Thrives on suffering
Out to the side Tarzan heard the priest intoning .. annoying, droning on. But he had other worries to occupy his mind. Arms raised above his head, wrists bound to the drum .. in no time it would start to turn. With him on it. How many agonising hours on this monstrous thing already? Rightly he dreaded this wheel. And its power to devastate his will.
Tarzan was on his front, face-down onto the drum. His heart pounded in his chest, thudding into the wheel. Another night on this drum .. remembering .. feeling the after-effects from before still tormenting his body. Grossly weakened .. numerous times stretched to breaking-point already. The prospect of more agony stressed-out on it .. it did not bear thinking. What that torture would do to his strength. What would be left of his fighting resolve?
A thought went through his mind. He was on is front. Why? He had no answer. Face-down this time. With the panicky desperation of hunted prey .. grasping at straws .. his spirits lifted. On his front .. surely the stretch could not be as bad? Not arced over backwards .. mind-crippling pains clawed out of his shoulder joints. On his front? That had to be less strain .. didn’t it?
Had they done this all wrong? Had his maddened fighting when they were dragging him to the wheel .. had that made it impossible to get him on his back again? A possibility. But Tarzan did not believe in any such luck. Not with the Untula.
“Hear us, great Mzanka, your willing servants call on you. In your greatness, cast a gracious eye on your loyal tribe.”
Damn that droning on. Damn that scheming priest. Any thoughts about the change in position .. they were quickly distracted. That intoning voice below him whined on into the grim darkness of the cave. But other more threatening things were happening to him too. Elsewhere.
Hands were gripping on his ankles .. making to secure his legs. And when they had his ankles fixed in place, their damned racking could begin. More important than thoughts about being on his front. More serious that that irritating droning-on from that damned spriest. No place for thoughts. No time for anything but fighting for his life. For hanging on to his strength of will. Tarzan was fighting for his warrior soul.
“We beseech you, mighty Mzanka. Fighters, all of us. Willingly dedicated to the service to your warrior cause. See. LOOK. See what we offer you ……”
Tarzan kicked out. His foot lashed backwards .. kicked a man away from him .. flailed with the free leg so they couldn’t get a grip on him. As if Tarzan was not fighting back, that irritating beseeching droned on. Ignoring his efforts .. as if they were too feeble to count.
“We too are warriors, proud, feared. But mere shadows of your mighty self …..”
In return for his fight-back, a club thudded Tarzan in his backbone .. slowing him .. momentarily stopping the thrashing of his legs. But as soon as he felt the hands back to gripping him by the ankles and tugging on his legs, Tarzan took up the determined fight again. Finding strength in his fear of being racked over this drum again.
Inevitable .. it was unavoidable. He couldn’t stop them. Tarzan no longer had his former fighting strength .. even if they hadn’t got him tied and well-outnumbered. Those damned Untula warriors got their way. Hands bound to the wheel above his head. His legs trapped too. Bound to their torture drum.
But as it started to revolve, again Tarzan spotted something strange. Different this time. And he noted the change with a sense of relief. Relief and disbelief. This time the drum revolving WAS different. There was no pull on his legs. The drum was turning, his legs were secured. But nothing was pulling him back. He was bound to the drum, face-down, hands tied above, his legs tied more than shoulder-width apart. But the turn of the wheel was not tugging back on him like before.
Not being stretched. His legs were turning with him. Were they tied to the wheel and not to the floor? Spread out. But his legs seemed to be were fixed to the turning drum.
His heart lifted. Another mistake? But no. These devils did not make mistakes. Tarzan knew better than to hope …..
“A worthy offering we bring you, mighty Mzanka …..”
That damned priest’s droning came back to annoy Tarzan’s awareness. Somewhere down below, beside the drum.
“KING. King of the jungle. A fighter. A warrior. Worthy to serve. What greater sacrifice can we bring, great Mzanka? This our offering to you. Tarzan, King of the jungle. YOURS!”
The touch on him made Tarzan freeze. Momentarily distracted by the priest’s jabbering. Still trying to work it out .. what was going on? Why were his legs not secured? Why was he not being stretched like other times on this wheel. Thrown, distracted. Desperate to work out what he was up against. And who or what was this odd Mzanka?
But the clammy hand on his bare backside had Tarzan thinking otherwise. The press of something against his back passage threw his every sense into full alert. It was hard, forceful, determined. Manly instinct did the rest. At the touch of something hard jabbed at his arsehole .. digging at his back passage .. earlier memories of enemies forcing THAT on him burst into life.
Tarzan froze. He squeezed. Every muscle there pushed back. Powerful muscles closed him down. Shut him off tight. Panic. A menacing touch he had known before. Digging at him there .. abused at other times before .. by other evil brutes. Vicious, evil-minded. Unwanted, unacceptable. A press into him he could not allow to push on any further.