6 The gift
How long had he waited? Had many years had he planned? His thoughts in the night racing wild with the fires of this dream.
His father’s murderer .. in his grasp. No way out, no escape. That evil body, a killer .. murdered his father .. sent the tribe’s fortunes into decline. That yearning .. to get his hands on this swine. No death could atone for his crimes.
A hundred nights .. hand tight on himself .. vengeance squeezed out of every hard-packed muscle of that murdering dog.
A thousand images .. countless thoughts. A flood of imagined ideas. What he wouldn’t do! How he would make that foul apeman suffer! Pay. Vengefully squeezing from himself cruel images in the heat of the night.
His mind’s eye ablaze with sights of a body twisted in torment. His lust for revenge shrill with a murderer’s screams.
And NOW .. that chance …. it was here.
Nkonu had retrieved his ceremonial staff. A stick an arm’s length adorned with ribbons and feathers. And a carved jagged end resembling a wild cat’s fangs. He jabbed it at Tarzan’s hard-muscled chest. Tarzan brushed it angrily away. Again Nkonu reinforced his will, prodded Tarzan’s proud chest with it again, twice. Asserting his control. Nkonu gave Tarzan a hard look.
“Then ..,” he said .. “ … when his time with you is up ….”
Nkonu nodded at his nephew.
“ …. I made it clear to him. Firmly.”
Nkonu was getting off on the power. Tarzan thought, almost getting himself hard at the thrill. A dogged determination had sent Tarzan’s pulse running. This news, what the next two days held for him .. that was looking to be his best chance. He didn’t believe that muscle stud was going to leave Tarzan tied by the feet between these stakes. He’d get released. The muscled vanity would want to prove itself, show off. Show himself THE man here. How long before this overweening vanity over-reached itself? Thinking Tarzan didn’t have it in him? Slip up? Give Tarzan that chance he’d been looking for?
Right now, though, Tarzan was mindful of coming under double threat. Conscious of that peacock was stalking him. Glowering, moving to the right, passed one of the stakes, moving behind Tarzan .. while Nkonu again jabbed at him taunting from the front. Tarzan swatted him off, he did not fear Nkonu. He’d take on the strutting peacock too. But he was in danger of getting it from front and back. He had learned to take seriously the element of surprise, getting ambushed. The champions had taught him that. And this swaggering hunk did not look in any mood to play fair. The way he had re-appeared dressed .. dressed to-kill. Near-naked, raw male aggression. Tarzan kept a wary eye on him while Nkonu prattled on.
“Two days, I told him. Your crimes deserve that, Tarzan.”
Crimes? What crimes? But this was no a tribe interested in the truth. And Nkonu was not play-acting any more. Stern-looking.
“Two days I’ve granted him. Two days to show the tribe. Give them what they too deserve.”
Tarzan was tense. The cocky swagger had taken the near-naked stud behind. Tarzan had to twist his head to keep an eye on him. Taking advantage, Nkonu again jabbed Tarzan in the chest, Demanding his attention.
“Two days. Avenge his father’s murder.”
Tarzan felt the presence of the peacock right behind. A glance over his shoulder confirmed the muscled show-off was as good as breathing down his neck. He got ready for some surprise blows.
Annoyed Nkonu tapped with his staff at Tarzan’s front .. or was he diverting his attention? But Tarzan was all-ears for the attack to hit from behind.
“THEN …. nephew dear …..,” Nkonu prattled on, though Tarzan was keeping an eye over his shoulder.
“Two days. My gift. To you. To show the tribe.”
The annoying staff jabbed hard at Tarzan’s front. Grabbing his hearing if not his eyes.
“THEN .. the apeman is mine.”
A dramatic pause. Nkonu waited to see if he had his captive’s attention. And to check the whole tribe was listening in.
“Tarzan’s death is mine.”
Tarzan was aware of young Mwale making a move. He tensed, fight-ready. He felt the heat of hate-filled skin radiating into his back. Tarzan looked backwards, their eyes met. He saw the stud’s eyes alight with greed .. hungry for hurt .. itching for revenge. Eyes unflinching. In a face set firm, grim, proud. Every bit the arrogance and self-will of his father.
Mwale leant his head forward, his upper chest hot against Tarzan’s sweaty shoulders. He had Tarzan fixed with a look of that glaring intensity. His mouth moved to Tarzan’s ear. As if sharing a secret.
“Know what, apeman?”
Young Mwale made a sudden move. His hand shot up Tarzan’s back. Grabbed him by the hair and tugged his head back. Leaning against his scalp, the stud was breathing down Tarzan’s ear. The breath hot on Tarzan’s neck.
“You know what, ape-shit?”
Young Mwale too could glory in a dramatic pause. His eyes on fire.