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Richmond planet. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1883-1938, November 22, 1930, ILLUSTRATED FEATURE SECTION, Image 15

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——AMAZING STORIES—|
► The Author has below started a series of extraordinary hypothetical
stories which draw heavily upon the imagination but which pique the
curiosity* of the thinking deader, by projecting the reader several years
into the future, when doubtless air travel will have practically supplanted
land travel, when science will have achieved the “impossible in effecting
frequent and comparatively easy communication with the planet Mare,
*ml when life will have become completely controlled by the limitless
possibilities of scientific invention. .. . ,._
Not only are these stories Ingenious but stimulate breath-taking
thrills, by depicting the possibilities of life on the earth many years after
‘he present generation has become extinct. The author has indeed a vivid
ind picturesque imagination and you must agree that he writes with
astonishing reality. I
THE HIDDEN KINGDOM
By JOHN P. MOORE
SYNOPSIS—
(PART TWO)
BEGIN READING HERE:
YOU ARE BEING told of my adventures
as a member of H. S. Turner's secret ex
pedition to the planet of Mars, which left
Earth on the night of September 8, A.D.
2030, in the forward end of the eminent
scl ntlst’s marvelously constructed rocket
Ship.
Our turbulent and miraculous course
■trough vast space having been recorded
Hgr you in The Shot Into Space, I sought
*Ux the first part of the present s* ry to
. give you an a, urate account of what fol
plowi„ when our "shlr” finally, after end
less eternities, during v hich we men be
came more or less insane, crashed -into
4>mething firm and moved no more, it be
ing shortly after this that we emerged
cautiously from the close-fitting interiors
of our especially constructed "iron cof
fins," in which our bodies were confined
the greater part of the hazardous trip,
am. behold a great mass of bent and twist
ed metal; and it was then, for some reason
unknown to us, that we lapsed into un
consciousness.
Strangely, the next time consciousness
came to us we were in a dark, cell-like
room. Bound hand and foot, we were
stretched out on the hard stone floor.
Unwilling to believe the worst, and un
doubtedly, a bit out of my head, I tried
to convince myself that I was dreaming,
tli • I was in fact at my Philadelphia
apartment, and, to make sure, I started
yelling for Bennett, my manservant.
This illusion, however, was shattered at
once, for my three scientist companions
regained consciousness at that time and
proceeded to refresh my memory. Still, I
held hopes that we had not reached Mars,
that we had in fact crashed back to Earth,
for we became aware of the most familiar
noises! —like the work-a-day progress of a
great city!
Yet. shortly after this four of the most
peculiar looking creatures entered the
room, like four black-faced ghosts—about
the size of twelve-year-old children, mere
slits for mouths, drawn apart in cut
throat grins, tiny black eyes sunk deep
into their heads, huge protruding ears, long
beaky noses, and all clothed in flowing,
grey-looking robes! And all of them were
brandishing small, dlrk-likc knives clutched
in huge, iron-like fists.
Believe it or not, they addressed us in
English! — broken to be sure, but never
theless, English! We were forthwith ac
cused of entering the kingdom of Els
against the wish of a mysterious Great
One. Further, we were branded as spying
Pragians—whatever that meant! and Mr.
Turner started to explain that we were
from Earth, but one of the devils stooped
suddenly and delivered a terrific blow on
his face, turning then and warning his
companions that it was a “Prugian trick."
Meantime I was "seeing red," and when
they finally freed our ankles and wrists
so that we could stand up, I lost my tem
per and in a raging .'ury, plowed into
them—again and again; but quit* sud
denly about a dozen more of the peculiar
creatures appeared in the doorway and
soon a great mountain of living flesh and
bones piled on top of me!
NOW FINISH THE STORY.
I “It looked like a huge fish; shaped that way. It had
rlhuge red eyes.”
-
I am never quite certain as to how
W' came to be stumbling along that
I long, dark passageway! I have a
vague picture of my three compan
ions cornered against the wall, half
frightened, half-mad expressions upon
their dark faces. I seem cloudily to
recall being lifted bodily upwards
and hearing at the same time, of an
awful doom which would come to usj
once we were taken to a mysterious
Great One, at the palace of Kay. . . . j
Suddenly a great shaft of light j
reached down and almost blinded us.,
Struggling frantically, we were ap
proaching the end of the passageway,'
Kid the next instant we were pro- ;
Relied, like three projectiles, into the,
open.
411 thoughts of struggle, of fear,;
deserted us. The sight that met us
was incomprehensijle! The reaction
could have been seen in our lips,
and our staring eyes! Only amaze-,
ment was left. Straight ahead, we j
could see the length of a long, nar
row street. It looked like it had been
hewed out of solid stone, what with
the two endless and uniform rows of
stone building fronts, twelve stories
high. Too, a seething mass, it was.
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There must have been ten thousand
of these peculiar little creatures out
there waiting to get a first glimpse
of us!
This, alone, would have been
enough to paralyze us with wonder.
But it was not alL As we were
herded together now into the van
guard of the mob, Mr. Turner ut
tered an exclamation and we man
aged to turn for an instant and
follow his gaze upwards. Now we
were utterly speechless! We had
every right, I contend, to expect to
see sky. Yet, we didn’t! Instead,
what we saw looked like a vast roof
of glazed glass, long and narrow,
stretching over the heads of the
milling mob as far as we could see!
It
But Mr. Heaton caught our arms
and commenced to babble. “Neces
sity IS the mother of invention!” he
half-screamed. “They are so far
away from the sun—so cold! They
build their cities into the planet’s
crust, and roof their streets with-”
He never finished. A great wail
went up and the seething masses be
gan to part before us as the deep
seas part before the bow of a ship.
It wrought havoc with our souls! Our
captors fell into the spirit and be
gan pounding huge fists against their
bulging chests, jumping up and
down, howlinu with a boastful satis
faction. The voice of the mob took
on the unmistakable tones of deep
seated hatred. The sea of black
faces were now those of fiends. Fists
shook and lips spat!
“Serpents of Pragus!” I heard. “All
spying Pragians do oe scum! Their
blood! The righteous citizens of the
Great Kingdom of Els do lust for
their blood!”
And there went up a great cheer.
A mob suddenly began closing in on
us. Our guards began shouting some
thing about the Great - ne, but it
was drowned. The next instant they
were being sent tumbling head ovei
heels and swalloped up by the howl
ing mob, and in the flip of a finger
we four men from Earth were sur
rounded by thirty or so spitting,
cursing fanatics! A* least, so it
seemed as they began to shout: “To
the Plain of Death do they go! Too
vile they be to filthify the presence
of the Great One! Whoop! Cast
them outside we fearless Elsians
will!"
Another great wail arose from ten
thousand mouths. Numb with fear,
we felt ourselves being roughly turned
about and rushed back in the direc
tion in which we had come. In a
comparatively short time we were
back at the mouth of the tunnel,
and soon it was like a great sewer
choked with rats!
What followed immediately I do
not know. I seem to be able to re
call other and hopelessly vain strug
gles; I seem to remember being half
dragged, half carried past -the closed
door which was the entrance of our
recently vacated prison chamber,
and, yes, I have a vague recollection
that we strove vainly to halt the
procession there, but were carried on
with the mob through a darkness
which seemed to suddenly incline up
wards ... up ... up, toward a circle
of light far ahead
Four Negro explorers being rushed
to a mysterious doom because they
entertained the audacity to delve into
! the unknown! —Brent, novelist;
Brown, Turner, and Heaton, eminent
scientists!
The passageway finally emptied
into a large circular chamber, and
we 'became very jold. At the same
time, a vibrating cheer came out of
the darkness behind, and, while our
thirty or so captors answered them
lustily, we became aware that the
milling mass had for some reason
sagged behind.
It was suggestive of something very
awful! Why didn’t they follow to
see us die? What were they afraid
of? The answer came soon. Very
soon. Huddled together, we saw a
half dozen of them place a heavy
sort of a ladder against the circular
skylight above, after which one of
them went to the wall and pushed
something; we saw the great disc
overhead begin to move upwards, and
the next instant a great wave of
biting-cold air reached down and set
us trembling to our very toes!
So this was the end. I gave up.
We all did. One by one, we were
whipped up the ladder and the great
disc fell back in place, leaving us on
the frigid surface of Mars—three
tiny specks in an incredibly vast
planet of trackless snow and ice!
Mr. Heaton suddenly screamed. Al
ready beginning to freeze to death,
we swung around! And you talk
about your earthly fear. You don’t
know what it is! Already upon us
and moving swi-'tly over the snow,
we beheld something that made us
want to die! It looked like a huge
fish; shaped that way. It had huge
red eyes, a mouth, and a swishing
tail. It was green in color, and it
made a soft, purring noise
Well, we were half dead any way.
By the time the thing reached us,
we had sunk stiffly down on the hard
[snow. It was the end. . . .
“Good God! Look!”
It was Mr. Turner. We did. Noth
ing mattered now. We saw and we
didn't see. There was neither amaze
ment nor fear among us. We were
half dead. It was just a mirage any
way. We waited. Something opened
in the thing’s side. A dozen of heavi
ly wrapped, peculiar little creatures
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The Daring
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RALPH MATTHEWS
Continuer from I’aee Six
have no guarantee I'll eve. come
back. I have always carried a pretty
good line of insurance with no one
to collect it. We don’t love each
other, so what difference do a few
thoughts make?”
Tom called Janice in. The look on
her face showed that she was un
dergoing a terrible strain. Prom the
way she looked, I could tell that she
had been anxiously waiting in an
adjoining room to hear what my ver
dict would be.
“Don’t be alarmed.” I assured her,
after Tom had broken my proposition
to her. “You’ll be as safe as a dollar
up there with me. It is merely a
solution to an embarrasing situation
for us both. You need me, and God
knows I’ll need you up there all
alone, that is if you can cook.”
* • *
When the Montrealer pulled out
of Grand Central Station the next
day, Dr. Melvin Coleman and his
bride were aboard, and a handsome
couple they made, if I do say it my
I self, in spite of the dark rings that
I circled my eyes and a hacking cough
that caused people to look at me
pityingly.
Four years ago that was. The
months saw the spring melt into a
sweltering summer. We fished along
the bank and often sputtered up the
river in an outboard boat to the edge
of the Thousand Islands that dotted
the water that separated the United
States and Canada. Summer passed,
into winter, and a fat squaw from a
reservation Indian camp came down
many miles through the snow to help
j when the baby was born. Equally
I fat neighbors of French-Canadian de
! scent, who knew rot the meaning cf
I our color prejudice, brought dainties
i from their pantries and congratulated
! me on having such a fine boy. Janice
| lying there on her soft white pillows,
looked at me knowingly. Tears
[ trickled down her cheeks as the wide
brimmed circuit riding minister want
ed to know why we named the baby
Tom instead of Junior.
“It’s after her father,” I explained.
Chopping logs for fire wood to keep
them warm, tracking the for2st for
game to make them broth hardened
my muscles. Spring found me ^ new j
man. Four years of this, years in
jumped down into the snow and
rushed toward us. I closed my eyes.
But the next mom3nt I was being
lifted up, and when I opened my eyes
I saw that we were being carried into
the queer monster’s belly (I subse
quently learned that it was, in fact,
a Pragian airship), and I can now
just barely recall the grating sort of
deep voice that seemed to be saying:
"A bright trick it do be! Again,
the cunning of Pragus do triumph
over the addled-brained Elsians! It
be well that our good ship did catch
signals from the thirty Pragians
good and true, who even now do con
tinue to deceive the thick-headed
Elsians! Haw! Haw! Haw! May the
good God always smile on our king
dom’s worthy spies! . . . Now, let us
be gone to the noble kingdom of
Pragus with these four curious, half
dead supermen!”
THE END
The next amazing story will appear
in the Illustrated Feature Section at
an early date.
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which we came in contact with the
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the river liners that plied the water
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Janice has stuck it out, helped me
regain my health, suffered hardships
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plaining. Even when the snow drifts
cut off our supplies one winter, she
faced it bravel .
The howling winds that played
Continued on Page Eight_
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