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Volume 2262
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Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter®of Mars

Volume 2262


62. "TOWARD DOOM" -- Feb. 7, '43
(read novelization

P1: Certain death would have come to John Carter had not Gizank's necklace swung out in time for him to grasp. 

P2: Out over Gizank's chest the Earthman hung and jabbed his sword into the brute's chest. As falls upon mount Barsoom a lightning smitten tree. So Gizank, the giant chicken man, fell dead in the forest. 

P3: Dejah Thoris, the princess, ran forward in fear, for she had seen John Carter pinned beneath the great creature. 

P4: She turned the beast upon his back, dreading to look where Gizank had dropped lest she see the Earthman's broken body beneath. 

P5: But the Earthman was unharmed, for when the brute had toppled, Carter leaped into a shallow ditch where he lay as Gizank's body fell over him. 

P6: John Carter, turning to look for the princess found her gone! 


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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 Haldar crashed!" 

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 else. 

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 old memories. 

"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 Gizank. 

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 out. 

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 understood. 

"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 metal odwar. 

"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."


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