A tall, gaunt figure, swathed in black robes, Stood waiting some distance from me. I knew that it was Death, for under the hood I beheld the grinning skull with its sightless eye-holes, and I turned away in loathsome dread. But even as I did so, the bony arms were stretched out in welcome, and to them ran a slight girlish form—it was Zarlah! For a moment I stood paralyzed with horror, then rushing toward the now retreating figures, I called out wildly, “Zarlah! Zarlah! Flee not with Death! I am here—your Harold is here!” Suddenly I was seized from behind; instantly my strength seemed to be sapped from me and I fell back exhausted, crying in my despair, “Oh, my God! save her! save her!”
A cool, soft hand was laid upon my burning brow, and a sweet voice gently murmured, “Poor Harold! If you could only know that God in His mercy has saved us both!”
It was the voice of the living, not the dead, and slowly the words formed a meaning in my confused brain, dragging me from the depths of unconsciousness to the life that still existed about me, warmed as it was by the wondrous power of a woman’s love. Opening my eyes I beheld Zarlah bending over me, her beautiful face full of compassionate love. It seemed as though in a dream my loved one had come to me, and for a moment I lay peacefully gazing into her face, feeling neither curiosity nor alarm. Then, as my mind awoke to a realization of all that had transpired, a sudden bewilderment came upon me, and, clasping the hand that sought to ease my head, lest the vision should vanish, I cried:
“Zarlah, my beloved, speak to me! Are we by a miracle saved from the death that had engulfed us, or is this the strange meeting of our souls after death?”
At the sound of my voice, Zarlah clasped her hands in a fervent prayer of thankfulness, then, burying her face on my shoulder, gave way to a flood of tears.
“Oh, Harold, my love!” she sobbed. “Thank God, you have been spared to me! It is indeed by a miracle that this moon, intercepting our aerenoids in their wild flight through space, thus brought us together at the eleventh hour, and laid you helpless and dying at my feet.”
“The moon!” I gasped, raising myself and staring out of the window at my side in astonishment, as my mind gradually comprehended our hairbreadth escape from death.
A blazing orb of fire, shining from the intense blackness around it, was all that met my gaze, and I sank back, exhausted with the effort, into the arms that awaited me.
“Tell me more, darling,” I said, as a great happiness came over me, and my heart was filled with the simple desire to hear the gentle voice I loved. What mattered it to me whether we ever reached Mars or not? The future held no fears for me now; enough that I had Zarlah, for the walls of the aerenoid that surrounded us seemed to compass the whole universe.