Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/92

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The Centaurians

wind and very little level was there to this riverbed, artery, or whatever it was. Ever to our right were smooth, high cliffs, and to the left unfathomable mist shrouded valleys. The wild, uncanny scenery, magnetic in its monstrous, powerful unreality, chained the attention. Granite, granite, mighty boulders reared to stupendous height, casting shadows that stretched to the impenetrable, blue mist, shielding mysterious chasms. Vegetation? God! Vegetation in this dreadful place with its dull, horrible, mucky atmosphere? It was like a nightmare, awe-inspiring, firing the imagination.

Dread silenced us, an intangible fear made our hearts flutter, and we looked forward at any moment to what? It seemed we were among the damned. Unmerciful, unjust, is the punishment inflicted upon the erring, condemned to wander forever aimlessly alone in this terrible shadow-land. It is hell—if there is a hell.

Sheldon came and sat beside me.

"Going at a pretty good rate," he said. "Not far from the Pole. Saunders informs me we're at 99 degrees north latitude with some figuring to the west and some minutes thrown in for luck. Great chap Saunders! Saxe. is reckless to be rid of this place, the car is rocking enough to cause sickness, and not far off the road curves sharply. Wonder if he intends to risk it and go ahead."

"Good heavens! Sheldon," I gasped, "suppose the road ends there!"

"No, it doesn't," he quickly assured me, "I can see it farther on, but it widens and changes alto-