And by the look of the number of nasty welts all over his front, the apeman had already taken a couple of dozen. Donovan looked at Reilly. His mate pulled a face at the sight too. Something he hadn’t expected either.
The crowd were screaming. Going mad at each strike. Yelling out in pleasure. Men punching the air. Some shouting out .. calling on the black whip-master to give it the apeman harder. The muscle-head with the cattle whip was pulling no punches, though. Slamming stinging lashes across the apeman’s back. Whacking-out for all he was worth.
This chief gave Donovan the creeps .. the intensity of his look .. backed up by a confidence that came with a physique like that. He had never struck Donovan as someone to mess with. And now he could see with his own eyes what the fucker was doing to Tarzan .. probably gonna beat the shit out of the sucker .. listening to the mad hysteria in the crowd .. you could even bet on this turning nasty .. some kind of execution. Not what they had bargained for. The chief made Donovan nervous. Now he was convinced, you didn’t get on the wrong side of this sucker.
But the dude HAD come up with the goods, his men had come true. They had their treasure stashed away on the boat. So this chief had his darker side, did he? Tarzan had fucked with him at some time? Now it was payback time, eh? So what? What had it got to do with them?
The escort that had “invited” them to join the tribe’s celebrations gave a slight push on Donovan’s shoulder. Moving them on. Directing them towards the chief. Inviting them to join in. Reluctantly, after sharing a questioning glance, the pair of them concurred. No choice.
When the chief spotted their arrival, he called a halt to the beatings. The apeman was hurting .. the force .. and the bite of leather on whip-lashed flesh had him flailing. They had seen pain twist him round in the air. Donovan sensed Tarzan’s back had to be a mass of red .. burning skin .. hard-lashed flesh. And when the beatings stopped, there was an audible groan in the crowd. Resentment. The crowd was up for more.
Not the kind of party they had been expecting to come to, the pair of them.
The chief beckoned them to join him. Front-row, best view in the house. Centre-stage to watch the dude they had delivered having the shit beaten out of him. Donovan felt squeamish. He tried to explain to the chief that they needed to be on their way Privately he had no stomach to see what more they might do to the apeman.
And the way the chief said that .. Donovan knew better than to argue.
Tarzan had been lowered back down to his feet. Moans of disappointment trembled in the crowd. But Donovan could see the dude was sweating .. hurting like shit. Breathing hard, suffering. Donovan didn’t fancy being around when they really got down to things.
“You see what joy you have brought.”
The chief’s nod invited them to look at all the happy faces stood around the edge of the compound. There was a fire in the eyes of some of the men. But it was the fire of dogs gone wild with the scent. Howling on the hunt. Mad for blood. Men made beasts by watching the hell beaten out of another guy. This Tarzan must have really pissed them off.
But there was nothing joyous in this chief’s face. His look was cold, domineering. Calculating. Donovan saw him look Reilly over .. slowly. Clinically. Then his eyes turned on Donovan. He felt a tremor down his spine. Like he was being looked over by a wild cat .. a hungry big-cat. When the chief said he “insisted” .. that was not the ardent invitation from some generous host. That was a man who meant it. Donovan wanted to decline? Then this dude was the sort who WOULD insist.