Did he have the foggiest idea how he’d got back? Mitch remembered it took a lifetime. Seemingly endless hours of torment on the walk back. One agonised step in front of the other. Torture. Pains stabbing him the length of his muscular legs.
Every touch of his foot to the ground knifed like stiletto blades to his butt .. agony ripping throughout his faltering body. And then another step, another horror. Another heel dropping stumbling to the grit. And another jarring explosion in the flesh.
Anguish assaulted his body. Torture. Every step. Agony. Every step from quarry to slave prison .. a tortured stumbling through fires of crippling agony.
He’d collapsed. Several times. Aware of arms around him .. aware of mates offering him their strength. Several times his leg had broken under him. He’d have broken to the dirt if his helpers hadn’t grabbed him. Saved him.
He owed them. Without his mates, how would he have made it back? Pain had broken him several times .. his legs had given way. The first few times they’d tried to drag him. His arms around their shoulders, they hauled him in helplessness onwards.
But he’d have none of it. His feet dragging helpless behind him through the dust. NO! Too much pride. Every pore in his tortured body resisted. Finding strength from somewhere .. somehow .. somewhere. Shaking his head.. groaning out his refusal. He’d walk .. he insisted.; He had to. Those bastard heathens wouldn’t see him dragged.
He’d managed to get his legs back under him .. somehow. He’d agonised as his heel hit the ground. That first touch .. agony searing up the length of his leg. Detonating in torture in his brutalised butt. Head swimming. The harsh landscape of rock and grit swirling in a sickening vortex .. gut-churning before his eyes. Every step torture. Every rasping breath sucked in with tortured effort.
He’d come-to. A long slow journey crawling out of oblivion on hands and knees .. clawing his way back to realisation. Fingernails grasping at the broken stony surface .. scrabbling his way onwards .. back to life. Ahead of him light .. at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel .. blinding light .. painful. Fighting his way forwards .. struggling to breathe .. battling on .. desperate to keep fighting his way out. Out of this crushing pit of bleakness. Instinct warning him .. if he didn’t crawl to the surface, he’d be trapped. He’d never get out.
Dizzy as he broke the surface of consciousness. In an instant aware of something untoward. Hands. Fingers .. on him. Pawing him. Touching him. Hands on his backside.
He recoiled. A man’s hand. A man’s fingers moving over his backside. Panic hit him. Revulsion flooded his guts. The thought of some filthy Arab pawing his bare arse.
“GET THE FUCK OFF!”
Mitchell threw himself away. He rolled away. He rolled onto his side. Pain assaulted him as he moved. Jarring agonising pain. Instinct crunched him together .. into a tight defensive ball. On his side, knees crushed to his chest. Rigid as the shockwaves of agony lashed him from the inside.
In time the stabbing pains subsided. The hand had gone. The groper had let him be.
A timid voice. A familiar tone .. he seemed to recognise it. He knew he ought to recognise it. But his pain-intoxicated head could not make it out.
The timid voice broke into a sob.
“Mitch. It’s me.”
The sounds were familiar. But the sickening weakness in Mitchell’s head couldn’t take it in.
Tom? The young boy he’d befriended from the ship. Big brother to a lad lost in the big world of his country’s navy. What the fuck was young Tom doing groping his arse!