It was always going to be this sucker. Perfect for the job. Whitney could tell. Most of these arseholes …. natives, savages, farmers. They’d give the guys no trouble. A few lashes across their bare backs … the stinking black savages would knuckled under easy enough.
The white savage, though ….? Made of sterner stuff. Whitney could smell the defiance off him. This jungle vigilante …. Probably got himself into all kinds of straits. Been captured. Got himself beaten up. Inevitable if he stuck his nose in where it didn’t belong.
But he’d always got away. Righter-of-fucking-wrongs. Managed to escape. And fight another day. Got a name for himself. Stuck it out. Let himself take a beating. But he was always gonna come out on top. Doggedness. Pig-headedness. Fucking-toughing it out.
But had this arsehole met a Whitney before? Stuck on an island. No escape. With that tracker implanted in his neck muscle. Leading the dogs to him if he ever did manage to get away. Give it a try, arsehole!
He had a name. These pathetic farmers, probably knew of him. Probably admired him for the freedom-fighter he had been. How better to show them they were doomed? That there was no point in putting up a fight. Who better to start on? To show what they’d get if they stepped out of line?
“Listen up, scumbags. Got something for you. Something to make life easier.”
Tarzan and the others had been cooped up in their new barracks. Cramped, hot, sweaty. Air let in only through small windows high up, barred. Not enough to cool down the numerous bodies pressed close together on the floor. But it wasn’t rest-time yet for the fresh slaves. Whitney still wanted a word.
Earlier, from inside the tight confinement of their hut, they’d heard loud commotions outside. The other slaves returning from loading up the cocoa onto the boat. In the distance Tarzan had heard the ship’s siren as it left. No way off the island now, they’d been told.
The slaves’ stomachs groaned at the smell of food outside. Those workers who’d loaded up the boat …. they were getting fed. But nothing had been brought to them. And they hadn’t eaten since the previous day. The noise outside had died down, the others had been locked up in their barracks, dead tired, soon asleep.
But soon enough the fresh slaves had been herded out. Lined up for food, willing to be shoved into lines, seated on the earth while they gobbled down bowls of stew.
Again Tarzan had been singled out. When Whitney had been injecting that tracker into them, Tarzan had spotted the equipment. The inevitable punishment frame. Only he hadn’t reckoned on being did underneath it so soon. And he’d done nothing wrong.
The others watched him from their lines as they got stuck into their stew. Tarzan had looked up when his bound hands were raised above his head. The rope attached to his wrists snaked through a set of pulleys .. making easy work of hauling his muscled weight up. Inevitable in a place like this, the handlers would have at their disposal every means of disciplining slaves.
Whitney was addressing the slaves still greedily gobbling down their stew.
“You don’t want to disappoint. You don’t want to get on my wrong side …..”
Whitney’s thumb indicated with his thumb at Tarzan. He’d done nothing wrong. But he was being singled out .. for Whitney’s “special treatment”. And Whitney had proudly announced that THAT was his speciality.
“Otherwise you pay for it.”
His head turned. Whitney saw Tarzan scowling at him. Just as he’d expected. Just why Whitney had selected the jungle wildman. To make an example of him. The savage was a legend in the jungle, the others would look up to him. Seeing him have the shit thrashed out of him ….. that had to make a point. And he’d read the arsehole right .. that scowl, that “fuck-you” posture.. He was going to be trouble. No point in Whitney waiting to make his own point.
Unperturbed by the futile look of defiance from some helpless slave, Whitney returned the glare with a mocking wink. Then from another thug he took what looked like a long rubber weapon.
“And payment doesn’t come cheap.”
Whitney waggled the rubber strap for the sight of the on-looking slaves. It was the length of his leg. It was the thickness of an arm. Stiff, inflexible, it barely bent as the rubber flapped threatening under Tarzan’s nose.
Tarzan saw the wide-eyed look of fear in the men still knocking back their food. The weapon looked deadly. Its ponderous bulk looked terrifying. He was in no doubt. Obvious why he was stood hands tied up out of the way. Not so obvious why Whitney had picked on him. But then, Whitney was hardly the kind of guy who needed an excuse.