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Under the Andes Rex Stout

We Are Two

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Whether I would have been able to rouse myself to action before the shock of the assault was actually upon us, I shall never know.

It was not fear that held me, for I felt none; I think that dimly and half unconsciously I saw in that black line, silently creeping upon us, the final and inexorable approach of the remorseless fate that had pursued us ever since we had dashed after Desiree into the cave of the devil, rendering our every effort futile, our most desperate struggles the laughing-stock of the gods.

I was not even conscious of danger. I sat as in a stupor.

But action came, though not from me, so suddenly that I scarcely knew what had happened. There was a cry from Desiree. Harry sprang to his feet. The Incas leaped forward.

I felt myself jerked violently from the ground, and a spear was thrust into my hand. Harry's form flashed past me, shouting to me to follow. Desiree was at his heels; but I saw her halt and turn to me, and I, too, sprang forward.

Harry's spear whirled about his head, leaving a gap in the black line that was now upon us. Through it we plunged. The Incas turned and came at us from behind; one whose hands were upon Desiree got my spear in his throat and sank to the ground.

"Cross to the left!" Harry yelled. He was fighting them off from every direction at once.

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I turned, calling to Desiree to follow, and dashed across the cavern. We saw the wall just ahead, broken and rugged. Again turning I called to Harry, but could not see him for the black forms on every side, and I was starting to his rescue when I saw him plunge toward us, cutting his way through the solid mass of Incas as though they had been stalks of corn. He was not a man, but a demon possessed.

"Go on," he shouted. "I'll make it!"

Then I turned and ran with Desiree to the wall. We followed it a short distance before we reached one of the lanes of which Harry had spoken; at its entrance he joined us, still bidding us to leave him to cover our retreat.

Once within the narrow lane his task was easier. Boulders and projecting rocks obstructed our progress, but they were even greater obstacles to those who pursued us. Still they rushed forward, only to be hurled back by the point of Harry's spear. Once, turning, I saw him pick one of them up bodily and toss him whirling through the air into the very faces of his comrades.

I had all I could do with Desiree and myself. Many times I scrambled up the steep face of some boulder and, after pulling her up safely after me, let her down again on the other side. Then I returned to see that Harry got over safely, and often he made it barely by inches, while flying spears struck the rock on every side.

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Under the Andes
Rex Stout

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