In the hurry and confusion it had happened that all had not gained their own caves. Some of the young ones had sought refuge in other caves.
This calling back and forth continued for some time, but they were too cautious to come out of their caves and descend to the ground.
And then the moonlight flooded the cave, and there before me lay my own body as it had been lying all these hours, with the eyes staring toward the open ledge and the hands resting limply upon the ground.
Again was I suddenly recalled to my immediate surroundings by a repetition of the weird moan from the depths of the cave. Naked and unarmed as I was, I had no desire to face the unseen thing which menaced me.
Without a sound the great beast moved rapidly toward the seventh cave to see what manner of intruder had thus rashly penetrated so far within the precincts of his habitation.
Beyond the last cave we emerged into a desolate country of snow and ice, but found a well-marked trail leading north.
The thing was an enormous cave bear, rearing its colossal bulk fully eight feet at the shoulder, while from the tip of its nose to the end of its stubby tail it was fully twelve feet in length.
The Sagoth nearest the cave bear, finding his escape blocked, turned and leaped deliberately to an awful death upon the jagged rocks three hundred feet below.
It seemed that I had scarcely settled myself in a comfortable position before a party of cave
men emerged from one of the smaller apertures in the cliff-face, about fifty feet from the base.
On the morrow I was to die some sort of nameless death for the diversion of a savage horde, but the morrow held fewer terrors for me than the present, and I submit to any fair-minded man if it is not a terrifying thing to lie bound hand and foot in the Stygian blackness of an immense cave
peopled by unknown dangers in a land overrun by hideous beasts and reptiles of the greatest ferocity.
"Now stranger, if you have strength, come to the mouth of the cave
and look out, for the moon is bright."
No sound, no heat, no movement came from it, but still the great luminous curtain glowed before us, silvering all the cave
and turning the sand to powdered jewels, until as we drew closer it discovered a circular edge.