The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 78

them near those strong teeth of
his. He felt a wild wave of madness sweep over him as his efforts to
regain his liberty met with failure.

Numa was roaring almost continually now. It was quite evident that he
was coming down into the desert to hunt. It was the roar of a hungry
lion. Tarzan envied him, for he was free. No one would tie him with
ropes and slaughter him like a sheep. It was that which galled the
ape-man. He did not fear to die, no--it was the humiliation of defeat
before death, without even a chance to battle for his life.

It must be near midnight, thought Tarzan. He had several hours to
live. Possibly he would yet find a way to take Rokoff with him on the
long journey. He could hear the savage lord of the desert quite close
by now. Possibly he sought his meat from among the penned animals
within the DOUAR.

For a long time silence reigned, then Tarzan's trained ears caught the
sound of a stealthily moving body. It came from the side of the tent
nearest the mountains--the back. Nearer and nearer it came. He
waited, listening intently, for it to pass. For a time there was
silence without, such a terrible silence that Tarzan was surprised that
he did not hear the breathing of the animal he felt sure must be
crouching close to the back wall of his tent.

There! It is moving again. Closer it creeps. Tarzan turns his head
in the direction of the sound. It is very dark within the tent.
Slowly the back rises from the ground, forced up by the head and
shoulders of a body that looks all black in the semi-darkness. Beyond
is a faint glimpse of the dimly starlit desert. A grim smile plays
about Tarzan's lips. At least Rokoff will be cheated. How mad he will
be! And death will be more merciful than he could have hoped for at
the hands of the Russian.

Now the back of the tent drops into place, and all is darkness
again--whatever it is is inside the tent with him. He hears it
creeping close to him--now it is beside him. He closes his eyes and
waits for the mighty paw. Upon his upturned face falls the gentle
touch of a soft hand groping in the dark, and then a girl's voice in a
scarcely audible whisper pronounces

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