The Land of the Changing Sun
The sun was, indeed, slowing up. The two men peered out at the door.
"It would be unlucky for us if it should not come so near to the earth as it did on the other
side," whispered Branasko.
"I can hardly feel any motion to the thing at all," replied the American. "Look! for some
reason it is not so dark below. I can see the rocks. Surely we have already passed over the
"That's so," returned the Alphian. "Come; we must be quick and watch our opportunity to
land. I can't imagine where the light comes from unless it be from the people waiting for
the arrival of the sun." Every instant the speed was lessening. Overhead the cables were
beginning to creak and groan, and, now and then, the great globe swung perilously near
some tall stony peak, or passed under a mighty stalactite. Slower and slower it got till,
when within a few feet of the ground, it stopped its onward motion and only swung back
and forth like a pendulum.
"Quick," whispered Branasko, "we must get down while it is swinging, no time to lose--
not an instant!" And as the sun moved backward, with his hand on the doorsill, he leaped
to the earth. Johnston followed him. They were not a moment too soon, for about fifty
yards away they saw a body of sixty or seventy men with lights in their hands hastening
"Just in time," exulted Branasko, and he quickly drew Johnston into a little cave in the
face of a cliff. Crouching behind a great rock, they saw and heard the men as they
Some of them walked around the sun, and two, evidently in authority, entered the door.
The others were placing ladders against the side of the sphere, when suddenly there was a
loud clattering in the interior, a whirling of wheels under the platform above, and the
surface of the sun burst into light.
The two refugees were momentarily blinded. Branasko had the presence of mind to
quickly draw his companion down close to the earth behind the rock. "They could see us
in the light," he whispered.
There was a joyous clamoring of voices among the men, and they withdrew several yards
to look at the sun. This drew them nearer the hiding-place of the two refugees.
"Only an accident," said a voice; "it won't happen again."