Page:Weird Tales volume 36 number 01.djvu/84

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110
WEIRD TALES

a bit he raised tortured, helpless eyes to mine. "What are we to do?"

It was plain he was panic-stricken. So was I. It was a terrible situation. I knew Harvey in his right mind would never hurt me, but a dream-ridden, sleep-walking Harvey—I was afraid, afraid for my love and for my life. The situation had grown too much for me to cope with. I felt beaten spiritually and physically. "You must sleep outside with the men until we get back to civilization and then you must see a psychologist who can cure you of your obsession. That is if you love me, Harvey. The time has come when you must choose between your Dream Woman and me."

There is no choice, Irene; you are my wife. I will do as you say." His words were all they should be but I sensed a curious withdrawal in them and I knew that the Dream Woman's hold on him was stronger than I had guessed.

"Shall we give up the temple?" he asked.

I shook my head. "We're so near now. Besides if you stay outside at night, I'll be safe.

He took me in his arms, ran his fingers through my black curls, looked into my eyes. "You are so lovely, Irene, so sweet." His lips brushed my cheek.

The triumph of the night was mine, with only the reminder of the knife tucked securely in its sheath to show how nearly it had been hers.

The temple was magnificent. When I saw it, I was glad the terror I still felt after my last night's experience hadn't kept me away. Off the beaten track, it was in an almost perfect state of preservation. We spent the morning exploring it and looking at the uncomparable carvings it contained and then had our lunch in the native village that was clustered around the foot of the elevation the temple was built upon.

The people were charming and kindly. I couldn't understand their language but through the guide I made arrangements to spend the night in one of the largest and cleanest mud huts, and engaged one of the women to stay with me as maid. She was to sleep outside the door so I felt comparatively safe. When after lunch Harvey asked if I wanted to explore the small surrounding foothills with him, I assented gladly. I had no fear of Harvey in he daytime.

We left Juan, the guide, in charge of our men, who had already made friends in the village, and started out.

After a bit it was rough going but I was used to tramping and didn't mind.

We had almost reached the summit of the hill Juan had told us commanded a wonderful view of the surrounding country when a rain-storm came up with all the suddenness of the tropics. One minute the sky was bright and clear, the next the whole world seemed wrapped in gloom through which only the flashes of lightning and distant thunder could penetrate.

"It's too late to get back. We'd better find some place to shelter," Harvey remarked as the first drops of rain began to fall.

"I thought I saw a cave a way back," I told him, little knowing that the one glimpse I had had of the hollow in the hillside was going to affect the rest of my life. If I had, I would have gone rushing down the mountain to the village—or would I? That is a question I yet can't answer.

We made our way down the hill through the spattering rain drops that fell faster as we went.

The cave was just where I remembered it and we reached it just in time, for the rain drops had become a beating downpour and the lightning was beyond anything I had ever seen.

The cave was spacious. From a narrow entrance it branched out into unexpected