Crushed. One of his balls squeezed in a steely grip. Agony. Trapped in a metal vice. Pain rushed to his eyes. A tortured groan had got locked in his chest. His throat clamped tight by the agonising grip.
Maciste cursed back. The squeeze on him had let go. He sucked in air .. the groan escaped. His face twisted as he bit down on the pain. His balls ….! He hurt like hell! There was a short pause. Maciste then tensed .. the muscles automatically tightened. Maciste yelled out. Shock and pain at a sharp punch in his nuts.
“Pigshit doesn’t talk.”
The knuckles ground painfully against agonised balls. Squeezed, then punched. He was gasping for wind. Sucking in air to bite back on the pain.
“That’s what you answer to. Pigshit. Your name. Answer to your name.”
Maciste hung .. upside down .. gritting his teeth into the pain burning in his groin. Panting, catching his breath. The squeezing had gone. But not the agony. His sight was full of a near naked torso. Near-perfect masculine flawlessness. Like his own, hard with muscle, broad in the chest with solid strength, tanned dark by this cruel sun. Close-to as he was with this muscular strength, Maciste sensed the haughty superiority . . a man dominating his prisoner .. A man with every right. Power .. over Maciste helplessly suspended like this.
Maciste had got his wind back. He was not his proper self, weakened by hunger, little water. Tortured out of his skin stood aching and stiff for days at that post. He hurt like hell in his balls. But that pain had got his temper up. His spirit bit back. Persisted. His fighting spirit coming back strong.
It was risky, the way he was ….. upside down, worn out. Acting defiant …. that was only going to antagonise. But it was dangerous too to show himself intimidated. Just as big a risk as looking like some push-over.
There was to be a battle fought here .. a long hard combat for strength of will. Not an even match, these Parthians had everything on their side. A battle that would be hard fought. These guards could do with him what they willed .. anything to break him down. But Maciste was not giving in
“Go fuck yourself!”
The muscled torso didn’t react. A sign that this man was not easily riled. Not by some arsehole swinging helpless upside-down. Supremely sure of himself.
“Careful what you wish for.”
Maciste yelped. A savage bite had been taken out of his bare arse.
“Don’t give me ideas.”
Again Maciste twisted in shock off another stinging blow into the solid bare globes of his backside.
“Pigshit. Remember. What you are. Nothing more. No prince. Not anymore.”
A couple more smarting strikes had lashed out at Maciste’s bare arse. He tensed. No reason that there’d not be plenty more.
“ME? Think of me as your worst nightmare.”
Upside down Maciste contorted. Another bite of leather stung at naked vulnerable muscle.
The massive muscle-head glowered into Maciste’s face. But the words were for his minions. Stood behind. Awaiting orders. Equipped with some stinging lash.
“Ten. On Pigshit’s arse. For opening his big gob.”
The weapon was laid on with breath-taking force. The sting twisted Maciste off the rope on his feet. The impact sent him swinging. Rocking and gyrating. Malicious smarting blows. Ten motherfuckers! All targeted on his bare backside .. setting him alight with pain. Twisting him, upside down.
Maciste was panting well after the attack stopped. His heart was racing. The heart thudding in his chest. His backside burned like he’d sat in hot oil. Sweat ran down his face .. finding his eyes .. stinging.
He’d shamed himself. He’d not managed to hold in the pain. Worse, the pain had kicked in straightaway. Almost on the first stinging bite taken out of his bare backside he’d been gasping out loud. Pretty soon, he was swinging in the air yelling it out. He was shattered, his body couldn’t take much more. He needed rest, he needed to get his strength back.
For once … after days, in more than a week …. it seemed the gods were listening. Maciste was aware of movement. He was being shifted sideways .. swinging in the air. He looked about him .. the rockface seemed to be moving. But his rational brain said somehow he was being shunted sideways.
Beneath his head, he heard movement. Craning his head backwards, he saw guards moving a metal grid sideways. Beneath Maciste’s head was a dark gaping hole.
“Men are hungry. My men had hard days in the sun .. taking delivery of the emperor’s prize lump of pigshit ….”
Nothing like Maciste’s journey on their cart. At least they’d been able to move joints, flex muscle. They had slept under the cart at noon .. out of the sun. They had tormented Maciste .. eating chicken .. licking their fingers .. while he starved.
“Working men deserve a break.”
Maciste suddenly felt himself being lowered .. towards the hole in the earth. Looking up he saw the rope tied to his ankles snaked up to a pulley. He was being smoothly lowered into that hole. His cell? His prison in the ground? Before his head disappeared beneath the rim, a water sack on a loop of cord was strung around his neck. It cut into his windpipe with the weight. But Maciste dug his chin to his chest. Water! He was not risking losing it.
Another guard was waving a piece of flat bread in front of his face.
“Open that stinking gob of yours.”
Maciste clamped his teeth around the precious food. It felt stale. But he hadn’t eaten in days, beggars couldn’t be choosers. He gripped it tight in his mouth. The movement started again. Lowering him. Disappearing down a black hole. The emperor’s prize prisoner being kept safe. In a hole in the ground. While the guards got their well-earned rest. Building their strength for a further day. Fulfilling their duty to their emperor. Breaking the will of an obstinate piece of pigshit.