A drum sounded it out. The march of pain. Slow loud beats on a single great drum. Beats that drummed out the counterpoint to Tarzan’s pounding heart.
A dozen ominous beats. Beats that filled the clammy air with sounds of doom. As if pre-arranged, the two lines of warriors took up the beat .. stamping one foot hard into sun-baked earth. Raising dust. Lines of hostility stomped in unison to the drum. Acting together .. honoured for this task. And from all around the village men joined in the beat. Voices raised. Manly voices emphasising the beat .. the dire beat of the walk of pain.
As one women’s voices sounded it out. The slow melody of menacing threat. Words that filled out the beat. Words that rang with warning of the agonies to come. The two lines of men raised their weapons. Arms held high .. awesome warnings of punishment punched into the air. Shouting out in time to the slow painful beat. All heads turned down the line .. faces aglow .. eyes filled with hate.
Hate faced towards the chief-killer who was stood at the end of these lines. Head trapped in a noose. Helpless to resist their justice. Destined at last to pay the price. Stood there helpless. Facing ruthless retribution. Awaiting the sign.
A tug on the noose yanked Tarzan forward. A second tug dragged him towards inevitable torture. Forced to enter that tunnel of hate. Made to walk lines of agony at a snail’s pace .. progress at the dolorous speed of the drum. Hands tied over the bar, arms to protect him bound out of the way. Defenceless. His whole body exposed to vengeful justice. Not one bit of him would escape.
Back. Sides. His belly. His chest. Walked into a body-breaking firestorm of hate. Moved at the speed dictated by the noose. Inched forward to the beat of the drum. Walked to break under maximum hurt. His cries of pain coloured by joyous songs of hate.
Walked between lines of seething hostility. Muscular warriors .. privileged to perform this glorious task. Equipped with weapons to beat and break. Chosen by their chief. Watched by proud family and friends. Honoured to bring glory back to the tribe. They’d do their best. Suffused with pride. They’d give the apeman their all.