The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

decided that it
would be best for each to advance a little way in the direction he
thought the right one while Bulan and his five creatures remained where
they were.

"We will go but a little way," said the spokesman, "and then we shall
return and lead you in the proper direction."

Bulan saw no harm in this, and without a shade of suspicion sat down
upon a fallen tree and watched his two guides disappear into the jungle
in opposite directions. Once out of sight of the white man the two
turned back and met a short distance in the rear of the party they had
deserted--in another moment they were headed for the long-house from
which they had started.

It was fully an hour thereafter that doubts began to enter Bulan's
head, and as the day dragged on he came to realize that he and his
weird pack were alone and lost in the heart of a strange and tangled
web of tropical jungle.

No sooner had Bulan and his party disappeared in the jungle than
Barunda and Ninaka made haste to embark with the chest and the girl and
push rapidly on up the river toward the wild and inaccessible regions
of the interior. Virginia Maxon's strong hope of succor had been
gradually waning as no sign of the rescue party appeared as the day
wore on. Somewhere behind her upon the broad river she was sure a
long, narrow native prahu was being urged forward in pursuit, and that
in command of it was the young giant who was now never for a moment
absent from her thoughts.

For hours she strained her eyes over the stern of the craft that was
bearing her deeper and deeper into the wild heart of fierce Borneo. On
either shore they occasionally passed a native long-house, and the girl
could not help but wonder at the quiet and peace which reigned over
these little settlements. It was as though they were passing along a
beaten highway in the center of a civilized community; and yet she knew
that the men who lolled upon the verandahs, puffing indolently upon
their cigarettes or chewing betel nut, were all head hunters, and that
along the verandah rafters above them hung the grisly trophies of their
prowess.

Yet as she glanced from them to her new captors she could not but feel
that she would prefer captivity in one of the settlements they were
passing--there at least she might find an opportunity to communicate
with her father, or be discovered by the rescue party as

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