant cliffs. If I could live to return to civilization, I
should have meat for the clergy and the layman to chew upon for
years--and for the evolutionists, too.

After breakfast the men set out to hunt, while the women went to
a large pool of warm water covered with a green scum and filled
with billions of tadpoles. They waded in to where the water was
about a foot deep and lay down in the mud. They remained there
from one to two hours and then returned to the cliff. While we
were with them, we saw this same thing repeated every morning;
but though we asked them why they did it we could get no reply
which was intelligible to us. All they vouchsafed in way of
explanation was the single word Ata. They tried to get Lys to go
in with them and could not understand why she refused. After the
first day I went hunting with the men, leaving my pistol and
Nobs with Lys, but she never had to use them, for no reptile or
beast ever approached the pool while the women were there--nor,
so far as we know, at other times. There was no spoor of wild
beast in the soft mud along the banks, and the water certainly
didn't look fit to drink.

This tribe lived largely upon the smaller animals which they
bowled over with their stone hatchets after making a wide circle
about their quarry and driving it so that it had to pass close to
one of their number. The little horses and the smaller antelope
they secured in sufficient numbers to support life, and they also
ate numerous varieties of fruits and vegetables. They never
brought in more than sufficient food for their immediate needs;
but why bother? The food problem of Caspak is not one to cause
worry to her inhabitants.

The fourth day Lys told me that she thought she felt equal to
attempting the return journey on the morrow, and so I set out for
the hunt in high spirits, for I was anxious to return to the fort
and learn if Bradley and his party had returned and what had been
the result of his expedition. I also wanted to relieve their
minds as to Lys and myself, as I knew that they must have already
given us up for dead. It was a cloudy day, though warm, as it
always is in Caspak. It seemed odd to realize that just a few
miles away winter lay upon the storm-tossed ocean, and that snow
might be falling all about Caprona; but no snow could ever
penetrate the damp, hot atmosphere of the great crater.

We had to go quite a bit farther than usual before we could
surround a little bunch of antelope, and as I was helping drive
them, I saw a fine red deer a couple of hundred yards behind me.
He must have been asleep in the long grass, for I saw him rise
and look about him in a bewildered way, and then I raised my gun
and let him have it. He dropped, and I ran forward to finish him
with the long thin knife, which one of the men had given me; but
just as I reached him, he staggered to his feet and ran on for
another two hundred yards--when I dropped him again. Once more
was this repeated before I was able to reach him and cut his
throat; then I looked around for my companions, as I wanted them
to come and carry the meat home; but I could see nothing of them.
I called a few times and waited, but there was no response and no
one came. At last I became disgusted, and cutting off all the
meat that I could conveniently carry, I set off in the direction
of the cliffs. I must have gone about a mile before the truth
dawn upon me--I was lost, hopelessly lost.

The entire sky was still completely blotted out by dense clouds;
nor was there any landmark visible by which I might have taken
my bearings. I went on in the direction I thought was south but
which I now imagine must have been about due north, without
detecting a single familiar object. In a dense wood I suddenly
stumbled upon a thing which at first filled me with hope and later
with the most utter despair and dejection. It was a little mound
of new-turned earth sprinkled with flowers long since withered,
and at one end was a flat slab of sandstone stuck in the ground.
It was a grave, and it meant for me that I had at last stumbled
into a country inhabited by human beings. I would find them;
they would direct me to the cliffs; perhaps they would accompany
me and take us back with them to their abodes--to the abodes of
men and women like ourselves. My hopes and my imagination ran
riot in the few yards I had to cover to reach that lonely grave
and stoop that I might read the rude characters scratched upon
the simple headstone. This is what I read:

SEPT., A.D. 1916 R. I. P.

Tippet! It seemed incredible. Tippet lying here in this gloomy wood!
Tippet dead! He had been a good man, but the personal loss was not
what affected me. It was the fact that this silent grave gave
evidence that Bradley had come this far upon his expedition and that
he too probably was lost, for it was not our intention that he should
be long gone. If I had stumbled upon the grave of one of the party,
was it not within reason to believe that the bones of the others lay
scattered somewhere near?



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