The traitor dropped like a stone when the captain ordered
the ropes released. He’d had the pair
revived first. A bucket of water each in
the face had brought them round with a shocked shout. And a howl of laughter from the mob. Ropes released, the traitor of a general broke
to earth of the palace steps with a tortured cry. And lay broken in a pool of water. Quickly the mob took up the collective chant.
“More! More! More!”
Grinning, caught in the madness of the hour, a soldier
strode over to the traitor. He hammered
a boot into his side.
“Get the fuck up!”
Another kick. The soldier lost his footing. Landing in the wet with his prisoner. The jeers for the traitor quickly changed into howls of laughter. At the soldier finishing up in the puddle with his prisoner. Speedily the soldier tore himself to his feet. Red-faced. But quickly he found his presence of mind. Grinning all over his face, he planted a heel victorious on the traitor’s back. Like a sturdy stalker claiming a prize boar in the hunt. Arms raised in triumph. Taking the cheering. Relishing the applause. Taking a mock bow as the mob laughed with him. Triumph over the stinking traitor.
The soldier earned himself a scowl from his captain. But the cheering just increased. The other prisoner had been released from his bonds. The rebel had fallen. Only a short drop. But so weakened by Parthian power that his knees crumbled under him.
Pure luck. Maciste managed to save himself. Stopping himself, landing on hands and knees. A brutal beating, it seemed to go on and on. Maciste had been out of it by the count of twenty. Thrashed from behind, smacked in his front …. ONE. Someone in the crowd had started the count. Quickly everyone had joined in. Soon the riotous sounds of a mad mob counting out the blows of agony were bouncing off the palace walls.
But jeering broke out when the captain had ordered it
stopped. Only twenty strikes. Delivered with force, yes … but
they’d seen the rebel pass out. Evading
the pain. Escaping the lord emperor’s
sentence. Out of it. Coward!
Enough .. the captain had called a halt. He’d had them revived. But then he’d had them cut down. Over? The punishment was over? The booing and jeering exploded. They’d tasted blood. Fire burned in men’s loins. Not enough! The stinking rebel was on all fours.
It was over? Never! The traitors were down on the ground. Enough? No way! Not enough! As-one, they screamed. Howled for blood.
“More! More! More!”