The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 87

You had a close call tonight, Rokoff; do not tempt fate a
second time."

Then Gernois rose to leave. Tarzan barely had time to drop to the
landing and shrink back into the shadows on the far side of the door.
Even then he scarcely hoped to elude detection. The landing was very
small, and though he flattened himself against the wall at its far edge
he was scarcely more than a foot from the doorway. Almost immediately
it opened, and Gernois stepped out. Rokoff was behind him. Neither
spoke. Gernois had taken perhaps three steps down the stairway when he
halted and half turned, as though to retrace his steps.

Tarzan knew that discovery would be inevitable. Rokoff still stood on
the threshold a foot from him, but he was looking in the opposite
direction, toward Gernois. Then the officer evidently reconsidered his
decision, and resumed his downward course. Tarzan could hear Rokoff's
sigh of relief. A moment later the Russian went back into the room and
closed the door.

Tarzan waited until Gernois had had time to get well out of hearing,
then he pushed open the door and stepped into the room. He was on top
of Rokoff before the man could rise from the chair where he sat
scanning the paper Gernois had given him. As his eyes turned and fell
upon the ape-man's face his own went livid.

"You!" he gasped.

"I," replied Tarzan.

"What do you want?" whispered Rokoff, for the look in the ape-man's
eyes frightened him. "Have you come to kill me? You do not dare.
They would guillotine you. You do not dare kill me."

"I dare kill you, Rokoff," replied Tarzan, "for no one knows that you
are here or that I am here, and Paulvitch would tell them that it was
Gernois. I heard you tell Gernois so. But that would not influence
me, Rokoff. I would not care who knew that I had killed you; the
pleasure of killing you would more than compensate for any punishment
they might inflict upon me. You are the most despicable cur of a
coward, Rokoff, I have ever heard of. You should be killed. I should
love to kill you," and Tarzan approached closer to the man.

Rokoff's nerves were keyed to the breaking point. With a shriek he
sprang toward an adjoining room, but the ape-man was upon his back
while his leap was yet but half completed. Iron fingers sought his

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