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Chapter 11 Tarzan: The Lost Adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs

When Hunt awoke the sun was shining brightly through the slit of an opening that led into the cave. The air smelled cool and sweet. He saw Tarzan asleep and apparently relaxed on the rough stony ground with Nkima snuggled in his arms. The great lion was nowhere in sight.

Tarzan opened his eyes and looked at Hunt. "Do not stare if you are watching someone. I can feel you. Always glance, take in what you see, but do not hold the look. If a person is sensitive enough, he can feel the gaze of others."

"Sorry ... Where'd you get those knives?"

"I found them. Around the corner of the cave there are burials and weapons."

Hunt's heart beat faster. His love for anthropology and archaeology flared up. "Really, can I see?"

"Take a look. But don't go far."

"The lion isn't around there, is he?"

"He went off to hunt. There is no way to know when he will return."

"Yeah, well, that breaks my heart," Hunt said. "Least he isn't viewing me as food. And I guess that's a plus."

"You can be certain it is," Tarzan said.

Hunt followed the trail by the stream, went around to look at what Tarzan had discovered. He was overwhelmed. Many of the skulls appeared to be quite primitive, fossilized by the dripping of calcium through the rocks. But as Hunt proceeded along the cavern wall, he was amazed to discover some of the skulls were not that old. In fact, they could have been as recent as last week. Hunt experienced a burning excitement. He wished he could tell his mentor, Professor Hanson.

Here was an incredible discovery. At a glance, it appeared this cavern was a sacred burial place for a primitive race here in the jungle. Perhaps there was some connection with this and the lost city they sought. And even if there was no connection, it meant this ill-fated journey to Africa might have a happy ending after all.

That led Hunt to thinking again of Small and Jean. He hurried back to Tarzan. Neither Tarzan nor Nkima was in sight. Hunt had a sudden sinking feeling, then Tarzan crawled into the cave opening and pulled a pile of brush in after him. He went out again, brought more brush back.

"Where is the monkey?" Hunt asked.

"Off to find fruit," Tarzan said. "He has a short attention span. He likes my company best when he is frightened. Now that the storm is over, he is brave again."

"I know how he feels," Hunt said, "though I'm not that brave."

Tarzan began snapping the brush into kindling.

"You're building a fire," Hunt said.

"Nothing escapes you, does it?" Tarzan said.

"You don't have to be snide," Hunt .said. "Isn't the brush too wet to burn?"

"Some of it is damp, but most of it I pulled from the lower quarters, so it is drier. Besides, this kind of brush dries quickly, and it burns well."

"How long have we slept?" Hunt asked.

"Most of the day."

"Shouldn't we help Jean and find Small?"

Tarzan granted. "Rest and food are our greatest allies. We have had one, now we must have the other."

Tarzan opened a small bag fastened to his breechcloth, took out a piece of flint and steel. He used them to make a spark, got the brash going.

"Good," Hunt said. "I'm freezing."

"It is the wet clothes," Tarzan said. "Take them off."


"Suit yourself."

Hunt thought this over for a while. It was hard for a civilized man to travel about naked, but finally he removed everything but his undershorts, shoes, and socks.

"Use some of these limbs to make a prop for your clothes," Tarzan said. "Let them dry by the fire. After you eat, go outside and stand in the sun till you dry. But, with your white skin, you will have to put your clothes on before too long, or you will burn like an ant under a magnifying glass."

When the fire was going, Tarzan blew on it and added more brash. He used one of the knives to cut meat off the filthy buffalo leg. He tossed the meat into the fire.
Hunt used a couple of limbs to make a rack for his clothes by the fire. When he saw the meat sizzling, he said, "You don't by any chance expect me to eat that, do you?"

"I do not expect anything of you," Tarzan said. "You may eat, or you may not eat. That is your choice."

"But that meat is ... rancid."

"Another day and your stomach would not tolerate it at all," Tarzan said. "It would poison you. It may now. I cannot say for certain. Two more days and mine would not tolerate the meat. Only the animals could eat it then. But for now, it is food."

"Couldn't we kill something fresh?"

"I have not the time."

When the meat was charred black, Tarzan used the knife to remove it from the fire. He cut it in two, offered half to Hunt. "Eat or do not. It is your choice."

Hunt grimaced, but he reached out and took the meat. He sniffed it. It smelled burned, nothing more. He bit into it. It was not the best meat he had tasted. In fact, it was pretty awful, but he was starved, and in a matter of minutes, he had devoured it and was licking the grease off his fingers.

Tarzan finished eating as well. He wiped his greasy hands on his thighs, bent, and drank from the creek water.

When he was satiated, Tarzan said, "And now, I must go."


"To find Hanson and Jean, and perhaps this man that was with you, Small."

"But, I'm not ready."

"Nor will you be. Not for the way I travel. I am going to follow in their last direction until I pick up their spoor. You stay here and wait for me. When I'm sure Wilson and his companions have not harmed them, I will come back for you. You are safer than they are. I was wrong not to have killed those men when I had the chance. Civilization is like a disease. It infects you with stupid sentiments. If I see them again, I will kill them."

Although Hunt was aware of Tarzan's jungle savvy, he was still unaware of the extent of Tarzan's uncanny sense of vision, smell, and hearing. To him, Tarzan was just another human being, with a better knowledge of jungle life than he had. He did not realize that this man, contending from childhood with the beasts of the jungle, had been forced to acquire the senses and the cunning of all of them to survive.

"Listen here, whatever your name is," Hunt said.


"Well, Tarzan, you may go around without your pants and run faster than I do, but don't feel so high and mighty. I can keep up. I can do my part."

"No. You stay here. I do not want to hunt for you later. Watch out for the big cats. Make a blind for the cavern mouth here to keep animals out, or find a tree and make a platform."

"You can save your advice," Hunt said. "I'm coming, and that's that."

"Very well," Tarzan said. "I have warned you to stay here. But I think a man should do what he wants, even if it is stupid. You tell a child, do not put your hand in the fire or it will burn you, and the child will believe this and not do it, or he will not and will put his hand in the fire and burn it, and not do it again. You are like the child who has to put his hand in the fire. I am not even sure you are smart enough to withdraw it if it catches ablaze. Come out into the sun and put on your clothes, and follow if you can. Here. Take this."

Tarzan gave Hunt one of the knives. Hunt put on his partially dry clothes and stuck the knife in his belt, then the two of them went outside and stood in the hot sun.

"Will you look for Small, too?' Hunt asked.

"Jean and Hanson are my first concern," Tarzan said. "I promised to lead them on their expedition, and I foolishly allowed myself to be captured, putting them at the possible mercy of Wilson and his comrade. I feel their safety is my responsibility. When I find them, then I can find Small."

"He's all by himself," Hunt said.

"And soon," Tarzan said, "so shall you be."

"I might surprise you, Tarzan," Hunt said. "I'm hard-headed, and I've got more endurance than you think."

"Good. You will need both. Now listen. If you refuse to stay here as I have suggested, when we become separated-"

"If we become separated," Hunt said.

"When we become separated, if you feel you must find Hanson and Jean, I can tell you only this. head north. Watch the sun. Judge by that. It falls in the west, rises in the east, and you want to go north. At night, find a tree and climb it. Better yet, do as I first suggested and stay here."

Tarzan walked over to a low bush and picked a red berry from it. "These are edible. They grow in abundance. They are not very filling, but they are plentiful. Bird eggs are good too, if you are willing to crack them and drink them raw. Look above you in the trees and you will see the nests. But be careful climbing or you will break your neck. And do not fight a snake, or even a monkey, for an egg. You will lose."

"You're trying to scare me."

"I'm trying to prepare you. You will not be able to keep up with me, Hunt. I will travel by the trees."

"The trees?"

"It takes a great deal of practice. I was raised by an ape. Kala. She adopted me when my parents were killed. She taught me to move through the trees when I was still a baby. I clung to branches, climbed around in trees even before I could walk."

"Get out of town," Hunt said. "Raised by apes? Yeah, and a pack of dogs reared me under the porch of the White House."

"Have it your way," Tarzan said, and with that, he leapt into the trees and began to climb. By the time Hunt realized what was happening, the ape-man had found a thick vine and was swinging across a vast expanse of jungle.

Hunt leapt up, grabbed a limb, tugged himself into the tree Tarzan had first climbed, clambered upward, hand over hand, limb to limb. When he had reached a fair height, he began looking for a suitable limb by which to swing to a nearby tree, but saw none. He decided he would have to leap to a limb some distance away. He coiled his legs and jumped. His shoes slipped on the limb, and he missed his target.

He fell a short distance before a small broken branch struck him, poked through his belt, and left him dangling upside down like a Christmas tree ornament.

As Hunt struggled, he decided this traveling by tree looked considerably easier than it really was. He felt very silly hanging like an oversized fruit, and sought out a handhold. He labored for some time, and while he labored, a horde of curious monkeys showed up to eat fruit and watch him strain.

After a time, the monkeys began to chatter and leap up and down, obviously delighted by his predicament. The whole episode was making Hunt angry, even embarrassed. It didn't get much worse than having a band of monkeys ridicule you.

Or maybe it did.

The monkeys, bored with his antics, began to throw fruit at him, and finally more monkeys came into play, and some of them were carrying heavy nuts to throw. They bounced them off Hunt's head and body. They were very good shots and had strong arms.

Hunt became so infuriated that he began to struggle wildly. He was amazed at how fast he could cuss the monkeys. The words rolled out of his mouth and came together in unique combinations.

The monkeys, however, were not impressed. They did some cussing of their own, and had Hunt understood the language of the apes, he would have found them as inventive as himself.

The limb attached to Hunt's belt cracked and broke, and down he went to the chorus of screaming, delighted monkeys.

He smacked the ground hard, but fortunately, the sward was padded with rotted foliage and Hunt managed only scratches. When he scrambled to his feet and looked about for sign of Tarzan, there was none. The ape-man was long gone.

"How does he do that?" Hunt said aloud.

There were only the sounds of the birds and the screeching monkeys, whom, Hunt decided, he hated. He wondered if that monkey of Tarzan's was among them. Maybe he had even instigated the fruit-tossing business.
Then he thought about the lion. What if the lion came back and Tarzan was not around? Were all bets off, then?

If it wasn't one thing, it was two. Or three.

Exasperated, Hunt decided to finish drying his damp clothes. He removed them, stretched them out on a rock, and was once again dressed only in his shorts, socks, and shoes. He began to pluck and eat the berries Tarzan had pointed out.

The warm sun felt good, and while he ate, Hunt tried to determine his next course of action. One thing was certain. The trees were out.

Damn monkeys.

When the storm was over and the rain had stopped, Small was far too exhausted to move. He lay until the sun was high, dozing off and on, then awoke miserable in his wet clothes.

Small crawled out of his hideaway and looked about. No one tried to shoot him. Nothing tried to eat him. He decided he was off to a good start.

The jungle was thick, so the sunlight gave little warmth. Small removed his clothes and wrung the water from them, draped them over a limb and stood about in his wet underwear and shoes.

He walked a short distance until he found a gap in the foliage overhead and stood there trying to take in the gun, looking up through the limbs at the bright light of midday. Then, out on a limb he saw something that made his stomach fall.

A panther was moving slowly and stealthily down from the height of a tree.

"Oh, God," thought Small. "It's seen me!"

Small broke into a wild ran through the jungle, leaving his clothes behind. He would not realize he was nearly naked until he had fought and clawed his way through the jungle for a distance of a half-mile. By then he would be scratched and poked and dotted with bruises and blood.

But in the meantime, the panther, totally unaware of Small, sprang on the real target of its stealth. A large, colorful bird setting on a nest of eggs. The bird was dispatched in a rush of squawks and a wild rustle of red and yellow feathers.

The panther stretched out on a limb to enjoy the bird, feathers and all. It ate slowly, contemplating the second course. The bright bird's shell-covered children were snug in their nest, oblivious to their fate.

As Hanson's party followed the path the great tornado had cut through the foliage, the jungle was alive with movement. Birds and monkeys were especially notable. But one movement was not noted by the travelers. The most dangerous movement of all went undetected. The very jungle itself was moving. Bushes and small trees. They crept like alien creatures, so subtly that the limbs did not knock and the leaves did not rustle. When the party looked in their direction, they did not move. When the party looked away, they slipped through the jungle, blending with the true foliage.

Once, Billy, trained in the ways of the jungle, turned his head quickly but saw only that which he should see.

Solid vegetation.

Had he looked closer. Much closer. Or had he possessed the considerable abilities of a wild animal, or Tarzan, he might have seen that many of the plants had eyes. Or seemed to have. For disguised within the bushes and trees were living beings with dark faces ritualistically scarred by the placement of hot blades on their flesh. Foreheads marked by white bands of paint made from white clay and the whites of bird eggs completed the savage decorations.

When the disguised warriors had followed Hanson's party for a quarter of a mile, suddenly a signal was passed among them, and the false plants and trees broke loose from the forest and rushed down on the unsuspecting safari.

Billy was the first to respond. He wheeled, jerked his rifle to position and shot one of the living bushes, knocking it back. Then the bushes swarmed them and Billy was struck with the shaft of a spear in the side of the head. He went down, tried to get up, but a spear was slammed through the pack on his back. The impact was incredible. So intense, it jarred Billy's spine and sent him flat against the ground with a moan.

This was followed by a blow from a club to the side of his head.

Billy could hardly move. He managed to open his eyes and see the safari overwhelmed by the warriors in their leafy disguises. He heard shots fired by Hanson and the bearers. He saw Hanson struggle valiantly with a warrior, then he saw a bronze sword flash and Hanson doubled up and went down.

Billy tried to rise. Couldn't.

He saw Jean fire her pistol into a bush, point-blank, saw the bush fall, then he saw her overwhelmed by a horde of similarly attired warriors.

Billy closed his eyes. He felt warm, strangely comfortable.

The sounds of shots and screams caused him to force his eyes open again. And it wasn't worth it. The stealthy warriors had attacked and overwhelmed the safari completely. All this had been accomplished in but a few minutes.

Billy watched Jean as she was led away with the captured bearers. Her head hung low and her hands were bound behind her back, a leash of leather was firmly fastened around her neck, and a native, now devoid of his bushy costume, tall and regal, much scarred, his face decorated with stripes of white paint, was leading her off the trail and out of sight.

"Sonofabitch," Billy said.

Then a shadow fell over him and a tall native stuck a spear into Billy's shoulder. Billy didn't feel the pain at all. He felt nothing now. He thought of Hanson, Jean, his friends. He wished there was something he could do. He wished he'd stayed home. He closed his eyes again, felt | the world swing away from him as if on a string.

"And here it ends," he thought, then he thought nothing at all.

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