The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

through which it had entered.

The man heard the soft scraping of the body as it passed over the top
of the palisade, and then silence. From the opposite side of the hut
he heard the savages approaching to investigate.

He had little hope that Sheeta would return, for had the great cat
intended to defend him against all comers it would have remained by his
side as it heard the approaching savages without.

Tarzan knew how strange were the workings of the brains of the mighty
carnivora of the jungle--how fiendishly fearless they might be in the
face of certain death, and again how timid upon the slightest
provocation. There was doubt in his mind that some note of the
approaching blacks vibrating with fear had struck an answering chord in
the nervous system of the panther, sending him slinking through the
jungle, his tail between his legs.

The man shrugged. Well, what of it? He had expected to die, and,
after all, what might Sheeta have done for him other than to maul a
couple of his enemies before a rifle in the hands of one of the whites
should have dispatched him!

If the cat could have released him! Ah! that would have resulted in a
very different story; but it had proved beyond the understanding of
Sheeta, and now the beast was gone and Tarzan must definitely abandon
hope.

The natives were at the entrance to the hut now, peering fearfully into
the dark interior. Two in advance held lighted torches in their left
hands and ready spears in their right. They held back timorously
against those behind, who were pushing them forward.

The shrieks of the panther's victim, mingled with those of the great
cat, had wrought mightily upon their poor nerves, and now the awful
silence of the dark interior seemed even more terribly ominous than had
the frightful screaming.

Presently one of those who was being forced unwillingly within hit upon
a happy scheme for learning first the precise nature of the danger
which menaced him from the silent interior. With a quick movement he
flung his lighted torch into the centre of the hut. Instantly all
within was illuminated for a brief second before the burning brand was
dashed out against the earth floor.

There was the figure of the white prisoner still securely bound as they
had last seen him, and in the centre of the hut another figure equally
as motionless, its throat and breasts horribly torn and mangled.

The sight that met the eyes of the foremost

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