The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 12. The End Of The Journey
"SAY DOC!" It was Larry's voice flung back at me. "I was thinking about that frog. I
think it was her pet. Damn me if I see any difference between a frog and a snake, and one
of the nicest women I ever knew had two pet pythons that followed her around like
kittens. Not such a devilish lot of choice between a frog and a snake--except on the side
of the frog? What? Anyway, any pet that girl wants is hers, I don't care if it's a leaping
twelve-toed lobster or a whalebodied scorpion. Get me?"
By which I knew that our remarks upon the frog woman were still bothering O'Keefe.
"He thinks of foolish nothings like the foolish sailor!" grunted Marakinoff, acid contempt
in his words. "What are their women to--this?" He swept out a hand and as though at a
signal the car poised itself for an instant, then dipped, literally dipped down into sheer
space; skimmed forward in what was clearly curved flight, rose as upon a sweeping
upgrade and then began swiftly to slacken its fearful speed.
Far ahead a point of light showed; grew steadily; we were within it--and softly all
movement ceased. How acute had been the strain of our journey I did not realize until I
tried to stand--and sank back, leg-muscles too shaky to bear my weight. The car rested in
a slit in the centre of a smooth walled chamber perhaps twenty feet square. The wall
facing us was pierced by a low doorway through which we could see a flight of steps
leading downward.
The light streamed through a small opening, the base of which was twice a tall man's
height from the floor. A curving flight of broad, low steps led up to it. And now it came
to my steadying brain that there was something puzzling, peculiar, strangely unfamiliar
about this light. It was silvery, shaded faintly with a delicate blue and flushed lightly with
a nacreous rose; but a rose that differed from that of the terraces of the Pool Chamber as
the rose within the opal differs from that within the pearl. In it were tiny, gleaming points
like the motes in a sunbeam, but sparkling white like the dust of diamonds, and with a
quality of vibrant vitality; they were as though they were alive. The light cast no
A little breeze came through the oval and played about us. It was laden with what seemed
the mingled breath of spice flowers and pines. It was curiously vivifying, and in it the
diamonded atoms of light shook and danced.
I stepped out of the car, the Russian following, and began to ascend the curved steps
toward the opening, at the top of which O'Keefe and Olaf already stood. As they looked
out I saw both their faces change--Olaf's with awe, O'Keefe's with incredulous amaze. I
hurried to their side.
At first all that I could see was space--a space filled with the same coruscating effulgence
that pulsed about me. I glanced upward, obeying that instinctive impulse of earth folk that