Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 150

thy last opportunity.

Tarzan crept stealthily among the branches of the tree above the
well-fed, self-satisfied witch-doctor. He made no noise that the dull
ears of man could hear above the soughing of the gentle jungle breeze
among the undulating foliage of the upper terraces, and when he came
close above the black man he halted, well concealed by leafy branch and
heavy creeper.

Rabba Kega sat with his back against the bole of a tree, facing Tarzan.
The position was not such as the waiting beast of prey desired, and so,
with the infinite patience of the wild hunter, the ape-man crouched
motionless and silent as a graven image until the fruit should be ripe
for the plucking. A poisonous insect buzzed angrily out of space. It
loitered, circling, close to Tarzan's face. The ape-man saw and
recognized it. The virus of its sting spelled death for lesser things
than he--for him it would mean days of anguish. He did not move. His
glittering eyes remained fixed upon Rabba Kega after acknowledging the
presence of the winged torture by a single glance. He heard and
followed the movements of the insect with his keen ears, and then he
felt it alight upon his forehead. No muscle twitched, for the muscles
of such as he are the servants of the brain. Down across his face
crept the horrid thing--over nose and lips and chin. Upon his throat
it paused, and turning, retraced its steps. Tarzan watched Rabba Kega.
Now not even his eyes moved. So motionless he crouched that only death
might counterpart his movelessness. The insect crawled upward over the
nut-brown cheek and stopped with its antennae brushing the lashes of
his lower lid. You or I would have started back, closing our eyes and
striking at the thing; but you and I are the slaves, not the masters of
our nerves. Had the thing crawled upon the eyeball of the ape-man, it
is believable that he could yet have remained wide-eyed and rigid; but
it did not. For a moment it loitered there close to the lower lid,
then it rose and buzzed away.

Down toward Rabba Kega it buzzed and the black man heard it, saw it,
struck at it, and was stung upon the cheek before he killed it. Then
he rose with a howl of pain and anger, and as he turned up the trail
toward the village of Mbonga, the chief, his broad, black back was
exposed to the silent thing

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