The Moon Pool
Chapter 11. The Flame-Tipped Shadows
MARAKINOFF nodded his head solemnly as Olaf finished.
"Da!" he said. "That which comes from here took them both--the woman and the child.
Da! They came clasped within it and the stone shut upon them. But why it left the child
behind I do not understand."
"How do you know that?" I cried in amazement.
"Because I saw it," answered Marakinoff simply. "Not only did I see it, but hardly had I
time to make escape through the entrance before it passed whirling and murmuring and
its bell sounds all joyous. Da! It was what you call the squeak close, that."
"Wait a moment," I said--stilling Larry with a gesture. "Do I understand you to say that
you were within this place?"
Marakinoff actually beamed upon me.
"Da, Dr. Goodwin," he said, "I went in when that which comes from it went out!"
I gaped at him, stricken dumb; into Larry's bellicose attitude crept a suggestion of
grudging respect; Olaf, trembling, watched silently.
"Dr. Goodwin and my impetuous young friend, you," went on Marakinoff after a
moment's silence and I wondered vaguely why he did not include Huldricksson in his
address--"it is time that we have an understanding. I have a proposal to make to you also.
It is this; we are what you call a bad boat, and all of us are in it. Da! We need all hands, is
it not so? Let us put together our knowledge and our brains and resources--and even a
poonch of a mule is a resource," he looked wickedly at O'Keefe, "and pull our boat into
quiet waters again. After that--"
"All very well, Marakinoff," interjected Larry, "but I don't feel very safe in any boat with
somebody capable of shooting me through the back."
Marakinoff waved a deprecatory hand.
"It was natural that," he said, "logical, da! Here is a very great secret, perhaps many
secrets to my country invaluable--" He paused, shaken by some overpowering emotion;
the veins in his forehead grew congested, the cold eyes blazed and the guttural voice
"I do not apologize and I do not explain," rasped Marakinoff. "But I will tell you, da!
Here is my country sweating blood in an experiment to liberate the world. And here are
the other nations ringing us like wolves and waiting to spring at our throats at the least