A sudden gloom filled the car, and, struggling to my feet, I found that we had entered the belt of semi-darkness that covers the polar caps in their winter season. Our doom was near at hand—nothing could save Zarlah now, and only by swerving my car around instantly and returning could I preserve myself. But life was nought to me without Zarlah—I preferred death to such an empty existence. Condemned by Fate to be separated in life, we would meet death together.
I could dimly see Zarlah’s car outlined against the white snow beyond, but, even as I stood now helplessly and silently awaiting the end, a dark line rapidly spread over this field of white. Beyond, all was black, and as this sharp-cut boundary line rapidly approached Zarlah’s car, my blood froze in my veins, for in this vast area of bare black rock I recognized the terrible power of the North Repelling Pole. There was another moment in which my heart refused to beat, then a groan of great anguish escaped my lips, as Zarlah’s car was hurled upwards into space with frightful velocity.
Shutting my eyes I awaited death. For an instant it seemed to me that I heard Zarlah’s voice call to me in clear accents, then came a terrific shock which hurled me to the far end of the aerenoid, amid a confusion of furniture, books, and instruments that had been torn from their fastenings. Frozen into a state of utter helplessness, my senses fast leaving me, I lay unable to extricate myself from the heavy mass.
In this comatose condition I remained totally ignorant of the lapse of time, until, feeling the terrible pressure diminish, I opened my eyes and dreamily beheld the heavy instruments and pieces of furniture move gently away, and bump against one another as they floated lightly about within the car.
Relieved of the great weight, I now breathed more freely. My senses grew clearer, and soon I became conscious of a loud hissing noise close at hand. Drowsily I turned my head in the direction of the sound, and discovered that it came from the door in the side of the aerenoid. In an instant the full faculty of my senses returned, as with intense horror I realized the cause—the air of the car was escaping into the void of the universe without! Desperately I struggled to gain my feet, but being without weight, the effort resulted only in my drifting helplessly about the car, until, gasping for air, I realized that the end had come.
A moment’s consciousness of being drawn gently to the floor of the car again, while the furniture and other articles that had been drifting about piled lightly upon me without any perceptible weight; a slight shock, then, as the suffocating sensation became more intense, a blackness rushed in upon me, and my senses reeled—
* * * * *
The end of A perilous journey.