The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 153

night they camped outside the city. Once, at midnight, they were
awakened by a shrill scream from beyond the great wall. It was very
high at first, descending gradually until it ended in a series of
dismal moans. It had a strange effect upon the blacks, almost
paralyzing them with terror while it lasted, and it was an hour before
the camp settled down to sleep once more. In the morning the effects
of it were still visible in the fearful, sidelong glances that the
Waziri continually cast at the massive and forbidding structure which
loomed above them.

It required considerable encouragement and urging on Tarzan's part to
prevent the blacks from abandoning the venture on the spot and
hastening back across the valley toward the cliffs they had scaled the
day before. But at length, by dint of commands, and threats that he
would enter the city alone, they agreed to accompany him.

For fifteen minutes they marched along the face of the wall before they
discovered a means of ingress. Then they came to a narrow cleft about
twenty inches wide. Within, a flight of concrete steps, worn hollow by
centuries of use, rose before them, to disappear at a sharp turning of
the passage a few yards ahead.

Into this narrow alley Tarzan made his way, turning his giant shoulders
sideways that they might enter at all. Behind him trailed his black
warriors. At the turn in the cleft the stairs ended, and the path was
level; but it wound and twisted in a serpentine fashion, until suddenly
at a sharp angle it debouched upon a narrow court, across which loomed
an inner wall equally as high as the outer. This inner wall was set
with little round towers alternating along its entire summit with
pointed monoliths. In places these had fallen, and the wall was
ruined, but it was in a much better state of preservation than the
outer wall.

Another narrow passage led through this wall, and at its end Tarzan and
his warriors found themselves in a broad avenue, on the opposite side
of which crumbling edifices of hewn granite loomed dark and forbidding.
Upon the crumbling debris along the face of the buildings trees had
grown, and vines wound in and out of the hollow, staring windows; but
the building directly opposite them seemed less overgrown than the
others, and in a much better state of preservation. It was a massive
pile, surmounted by an enormous dome. At either side of its great
entrance stood rows of

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" He was silent for a moment.
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