The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 93

in an angry snarl that exposed
wicked looking fighting fangs, but the beasts did not seem inclined to
initiate hostilities, and as they were unarmed and evidently but
engaged upon their own affairs Bulan decided to withdraw without
arousing them further. As he turned to retrace his steps he found his
three companions gazing in wide-eyed astonishment upon the strange new
creatures which confronted them.

Number Ten was grinning broadly, while Number Three advanced cautiously
toward one of the creatures, making a low guttural noise, that could
only be interpreted as peaceful and conciliatory--more like a feline
purr it was than anything else.

"What are you doing?" cried Bulan. "Leave them alone. They have not
offered to harm us."

"They are like us," replied Number Three. "They must be our own
people. I am going with them."

"And I," said Number Ten.

"And I," echoed Number Twelve. "At last we have found our own, let us
all go with them and live with them, far away from the men who would
beat us with great whips, and cut us with their sharp swords."

"They are not human beings," exclaimed Bulan. "We cannot live with
them."

"Neither are we human beings," retorted Number Twelve. "Has not von
Horn told us so many times?"

"If I am not now a human being," replied Bulan, "I intend to be one,
and so I shall act as a human being should act. I shall not go to live
with savage beasts, nor shall you. Come with me as I tell you, or you
shall again taste the bull whip."

"We shall do as we please," growled Number Ten, baring his fangs. "You
are not our master. We have followed you as long as we intend to. We
are tired of forever walking, walking, walking through the bushes that
tear our flesh and hurt us. Go and be a human being if you think you
can, but do not longer interfere with us or we shall kill you," and he
looked first at Number Three and then at Number Twelve for approval of
his ultimatum.

Number Three nodded his grotesque and hideous head--he was so covered
with long black hair that he more nearly resembled an ourang outang
than a human being. Number Twelve looked doubtful.

"I think Number Ten is right," he said at last. "We are not human. We
have no souls. We are things. And while you, Bulan, are beautiful,
yet you are as much a soulless thing as we--that much von

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