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The Moon Pool

Chapter 2. "Dead! All Dead!"
HE WAS SITTING, face in hands, on the side of his berth as I entered. He had taken off
his coat.
"Throck," I cried. "What was it? What are you flying from, man? Where is your wife--
and Stanton?"
"Dead!" he replied monotonously. "Dead! All dead!" Then as I recoiled from him--"All
dead. Edith, Stanton, Thora--dead--or worse. And Edith in the Moon Pool-with them--
drawn by what you saw on the moon path-that has put its brand upon me--and follows
me!"
He ripped open his shirt.
"Look at this," he said. Around his chest, above his heart, the skin was white as pearl.
This whiteness was sharply defined against the healthy tint of the body. It circled him
with an even cincture about two inches wide.
"Burn it!" he said, and offered me his cigarette. I drew back. He gestured--peremptorily. I
pressed the glowing end of the cigarette into the ribbon of white flesh. He did not flinch
nor was there odour of burning nor, as I drew the little cylinder away, any mark upon the
whiteness.
"Feel it!" he commanded again. I placed my fingers upon the band. It was cold--like
frozen marble.
He drew his shirt around him.
"Two things you have seen," he said. "IT--and its mark. Seeing, you must believe my
story. Goodwin, I tell you again that my wife is dead--or worse--I do not know; the prey
of--what you saw; so, too, is Stanton; so Thora. How--"
Tears rolled down the seared face.
"Why did God let it conquer us? Why did He let it take my Edith?" he cried in utter
bitterness. "Are there things stronger than God, do you think, Walter?"
I hesitated.
"Are there? Are there?" His wild eyes searched me.
"I do not know just how you define God," I managed at last through my astonishment to
make answer. "If you mean the will to know, working through science--"
 
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