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|The First Men In The Moon||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
The Giddy Bridge
|Page 6 of 7||
Then, realising that I dared not run back to him, because my ill-calculated steps might carry me over the edge, he came shuffling towards me, with his hands held out before him.
I gripped his chains at once to unfasten them.
"Where are they? " he panted.
"Run away. They'll come back. They're throwing things! Which way shall we go?"
"By the light. To that tunnel. Eh?"
"Yes," said I, and his hands were free.
I dropped on my knees and fell to work on his ankle bonds. Whack came something - I know not what - and splashed the livid streamlet into drops about us. Far away on our right a piping and whistling began.
I whipped the chain off his feet, and put it in his hand. "Hit with that! " I said, and without waiting for an answer, set off in big bounds along the path by which we had come. I had a nasty sort of feeling that these things could jump out of the darkness on to my back. I heard the impact of his leaps come following after me.
We ran in vast strides. But that running, you must understand, was an altogether different thing from any running on earth. On earth one leaps and almost instantly hits the ground again, but on the moon, because of its weaker pull, one shot through the air for several seconds before one came to earth. In spite of our violent hurry this gave an effect of long pauses, pauses in which one might have counted seven or eight. "Step," and one soared off! All sorts of questions ran through my mind: "Where are the Selenites? What will they do? Shall we ever get to that tunnel? Is Cavor far behind? Are they likely to cut him off?" Then whack, stride, and off again for another step.
I saw a Selenite running in front of me, his legs going exactly as a man's would go on earth, saw him glance over his shoulder, and heard him shriek as he ran aside out of my way into the darkness. He was, I I think, our guide, but I am not sure. Then in another vast stride the walls of rock had come into view on either hand, and in two more strides I was in the tunnel, and tempering my pace to its low roof. I went on to a bend, then stopped and turned back, and plug, plug, plug, Cavor came into view, splashing into the stream of blue light at every stride, and grew larger and blundered into me. We stood clutching each other. For a moment, at least, we had shaken off our captors and were alone.
We were both very much out of breath. We spoke In panting, broken sentences.
"You've spoilt it all!" panted Cavor. "Nonsense," I cried. "It was that or death!"
"What are we to do?"
"How can we?"
"It's dark enough."
"Up one of these side caverns."
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|The First Men In The Moon
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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