The Well in the Desert

Cover of book The Well in the Desert
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE s


hadowy bulk of distant mountains changed to pale blue as the purple of night slowly lightened. The stars faded, one by one, and a spectral moon slipped wearily down the sky. Beyond the scant mesquite fringing the arroyo the desert lay still and gray, like a leaden sea. The man woke, and moved slightly, groaning as his wrenched and stiffened body protested. Consciousness strengthened, and he struggled to his knees to stare about him. The chill of early morning had him by the bones, and he shook in its grip. After a little he got to his feet and tried, painfully, to swing his arms. Away westward a subtle hint of color crept across the pale sky, heralding a coming radiance in the east; but it brought no sense of comfort. "There 's no one left alive but me," the man whispered, as his gaze took in the awful solitude. "No one but me, Gabriel Card!" The sound of that name, spoken all unconsciously, made him start, and look furtively about. The loneliness of the plain had betrayed his jealously guarded secret. Then his mood changed. "I 've a right to die with it, at least," he muttered. "They can't steal that from me. Barker 's dead, already. Gabriel Gard goes next. Hear that, Gabriel? You go next. Y-a-a-h. . . . God!" A sudden agony of pain shook him as he began to cough. Every muscle in his body was sore. Then, as the racking grew less, he stood transfixed, staring across the desert. A crimson glow from the coming sunrise flushed far across the eastern sky, and coming toward him, touched by its glory, was a figure that his astonished brain sought to define. It was no mirage. He knew the marks of that supreme cheat of the desert. This was no trick of refraction or of reflection. He saw, as a man sees, this creature silently, steadily drawing ne...

The Well in the Desert
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