The Rugged Explorer
“Wait,” Jack slurred through his bloodied and rapidly swelling lips. “Wait. I don’t want you to fight me.”
Schmidtt smiled sadistically. “And who vould you have me fight?”
“Him,” Jack pointed behind Schmidtt.
The big Nazi spun around to come eye-to-sternum with his new opponent, the giant he’d named Trotsky. Schmidtt had taken a special interest in Trotsky all along, and it had fallen to him, as the strongest member of the Nazi expedition, to whip the nine-foot slave into submission. Now Trotsky looked down at him and a gleeful smile broke though the giant’s matted beard.
Schmidtt sprang backwards with a well-trained boxer’s grace. His retreat would have carried him beyond the reach of a normal man’s arm, but Trotsky’s cinderblock fist extended to that point and kept going, farther and farther, whistling through the air as it picked up speed. The blow plowed past the boxer’s guard, through his teeth, and beyond the space his head occupied. A line of broken teeth marked Schmidtt’s trajectory as he sailed backwards into the wall. He landed with a thud but no grunt: he was already out cold by the time he hit the ground.
“Thank you,” Jack reached up to grasp the titan’s shoulder. His hand seemed like a child’s when set against the massive man’s frame, but Trotsky’s face brightened with the gesture and he favored Jack with a proud smile.
The Amazon now struggled to her feet, shaking her head to clear the stars from her vision. She said something to Jack and beckoned for him to follow. He was willing to bet that she knew another way out of the arena.
The two of them were shaky on their feet after Schmidtt’s pummeling, but they made their way back through the stadium as quickly as they could. Inside, the remaining Nazis had their hands full: they had killed one of the bipedal reptiles, but another two were bounding after them, leaping high over the rubble-strewn arena while the soldiers spattered panicked bursts of machinegun fire behind themselves as they ran. The gigantic hyena had disappeared, but the saber-toothed cat was still there, content to watch the action over what remained of its kill as it crouched in the shadow of Scrumtumbler’s drilling machine.
Where had Scrumtumbler gone? Jack wondered. The befuddled old professor had been there when the fighting started, but he was nowhere to be seen now. Jack didn’t have time to worry about that now, because the Amazon had located a small, stone staircase that led to the roof.