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The “Thing”

The Thing
The Thing

He had been afraid of leaving the dark margin on his right, for it was his only hold upon his location; but now he felt it as part of some devilish plan, and that to cling to its tangled skirt would be to deliver himself to some ambushed horror; and so, he turned suddenly to his left and, although the vistas of the oak-land were now a sickening and phantom land, he bounded into its gold heart with all the speed he could.

Fear grew upon him as he careered. He had become more an antelope than a boy, but for all his speed he must have been a novice in the art of travel – through moss-leaping – for suddenly, while he was in mid-air, his arms held out on either side, for balance, he caught sight, for the merest fraction of an instant, of a living creature.

Like himself, it was in mid-air, but there was no other resemblance. Titus was heavily if sparsely built. This creature was exquisitely slender. It floated through the golden air like a feather, the slender arms along the side of the gracile body, the head turned slightly away and inclined a little as though on a pillow of air.

Titus was by now convinced that he was asleep: that he was running through the deep of a dream: that his fear was nightmare: that what he had just seen was no more than an apparition, and that though it haunted him he knew the hopeless absurdity of following so fleeting a wisp of the night.

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