We must have traveled several miles through the dark and
dismal wood when we came suddenly upon a dense village built high
among the branches of the trees. As we approached it my escort
broke into wild shouting which was immediately answered from
within, and a moment later a swarm of creatures of the same
strange race as those who had captured me poured out to meet us.
Again I was the center of a wildly chattering horde. I was pulled
this way and that. Pinched, pounded, and thumped until I was
black and blue, yet I do not think that their treatment was
dictated by either cruelty or malice--I was a curiosity, a freak,
a new plaything, and their childish minds required the added
evidence of all their senses to back up the testimony of their
Between the huts, which sometimes formed crooked streets, were
dead branches and the trunks of small trees which connected the
huts upon one tree to those within adjoining trees; the whole
network of huts and pathways forming an almost solid flooring a
good fifty feet above the ground.
My guard halted before one of the huts into which I was
pushed; then two of the creatures squatted down before the
entrance--to prevent my escape, doubtless. Though where I should
have escaped to I certainly had not the remotest conception. I
had no more than entered the dark shadows of the interior than
there fell upon my ears the tones of a familiar voice, in
"David! Can it be possible that you escaped?" And the old man
stumbled toward me and threw his arms about me.
"With a tail, David," remarked Perry, "you would make a very
"Yes, David," he replied, "I know precisely where we are. We
have made a magnificent discovery, my boy! We have proved that
the earth is hollow. We have passed entirely through its crust to
the inner world."
"Not at all, David. For two hundred and fifty miles our
prospector bore us through the crust beneath our outer world. At
that point it reached the center of gravity of the
five-hundred-mile-thick crust. Up to that point we had been
descending--direction is, of course, merely relative. Then at the
moment that our seats revolved--the thing that made you believe
that we had turned about and were speeding upward--we passed the
center of gravity and, though we did not alter the direction of
our progress, yet we were in reality moving upward--toward the
surface of the inner world. Does not the strange fauna and flora
which we have seen convince you that you are not in the world of
your birth? And the horizon--could it present the strange aspects
which we both noted unless we were indeed standing upon the
inside surface of a sphere?"
"It is not the sun of the outer world that we see here. It is
another sun--an entirely different sun--that casts its eternal
noonday effulgence upon the face of the inner world. Look at it
now, David--if you can see it from the doorway of this hut--and
you will see that it is still in the exact center of the heavens.
We have been here for many hours--yet it is still noon.
"This inner world must have cooled sufficiently to support
animal life long ages after life appeared upon the outer crust,
but that the same agencies were at work here is evident from the
similar forms of both animal and vegetable creation which we have
already seen. Take the great beast which attacked us, for
example. Unquestionably a counterpart of the Megatherium of the
post-Pliocene period of the outer crust, whose fossilized
skeleton has been found in South America."
"Who can tell?" he rejoined. "They may constitute the link
between ape and man, all traces of which have been swallowed by
the countless convulsions which have racked the outer crust, or
they may be merely the result of evolution along slightly
different lines--either is quite possible."
"Quite low in the scale of creation," commented Perry.
We were not long in learning. As on the occasion of our trip
to the village we were seized by a couple of the powerful
creatures and whirled away through the tree tops, while about us
and in our wake raced a chattering, jabbering, grinning horde of
sleek, black ape-things.
For some time they continued through the forest--how long I
could not guess for I was learning, what was later borne very
forcefully to my mind, that time ceases to be a factor the moment
means for measuring it cease to exist. Our watches were gone, and
we were living beneath a stationary sun. Already I was puzzled to
compute the period of time which had elapsed since we broke
through the crust of the inner world. It might be hours, or it
might be days--who in the world could tell where it was always
noon! By the sun, no time had elapsed--but my judgment told me
that we must have been several hours in this strange world.
We were placed in the center of the amphitheater--the thousand
creatures forming a great ring about us. Then a wolf-dog was
brought--hyaenadon Perry called it--and turned loose with us
inside the circle. The thing's body was as large as that of a
full-grown mastiff, its legs were short and powerful, and its
jaws broad and strong. Dark, shaggy hair covered its back and
sides, while its breast and belly were quite white. As it slunk
toward us it presented a most formidable aspect with its upcurled
lips baring its mighty fangs.
At Andover, and later at Yale, I had pitched on winning ball
teams. My speed and control must both have been above the
ordinary, for I made such a record during my senior year at
college that overtures were made to me in behalf of one of the
great major-league teams; but in the tightest pitch that ever had
confronted me in the past I had never been in such need for
control as now.
At the same instant a chorus of shrieks and howls arose from
the circle of spectators, so that for a moment I thought that the
upsetting of their champion was the cause; but in this I soon saw
that I was mistaken. As I looked, the ape-things broke in all
directions toward the surrounding hills, and then I distinguished
the real cause of their perturbation. Behind them, streaming
through the pass which leads into the valley, came a swarm of
hairy men--gorilla-like creatures armed with spears and hatchets,
and bearing long, oval shields. Like demons they set upon the
ape-things, and before them the hyaenodon, which had now regained
its senses and its feet, fled howling with fright. Past us swept
the pursued and the pursuers, nor did the hairy ones accord us
more than a passing glance until the arena had been emptied of
its former occupants. Then they returned to us, and one who
seemed to have authority among them directed that we be brought
But as we came closer, our hearts sank once more, for we
discovered that the poor wretches were chained neck to neck in a
long line, and that the gorilla-men were their guards. With
little ceremony Perry and I were chained at the end of the line,
and without further ado the interrupted march was resumed.
Our guards, whom I already have described as gorilla-like men,
were rather lighter in build than a gorilla, but even so they
were indeed mighty creatures. Their arms and legs were
proportioned more in conformity with human standards, but their
entire bodies were covered with shaggy, brown hair, and their
faces were quite as brutal as those of the few stuffed specimens
of the gorilla which I had seen in the museums at home.
Their arms and necks were encircled by many ornaments of
metal--silver predominating--and on their tunics were sewn the
heads of tiny reptiles in odd and rather artistic designs. They
talked among themselves as they marched along on either side of
us, but in a language which I perceived differed from that
employed by our fellow prisoners. When they addressed the latter
they used what appeared to be a third language, and which I later
learned is a mongrel tongue rather analogous to the
Pidgin-English of the Chinese coolie.