The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 156

From
room to room he went, until he came to one at which a rude, barred door
still stood, and as he put his shoulder against it to push it in, again
the shriek of warning rang out almost beside him. It was evident that
he was being warned to refrain from desecrating this particular room.
Or could it be that within lay the secret to the treasure stores?

At any rate, the very fact that the strange, invisible guardians of
this weird place had some reason for wishing him not to enter this
particular chamber was sufficient to treble Tarzan's desire to do so,
and though the shrieking was repeated continuously, he kept his
shoulder to the door until it gave before his giant strength to swing
open upon creaking wooden hinges.

Within all was black as the tomb. There was no window to let in the
faintest ray of light, and as the corridor upon which it opened was
itself in semi-darkness, even the open door shed no relieving rays
within. Feeling before him upon the floor with the butt of his spear,
Tarzan entered the Stygian gloom. Suddenly the door behind him closed,
and at the same time hands clutched him from every direction out of the
darkness.

The ape-man fought with all the savage fury of self-preservation backed
by the herculean strength that was his. But though he felt his blows
land, and his teeth sink into soft flesh, there seemed always two new
hands to take the place of those that he fought off. At last they
dragged him down, and slowly, very slowly, they overcame him by the
mere weight of their numbers. And then they bound him--his hands
behind his back and his feet trussed up to meet them. He had heard no
sound except the heavy breathing of his antagonists, and the noise of
the battle. He knew not what manner of creatures had captured him, but
that they were human seemed evident from the fact that they had bound
him.

Presently they lifted him from the floor, and half dragging, half
pushing him, they brought him out of the black chamber through another
doorway into an inner courtyard of the temple. Here he saw his
captors. There must have been a hundred of them--short, stocky men,
with great beards that covered their faces and fell upon their hairy
breasts.

The thick, matted hair upon their heads grew low over their receding
brows, and hung about their shoulders and their backs. Their crooked
legs were short and heavy,

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