I related to Zarlah all that had happened since I had left her; how I had encountered Reon at the observatory and learned of Almos’ departure to Earth, and how I had later discovered the letter in which Almos gave to us the great happiness we had despaired of ever possessing. And now the fast encroaching darkness warned us of the approach of a lunar night. As darkness with us would necessarily mean daylight on that part of Mars to which we had come opposite in our journey round the planet, I felt that now had arrived the time for action, as Mars would become visible. Moreover, as the days and nights of this rapidly moving satellite were but three and a half hours in duration, I realized that no time should be lost in making the necessary preparations for our hazardous journey. But although I was now able to get on my feet and had the use of my arms, I had not by any means regained all my strength, and upon laying my plans before Zarlah, she urged me not to undertake such a journey until the rays had fully restored me. Therefore it was decided to postpone our attempt to reach Mars until the following night.
But soon a strange and unforeseen incident warned us of the great danger to which we were exposed on the surface of this diminutive moon, and left us no alternative but immediate departure.
Hurled from the moon.
Together we stood gazing in silence out into the abyss over the small surface of the moon that was visible to us, oppressed with a sense of awe as the sun dropped from sight, leaving us plunged in darkness.
Suddenly there appeared from out of the inky blackness of the heavens a huge crescent, stretching across the sky far above us. The sight of it fascinated us, and, as we stood lost in admiration at the majestic proportions of the beautiful arch of light, ever growing in width, we gradually realized that it was the sun-tipped rim of the planet which our moon was journeying around—the world from which we had been hurled and to which we must return.
A sense of great reverence overpowered me; I realized that we looked upon sights, and felt great forces never before bared to mortals. Through my mind ran lines of Addison’s ode:
“The spacious firmament on high
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
* * * * *
Forever singing as they shine
The hand that made us is divine.”
Slowly the light crept over the planet’s surface until the huge illuminated sphere, almost filling the entire heavens, made a scene of the most exquisite grandeur that human eyes have ever beheld.
“Dearest!” I exclaimed, with sudden impulse, as a most remarkable and terrifying fact occurred to me, “wonderful though our deliverance from death seems to us, it is even more miraculous than we had any conception of! To meet with this moon in our journey through space, we must have described an arc, as this satellite never passes over the pole.”