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A Son of the Ages: The Reincarnations and Adventures of Scar, the Link

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
A waste of waters heaved sullenly beneath a dismal canopy. Thin, slimy masses floated here and there about the shallows of a little cove or clung to its sodden beach. The cove led into a bay, which opened, in its turn, upon a vast and soundless sea. But a single reach of land, gray, flat, and lifeless and encircling partially the cove, was all of earth there was in sight. Close above and all about the huge and silent mystery and extending outward far into space, was a steaming world of vapour, condensed into enormous clouds beyond, an enshrouding curtain over all beneath. And ever this was smitten fiercely by the distant sun, whose rays could not yet fairly pierce the tremendous depths, yet shone through wanly here and there upon the sombre scheme, sombre in its awful lifelessness and silence, but with a promise, indefinable and yet assured, of life and light to come in the tremendous future. And eons followed eons. Man had not yet measured time. The dateless ages passed. The vibrating waves of light, of heat, of electricity, of magnetism, the forces of attraction and repulsion, all the agencies and mysteries of nature’s law, laboured ceaselessly within and without the forming world, making for life. The dense exuding vapour became a warm yet ever present mist, through which the sun’s rays drove or filtered and reached the earth abundantly. The world had shrunken, yet the outlines of the bay, and even of the little cove, were there, though otherwise the scene had changed. The floating protoplasmic fragments had developed into a higher and far-extended life. No longer lay the waters flat and motionless; no longer was the land a dead and drear expanse. There were waves upon the seas and movements showing life there, and the land was green with an infant vegetation. And the new planet rolled through its allotted orbit while upon it were wrought the endless processes of growth and transformation. The constellations of the heavens slowly changed and shifted into the forms and places which were in coming ages to be marked and named by the sons of earth. Suns flamed and faded while this globe strained toward its prime. Life advanced with an overwhelming rush. There might be check but never pause to the plunging growth from the primal cells which had floated by the sea until they had developed a looming vegetation and almost brainless monsters in that lush and growing time. The warm waters teemed with the myriads of life. Strange creatures swarmed the seas devouringly or nosed and hunted along the shores, and others of other forms ranged and floundered and fought in the depths and glades of the gigantic fernlike forests. It was a time of heat and moisture and of fierce development, terrible, vast, imposing. The time, uncounted, yet brought relentlessly its transmutations. The mottled, changing ages still trod upon each other’s heels, and reaction and condensation came into even the law of life. The warm seas became in area, though not in place, much as they are to-day. On land, the vast fernlike forests lay buried deep beneath the covering surface made by another and different vegetation. The reptilian monsters of the sea and land had almost gone, and in their place ranged the great creatures of another sort and type, as well of more timid life, the grass-eaters, upon whose bodies fed the savage beasts of the new epoch. At night the leaves rustled beneath the tread of murderous things; the air resounded with the roar of the great cave tiger, the growl of the cave bear or the cries and snarls of hyenas and the yelpings of the wolf packs. The green plains were dotted with herds of little wild horses, the aurochs, the urus, the ancient elk, and a host of other grazing things; wild hogs were in the thickets. All was life, as before, but life of another kind, one of pursuers and pursued, fierce, strenuous, bloody, but with more to the brute intelligence.