In terror, Mal Shaff looked for the source of the light. Just above the horizon hung a great green orb, which moved up the ladder of the sky even as he watched.
A moon! A huge green satellite hurtling swiftly around this cursed world!
A great, overwhelming fear sat upon Mal Shaff and with a high, shrill scream of anger he raced forward, forgetful of aching body and outraged lungs.
His scream was answered from far off, and out of the shadows of the cliffs toward the far end of the moor a black figure hurled itself.
Ouglat was on the trail!
Mal Shaff tore madly up the slope, topped the crest, and threw himself flat on the ground, almost exhausted.
A queer feeling stole over him, a queer feeling of well-being. New strength was flowing into him, the old thrill of battle was pounding through his blood once more.
Not only were queer things happening to his body, but also to his brain.
The world about him looked queer, held a sort of an intangible mystery he could not understand. A half question formed in the back of his brain. Who and what was he? Queer thoughts to be thinking! He was Mal Shaff, but had he always been Mal Shaff?
He remembered a brittle column of light, creatures with bodies unlike his body, walking into it. He had been one of those creatures. There was something about dimensions, about different planes, a plan for one plane to attack another!
He scrambled to his bowed legs and beat his great chest with mighty, long-nailed hands. He flung back his head and from his throat broke a sound to curdle the blood of even the bravest.
On the moor below Ouglat heard the cry and answered it with one equally ferocious.
Mal Shaff took a step forward, then stopped stock-still. Through his brain went a sharp command to return to the spot where he had stood, to wait there until attacked. He stepped back, shifting his feet impatiently.
He was growing larger; every second fresh vitality was pouring into him.
Before his eyes danced a red curtain of hate and his tongue roared forth a series of insulting challenges to the figure that was even now approaching the foot of the hill.
As Ouglat climbed the hill, the night became an insane bedlam. The challenging roars beat like surf against the black cliffs.
Ouglat's lips were flecked with foam, his red eyes were mere slits, his mouth worked convulsively.
They were only a few feet apart when Ouglat charged.
Mal Shaff was ready for him. There was no longer any difference in their size and they met like the two forward walls of contending football teams.
Mal Shaff felt the soft throat of the other under his fingers and his grip tightened. Maddened, Ouglat shot terrific blow after terrific blow into Mal Shaff's body.
Try as he might, however, he could not shake the other's grip.
It was silent now. The night seemed brooding, watching the struggle on the hilltop.
Larger and larger grew Mal Shaff, until he overtopped Ouglat like a giant.
Then he loosened his grip and, as Ouglat tried to scuttle away, reached down to grasp him by the nape of his neck.
High above his head he lifted his enemy and dashed him to the ground.
With a leap he was on the prostrate figure, trampling it apart, smashing it into the ground. With wild cries he stamped the earth, treading out the last of Ouglat, the Black Horror.
When no trace of the thing that had been Ouglat remained, he moved away and viewed the trampled ground.
Then, for the first time he noticed that the crest of the hill was crowded with other monstrous figures. He glared at them, half in surprise, half in anger. He had not noticed their silent approach.
"It is Mal Shaff!" cried one.
"Yes, I am Mal Shaff. What do you want?"
"But, Mal Shaff, Ouglat destroyed you once long ago!"
"And I, just now," replied Mal Shaff, "have destroyed Ouglat."
The figures were silent, shifting uneasily. Then one stepped forward.
"Mal Shaff," it said, "we thought you were dead. Apparently it was not so. We welcome you to our land again. Ouglat, who once tried to kill you and apparently failed, you have killed, which is right and proper. Come and live with us again in peace. We welcome you."
Mal Shaff bowed.
Gone was all thought of the third dimension. Through Mal Shaff's mind raced strange, haunting memories of a red desert scattered with scarlet boulders, of silver cliffs of gleaming metallic stone, of huge seas battering against towering headlands. There were other things, too.
Great palaces of shining jewels, and weird nights of inhuman joy where hellish flames lit deep, black caverns.
He bowed again.
"I thank you, Bathazar," he said.
Without a backward look he shambled down the hill with the others.
"Yes?" said the editor. "What's that you say? Doctor White is dead! A suicide! Yeah, I understand. Worry, hey! Here, Roberts, take this story."
He handed over the phone.
"When you write it," he said, "play up the fact he was worried about not being able to bring the men back to the third dimension. Give him plenty of praise for ending the Black Horror. It's a big story."
"Sure," said Roberts, then spoke into the phone: "All right, Bill, shoot the works."