first to discover it. I saw him fussing with the valves that regulate
the air supply. And at the same time I experienced difficulty in
breathing. My head felt dizzy--my limbs heavy.
I saw Perry crumple in his seat. He gave himself a shake and sat
erect again. Then he turned toward me.
"Good-bye, David," he said. "I guess this is the end," and then
he smiled and closed his eyes.
"Good-bye, Perry, and good luck to you," I answered, smiling back
at him. But I fought off that awful lethargy. I was very young--I
did not want to die.
For an hour I battled against the cruelly enveloping death that
surrounded me upon all sides. At first I found that by climbing
high into the framework above me I could find more of the precious
life-giving elements, and for a while these sustained me. It must
have been an hour after Perry had succumbed that I at last came
to the realization that I could no longer carry on this unequal
struggle against the inevitable.
With my last flickering ray of consciousness I turned mechanically
toward the distance meter. It stood at exactly five hundred miles
from the earth's surface--and then of a sudden the huge thing that
bore us came to a stop. The rattle of hurtling rock through the
hollow jacket ceased. The wild racing of the giant drill betokened
that it was running loose in AIR--and then another truth flashed
upon me. The point of the prospector was ABOVE us. Slowly it
dawned on me that since passing through the ice strata it had been
above. We had turned in the ice and sped upward toward the earth's<<BackPagesTo menuNext>>