Jerry Morgan's amazing trip to the distant past of mars!
As the powerful car plunged up the mountain road, Jerry Morgan wondered what sort of reception awaited him at the end of this drive. Would the mysterious, eccentric man who was his uncle, and who lived in this mountain retreat which his nephew had never been permitted to visit, turn him away now?
It was not until he had reached the highest limit of timber growth that he came upon a log habitation built against the mountainside which rose steeply behind it, rugged and bare of vegetation. He stopped the car in front of the log porch, off the road enough to avoid blocking it. No one was around; no one appeared as he slammed the car door shut, climbed the steps and crossed the veranda. No one answered his knock; the door swung open at the impact and Jerry entered.
He found himself in a large living room, finished and furnished in pioneer style, the walls decorated with trophies. Despite the chill at this altitude, there was only cold, gray ashes mingled with bits of charcoal in the fireplace. Jerry had the feeling that the place had not been lived in for some time.
Exploration confirmed his initial impression. Shelves in the kitchen were empty save for a few dishes and utensils. There was no sign of food, and a thin film of dust had settled over everything, even the sink.
Puzzled, he returned to the living room and seated himself on a birch settee before the cold fireplace. Obviously, though this was the nominal residence of his uncle, Doctor Richard Morgan did not really live here. Where, then, did he live? As far as Jerry had been able to see in every direction there had been no sign of a building of any kind, save this one.
As he sat there, reflecting on these mysteries, he suddenly heard the door open, and turning, saw his uncle.
Like his nephew, Richard Morgan was tall and powerfully built. The remaining black among the silver hair and beard was as jet as Jerry's, and though he did not look like a military man, his presence radiated authority. His forehead was high and bulged outward over shaggy eyebrows that met above his aquiline nose; and he wore a pointed, closely cropped Vandyke.
"Glad to see you, Jerry," boomed the doctor in his resonant bass voice. "I've been expecting you."
Jerry Morgan stared in amazement as he took his uncle's proffered hand. "Expecting me? Why, I told no one--intended to surprise you. It sounds almost like thought-transference."
"Perhaps you are nearer the truth than you imagine," replied the doctor, seating himself.