A Voyage to Arcturus
The Muspel-light vanished. The moon shone out again, but Maskull could not see it.
After that unearthly shining, he seemed to himself to be in total blackness. The screaming
wind ceased; there was a dead silence. His thoughts finished flowing toward the lake, and
his foot no longer touched water, but hung in space.
He was too stunned by the suddenness of the change to either think or feel. While he was
still lying dazed, a vast explosion occurred in the newly opened depths beneath the
lakebed. The water in its descent had met fire. Maskull was lifted bodily in the air, many
yards high, and came down heavily. He lost consciousness....
When he came to his senses again, he saw everything. Teargeld was gleaming brilliantly.
He was lying by the side. of the old lake, but it was now a crater, to the bottom of which
his eyes could not penetrate. The hills encircling it were torn, as if by heavy gunfire. A
few thunderclouds were floating in the air at no great height, from which branched
lightning descended to the earth incessantly, accompanied by alarming and singular
He got on his legs, and tested his actions. Finding that he was uninjured, he first of all
viewed the crater at closer quarters, and then started to walk painfully toward the
When he had attained the crest above the lake, the landscape sloped gently down for two
miles to the sea. Everywhere he passed through traces of his rough work. The country
was carved into scarps, grooves, channels, and craters. He arrived at the line of low cliffs
overlooking the beach, and found that these also were partly broken down by landslips.
He got down onto the sand and stood looking over the moonlit, agitated sea, wondering
how he could contrive to escape from this island of failure.
Then he saw Earthrid's body, lying quite close to him. It was on its back. Both legs had
been violently torn off and he could not see them anywhere. Earthrid's teeth were buried
in the flesh of his right forearm, indicating that the man had died in unreasoning physical
agony. The skin gleamed green in the moonlight, but it was stained by darker
discolourations, which were wounds. The sand about him was dyed by the pool of blood
which had long since filtered through.
Maskull left the corpse in dismay, and walked a long way along the sweet-smelling shore.
Sitting down on a rock, he waited for daybreak.