Escape on Venus

Chapter XLI

Edgar Rice Burroughs

DUARE started the motor, that she might keep the anotar under control; but she let it continue to drift down the river. Finally she found that for which she was looking—a little island with a patch of backwater at its lower end. She brought the anotar into this quiet water and dropped anchor.

Vik-yor paid no attention to what was going on; it was still gobbling nuts like a famished squirrel. Duare reached for a nut, but Vik-yor struck her hand away and pushed the nuts out of her reach. Duare watched it in amazement; it scarcely hesitated long enough to chew the tough meat of the nuts; it even had to gasp for breath. Soon it commenced to laugh, and then it would stop long enough to sing; only to commence again a moment later.

“Wine!” it cried; “If I only had wine! But there is water.” It looked around and saw that the anotar was swinging idly against the shore of a small island. “What are we doing here?” it demanded.

“We are going to remain here overnight,” said Duare. “I am tired.”

“I am going ashore,” said Vik-yor. “You won’t go off and leave me; because I have the vial and the pistol.” It commenced to laugh and sing, as it gathered up all of the remaining nuts and carried them ashore; then it lay down on its belly and drank from the river.

It continued to eat and drink until Duare thought that it must burst; and the more it ate and drank, the more hysterical it became. In final and complete ecstasy, it rolled upon the ground, screaming and laughing; then it lay still, panting. It lay there for about fifteen minutes; then it rose slowly to its feet, completely enervated.

It took a few steps toward the anotar, its eyes glassy and staring; it shuddered and fell to the ground, writhing in convulsions; it screamed. “I am dividing!” it cried; “and I can’t divide!”

Duare watched it in the throes of its futile contortions until it died.

Duare went ashore and took the vial and the pistol from the thing’s pocket pouches; then she weighed anchor and started the motor. The anotar rose like a great bird and circled, while Duare got her bearings. The subdued light of the young night gave good visibility; at midnight it would be darkest, for then the Sun would be shining upon the opposite side of the outer cloud envelope, and the refracted light would be at its lowest intensity. By midnight, Duare could be back at Voo-ad.

She set her course toward the north. The great mountain range was upon her left, mysterious and a little frightening in the half light; then came the mighty forest, dark and forbidding. What a different world this was without Carson! Now it was a world filled with loneliness and menace, a gloomy, terrifying world. With him, it would have been just as dark, but it would have been thrilling and interesting.

But now she was flying back to him! Would her bold plan of rescue be crowned with success? These were the questions to which the night and the hours held the answers.

Escape on Venus - Contents    |     Chapter XLII

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