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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
The Village of Torture
|Page 4 of 4||
There would still be life in it, but death then would be the only charity it craved.
The stake stood forty feet from the nearest tree. Tarzan coiled his rope. Then there rose suddenly above the fiendish cries of the dancing demons the awful challenge of the ape-man.
The dancers halted as though turned to stone.
The rope sped with singing whir high above the heads of the blacks. It was quite invisible in the flaring lights of the camp fires.
D'Arnot opened his eyes. A huge black, standing directly before him, lunged backward as though felled by an invisible hand.
Struggling and shrieking, his body, rolling from side to side, moved quickly toward the shadows beneath the trees.
The blacks, their eyes protruding in horror, watched spellbound.
Once beneath the trees, the body rose straight into the air, and as it disappeared into the foliage above, the terrified negroes, screaming with fright, broke into a mad race for the village gate.
D'Arnot was left alone.
He was a brave man, but he had felt the short hairs bristle upon the nape of his neck when that uncanny cry rose upon the air.
As the writhing body of the black soared, as though by unearthly power, into the dense foliage of the forest, D'Arnot felt an icy shiver run along his spine, as though death had risen from a dark grave and laid a cold and clammy finger on his flesh.
As D'Arnot watched the spot where the body had entered the tree he heard the sounds of movement there.
The branches swayed as though under the weight of a man's body--there was a crash and the black came sprawling to earth again,--to lie very quietly where he had fallen.
Immediately after him came a white body, but this one alighted erect.
D'Arnot saw a clean-limbed young giant emerge from the shadows into the firelight and come quickly toward him.
What could it mean? Who could it be? Some new creature of torture and destruction, doubtless.
D'Arnot waited. His eyes never left the face of the advancing man. Nor did the other's frank, clear eyes waver beneath D'Arnot's fixed gaze.
D'Arnot was reassured, but still without much hope, though he felt that that face could not mask a cruel heart.
Without a word Tarzan of the Apes cut the bonds which held the Frenchman. Weak from suffering and loss of blood, he would have fallen but for the strong arm that caught him.
He felt himself lifted from the ground. There was a sensation as of flying, and then he lost consciousness.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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