A Shipwrecked sailor finds a refuge for the night.
Mr. Rainsford meets his host Mr. Zaroff
Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea, and that utter weariness was on him. He flung himself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of his life.When he opened his eyes, he knew from the position of the sun that it was late in the afternoon.
“Mirage,” thought Rainsford. But it was no mirage, he found, when he opened the tall spiked iron gate. The stone steps were real enough; the massive door with a leering gargoyle for a knocker was real enough; yet above it all hung an air of unreality. He lifted the knocker, and it creaked up stiffly, as if it had never before been used. He let it fall, and it startled him with its booming loudness. He thought he heard steps within; the door remained closed. Again Rainsford lifted the heavy knocker, and let it fall. The door opened as suddenly as if it were on a spring - and...........
“I am General Zaroff.” Rainsford’s first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original almost bizarre quality about the general’s face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white, but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night from which Rainsford had come. His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face – the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat.