At the Earth's Core HTML version
Chapter 7. Freedom
Once out of the direct path of the animal, fear of it left me, but another emotion as
quickly gripped me--hope of escape that the demoralized condition of the guards made
possible for the instant.
I thought of Perry, but for the hope that I might better encompass his release if myself
free I should have put the thought of freedom from me at once. As it was I hastened on
toward the right searching for an exit toward which no Sagoths were fleeing, and at last I
found it--a low, narrow aperture leading into a dark corridor.
Without thought of the possible consequence, I darted into the shadows of the tunnel,
feeling my way along through the gloom for some distance. The noises of the
amphitheater had grown fainter and fainter until now all was as silent as the tomb about
me. Faint light filtered from above through occasional ventilating and lighting tubes, but
it was scarce sufficient to enable my human eyes to cope with the darkness, and so I was
forced to move with extreme care, feeling my way along step by step with a hand upon
the wall beside me.
Presently the light increased and a moment later, to my delight, I came upon a flight of
steps leading upward, at the top of which the brilliant light of the noonday sun shone
through an opening in the ground.
Cautiously I crept up the stairway to the tunnel's end, and peering out saw the broad plain
of Phutra before me. The numerous lofty, granite towers which mark the several
entrances to the subterranean city were all in front of me--behind, the plain stretched
level and unbroken to the nearby foothills. I had come to the surface, then, beyond the
city, and my chances for escape seemed much enhanced.
My first impulse was to await darkness before attempting to cross the plain, so deeply
implanted are habits of thought; but of a sudden I recollected the perpetual noonday
brilliance which envelopes Pellucidar, and with a smile I stepped forth into the day-light.
Rank grass, waist high, grows upon the plain of Phutra--the gorgeous flowering grass of
the inner world, each particular blade of which is tipped with a tiny, five-pointed
blossom--brilliant little stars of varying colors that twinkle in the green foliage to add still
another charm to the weird, yet lovely, land-scape.
But then the only aspect which attracted me was the distant hills in which I hoped to find
sanctuary, and so I hastened on, trampling the myriad beauties beneath my hurrying feet.
Perry says that the force of gravity is less upon the surface of the inner world than upon
that of the outer. He explained it all to me once, but I was never particularly brilliant in
such matters and so most of it has escaped me. As I recall it the difference is due in some
part to the counter-attraction of that portion of the earth's crust directly opposite the spot
upon the face of Pellucidar at which one's calculations are being made. Be that as it may,