Jungle Tales of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

narrow slit
in the rocky wall. It might lead in but a few feet, or it might lead
to freedom! Tibo approached it and looked within. He could see
nothing. He extended his arm into the blackness, but he dared not
venture farther. Bukawai never would have left open a way of escape,
Tibo reasoned, so this passage must lead either nowhere or to some
still more hideous danger.

To the boy's fear of the actual dangers which menaced him--Bukawai and
the two hyenas--his superstition added countless others quite too
horrible even to name, for in the lives of the blacks, through the
shadows of the jungle day and the black horrors of the jungle night,
flit strange, fantastic shapes peopling the already hideously peopled
forests with menacing figures, as though the lion and the leopard, the
snake and the hyena, and the countless poisonous insects were not quite
sufficient to strike terror to the hearts of the poor, simple creatures
whose lot is cast in earth's most fearsome spot.


And so it was that little Tibo cringed not only from real menaces but
from imaginary ones. He was afraid even to venture upon a road that
might lead to escape, lest Bukawai had set to watch it some frightful
demon of the jungle.

But the real menaces suddenly drove the imaginary ones from the boy's
mind, for with the coming of daylight the half-famished hyenas renewed
their efforts to break down the frail barrier which kept them from
their prey. Rearing upon their hind feet they clawed and struck at the
lattice. With wide eyes Tibo saw it sag and rock. Not for long, he
knew, could it withstand the assaults of these two powerful and
determined brutes. Already one corner had been forced past the rocky
protuberance of the entrance way which had held it in place. A shaggy
forearm protruded into the chamber. Tibo trembled as with ague, for he
knew that the end was near.

Backing against the farther wall he stood flattened out as far from the
beasts as he could get. He saw the lattice give still more. He saw a
savage, snarling head forced past it, and grinning jaws snapping and
gaping toward him. In another instant the pitiful fabric would fall
inward, and the two would be upon him, rending his flesh from his
bones, gnawing the bones themselves, fighting for possession of his
entrails.

* * *

Bukawai came upon Momaya outside the palisade of Mbonga, the chief. At
sight of him the woman drew

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