He didn’t have much time. Maciste knew from experience it wouldn’t take long. Pretty soon he’d be incapable of rational thought. His brain would be fried.
And he had a decision to make. One that had big consequences. On which a lot would depend. No exaggeration to say, his life could depend on it.
One thing he could didn’t deny, though .. their damned plan was working. He could see the risk of them winning. His enemies had got him where it was getting impossible to fight back. Unless he did something to alter the balance in his favour ….. they’d have him. He’d be done for.
Worryingly he had already started to lose track of time. A bad sign .. how many days had this hell been going on for? How many times tortured out of his wits? How many spells was this he had spent being baked alive in this oven? Four? Five? It seemed more, each time getting worse .. his spirits plummeting when he saw them open the lid and shoved him in.
Weak as hell. Weaker every time they tortured him. What little strength he managed to hang on to .. he’d fight to claw it back together over days .. struggling against back breaking labour .. fighting back his strength of will through strength-sapping tortures ….. only to see it again draining away with his sweat .. again thrust back into this clay coffin …..
And this hot-box was only one way these bastards tried it on .. out to break his will. Worked till he dropped. Baked by the harsh rays of the sun all day. Suffering will-sapping humiliations. Hungry, starved of enough food to keep him going.
How many times? How many days already? Dangerously losing track of time. Tortured every waking minute .. back-breaking work .. will-breaking torments …… in only these few days everything had started to merge into one endless confusion …. Battered by an eternity of mindless suffering. Endless .. till he was now losing focus. More of this and he’d be losing any strength to keep up the fight. The bastards would have won.
He couldn’t allow that. But how to stop it? How many days since he’d arrived in their Hellgate? He had been struggling to answer even that simplest of questions. All his agonies here had started fusing into a mindless tortuous stream. Endless rounds of mind-crushingly tortured activities every fucking second of every fucking-agonising minute of every fucking-repetitive day.
Each torture piling it on. Each day upping the weakness. Each agonised moment taunting his will to lose faith .. seeing no way out … forced into abandoning all hope and giving up. Giving in to this life of endless, mindless torture. Broken to the service of his enemies. He feared the risks. He could see it happening. Broken by the Parthian empire.
Every muscular fibre in his body screamed out against that. But how to stop it? They were clever, his torturers. Constantly keeping him on the hop. They varied the routine of mind crushing tasks. Never sure what happened next .. unable to steel his mind, grit his determination to fight the next round. Forever caught off his guard.
Surprised by what was next coming to hit him hard in the back of the neck. Stunned by what spirit-breaking agony would next kick him in the nuts. Their success over him depended on keeping him off balance. And he could see it could work. He sensed it was working. He had to make a decision. His survival depended on winning back some control.