The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 184

But soon they were thrust
forth once more, as the girl gave no sign of perturbation at the
continued wailing of the man above.

One by one grotesque forms emerged from the jungle to creep stealthily
upon the unsuspecting woman. A faint rustling of the grasses attracted
her attention. She turned, and at the sight that confronted her
staggered to her feet with a little shriek of fear. Then they closed
upon her with a rush. Lifting her bodily in his long, gorilla-like
arms, one of the creatures turned and bore her into the jungle. A
filthy paw covered her mouth to stifle her screams. Added to the weeks
of torture she had already undergone, the shock was more than she could
withstand. Shattered nerves collapsed, and she lost consciousness.
When she regained her senses she found herself in the thick of the
primeval forest. It was night. A huge fire burned brightly in the
little clearing in which she lay. About it squatted fifty frightful
men. Their heads and faces were covered with matted hair. Their long
arms rested upon the bent knees of their short, crooked legs. They
were gnawing, like beasts, upon unclean food. A pot boiled upon the
edge of the fire, and out of it one of the creatures would occasionally
drag a hunk of meat with a sharpened stick.

When they discovered that their captive had regained consciousness, a
piece of this repulsive stew was tossed to her from the foul hand of a
nearby feaster. It rolled close to her side, but she only closed her
eyes as a qualm of nausea surged through her.

For many days they traveled through the dense forest. The girl,
footsore and exhausted, was half dragged, half pushed through the long,
hot, tedious days. Occasionally, when she would stumble and fall, she
was cuffed and kicked by the nearest of the frightful men. Long before
they reached their journey's end her shoes had been discarded--the
soles entirely gone. Her clothes were torn to mere shreds and tatters,
and through the pitiful rags her once white and tender skin showed raw
and bleeding from contact with the thousand pitiless thorns and
brambles through which she had been dragged.

The last two days of the journey found her in such utter exhaustion
that no amount of kicking and abuse could force her to her poor,
bleeding feet. Outraged nature had reached the limit of endurance, and
the girl was physically powerless to raise herself

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