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Volume 7057

Scary Tales Written in the Spirit of OB
by John Martin


Tarzan pushed the fronds apart and stared at the magnificent yet haunting mansion. How did it get into his jungle? It had not been there before. But that it was here now could not be denied. Obviously, some ghastly games were afoot.

The mansion was surrounded by a fence of metal bars, each topped by warheads pointing to the sky which seemed, at his distance of 100 feet, to be razor sharp. Beyond was the large three-story mansion itself, with towers that reached even higher. The whole thing was painted a grave gray, but the paint was old and chipping. Off to one side of the mansion was a cemetery with leaning stones. There was something foreboding about it. Yet, at the same time, the ape-man could not suppress a smile. A new adventure, perhaps.

Tarzan was not afraid of anything and, picking up the satchel he had recently acquired, began walking boldly toward the mansion. The gate opened easily to his powerful right arm, although it made a squawking sound, complaining about being forced to move on its rusty hinges. He proceeded on up the walk toward the main door. He looked for a knocking device of some kind and finally found one that appeared to operate by pulling. He yanked the rope and heard a distant gong, but the rope snapped back suddenly, almost spinning the agile ape-man off balance.

The door was opened by a gaunt giant who looked more dead than alive, although his imposing stature was really no greater than that of the ape-man himself.
"Is the master of the home present?" asked Tarzan.

The butler, for so he appeared to be, gave a once-over to the ape-man, who was naked but for a loin cloth. He gave a low, guttural growl and then said, "Follow me." But as they turned to go, the butler gazed up at the top of the Jungle Lord's head and apparently mistook the ample thatch of black hair for a hat, reaching as if to grasp it. Then, seeing that it was hair, and also seeing the warning look from the ape man, lowered his hand, gave out a low growl, and turned and continued on his way.

They came into a sitting room where sat a woman to rival La of Opar in her striking appearance, though her features and presence seemed almost opposite of the ruler of the lost city. This woman was almost cadaverous. She was tall and thin, yet shapely. Her black hair, parted in the middle, hung down to her waist, blending with her long, sleek dress. She seemed to be regarding him both with amusement and curiosity.

“It's so nice to meet a neighbor," she said. "Won't you be seated.”

Tarzan sat down in a wicker easy chair and returned her smile. "I'm Lord Greystoke," he said. "Since your home showed up here, I thought I should make your acquaintance."
“Merveilleusel, mon ami" said the woman. "Would you like some tea.”

The British influenced surfaced and the ape-man replied, "Certainly."

It would be incorrect to say that Tarzan was startled by what happened next, but an unschooled observer may have assumed that from Tarzan's lightning like reaction as he assumed a subtle post of battle readiness. An innocuous black box on the end table opened and a disembodied hand reached out, holding a cup of steaming tea.

"Why, thank you, Thing," said the woman, taking the cup of tea and offering it to Tarzan.

The ape-man didn't reach for the tea. Instead, he said, "So that's what they're called...."

“I'm sorry," said the woman. "I don't know what --- ”

“Thing," said Tarzan. "That thing is called a thing.”

The ape-man reached down for his satchel, sat it on his lap, and opened it up. Inside were two disembodied hands, very similar to the creature in the woman's black box. They were moving and quite animated.

"Why, what lovely ones they are." She reached out her hand, as if to stroke one of the animated appendages. But her wrist was caught in the vice-like grip of the ape'man.
“STOP," he ordered. "Do not touch the things that are Tarzan's. Tarzan watches.”

She half-closed her eyes and gave him a dreamy, seductive look. "You're frightening me," she said. "Don't let go, mon ami."

Tarzan looked into her eyes and, despite thoughts of his beloved Jane, he found himself somewhat transfixed by her stare. But at that moment, the spell was broken.

"French!" exclaimed the mustachioed man who had just entered the room. "Tish! you spoke French!" he yanked her hand from Tarzan's grip and began at her knuckles, kissing his way up her arm.

Tarzan stared at his empty hand, puzzled that this wisp of a man could break his grip so easily. But love could do things like that and this man was obviously obsessed by love for this woman.

In any case, Tarzan realized the interruption had been fortuitous, breaking the spell of the woman's eyes and freeing him from whatever she might have had in mind next.

He glanced down into his carpet bag and saw that the two severed hands were still wiggling. He snapped the case shut.

"I must be going," he said. "But since I see you are familiar with the use of the thing, I would like to make a welcome gift to you." So saying, he extended his hand with the satchel.

"Oh no," said the man. "We have one thing, and one is all we really need. He's quite versatile and he's everywhere."

"But Gomez dear," put in Tish. "Remember that Pugsley and Wednesday have asked for one of their own. And Halloween is coming."

Gomez grinned broadly. "Right you are, my sweet," he said, and took the proffered bag. "Where did you come by these."

"I got them," said Tarzan, "from one who had no business to give them to me or to any other. But since you're my new neighbor, I'll just tell you that I got them from a witch doctor who owed me a favor."

Tish's eye lit up. "A witch doctor? I think we'll fit in well here, Gomez," she smiled.

Tarzan bowed and turned to go, nimbly sidestepping a lion which had appeared out of nowhere and briefly casting an admiring glance at a tall, stuffed polar bear. Behind him he could hear Gomez saying to Tish, "Come, my dear. Let us go upstairs."

Tarzan was halfway down the main hall when he noticed the butler standing in his path, flanked by a homely boy and a little girl who was casting a malevolent glance of appraisal at him, her arms folded in a gesture of defense and defiance.

The butler reached out with a battered and dented pith helmet. "Not mine, old chap," said Tarzan, waving his hand in a gesture of dismissal. "Remember, I came with no headgear."
"For you...." came the spectral voice from the guttural vocal cords of the butler.

"The man who owned it won't be needing it anymore," said the little girl, smiling with an attitude of satisfaction.

Tarzan frowned but decided to take the hat nonetheless. Tarzan was a practical man and deemed it the simplest way to make his departure with smoothness. He did not wish to fight his new neighbors -- yet -- especially since the charming kids might get in the way. Besides, he thought to himself, with a smile, he knew of a couple of mangani who would probably find great sport in fighting over the headgear.

As he stepped out the front door, the ape man's keen sense of smell easily detected the odor of rapidly approaching scorched oil. He smiled grimly as he stepped to the side and looked up, in plenty of time to avoid the oil as it hit the porch and splattered, before forming into a black, glistening puddle. He looked up and saw the grinning faces of Gomez and Tish looking down upon him from the battlement, behind the overtipped cauldron.

The ape man smiled and waved.

They waved back.

He turned and, at a trot he could keep up for hours, headed back into the surrounding jungle, looking for new adventures. He mentally added another visit to the jungle mansion as a must-do for the future.

Jane heard the crash of 200 pounds of man plowing through bamboo curtains and knew that Wolf Tarzan had just swung through the window on a liana attached to one of the trees outside of Greystoke Manor.

She turned and looked to see the ape man muttering to himself as once again he was busily untangling the vine from the individual bamboo poles. He never seemed to learn that would happen every time he made an entrance that way.

He finished and turned to his mate. "Hi, Wolf Tarzan," she smiled. "Are you ready for a Lydie Denier?"

"A what? the ape man frowned.

"A Little Dinner," repeated Jane.

"Sorry my dear," said Wolf Tarzan. "Even though I speak French, I have a hard time understanding your accent. But yes, I'm famished. What's on the menu tonight?"

"Well, the hearts have been boiling for about 20 minutes and they should be ready by now."

"Hearts?" grinned Wolf Tarzan. "It's been awhile since I've had sliced heart."

"Not THAT kind of heart," Jane admonished him. "I should have said artichoke hearts."

"Oh," said Wolf Tarzan. "Well, is that all we're having or is there anything else?"

"Well, I've got something roasting in the oven, and they're about done," said Jane.

"Roast?" smiled Wolf Tarzan. "I love roast turkey. I can't wait to get a big drumstick on my plate."

"No, silly," chided Jane. "Roast potatoes. I'm trying a new recipe, roasting them with garlic seasoning. They really smell good."

"I'm sure," said Wolf Tarzan, though slightly disappointed. "So, roast potatoes and artichoke hearts tonight. And the main course?" Wolf Tarzan licked his lips.

"I've got a whole bunch of beefsteak," said Jane. "And they're still raw, just the way you like them."

"Oh boy," said Wolf Tarzan, salivating. "Did you finally butcher ol' Bessie?"

"No, Wolf Tarzan. No," said Jane. "I thought you knew I meant beefsteak tomatoes. Really Wolf Tarzan. You know we only eat vegetarian in this television series."

"Yes," sighed Wolf Tarzan. "I know. I know."

The great blond ape man did justice to the meal. But when supper was over, he casually remarked to Jane, "While you're doing the dishes I think I'll go out and run a few laps around the estate. Good for the ol' heart you know and a way to work off some of the calories I've ingested."

"You do that, Wolf Tarzan," she smiled. "I'll see you later."

Wolf Tarzan ran straight to the jungle. He immediately took to the trees and brachiated from limb to limb until he caught the fresh scent of Bara the deer in a clearing ahead. He leaped from a tree and landed full on its back. Not bothering to unsheath the knife of his long dead sire, Wolf Tarzan sank his teeth into the neck of the squirming deer and bit open its arteries, quenching his thirst on its blood before ripping off swaths of fur and employing his teeth to glom onto huge mouthfuls of its exposed, raw flesh.

"'Ahhhhhh," he said, grabbing a piece of ripped hide to wipe away the blood streaming from his jaws and his golden locks. "Jane does all right in the kitchen, but I'm never really satisfied until I top it off with dessert."

"What's in the glass, father?" Jane Clayton asked.

"It's a new concoction I've mixed up in my lab," said the aged and creaking professor. "I think it'll make me more macho. More tough, you know. More able to depend on myself rather than always having to have your husband show up to yank me out of jams."

"It's bubbling and smoking," said Jane. "Are you sure it's safe?"

"Of course," retorted the professor. "I made it myself, you know. I know what ingredients I put in it and how they interact with each other. The bubbling and smoking is just for psychological effects. It's supposed to make me feel a little more macho just looking at it, challenging me to put it to my lips and drink it down. Sort of a warm-up experience, along with a dose of 'I Dare You.' Or," said the conscientiously correct professor, "I dare me."

"Well, I'd drink it slowly if I were you," said Jane. "I've got to leave. Tarzan is expecting me to meet him at the Waziri village for their Halloween party."

Professor Porter watched her close the door, then turned with a smile to his libation. He hadn't bothered to tell her, but it would only work if he chugged it, so he scooped up the glass, raised it in a silent toast, laid it to his lips, and poured the contents down his throat.

Tarzan and Jane were having a ball at the Waziri kids Halloween party. The caramel apples were quickly disappearing off the serving platters, Jane's home-baked chocolate chip cookies had all been consumed, and the cider was flowing liberally.

As the frolic continued, there struck suddenly a tension in the air and all stopped momentarily to stare at the tall, scruffy stranger who had just walked through the village gates, holding a cane in his right hand and slapping it repeaTedly into his left, while grinning horribly.

The stranger was like nothing any of them had ever seen before but Tarzan, whose olfactory nerves were on the job, immediately recognized his father-in-law by his peculiar smell. The ape man grinned broadly, thinking to himself that Professor Porter had come up with a dandy costume in which to Hyde his appearance. It was far better than Tarzan's Halloween outfit. He was dressed as Johnny Lafitte, the pirate, and Jane had chosen to wear a La Diablese outfit.

Tarzan whispered the creature's true identity to Jane and she nodded, but still was a bit concerned. It was hard to imagine her father in such as garb and with such gestures.

Still glaring around him at everyone,and continuing to whack his left hand with the cane, the professor advanced on the cluster of children gathered around the pumpkin pinata which had been shipped to Greystoke Manor, a gift from Billy Byrne.

The crowd separated to allow him access. Tarzan started to step forward but stopped when Jane laid a hand on his arm. "Be gentle," she said. "He...he doesn't seem to be in his right mind."

The momentary hesitation had allowed enough time for the professor to complete his journey to the great orange pumpkin and he raised his right arm to strike the thing.

"No, no, father!" cried Jane. "It's for the children----"

But his blow connected with precision and the green mamba coiled in the decorative foliage at the top of the gorged gourd dropped lifeless to the ground.

He picked the thing up, holding it by its tail and in a position just behind its head, raised it to face level, and bit it in two, spitting out several green and red chunks from his mouth. The crowd was giving him even more room, and he walked to the blazing fire and disdainfully tossed it in.

He turned, eyes blazing, teeth showing, to the crowd, and hollered. "Macho enough for you?" He then turned and walked back onto the jungle path which led to Greystoke Manor, laughing maniacally, "Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha."

"I guess his formula worked," said Jane. "He seems pretty macho all right."

"Yes, he does," nodded Tarzan, with a broad smile.

"All right," said Jane. "I know that look in your eye. What are you thinking?"

 "Well," said Tarzan. "I'm about due for another trip to Opar. I could use a macho guy like him in case we run into any beast men, so I think I'll ask Dad if he wants to go along."

Tarzan rubbed his hands together in anticipation of the journey. "Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha," he said.


The full moon cast its borrowed light on the ape man as he navigated through the trees that surrounded the small glade, in which he lighted after first sniffing the scents brought by the breeze.

The effluvia which came to his nostrils was not in Tarzan's normal spoor catalog but he was still able to identify it. The odor was of the Golden African Wolf, which was more common in the Cape Horn region than the area of the Dark Continent which was his domain. But still there had been reports of such beasts sometimes ranging this far north.

Strangely, though, the scent was mixed with that of man. So, was this a man who was somehow traveling with a wolf, or had the wolf recently tangled with a human, perhaps even having one for its supper?

The answer was neither, as Tarzan soon realized. The scent which had been carried to him by Usha, the wind, became stronger and he heard the fumbling gait of a beast that didn't know if it should be ambulating on two legs or four.

Speculation about the creature was interesting, but survival was more important. The ape man drew from its scabbard the hunting knife of his long-dead sire just in time, for at that moment there burst from the surrounding verdure a beast that was stranger than any that Tarzan had ever encountered.

He had only an instant to examine the vile thing but in that time he saw a large wolf-like beast which, yet, had somewhat manlike features on what sufficed for a face. The thing was snarling with rage and flecks of foam flew from its mouth like so much confetti.

The clawlike hands were extended toward him and Tarzan knew he would do best to avoid those. Nimbly, he leaped to the side as the beast charged. Its momentum carried it forward and the ape man turned and leaped onto its back and encircled its neck with his left arm, raising his knife hand to strike a fatal blow.

But at that moment the creature spoke in a rasp. "No, not with an ordinary knife. It must be silver. Silver. Or you will become what I am."

Tarzan of the Apes was a quick study. Though he had read Professor Porter's journals on documented case of lycanthrophy, he had digested them with mere academic interest and hardly believed that he himself would ever be confronted by such a creature, or even that he believed the various superstitions.

Tarzan had made his decision. He plunged the knife deep into the chest of the monster and rolled it onto its back to see if he needed to add a coup d'grace. The creature was close to death and yet it opened its yellow eyes and gazed up at him with an expression of hatred mixed, oddly, with relief.

Having slain the disgusting piece of garbage and given the corpse a quick boot in a sensitive spot to see if there was any life remaining, the ape man was satisfied it was dead .
But he was not alone. A voice came from behind him and he cursed for allowing himself to become so wrapped up in the kill that he had momentarily ignored his other senses. But as he whirled, knife still in hand, he relaxed. It was only an old native woman sitting in a cart to which were hitched two domesticated oryxes.

The petite woman, swathed in colorful sashes, large earrings and a head scarf, began to speak: "Now, when the light of the full moon shines upon you, the way you walk will be thorny. You too will become a wolf, with the instincts of the wild beast."

Tarzan made a face and ignored the woman. There was something he had yet to do. Turning back to the dead beast, which had somehow lost its hirsute characteristics and was beginning to look strangely like a man, he placed one foot on the chest of the vanquished foe and lifted his head to the moon, hurling from his throat the wild and weird cry of his people, sending it echoing again and again through the surrounding jungle. In the seconds that followed, he heard manu scream in fright, the rapidly decreasing footfalls of a fleeing feline, and the hoarse whisper of an intimidated impala.

He turned back to the woman and glared. "And if you speak the truth, old woman," he said, "I don't think that things will be all that much different than what I've been doing all my life."

By Bridge
Amid the cold and dampness of the grey and swirling fog,
Frankenstein's cruel monster was clod-hopping through the bog,
While nearby too a werewolf bold was slinking on the prowl,
It saw the hulking monster and it charged him with a growl.

The killers locked with deadly grips; each sought the other's doom,
The wolfman bit the monster but the monster lowered the boom.
It strangled its attacker, then hurled it in the mud,
But not before the werewolf had drawn the monster's blood

Frankenstein, infected, turned his eyes unto the moon,
His hair was growing longer till he looked like a baboon,
His fingernails extended, with pointy tips and curls,
His teeth grew long and yellow, no longer white like pearls.

He roamed the moor, exhausted, throughout the dreary night,
At morn his hair of wolf was gone, though he still looked a fright.
He knew, since he'd been bitten, that whene'er a full moon shone
He'd turn into a werewolf and would haunt the Twilight Zone.

He slept through all the day and when the night came once again.
The moon was full no longer so he wore his usual skin.
But unknown to the monster, a vampire stalked his path,
Frank's scent not hard to follow as he needed a hot bath.

'Twas Dracula himself, who gave no quarter, nor no truce;
He stalked the monster hoping for a chance to drink its juice.
At last, while Frank was puzzling how to cross a castle moat,
Dracula sneaked up behind and went straight for his throat.

He bit into the monster's neck and drank the crimson flow;
Poor Frankenstein was dead ere he a single punch could throw.
Drac buried then the body 'neath a broken wagon tire,
But Frankenstein next evening came to life as a vampire.

So then Frank slept through every day and rose up every night,
And knocked his victims flat, then of their necks he'd take a bite.
And monthly he became a wolf and tore his foes apart,
Gouging out their eyeballs and eating up their hearts.

But came along Van Helsing, with hammer and his stake,
He caught ol' Frank a' sleeping right after his lunch break.
He pounded home the aspen, stuffed garlic 'tween Frank's teeth
And left him without e'en a decent funerary wreath.

They wrapped him up in strips of cloth, around and 'round they went,
To keep his ugly carcass hid; they left not e'en a vent.
They put him in a box inside a tomb and closed the door,
They didn't think that they would see that monster anymore.

But from Egyptian pyramids a mystic priest did come,
He burned some dried up tanna leaves and beat upon a drum.
The smoke went curling through the tomb and tickled Frankie's nose.
His nostrils twitched and twisted...and then the thing arose.

Wrapped head to toe in rotting rags, the fiend now roams the land,
A creature made of body parts combined by human hands,
Part vampire and part mummy, part wolfman and cadaver,
Just one of these is bad enough, but four-in-one is graver!

And so this Halloween be careful when outside you go,
Beware of trick-or-treaters if they stand six feet or so;
If you should meet a stranger, don't try to get too chummy.
For you may be confronted... by Frankula Weremummy.

With apologies to Jack Davis



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