CHAPTER VIII:As a witch doctor Black John had been just a little bit too efficient. That is, he had claimed too much and too soon. The very rain clouds which he had pointed to as obeying his will headed up all too quickly into a veritable cloud burst and in the downpour the fire in the hut was stayed and quenched with a suddenness that was so noticeable to the superstitious natives huddled back form the fury of the storm that they murmured openly among themselves.
"The medicine of the Witch Doctor is powerless against the Rain God. It has failed again!"
Mary was quick to catch the murmuring among the natives. With elation she pointed it out ot her hero, Tarzan. Nor was Tarzan loathe to take advantage of the turn of events. he seized up a club, dashed at them and they broke into a retreat that was soon a panic and utter rout as he bellowed his jungle cry at them.
Even Bobby, boy-like, was seized with the lust for battle. He loosened a spear from the wall where it had stuck and slipping past Mary's ineffectual attempt to stop him, charged lustily after the fleeing natives also.
Black John was a cool renegade, crafty, never with his eye off the main chance e. Routed though his followers were and inwardly panic-stricken he did not miss seeing that with Tarzan in tempestuous pursuit an Bobby running after him Mary was at least for the moment defenseless.
He doubled on his tracks, crept back of the hut and along the outer wall. Turning back to the hut Mary shrank back in fear and tried to run. It was too late. Black John made a quick leap, caught her by the wrist while with his other hand he covered her mouth to prevent a repetition of her outcry.
Black John was glaring at Mary, the personification of evil triumph, "You're coming b back to the village with me and if you make any outcry --" His hand dropped significantly rom Mary's mouth to the hilt of his knife.
Mary's hand clutched at her bosom. Black John thought it was fear. But it was the thought of the papers so precious to Tarzan which she had hidden.
"This time," he sneered, "I'll put you where your ape lover will never find you." Black John cast apprehensive glances about in fear of the return of Tarzan, still comporting with his swaggering tone. He caught Mary's arm. "Come along -- and look alive!"
Mary's terror of the man mounted when she found that it was neither to the cabin nor his hut in the stockade that he was dragging her. Instead it was to the opening of a passage in the hill that led to a cave. Mary had never explored it, in fact had kept away from it for the reason that she learned that here were the underground ceremonial chambers of the Lost Tribe where high priests held constant vigil. She had heard vague rumours of their sacrilegious rites.
Half dragging, half thrusting her Black John penetrated into the shadows of the cave until he came to a wall to which leg and arm chains were fastened. The antechambers had been guarded by two of the high priests, weird, outlandish, grotesque in their native religious robes an headgear, the terrifying effect of which was heightened by the fitful light of torches which penetrated the gloom of the cave only enough to reveal its terrors.
Black John grunted some guttural gibberish to the priests. She knew he was talking about her and she made a desperate attempt to break away from him. With a leer he literally cast her at the feet of the priests.
As he did so the precious papers which she had been clutching in her bosom fell to the floor. black John saw them and snapped an order to the priests to hold her as he made a sudden move to get them. Futilely she struggled to recover them but Black John merely laughed as he picked them up and ran his eye over them in the murky light. His laugh of contempt turned quickly to one of exultation.
"With these papers, little one, I can return to England and claim the title and estates of Lord Greystoke." With a leering grin he took a step towards her as the priests held her. And you -- you shall return with me as my wife -- Lady Greystoke.!"
All at once Mary's fear crystallized into desperate courage. "Never!" she cried defiantly. "I'll die first!"
A malevolent assurance spread over his features. "Either that," he ground out, "or you will die -- in the fiery pit!"
Mary continued her defiance in spite of her bewilderment. But Black John merely laughed again in his malevolent assumption of power. "Show her the fiery pit," he ordered the priests contemptuously. "That may change her mind!"
They pulled her along roughly as Black John smiled in malicious triumph and followed into the even darker recesses of the cave. Suddenly one of the priests reached down and threw open a trap. Mary drew back with a scream as long tongues of flame leaped out of the fiery furnace. Black John aware of what to expect was already standing aside, although even the floor was no exactly comfortable place upon which to stand here. The glare of the flames marked his face with an even more sinister look.
"Which shall it be -- marriage with me or --" He did not finish; he did not need to finish. All that was necessary was to point to the fiery pit.
"Not that!" Mary shrank back as far as the iron grasped by the two priests would permit. "Not that!"
"Then your answer is yes?" he demanded.
Mary bowed her head in the glare and heat. Black John interpreted it as assent. He motioned quickly to the priests to close the trap of the pit and take her away.
If Mary had any illusions about her freedom they were quickly dispelled when the priests chained her by each arm and leg to the wall while Black John stood by. "And now," he said, "I shall make arrangements for the ceremony to take place at once."
Their eyes met. Mary's did not waver. "I warn you -- Tarzan will kill you!"
Black John's dark face broke into a sneer as his lip curled. "If Tarzan appears in the village, my men will sound the alarm. That," he added impressively, "will be the signal for your death!" He turned his head ominously toward the fiery pit. Then his harsh look softened but it was evil softness, the condescension of wickedness, as he leaned toward her. "You are mine! No one else shall have ! Remember that. Even though tarzan should escape my men by a miracle, he cannot get here in time to save you! There is only one way in which you can live."
Mary shrank back against the cold dark wall, helpless. The full horror of the man having all but overwhelmed the delicate, high-strung girl. Without another word Black John turned, motioned to the priests to follow him and they were swallowed up in the gloom of the cave leaving the horror-stricken Mary alone.
In the tunnel that led into the ceremonial cave Black John posted one of the priests on guard near the entrance, then went on with the other, posting him just inside the door. Within the chamber itself Mary was straining at her chains and crying out. She might as well have tried to move the mountain itself or call for help in the middle of the ocean.
Black John strode across the enclosure until he found the chief drummer. "Ah! Sound the wedding tom-toms!" he thundered. Instantly the native dived into his hut and a moment later reappeared with the tom-tom.
At once he began the beating of it. And at once the village was alive as the news spread.
"Black John is marrying the White Queen."
Someone else besides the native drummer had heard the order, too. It was Bobby, minus his spear now, and no sooner did he hear it than he set out on a run that gave wings to his young feet. He knew only that this meant danger to Mary.
Scattering the panic-stricken natives before him in precipitate flight Tarzan had gone further than he had intended, through the sheer joy of seeing them run. Thus it was that he had met up with Bobby lunging through the jungle with his spear. Tarzan smiled. "Bobby -- brave man-child, bad spirits run before him!" he complimented as he swung the boy on his shoulder and they started back to Mary at the hut.
But Mary was gone. Tarzan called; Bobby called. There was no answer. Bobby was first to voice Tarzan's fears. "Black John has carried her away!"
Tarzan swung Bobby under his arm and crashed through the jungle in the direction of the stockade and the village.
He would have torn his way ruthlessly through the stockade had it not been for Bobby's quick wit. "Tarzan," he cautioned, "not that way! If Black John knew you were here he would harm Mary."
There was a brief argument which ended in Bobby winning his point. Tarzan looped his rope over the stockade, set Bobby down on the inside, then retired outside himself to wait.
Thus it was that Bobby got his first shock when he found Mary was not in the cabin, nor in any of the huts. He got his first clue when he saw Black John issuing from the mouth of the cave. As he followed him, hiding , he overheard the orders to their drummer of the tom-toms. That was enough.
Tarzan's rage swelled as Bobby reported what had happened to Mary and he heard the tom-toms and the gathering of the natives. Quickly Tarzan and Bobby made their plans.
As bobby appeared before the priest on guard at the cave entrance, tricking his attention, suddenly from behind the powerful hands of Tarzan clenched the guard and strangled him. Again they played the trick with the second priest.
Mary's terror changed suddenly to hope as she strained at her chains. Here was Tarzan.
With his superhuman strength he wrenched one of the chains loose, and started to wrench the other. It did not snap so easily.
From the pinnacle of elation John had been suddenly cast to the depth of murderous anger as one of the priests, recovering, staggered to warn him. In a towering rage he seized his long hunting knife, passed another to the priest, and on stealthy, cat-like feet they entered another, secret passage back of the ceremonial chamber followed by the other priest, now armed with a knife.
"Hurry, Tarzan," urged Bobby. "They will be here!"
Tarzan tore again at the refractory leg-iron.
From a secret panel in the rock wall back of him emerged three shadowy silent figures. Three long, murderous knives were raised in the darkness ready to strike without even a flash of warning
BLACK JOHN'S REVENGE
Tarzan, warned by the monkey of Bobby's plight, comes to the rescue and vanquished the leopard, but Bobby gets out through a secret passage without seeing Tarzan. He is again caught by Black John and taken away. A native runs to Tarzan and tells him that Mary is in the clutches of Taug, the ape, Tarzan sets out to rescue her. Black John and Bobby come upon an expedition headed by Lord Greystoke (Lorimer Johnston), in search of the lost heir, Tarzan.
TARZAN THE MIGHTY
FILM SERIAL SUMMARY
From Universal Weekly 1928
Chapter Eight: The Jungle Traitor
Having stolen Tarzan's papers, Black John represents himself as Tarzan. Bobby insists that Black John is an impostor, but the latter assures Lord Greystoke that a recent illness has made Bobby irresponsible. Lord Greystoke insists upon more evidence and Black John says he will produce the family hunting knife, which he knows Tarzan has. As he leaves Greystoke's camp he steals a rifle and starts for Tarzan's hut. Tarzan overtakes Taug, and after a terrific battle, overcomes him and frees Mary. He takes her to his hut and tells her he will continue the hunt for Bobby. As he stands in his lookout in the tree top, Black John spies him and shoots. Tarzan tumbles form the tree with a crash.
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