The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 105

Darkness of the Night


When Tarzan of the Apes realized that he was in the grip of the great
jaws of a crocodile he did not, as an ordinary man might have done,
give up all hope and resign himself to his fate.

Instead, he filled his lungs with air before the huge reptile dragged
him beneath the surface, and then, with all the might of his great
muscles, fought bitterly for freedom. But out of his native element
the ape-man was too greatly handicapped to do more than excite the
monster to greater speed as it dragged its prey swiftly through the
water.

Tarzan's lungs were bursting for a breath of pure fresh air. He knew
that he could survive but a moment more, and in the last paroxysm of
his suffering he did what he could to avenge his own death.

His body trailed out beside the slimy carcass of his captor, and into
the tough armour the ape-man attempted to plunge his stone knife as he
was borne to the creature's horrid den.

His efforts but served to accelerate the speed of the crocodile, and
just as the ape-man realized that he had reached the limit of his
endurance he felt his body dragged to a muddy bed and his nostrils rise
above the water's surface. All about him was the blackness of the
pit--the silence of the grave.

For a moment Tarzan of the Apes lay gasping for breath upon the slimy,
evil-smelling bed to which the animal had borne him. Close at his side
he could feel the cold, hard plates of the creature's coat rising and
falling as though with spasmodic efforts to breathe.

For several minutes the two lay thus, and then a sudden convulsion of
the giant carcass at the man's side, a tremor, and a stiffening brought
Tarzan to his knees beside the crocodile. To his utter amazement he
found that the beast was dead. The slim knife had found a vulnerable
spot in the scaly armour.

Staggering to his feet, the ape-man groped about the reeking, oozy den.
He found that he was imprisoned in a subterranean chamber amply large
enough to have accommodated a dozen or more of the huge animals such as
the one that had dragged him thither.

He realized that he was in the creature's hidden nest far under the
bank of the stream, and that doubtless the only means of ingress or
egress lay through the submerged opening through which the crocodile
had brought him.

His first thought, of course, was of escape, but

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