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|Under the Andes||Rex Stout|
|Page 7 of 9||
On the ledge, near the edge of the water, stood two Incas. They turned at our approach and rushed at us. Unlucky for them, for Harry's example had fired my brain and put the strength of a giant in me.
To this day I don't know what followed--whether I used my spear or my fists or my head. I know only that I leaped at them in irresistible fury and left them stretched on the ground before they had reached Harry or halted him.
We crossed the ledge and made for the boulders to the left. The crevice which led to our hiding-place was too narrow for Harry and his burden. I sprang forward and grasped Desiree's shoulders; he held her ankles, and we got her through to the ledge beyond.
Then I leaped back through the crevice, and barely in time. As I looked out a black, rushing horde emerged from the passage and dashed across the ledge toward us. I stood at the entrance to the narrow crevice, spear in hand.
They appeared to have no sense of the fact that my position was impregnable, but dashed blindly at me. The crevice in which I stood and which was the only way through to the ledge where Harry had taken Desiree, was not more than two feet wide. With unarmed savages for foes, one man could have held it against a million.
But they came and I met them. I stood within the crevice, some three or four feet from its end, and when one appeared in the opening I let him have the spear. Another rushed in and fell on top of the first.
As I say, they appeared to be deprived of the power to reason. In five minutes the mouth of the crevice was completely choked with bodies, some, who were merely wounded, struggling and squirming to extricate themselves from the bloody tangle.
I heard Harry's voice at my back:
"How about it? Want some help?"
"Not unless they find some gunpowder," I answered. "The idiots eat death as though it were candy. We're safe; they can never break through here."
"Are they still coming?"
"They can't; they've blocked the way with their smelly black carcasses. How is Desiree?"
"Better; she's awake. I've been bathing her ankle with cold water. She has a bad sprain; how the deuce she ever managed to hobble on it even two steps is beyond me."
"A sprain? Are you sure?"
"I think so; it's badly swollen. Maybe only a twist; a few hours will tell."
I heard him return to the ledge back of me; I dared not turn my head.
Thinking I heard a sound above, I looked up; but there was nothing to fear in that direction. The boulders which formed the sides of the crevice extended straight up to the roof of the cavern. We appeared, in fact, to be fortified against any attack.
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