How the Hidden
vast earth shell,” Kelsall continued after a
pause, “was of necessity almost wholly molten and fiery. But the world
hidden within it, which had formed before the forming of the shell, had
already condensed and cooled somewhat.
“As it cooled and solidified still farther its
elements and vapors cooled into water, into seas that swept its surface
while the vast shell of earth around it was still glowing and molten.
Air formed too from those condensing vapors, an atmosphere that filled
all the vast space inside earth.
“With air and water, with the ceaseless light
and heat beating upon it from the great molten shell of earth enclosing
it, there came at last to form upon this hidden world the first crude
forms of life.
“In the seas they formed—beginning with the
first jelly like organisms evolving out of the changing sea silt’s
elements—the first protoplasm that evolved slowly as ages passed into
higher and higher forms until at last many creatures moved upon the
lands of this central world while the great earth shell was still
almost wholly molten.
“Another great mass of the meteoric material
had been caught by earth as it wandered through earth’s orbit, and that
mass had condensed into earth’s circling moon. But though earth’s outer
surface gradually cooled and solidified, though there began upon its
outer surface the same condensations of vapors and formation of seas,
its inner surface was still molten, flaming, and in the heat of that
inner surface the hidden world flourished, lit and warmed perpetually
by the molten sphere about it.
“At last, out of the great races of strange
creatures that moved on the hidden world, there rose to dominance the
one race of these flesh creatures. They were the product of ages of
evolutionary changes that had taken place here on the hidden world and
with more and more intelligence came to rule it.
“Long before any life appeared on earth’s
surface the flesh creatures had waxed to great power and intelligence.
They built strange cities, cities that grew even larger as their
numbers increased until at last they were forced to cover all their
world with a single great city or mass of structures.
“As time went on they raised over that city
another level of structures, building it as much as possible from
transparent metal to allow the level beneath to receive some share of
the light and heat from the enclosing molten shell. Through the
centuries, they had added level after level to their city, their world,
until at last all of it lay as it now lies with a hundred great levels
on which swarm the masses of the flesh creatures.
“Far above on earth’s surface had come the
first stirrings of life also, the first forming of changing, ascending
species that in time were dominated by the rising races of man. But the
flesh creatures had no interest in the conditions of earth’s surface
and so never ventured out to it.
“But at last, after age upon age of safe and
uneventful existence upon their hidden world, the flesh creatures came
to realize that the end was at hand, that soon their world would perish
and with it all their races. The reason was quite logical.
“When this smaller world was first enclosed by
the earth shell it moved about the sun in the same orbit earth follows
now but did not rotate at all. This earth shell, however, spun from the
first, formed as it was by the meteoric masses rushing whirlpool wise
around the smaller world. When it was first formed, earth consisted of
a great shell which rotated once each twenty four hours, just as it
does now, and a hidden world inside that did not rotate at all.
“But gradually in the following ages this
hidden central world began to rotate also! The great shell rotating
around it pulled at it with vast gravitational attraction as it
revolved, the gravitational attraction of shell and central world being
in reality a connection between them.
“Because of that connection, just as though it
were solid and visible, the hidden inner world began slowly to rotate
in the same direction as the rotating earth shell around it. As age
followed age the rate of its spin steadily increased, accelerated
always by the constant pull of the spinning earth shell around it.
“And so at last, short months ago, it became
evident to the flesh creatures that their inner world was spinning at
almost the same speed as earth’s shell around it, that it would spin
faster and faster still as time went on until the spinning must end in
its own annihilation!
“The flesh creatures calculated that within
months the hidden world could no longer hold together! You must
remember, the gravitational attraction of this small hidden world upon
its own matter was small in the first place and its matter was under
the ceaseless gravitational pull of all the great shell of earth around
“Now with that shell pulling its matter
outward with great force, with the increased centrifugal force of the
spinning world tending ever more strongly to hurl its own substance
outward, it was plain that before the hidden world could reach a speed
of rotation equal to that of the earth shell around it, it would break
up! It would break up, like a bursting flywheel, all the matter flying
apart in tremendous masses against the molten inner shell of earth!
“THAT meant annihilation for the
flesh-creatures and all their world. So they strove with all their
power and craft to devise some way to escape annihilation. They
decided, at last, that but one method of escape was open to them—and
that was to surge up to the surface of earth’s great shell in all their
“There was another group among them that
believed that the speed of rotation could be lessened and their world
saved. They wanted to brake the speed. They did not believe that their
race could exist on the surface of the earth where many conditions
would be different.
“Making use of their knowledge they set to
work tampering with atomic structure to get forces powerful enough to
stop the mad rotation. And they had almost succeeded when they found
that the atomic energy they had released was causing convulsions in the
structure of their world.
“Each disintegrating atom was affecting its
neighbor and with great rapidity their world was being slowly
shattered. The rumbles that you heard were signs of it. They are
becoming more and more severe.
“Imagine these creatures, finding that instead
of thousands of years in which to prepare for the natural ending of
their world they had literally advanced its date so that it hangs over
them ready to end them any moment When the end will come no one knows.
“The earth shell, they knew, would not be
affected by the bursting of the hidden world inside it, save for a
severe shock. And upon earth’s surface they could live, for though they
would be able to move there only with great effort, they could use
their mechanical ingenuity to spare them muscular exhaustion. At any
rate, their last chance lay in emigrating en masse to earth’s surface
“With their instruments of distance vision
they had, more than once in past centuries, gazed upon earth’s surface,
had seen the swarming races of men. They knew that with their great
spheres and deadly rays they could annihilate mankind.
“So they began their plans to drive a great
shaft upward through earth’s shell by using a great disk projector
which would send upward from their world a giant yellow beam that would
instantaneously cut a shaft through the earth. They erected their big
disk projector exactly upon the equator of their own inner world, so
that its beams would send a shaft up exactly upon earth’s equator also.
“Used as they were to the ceaseless light and
beat of their world, the flesh creatures planned to take no chances of
emerging in earth’s colder regions. All was ready to pierce their shaft
upward but one problem faced them still—at what exact spot on earth’s
equator should their great shaft emerge?
“It was a problem of great importance. If
their great shaft were driven suddenly upward in a town or city
swarming with men the alarm would spread over all earth. Before the
flesh creature hordes could rush up human forces might gather about it
to prevent them.
“And, too, should they run their shaft up
through the ocean’s bed, a vast volume of water would rush down it and,
spreading out inside earth’s shell, would cause through contact with
the molten inner surface great cataclysms of exploding steam that might
well wreck all earth.
“It was vitally necessary that their shaft be
driven up through some continent, at an uninhabited spot on earth’s
surface. To make sure that their shaft would be sent upward at such a
spot they decided first to make use of the distance vision instrument I
“That instrument was one which projected an
intense column or shaft of blue light for any distance through any form
of matter. It projected also a small beam of white light that was
supersensitive to all changes of light about it, the white beam
appearing as a white circle or spot of light near the top of the blue
column of radiance.
“Thus the white circle or beam was in effect a
great eye, which recorded upon itself a swift and ceaseless picture of
all things about it. It transmitted this picture downward in the form
of linked vibrations through the blue shaft of radiance to instruments
that enabled the flesh creatures operating it to see things as though
with that great white eye of light.
“So, beside the great blasting beam disk which
they erected on their hidden world’s equator, the flesh creatures set
up a smaller disk to project the blue vision shaft upward through
earth’s shell. You must have seen the great and small disks when you
came down over the hidden world.
“Then, but a few weeks ago, they got into
operation. They turned on the power of the smaller disk and at once a
brilliant shaft of blue radiance sprang upward through the great shell
of earth to emerge upon earth’s surface at the equator.
“That column of blue radiance, appearing as it
did in the native village north of Kismaya, was the first of the great
light shafts that puzzled us on earth.
ONLY for a minute or so did they keep that
blue light shaft turned on near Kismaya. In that minute they were able
to see that the spot was one in which were many natives, many men. It
was, clearly, not a suitable place for their great passage¬-way, so
they turned off the blue ray and it vanished above.
“They did not need to move their disk around
their own hidden world to shoot the light shaft up at a different spot.
They needed only to wait until the next spot selected, a fourth around
earth’s equator, moved directly above their disk. As I have said, their
hidden world spins more slowly than the earth’s shell about it.
“By waiting for a number of days the next
selected spot on the earth shell’s equator would be directly over their
disk, Within twenty days and some hours the second spot was directly
over their disks, since it took that length of time for the swifter
spinning earth shell to gain a fourth of a rotation on their own
spinning inner world,
“So when the moment came, they again sent the
vision shaft stabbing upward. This time it came through the Pacific on
the equator just south of Moram Island.
“They could see that to drive a shaft upward
there would mean the downrush of great waters. So they snapped out
their shaft and waited another twenty days and six and a half hours
until the earth shell around them had gained another quarter revolution
upon their inner world.
“Then they sent a third great light shaft
stabbing upward, which emerged in the broad open expanse of the
Pacific, on the equator just ahead of the Callarnia. They saw that this
third spot also was impossible and prepared to wait until the fourth
designated spot would be above their disks.
“Meanwhile every effort of the flesh
creatures’ hordes was being used to construct the mighty fleet of
spheres that would carry all of them up to earth’s surface. And
meanwhile we four, on earth’s surface, had resolved to solve the
mystery of the strange light shafts and were making our way to the spot
where we had calculated that the fourth would appear.
“Our calculations were right as you know. When
the interval had elapsed the flesh creatures sent their fourth light
shaft stabbing upward. Through it they saw land uninhabited and wild as
“They had found their required spot. At once
they turned on the other titanic greater disk, the giant disk that sent
a colossal yellow disintegrating beam stabbing upward! That beam drove
a great shaft straight up through earth’s shell, almost instantaneously
before our eyes.
“After the shaft was blasted upward, scores of
spheres shot up it at once, their light beams flashing up to earth’s
surface, the first of all the great hordes of flesh things that were to
“For though the shaft had been pierced up and
all was ready for the flesh things to pour up through it, their mighty
fleet of spheres was not yet quite finished, would not be finished for
another day or two. So these hundred or more spheres were sent up to
guard the great shaft’s mouth, to prevent any who might discover it
from giving the alarm or trying to wreck the shaft itself.
“Fenton and I, running from them toward the
clearing’s tip, were seen. Instantly they were after us, captured us,
and took us down as prisoners to this earth within earth. When they
brought us down here, their twelve rulers ordered them to give us at
once knowledge of their speech so that they might converse with us.
“This they did by means of their strange
brain-alteration mechanism, and when we found ourselves able to
understand them they told us these things concerning their history and
AND it was a tale, that, which Fenton and I
heard with growing horror. We saw that these beings could do what they
planned, could surge up onto earth’s surface in their numberless
spheres and annihilate mankind. Our horror was deep¬ened when we
learned how near to earth this doom was. The final preparations were
even then being made, the last spheres of their tremendous fleet were
“Within hours the hordes of flesh creatures
will be rising upward through the mighty shaft onto earth’s surface.
Once they have passed up through the shaft, once they have emerged on
earth’s surface, no power can stay the doom that is mankind’s.
“Even as the flesh things told us this there
came a warning of the cataclysm that was almost upon them. The whole
hidden world seemed to reel and quiver violently, we heard a tremendous
distant grinding and roaring sound. When that died an alarm spread
across all the hidden world.
“Later we learned from the flesh things
guarding us what had happened. A great section of this hidden world had
gone flying out toward the molten encircling earth shell about us! It
was another such great throwing out of part of this inner world’s mass
that caused the similar shock and alarm but a little while ago.
“That I first great shock, indeed, made the
swarming flesh creatures in it redouble their efforts upon their great
fleet of spheres. For they knew that even with the greatest efforts
they would be able to rush upward and escape from the hidden world but
a short hour or so before its final breakup comes.
“So they’ve been working furiously at the
great spheres. Our guards told us that we had nothing to hope from
above, that the hundred spheres were still guarding the mouth of the
great shaft on earth’s surface. We never dreamed of your being able to
get down here to us.
“We were told also that another hundred
spheres had been sent up to relieve the first hundred, with the first
party coming back down. For though the spheres can run for great
periods, though the flesh creatures with their fatigue neutralizing
fluid need neither sleep nor rest, the projectors that shoot forth the
deadly yellow rays must be charged with new stores of electronic force
“Hardly had they told us this when we heard
that great whistling call, which was the signal summoning the officials
of each level to the great central hall. Fenton and I were taken there
“There, behind the great balcony, we heard the
leader of the twelve rulers speaking to the assembled officials,
telling them that the great fleet of spheres was almost finished but
that they must put every effort into their completion within the next
“He told them it had been calculated that
within twenty four more hours, almost exactly, the breakup of their
world would come, that they must needs have the spheres finished and be
rushing to earth’s surface before the cataclysm came.