The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 55

savages inspired more
terror within their superstitious breasts than would the presence of
Sheeta, for they saw only the result of a ferocious attack upon one of
their fellows.

Not seeing the cause, their fear-ridden minds were free to attribute
the ghastly work to supernatural causes, and with the thought they
turned, screaming, from the hut, bowling over those who stood directly
behind them in the exuberance of their terror.

For an hour Tarzan heard only the murmur of excited voices from the far
end of the village. Evidently the savages were once more attempting to
work up their flickering courage to a point that would permit them to
make another invasion of the hut, for now and then came a savage yell,
such as the warriors give to bolster up their bravery upon the field of
battle.

But in the end it was two of the whites who first entered, carrying
torches and guns. Tarzan was not surprised to discover that neither of
them was Rokoff. He would have wagered his soul that no power on earth
could have tempted that great coward to face the unknown menace of the
hut.

When the natives saw that the white men were not attacked they, too,
crowded into the interior, their voices hushed with terror as they
looked upon the mutilated corpse of their comrade. The whites tried
in vain to elicit an explanation from Tarzan; but to all their queries
he but shook his head, a grim and knowing smile curving his lips.

At last Rokoff came.

His face grew very white as his eyes rested upon the bloody thing
grinning up at him from the floor, the face set in a death mask of
excruciating horror.

"Come!" he said to the chief. "Let us get to work and finish this
demon before he has an opportunity to repeat this thing upon more of
your people."

The chief gave orders that Tarzan should be lifted and carried to the
stake; but it was several minutes before he could prevail upon any of
his men to touch the prisoner.

At last, however, four of the younger warriors dragged Tarzan roughly
from the hut, and once outside the pall of terror seemed lifted from
the savage hearts.

A score of howling blacks pushed and buffeted the prisoner down the
village street and bound him to the post in the centre of the circle of
little fires and boiling cooking-pots.

When at last he was made fast and seemed quite helpless and beyond the
faintest hope of succour, Rokoff's shrivelled wart of courage swelled
to its usual proportions when

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