The chief had worked them up with his words, however untrue they were. The drumbeat had got their blood going, the tribe was in hateful mood. Out for revenge.
Tarzan did not have to look around. He could feel the hate. Like a red-hot wash of molten hostility gushing over him. From all sides .. slicing through this stultifying heat .. he sensed eyes boring into him. The wish to see him hurting was thick in the air. A craving to hear him cry out in pain. On all sides he could feel their hunger .. willing him to be yanked another step into that maelstrom of violence .. wishing him on .. into that tunnel of pitiless hurt. Their thirst to hear him yell out. Pangs of insatiable hunger for him to break under the ferocity of those whips.
Another yank on the noose. Held so that he was kept upright .. his hands trapped over the top of the bar .. nothing to fend off the blows. Two more steps and the first blow would strike. There was no way out of this. This perverted justice .. this unfair punishment. It had been Tarzan that first White Bull had enslaved. Beaten, abused. That White Bull had weakened him before facing him in a fight. Weakened so he could barely stand. And only then had that brave chief of theirs dared to take Tarzan on.
The first strike smacked across his raised shoulder muscle. A stinging smack with a cane. Tarzan winced. A second later a pole hit him hard across the chest. With a force that knocked him back .. the noose bit hard into the back of his neck.
The walk was to be painfully slow. The same pair got in further hard strikes by the time Tarzan was in range of the next pair of warriors. In almost the same instant he was hit from in front and behind. A hard smack with the pole across his shoulders made Tarzan lurch downwards, biting into the pain as a stinging cane snapped across his lower back.
Coming in low, from the front, a leather cattle whip tore across the soft flesh of his midriff. In shock, under multiple attack, Tarzan gasped out .. releasing pain with the wind smacked out of his guts. Rising up from below another cane tore up across his front catching him across his ribs.
Tarzan was jolted by the onslaught. Unthinking he jarred to a halt .. instinct wanted to pull back. The four attackers got in another quick foray of vicious blows before the tug on the noose yanked Tarzan on. At a punishingly slow pace. Down through this tunnel of horror. Before, these warriors had got their blood up .. bawling out their song of hate .. stomping out the beat of disgust for this apeman. Now the blood raced impatient through their veins. Eager for him to approach, desperate to lash out. Give vent to the burning emotions in their blood. Keen to strike him down. Couldn’t wait. His pace was painfully slow. They were going out of their minds until he got in their range.
Tarzan had resolved not to give it up .. as best he could he’d deny them his pain. The sight of that chief stood smirking at the other end of the line .. he’d focus on that. He’d drawn his strength from the smugness stood watching there. That hatred would fuel Tarzan’s resolve. He’d draw on that to feed his pig-headedness. Enabling Tarzan to hold it in. Frustrate that monster posing in White Bull’s paint of clay.
Each four attackers boxing Tarzan in got in two more maddened blows each. One had got so wild with impatience he sacrificed force for speed. Lashing out like a madman with his stinging cattle whip. Getting in a half-dozen smarting blows before frustratingly Tarzan passed out of range. He cursed.
Tarzan was losing focus. Swamped by a deluge of stinging pains. Now he had lost any idea how far down the line he had gone. How much further he still had to endure. The sight of his foe stood smirking had evaporated in a haze of pain. Unwilling he was sometimes crying out. His skin was on fire. Battered muscle was getting beaten more, stung like mad. Like evil cats were ripping great chunks out of his flesh with savage claws. His eyes ran .. tears of pain. His head was in a whirl.
Maddened by the frustration of waiting for his first blow, a stocky warrior lashed out a wild strike. His pole caught the hated murderer behind both knees. In wild ecstatic joy he cheered out. The apeman was falling .. down onto the earth.
Caught off-guard, the warrior hauling Tarzan on the noose gave a sharp pull .. thinking his charge was fighting back. The tug flipped Tarzan over as he fell. Landing on his back in the dirt. Undaunted the chief’s brother kept up the painful pace. Gritting his teeth .. hauling on his pole .. forced to drag the apeman’s deadweight on his back through the line.
A cheer went up. The apeman was down. The pace of his progress slowed as he had to be dragged along. His arms trapped above his head by the pole .. his whole body open to them. The chance they had waited for! Dozens of mean-minded whips rained down. Trapped on the noose .. dragged by the neck slowly through the tunnel .. the triumphant warriors giving their all. Arms raised above their heads .. two-handed bringing their weapons down .. all their force. Canes smacking biting into his legs .. whips lashing painful across his chest. Driven crazy by the glory of this violence. Made mad by the cries of pain whiplashed under their blows. Lashing out in insane madness even when his cries died out. The apeman had passed out with the pain. But the madness of this horror still went on.