Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 48

to receive him. Instead, he turned and
fled for the dark doorway of the nearest hut, calling as he went for
his warriors to fall upon the stranger and slay him.

Well indeed might Mbonga scream for help, for Tarzan, young and
fleet-footed, covered the distance between them in great leaps, at the
speed of a charging lion. He was growling, too, not at all unlike Numa
himself. Mbonga heard and his blood ran cold. He could feel the wool
stiffen upon his pate and a prickly chill run up his spine, as though
Death had come and run his cold finger along Mbonga's back.

Others heard, too, and saw, from the darkness of their huts--bold
warriors, hideously painted, grasping heavy war spears in nerveless
fingers. Against Numa, the lion, they would have charged fearlessly.
Against many times their own number of black warriors would they have
raced to the protection of their chief; but this weird jungle demon
filled them with terror. There was nothing human in the bestial growls
that rumbled up from his deep chest; there was nothing human in the
bared fangs, or the catlike leaps.

Mbonga's warriors were terrified--too terrified to leave the seeming
security of their huts while they watched the beast-man spring full
upon the back of their old chieftain.

Mbonga went down with a scream of terror. He was too frightened even
to attempt to defend himself. He just lay beneath his antagonist in a
paralysis of fear, screaming at the top of his lungs. Tarzan half rose
and kneeled above the black. He turned Mbonga over and looked him in
the face, exposing the man's throat, then he drew his long, keen knife,
the knife that John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, had brought from England
many years before. He raised it close above Mbonga's neck. The old
black whimpered with terror. He pleaded for his life in a tongue which
Tarzan could not understand.

For the first time the ape-man had a close view of the chief. He saw
an old man, a very old man with scrawny neck and wrinkled face--a
dried, parchment-like face which resembled some of the little monkeys
Tarzan knew so well. He saw the terror in the man's eyes--never before
had Tarzan seen such terror in the eyes of any animal, or such a
piteous appeal for mercy upon the face of any creature.

Something stayed the ape-man's hand for an instant. He wondered why it
was that he hesitated to make the kill; never before had

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