The Monster Men HTML version

Chapter 6. To Kill!
The Rajah Muda Saffir, tiring of the excuses and delays which Bududreen interposed to
postpone the fulfillment of his agreement with the former, whereby he was to deliver into
the hands of the rajah a certain beautiful maiden, decided at last to act upon his own
initiative. The truth of the matter was that he had come to suspect the motives of the first
mate of the Ithaca, and not knowing of the great chest attributed them to Bududreen's
desire to possess the girl for himself.
So it was that as the second mate of the Ithaca with his six men waded down the bed of
the little stream toward the harbor and the ship, a fleet of ten war prahus manned by over
five hundred fierce Dyaks and commanded by Muda Saffir himself, pulled cautiously
into the little cove upon the opposite side of the island, and landed but a quarter of a mile
from camp.
At the same moment von Horn was leading Virginia Maxon farther and farther from the
north campong where resistance, if there was to be any, would be most likely to occur. At
his superior's cough Bududreen had signalled silently to the men within the enclosure,
and a moment later six savage lascars crept stealthily to his side.
The moment that von Horn and the girl were entirely concealed by the darkness, the
seven moved cautiously along the shadow of the palisade toward the north campong.
There was murder in the cowardly hearts of several of them, and stupidity and lust in the
hearts of all. There was no single one who would not betray his best friend for a handful
of silver, nor any but was inwardly hoping and scheming to the end that he might alone
possess both the chest and the girl.
It was such a pack of scoundrels that Bududreen led toward the north campong to bear
away the treasure. In the breast of the leader was the hope that he had planted enough of
superstitious terror in their hearts to make the sight of the supposed author of their
imagined wrongs sufficient provocation for his murder; for Bududreen was too sly to
give the order for the killing of a white man--the arm of the white man's law was too
long--but he felt that he would rest easier were he to leave the island with the knowledge
that only a dead man remained behind with the secret of his perfidy.
While these events were transpiring Number Thirteen was pacing restlessly back and
forth the length of the workshop. But a short time before he had had his author--the
author of his misery--within the four walls of his prison, and yet he had not wreaked the
vengeance that was in his heart. Twice he had been on the point of springing upon the
man, but both times the other's eyes had met his and something which he was not able to
comprehend had stayed him. Now that the other had gone and he was alone
contemplation of the hideous wrong that had been done loosed again the flood gates of
his pent rage.