CHAPTER 62: "TOWARD DOOM"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
The battered and bruised Princess of Helium could hardly
believe that the ferocious struggle was over, so quickly had the feathered
giant fallen. She made certain that Gizank was no longer moving, and only
then did Dejah Thoris fall back upon her elbows and fill her aching lungs
again and again with life-giving air.
"How can this be happening to me?" she half sobbed and
half screamed. "Oh, that the cruel Tharks had killed me that day when the
The dizziness the bird-man's grip had inflicted upon her
began to abate and soon the girl could think more rationally and move more
prudently. Having assured herself that Gizank's body was no threat, her
next concern was to locate her Jasoomian companion. Compared to her giant
size John Carter was very small and so she was careful not to move so quickly
or forcefully as to knock into the diminutive man unawares.
"Dejah Thoris! Help me, Dejah Thoris!"
She heard his cry for help in her mind, but her ears could
not pick up the tenuous sound of the man's small voice. With great caution
she edged forward on her hands and knees, scrutinizing the dusty ground
where the dead giant rested. Then she examined every visible detail of
the prostrate corpse, but there was no sign of the Earthman anywhere. All
she discovered was a pin-like object beside the body, which turned out
to be the long-sword that John Carter had let go of during the conflict.
"Where are you, John? -- I cannot see you!" she called
out. But there was no answer.
Gizank's huge body lay face down on the trail where he
had fallen. Failing to locate her companion's little figure anywhere, it
was the girl's increasing fear that John Carter was pinned beneath the
great carcass. Moving very carefully and methodically, the Martian maiden
endeavored to turn the feathered beast upon his back. This she finally
accomplished, dreading all the while to look in the space where Gizank
had dropped, lest she see the Earthman's broken body.
"Great Issus! What has happened to you, my chieftain,"
the forlorn princess called out; still no answer came.
In great distress Dejah Thoris again searched the entire
death scene, taking great pains to examine every feather of Gizank's great
frame. Again she found another reminder of her lost friend, in the short-sword
that still protruded from the bird-man's shattered left eye. But nothing
more than that.
Either the chicken-headed giant had flung the Earthman
so far into the forest that his body might never be found, or -- or he
had crushed the hero in his powerful beak and eaten him. Dejah Thoris could
come to no other conclusion. Overcome by this shocking realization, she
hung her head and wept in wretched anguish."
"I've lost my purpose for living," was the only thought
could give voice to. Dejah Thoris was too numb to contemplate anything
One moment the Earthman was aware of Gizank's gargantuan
corpse toppling into the dust of the forest trail and the next nothing
was the same. The bird-man's body had simply vanished! John Carter looked
about for the princess found her gone as well! He attempted to stand but
that effort carried him high into the air.
"My earthly muscles -- I must have moved with too much
force!" he thought. "But no, that can't be right, for I am still in the
air. Or is this my mortal end?"
John Carter's return to the world of reality came swiftly,
like the snapping of an overstrained piece of steel. He was still in the
forest. The diminished weight of his body told him he was still on Barsoom.
He yet breathed. But all else was a blur of new perceptions mixed with
"Woola!" he exclaimed.
From out of nowhere Martian watchdog was jumping upon
him, licking his face, and roaring with fond satisfaction.
Then he saw the face of the green girl, Sola, bending
over him. Her countenance shimmered like a mirage. Then he was back in
his former setting, leaping down from the sky and landing beside the dead
John Carter climbed onto the creature he had slain and
his eyes searched the forest for Dejah Thoris. How the giant princess could
vanish so quickly puzzled the Earthman.
"Dejah Thoris! Where are you?" he called out.
"She is right beside you, Dotar Sojat," a voice called
This was not spoken in the rumbling low tones of the giants;
the voice sounded normal. How could that be? What was happening to him?
The second forest scene reappeared. He was sitting on
a silk bed. The calot was again with him. -- And Sola. -- And also Oman.
"Are you real or an illusion?" John Carter demanded.
Both spoke at once, but it was Sola's voice that he best
"You have slept for three days, Dotar Sojat," she said.
"Now are you returning to what is real."
"You have been dreaming and only small parts of your dream
have been real things. Since Vovo removed the stony paralysis from your
hands you have been sinking into a terrible delusion of his own construction.
We feared that you might never recover." Oman added.
"And what of Dejah Thoris?" John Carter entreated of the
"She is here," he replied. "But the Princess of Helium
has not been so fortunate as you, Jasoomian. Vovo's deceptions have not
have affected your otherworldly brain so strongly as they do hers. The
wizard designed his traps for a Barsoomian mind, and hers is yet caught
deep within his snare."