“Come on, Tarzan ….. Help me out here ….”
Mtwala had hunkered down, crouching .. talking quietly into Tarzan’s face .. supposedly like a pair of confidants .. almost as if Mtwala didn’t want his warriors to hear the intimacies he and Tarzan had to share.
“You know, men like these … men of action .. put a gun in their hand .. they don’t want to be polishing it ….”
The ties between Tarzan’s wrists and ankles had been cut through. Tarzan’s upper body had jarred down .. painfully yanked to a halt by his ankles still tied to the rope above. Dangling upside-down swaying as Mtwala spoke candidly into his face
Tarzan knew exactly what the men would rather be doing. Luckily Mtwala’s plan gave him four days to prevent that.
“You’ve gotta help me out here, Tarzan .. gotta give me something to give them …. keep them happy ….”
“What you on about ….?”
“I’ve got me an idea ….”
Mtwala hadn’t bothered to share his inspiration with Tarzan. Abruptly he had ordered him lowered. Not too carefully Tarzan had been dropped. In time he’d swung his head forward to stop crashing on it to the dirt. Still upside-down his shoulders were resting on the ground. The rope over the branch overhead still held Tarzan up by the black plastic cutting into his ankles.
“ … something to put a spring in their step …..”
Tarzan felt a hand on his calf. Mtwala was now leering down at him from the side. Stuck like this Tarzan could only scowl up Mtwala’s grin. Angry but helpless, he felt his enemy grip him by the leg.
“ … something like this …..”
Tarzan jerked. He winced. His whole body jolted. Pain exploded down his legs. A stinging blow across the exposed sole of his foot.
“ … and in case you get it into your stupid head to make a run for it …..”
The shock could not be contained. Again Tarzan yelped. A tear of pain rushed to his eye. Whipped a second stinging time across the sole of his foot.
“Can’t have you spoiling their fun.”
Mtwala was laughing as he felt another sharp pain jerk in his hand. Another bite taken out of his damned enemy’s foot. Another judder .. pain rushing down Tarzan’s legs.
“Listen to them.”
Tarzan could hear the cheers. But he wasn’t interested in Mtwala’s warriors urging on the beating. Biting into the pain. From a cutting strike from a cattle whip bursting in flames into Tarzan’s foot.
“Just think of their disappointment .. if you’re not here ….”
Tarzan cursed. A burning slash into his exposed foot shot his body up.
“ .. not here to entertain them after putting up with the training.”
Tarzan rose .. shocked rigid .. smarting from a burn cutting into his soft flesh .. lifting him up on his shoulders off the ground.
“Can’t have that …….”
Tarzan couldn’t hold back the yell. Another tear-busting sting nipped at the flesh of his foot.
“Wouldn’t want that … would we?”
Tarzan was panting. Looking up at his legs .. waiting for the next skin-blistering shot of pain. His chest was rocking .. fighting for the wind to beat back the next strike. Four days he had. Four days of this. Four days that Chambers needed for deadly weapons training. Four more days of this .. and worse. Pain shot Tarzan’s muscled torso upwards .. lifting him rigid .. torso shuddering .. up onto his shoulders .. chest thrown in the air. A sharp yap escaped. A stinging bite taken out of the soft flesh under his foot.
“Don’t think you’ll be running far. Arsehole.”
Tarzan’s torso twisted .. his legs in the air .. convulsed by a vicious smarting slash across his other foot. Pain shot to his eyes. Tears of pain burst free.
“Not on those feet ….”
Tarzan’s yelp at another stinging blow was greeted with drunken jeers. His tortured twisting onto his shoulders had the enemy laughing their guts up. The fighters couldn’t see the pain twisting in his face. They didn’t see the burst of tears on his contorted face. But they cheered with each sharp yelp. The hot blood in their veins burst free in boozed-up joy .. cheering at his upside-down body twisted off another agonising strike.