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Under the Andes Rex Stout


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I caught a glimpse of Harry being jerked through the air; he was holding on for dear life with both hands to the shaft of his spear. The water was over my head there; I was swimming with all the strength I had.

"I've got him--through the belly," Harry gasped as I fought my way through the spray to his side. "His head! Find his head!"

I finally succeeded in getting my hand on Harry's spear-shaft near where it entered the body of the fish; but the next instant it was jerked from me, dragging me beneath the surface. I came up puffing and made another try, but missed it by several feet.

Harry kept shouting: "His head! Get him in the head!"

For that I was saving my spear. But I could make nothing of either head or tail as the immense fish leaped furiously about in the water, first this way, then that.

Once he came down exactly on top of me and carried me far under; I felt his slippery, smooth body glide over me, and the tail struck me a heavy blow in the face as it passed. Blinded and half choked, I fought my way back to the surface and saw that they had got fifty feet away.

I swam to them, breathing hard and nearly exhausted. The water foamed less furiously about them now. As I came near the fish leaped half out of the water and came down flat on his side; I saw his ugly black head pointed directly toward me.

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"He's about gone!" Harry gasped.

He was still clinging to the spear.

I set myself firmly against the water and waited. Soon it parted violently not ten feet in front of me, and again the head appeared; he was coming straight for me. I could see the dull beady eyes on either side, and I let him have the spear right between them.

There was little force to the blow, but the fish himself furnished that; he was coming like lightning. I hurled my body aside with a great effort and felt him sweep past me.

I turned to swim after them and heard Harry's great shout: "You got him!"

By the time I reached him the fish had turned over on his back and was floating on the surface, motionless.

We had still to get him ashore, and, exhausted as we were, it was no easy task. But there was very little current, and after half an hour of pulling and shoving we got him into shallow water, where we could find the bottom with our feet. Then it was easier. Desiree waded out to us and lent a hand, and in another ten minutes we had him high and dry on the rock.

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Under the Andes
Rex Stout

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