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The Gods of Mars

Chapter 7. A Fair Goddess
For an instant the black pirate and I remained motionless, glaring into each other's eyes.
Then a grim smile curled the handsome lips above me, as an ebony hand came slowly in
sight from above the edge of the deck and the cold, hollow eye of a revolver sought the
centre of my forehead.
Simultaneously my free hand shot out for the black throat, just within reach, and the
ebony finger tightened on the trigger. The pirate's hissing, "Die, cursed thern," was half
choked in his windpipe by my clutching fingers. The hammer fell with a futile click upon
an empty chamber.
Before he could fire again I had pulled him so far over the edge of the deck that he was
forced to drop his firearm and clutch the rail with both hands.
My grasp upon his throat effectually prevented any outcry, and so we struggled in grim
silence; he to tear away from my hold, I to drag him over to his death.
His face was taking on a livid hue, his eyes were bulging from their sockets. It was
evident to him that he soon must die unless he tore loose from the steel fingers that were
choking the life from him. With a final effort he threw himself further back upon the
deck, at the same instant releasing his hold upon the rail to tear frantically with both
hands at my fingers in an effort to drag them from his throat.
That little second was all that I awaited. With one mighty downward surge I swept him
clear of the deck. His falling body came near to tearing me from the frail hold that my
single free hand had upon the anchor chain and plunging me with him to the waters of the
sea below.
I did not relinquish my grasp upon him, however, for I knew that a single shriek from
those lips as he hurtled to his death in the silent waters of the sea would bring his
comrades from above to avenge him.
Instead I held grimly to him, choking, ever choking, while his frantic struggles dragged
me lower and lower toward the end of the chain.
Gradually his contortions became spasmodic, lessening by degrees until they ceased
entirely. Then I released my hold upon him and in an instant he was swallowed by the
black shadows far below.
Again I climbed to the ship's rail. This time I succeeded in raising my eyes to the level of
the deck, where I could take a careful survey of the conditions immediately confronting
me.
 
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