The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 51

village, nose to ground, halting at last close to the palisade,
where it almost touched the backs of several huts. Here the beast
sniffed for a moment, and then, turning its head upon one side,
listened with up-pricked ears.

What it heard was no sound by the standards of human ears, yet to the
highly attuned and delicate organs of the beast a message seemed to be
borne to the savage brain. A wondrous transformation was wrought in
the motionless mass of statuesque bone and muscle that had an instant
before stood as though carved out of the living bronze.

As if it had been poised upon steel springs, suddenly released, it rose
quickly and silently to the top of the palisade, disappearing,
stealthily and cat-like, into the dark space between the wall and the
back of an adjacent hut.

In the village street beyond women were preparing many little fires and
fetching cooking-pots filled with water, for a great feast was to be
celebrated ere the night was many hours older. About a stout stake
near the centre of the circling fires a little knot of black warriors
stood conversing, their bodies smeared with white and blue and ochre in
broad and grotesque bands. Great circles of colour were drawn about
their eyes and lips, their breasts and abdomens, and from their
clay-plastered coiffures rose gay feathers and bits of long, straight
wire.

The village was preparing for the feast, while in a hut at one side of
the scene of the coming orgy the bound victim of their bestial
appetites lay waiting for the end. And such an end!

Tarzan of the Apes, tensing his mighty muscles, strained at the bonds
that pinioned him; but they had been re-enforced many times at the
instigation of the Russian, so that not even the ape-man's giant brawn
could budge them.

Death!

Tarzan had looked the Hideous Hunter in the face many a time, and
smiled. And he would smile again tonight when he knew the end was
coming quickly; but now his thoughts were not of himself, but of those
others--the dear ones who must suffer most because of his passing.

Jane would never know the manner of it. For that he thanked Heaven;
and he was thankful also that she at least was safe in the heart of the
world's greatest city. Safe among kind and loving friends who would do
their best to lighten her misery.

But the boy!

Tarzan writhed at the thought of him. His son! And now he--the mighty
Lord of the Jungle--he,

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