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saw this grow larger. For a minute perhaps I stared aghast at this
blackness that was creeping over the day, and then I realized that
an eclipse was beginning. Either the moon or the planet Mercury
was passing across the sunís disk. Naturally, at first I took it to be
the moon, but there is much to incline me to believe that what I
really saw was the transit of an inner planet passing very near to
the earth.

ĎThe darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening
gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air
increased in number.

From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these
lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to
convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of
sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the
background of our lives-all that was over. As the darkness
thickened, the eddying flakes grew more abundant, dancing before
my eyes; and the cold of the air more intense. At last, one by one,
swiftly, one after the other, the white peaks of the distant hills
vanished into blackness. The breeze rose to a moaning wind. I saw
the black central shadow of the eclipse sweeping towards me. In
another moment the pale stars alone were visible. All else was
rayless obscurity. The sky was absolutely black.

ĎA horror of this great darkness came on me. The cold, that smote
to my marrow, and the pain I felt in breathing, overcame me. I
shivered, and a deadly nausea seized me. Then like a red-hot bow
in the sky appeared the edge of the sun. I got off the machine to
recover myself. I felt giddy and incapable of facing the return
journey. As I stood sick and confused I saw again the moving thing
upon the shoal-there was no mistake now that it was a moving
thing-against the red water of the sea. It was a round thing, the
size of a football perhaps, or, it may be, bigger, and tentacles
trailed down from it; it seemed black against the weltering blood-
red water, and it was hopping fitfully about. Then I felt I was
fainting. But a terrible dread of lying helpless in that remote and
awful twilight sustained me while I clambered upon the saddle.
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