Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 145

in
time to do more than avenge.

On he sped. Night had fallen and he traveled high along the upper
terrace where the gorgeous tropic moon lighted the dizzy pathway
through the gently undulating branches of the tree tops.

Presently he caught the reflection of a distant blaze. It lay to the
right of his path. It must be the light from the camp fire the two men
had built before they were attacked--Tarzan knew nothing of the
presence of the sailors.

So sure was Tarzan of his jungle knowledge that he did not turn from
his course, but passed the glare at a distance of a half mile. It was
the camp fire of the Frenchmen.

In a few minutes more Tarzan swung into the trees above Mbonga's
village. Ah, he was not quite too late! Or, was he? He could not
tell. The figure at the stake was very still, yet the black warriors
were but pricking it.

Tarzan knew their customs. The death blow had not been struck. He
could tell almost to a minute how far the dance had gone.

In another instant Mbonga's knife would sever one of the victim's
ears--that would mark the beginning of the end, for very shortly after
only a writhing mass of mutilated flesh would remain.

There would still be life in it, but death then would be the only
charity it craved.

The stake stood forty feet from the nearest tree. Tarzan coiled his
rope. Then there rose suddenly above the fiendish cries of the dancing
demons the awful challenge of the ape-man.

The dancers halted as though turned to stone.

The rope sped with singing whir high above the heads of the blacks. It
was quite invisible in the flaring lights of the camp fires.

D'Arnot opened his eyes. A huge black, standing directly before him,
lunged backward as though felled by an invisible hand.

Struggling and shrieking, his body, rolling from side to side, moved
quickly toward the shadows beneath the trees.

The blacks, their eyes protruding in horror, watched spellbound.

Once beneath the trees, the body rose straight into the air, and as it
disappeared into the foliage above, the terrified negroes, screaming
with fright, broke into a mad race for the village gate.

D'Arnot was left alone.

He was a brave man, but he had felt the short hairs bristle upon the
nape of his neck when that uncanny cry rose upon the air.

As the writhing body of the black soared, as though by unearthly power,
into the dense foliage of

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