The Heart of the Desert (Chapter 7, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 7

After crawling on her hands and knees for several yards, Rhoda rose and started on a run down the long slope to the open desert. But after a few steps she found running impossible, for the slope was a wilderness of rock, thickly grown with cholla and yucca with here and there a thicker growth of cat's-claw.

Almost at once her hands were torn and bleeding and she thought gratefully for the first time of her buckskin trousers which valiantly resisted all detaining thorns. The way dropped rapidly and after her first wild spurt Rhoda leaned exhausted and panting against a boulder. She had not the vaguest idea of where she was going or of what she was going to do, except that she was going to lose herself so thoroughly that not even Kut-le could find her. After that she was quite willing to trust to fate.

After a short rest she started on, every sense keen for the sound of pursuit, but none came. As the silent minutes passed Rhoda became elated. How easy it was! What a pity that she had not tried before! At the foot of the slope, she turned up the arroyo. Here her course grew heavier. The arroyo was cut by deep ruts and gullies down which the girl slid and tumbled in mad haste only to find rock masses over which she crawled with utmost difficulty. Now and again the stout vamps of her hunting boots were pierced by chollas and, half frantic in her haste, she was forced to stop and struggle to pull out the thorns.

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