Out of Time's Abyss
Days became weeks, and weeks became months, and the months followed one another in
a lazy procession of hot, humid days and warm, humid nights. The fugitives saw never a
Wieroo by day though often at night they heard the melancholy flapping of giant wings
far above them.
Each day was much like its predecessor. Bradley splashed about for a few minutes in the
cold pool early each morning and after a time the girl tried it and liked it. Toward the
center it was deep enough for swimming, and so he taught her to swim--she was probably
the first human being in all Caspak's long ages who had done this thing. And then while
she prepared breakfast, the man shaved--this he never neglected. At first it was a source
of wonderment to the girl, for the Galu men are beardless.
When they needed meat, he hunted, otherwise he busied himself in improving their
shelter, making new and better weapons, perfecting his knowledge of the girl's language
and teaching her to speak and to write English--anything that would keep them both
occupied. He still sought new plans for escape, but with ever-lessening enthusiasm, since
each new scheme presented some insurmountable obstacle.
And then one day as a bolt out of a clear sky came that which blasted the peace and
security of their sanctuary forever. Bradley was just emerging from the water after his
morning plunge when from overhead came the sound of flapping wings. Glancing
quickly up the man saw a white-robed Wieroo circling slowly above him. That he had
been discovered he could not doubt since the creature even dropped to a lower altitude as
though to assure itself that what it saw was a man. Then it rose rapidly and winged away
toward the city.
For two days Bradley and the girl lived in a constant state of apprehension, awaiting the
moment when the hunters would come for them; but nothing happened until just after
dawn of the third day, when the flapping of wings apprised them of the approach of
Wieroos. Together they went to the edge of the wood and looked up to see five red-robed
creatures dropping slowly in ever-lessening spirals toward their little amphitheater. With
no attempt at concealment they came, sure of their ability to overwhelm these two
fugitives, and with the fullest measure of self-confidence they landed in the clearing but a
few yards from the man and the girl.
Following a plan already discussed Bradley and the girl retreated slowly into the woods.
The Wieroos advanced, calling upon them to give themselves up; but the quarry made no
reply. Farther and farther into the little wood Bradley led the hunters, permitting them to
approach ever closer; then he circled back again toward the clearing, evidently to the
great delight of the Wieroos, who now followed more leisurely, awaiting the moment
when they should be beyond the trees and able to use their wings. They had opened into
semicircular formation now with the evident intention of cutting the two off from