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which in reality it lacked. One wonders as to the fate of Morrow and Marna, mentioned once and then heard of no more, but at the time I gave little thought to them—I was only overwhelmed with the terrible certainty that the story was no work of fiction, but an actual chronicle of what had happened some time in the past, that the cylinders were not automatic robots doing the bidding of human masters, hut an alien form of machine life and intelligence—machine life which had thrown off the yoke of man and destroyed him. Useless to look further for intelligent man: all that was left of him was the beast-men among the machines!
Filled with a species of horror at the thought, with sick loathing of the whispering Mentanicals, I straightened up and drew my revolver. I was not myself, I tell you, but animated with a berserk fury. "Damn you!" I cried, "take that—and that!" I pulled the trigger. The roar of the discharge crashed through the huge room, but none of the Mentanicals fell; their metal exteriors were impregnable to such things as bullets. Trembling from the reaction of rage, the feeling of futility, I lifted my hand to hurl the useless weapon at the immobile cylinders, and in the very act of doing so was stiffened into rigidity by the sound of a voice—a human voice! Inexpressibly weird and mournful was that voice, heard so unexpectedly as it was in that place, and in the moment following the explosion of the pistol.
"Oh," cried the voice, as if talking to itself, "to be chained in this spot, never to leave it, never to know what that noise means! Who is there?" it cried. "Who is there?" And then in tones thrilling with unutterable sadness, "Madman that I am to expect an answer!"
But there was an answer! I shouted in reply. I can hardly recall now what I shouted. Hearing that human voice above the infernal whispering of those Mentanicals was like being reprieved from a horror too great to be borne. And as I shouted incoherently, I sprang in the direction the voice seemed to come from, the cylinders making no effort to oppose my doing so. The wall had appeared smooth and unbroken from a distance, but a nearer view showed an opening which gave entrance to a room that, while small in comparison to the huge one it adjoined, was nevertheless large. It was lighted, as were all the rooms I had seen, by a soft light of which I could never trace the source. I entered the room, calling out, filled with excitement, and then at the sight of what I saw, came to an abrupt pause, for on a low dais occupying the middle of the room was the figure of a man with lolling head. Only this head was free—a massive head with towering brow and wide-spaced eyes. The eyes were dark and filled with sorrow, the face the face of a man in the seventies perhaps—etched with suffering. I stared—stared in astonishment—for the man hung as if crucified on what I at first took for a dully gleaming cross. How can I describe it? I did not see everything in that first glance, of course, nor in the second, though I tell it here as if I had. But his outstretched arms were secured to the cross-piece of his support with metal bands, his legs held in the same fashion. So clear was the glass—or crystal enveloping him from the neck down—that