The Rugged Explorer
As a pair of Nazis peppered the rubble with bullets to pin down Jack and the Amazon, the gigantic native called Trotsky grabbed the panther woman and flung her up over the arena wall. Jack’s first thought was that he was attempting to kill her, but no: she sailed forty feet into the air to land lightly behind the Nazi fire team. Before they knew she was there, her claws ripped down their backs, shredding their uniforms and leaving long red gashes from shoulders to hips.
With that group suddenly distracted, Jack turned his machinegun towards the flanking team but found that they, too, were incapacitated. Just as they were passing beneath one of the coliseum’s back rooms, a large, wooden cage on a small wheeled cart careened out of a dark doorway and down the stairs towards them. They scrambled to get out of its way, but they didn’t get far before the cage’s door flopped open to release its enormous occupant. A broad-shouldered saber-toothed cat sprawled out of the cage and shook its head to clear the dizziness of its precipitous ride. It found its balance quickly, locked its eyes on the nearest Nazi and drove into him with a roar of savage anger. Its massive paws held its screaming victim to the ground as its curving fangs burst through skin and bone.
Jack, though no stranger to death, had to avert his eyes from the mauling. He had no idea who was in that back room pushing the cages out (a rebellious slave, he assumed), but it was obvious that the cage had been timed with the appearance of the first gray uniform past the doorway. What was more, another rolling cage, this one containing a giant hyena, crashed down the stairs to before the troopers could regain their footing. This was followed shortly by two other cages, each containing a man-sized, bipedal reptile that sported an arsenal of claws on its fingers and feet. Before their cages bounced even half way down the stairs, these creatures sprang from their confinement to pursue the Nazis with ravenous abandon.
“Not a good day to be a Nazi,” Jack muttered.
With their enemies temporarily occupied, Jack dashed through the stone benches towards the exit hallway. He could hear the heavy thudding of Trotsky’s feet following him at a distance, and the light, swift padding of the Amazon catching up to him.
At the arching threshold that led to the bright outdoors, Jack skidded to a sudden halt, his eyes going wide at what he saw. When the Amazon dashed past him, he lunged into her, knocking her back against the wall and pinning her there with his body.
Her hand was instantly at his throat, but the anger in her eyes dissipated as a roar of a machinegun filled the air. A stream of bullets churned the ground into mulch where they had stood just a moment before. Jack wished he had the words to explain to the Amazon that the machinegun nest a hundred feet away from the doorway must have been set up to contain the chaos that was unfolding in the arena.