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Under the Andes Rex Stout

We Are Two

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One more leap to safety, and we turned just in time to see the floor of the passage which we had traversed disappear into some abyss beneath with a shattering roar.

We stood at the very edge of the chasm thus suddenly formed, gazing at each other in silent wonder and awe.

"The beggars are stopped now," said Harry finally. "That break in the game is ours."

Looking back across the chasm, we saw the Incas tumbling by twos and threes over the boulder on the other side. As they saw the yawning abyss that separated them from their prey they stopped short and gazed across in profound astonishment.

Others came to join them, until there were several hundred of the black, ugly forms huddled together on the opposite rim of the chasm, a hundred feet away.

I ran over the group with a keen eye, seeking the figure of the Inca king, and soon my search was successful. He stood a step in front of the others, a little to the right. I pointed him out to Harry and Desiree.

"It's up to him to walk right out again," said Harry.

Desiree shivered, and proceeded to send her last invitation to the devil.

Turning suddenly, she grasped Harry's spear and tore it from his hand. Before we realized her purpose, she stepped forward until her foot rested on the very edge of the chasm, and had hurled the spear across straight at the Inca king.

It missed him, but struck another Inca standing near full in the breast. Quick as lightning the king turned, grasped the shaft of the spear, and pulled it forth, and with his white teeth gleaming in a snarl of furious hate, sent it whistling through the air straight at Desiree.

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Harry and I sprang forward with a shout of warning; Desiree stood motionless as a statue. We grasped her frantically and pulled her back, but too late.

She came, but only to fall lifeless into our arms with the spear buried deep in her white throat.

We laid her on the ground and knelt beside her for a moment, then Harry arose to his feet with a face white as death; and I uttered a silent and vengeful prayer as I saw him level a spear at the Inca king across the chasm. But it went wide of its mark, striking the ground at his feet.

"There was another!" cried Harry, and soon he had found it where it lay on the ground and sent it, too, hurtling across.

This time he missed by inches. The spear flew just past the shoulder of the king and caught one who stood behind him full in the face. The stricken savage threw his arms spasmodically above his head, reeling forward against the king.

There was a startled movement along the black line; hands were outstretched in a vain effort at rescue; a savage cry burst from Harry's lips, and the next instant the king had toppled over the edge of the chasm and fallen into the bottomless pit below.

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Under the Andes
Rex Stout

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