Maciste stood firm. Feet planted firmly on the ground, his stance erect, his determination looking rock-solid. It was costing every bit of his strength. Hours astride that pole .. his balls crushed .. his guts on fire .. every fibre in his body trembling. His legs wobbled, they felt likely to break under him.
But like hell …… he’d not show it. As best he could. He gritted his teeth, he set tight his jaw. And he glared back at the guard. Refusing. He refused to get to work, he was no slave. Whatever Nightmare and his thugs thought ..
His posture belied how he felt, though. They held all the advantage. Had kept him tortured on that pole for hours. Deserted. Left with his thoughts. Left to fight the growing sense of despair. Agony grinding its irrepressible claws into his warrior spirit. His despairing movements grinding down his resolve.
Sometimes he just HAD to move. And his aching balls warned him it could only get worse. Was he going to keep this up? Staying stubborn? Already reality was beginning to question his resolve. Was he stupid enough to keep fighting back?.
Starved till hunger robbed him of strength .. the strength to stand up to them? He knew what he had to do. The offer had been made, more food. Was that such a hard thing to do?
When the thugs had released him from the pole …. when the bonds were gone and Maciste had the chance to swing his legs and get off this agony .. nothing would work. A total weakness had had him in its grip. A massive wave of tiredness had come over him. A rush of nausea so strong he could have thrown up.
The guards made it easy for him. One gave his muscled shoulder a shove. Unable to help himself, Maciste was tumbling down. He hit the hard sun-baked earth with a thud. His wind left him with a gasp.
But damn them, he was not going to show it. Over his dead body would they know how shattered he felt. He got up .. he crawled to hands and knees .. his pig-headedness somehow found the strength to put fight into muscle. He stood up .. on his own two feet .. under his own steam. Suppressing the groan of effort.
“Move your arse, shithead. Time to earn your keep.”
Maciste did not move. He didn’t know if he could. Doggedly his feet stayed planted firmly. Maciste was not going to move. Unsure what happened when his body made demands on his legs. But seemingly standing up to them. Showing them the man he was.
“You want we make you ..?”
The big bald brute was shaking a whip in his hand. The light in his eyes was thanking Maciste for the chance. In response, Maciste lifted his chin in a gesture of defiance.
“Fifty sacks of sand – that’s your quota,” the bald cretin snarled.
Maciste snorted back at him. As if wondering if the brute could count that far.
“You heard me …!”
His head high, his clenched fists defiant by his side, Maciste snorted back.
Spoken quiet, spoken defiant. Not going to be moved.
“Give it the git!”
His companion leapt at the chance. Their whips were out. Stinging lashes tore into Maciste’s bare flesh. Tired, his resistance to pain lower than normal, Maciste twisted under the sting of leather zinging down his back. His body contorted involuntary at the sharp bite of leather tearing into his welted shoulder. Frustrated that he dared defy them, increasingly annoyed when their bullying could not make him move, the thugs lashed out even harder. Beating at their stubborn prisoner in anger.
“Move, fuck you!”
From behind Maciste heard a voice.
“Let him be …”
Nightmare had been watching half-amused. Somewhat puzzled by the resilience of this prisoner. Not at all like some of the nobility he been called on to “treat”. This one had guts, they’d warned this one was as stubborn as an ox. He had to be aching like fucking-hell. After hours crushing his balls. But the fucker still had spunk. From somewhere – despite the hopelessness of his situation, after torture on that pole – still he could summon up some strength from somewhere. Probably feeling proud of himself. Cocky that he was managing to resist. Full of himself because they couldn’t make him ..
“He doesn’t want to work? His choice!”
He saw how the guards were panting, they had really gone for the obstinate ox. He too was glistening with sweat.
“String him out …”
Nightmare’s gesture with his head got the men dragging their prisoner off.