A slave boy went from cage to cage, undoing the locks and collecting the chains. Although Jack now had almost completely sliced through one of the ropes that held his cage together, he burst through the opened door and made a grab for the chain as soon as the slave-boy had removed it. If this was an arena, Jack wanted a weapon, and a solid iron chain would do for a start.
His hand tight around the chain, Jack turned to see a line of Nazi soldiers with their rifles steadied against the arena’s stone wall. It was clear that they didn’t want him to have that chain, and he couldn’t argue with a firing squad. Begrudgingly, he allowed the links to slip from his fingers so that the wide-eyed slave boy could scamper off through a small doorway that sealed with a resounding clank behind him.
“Why don’t you just shoot me now and get it over with?” Jack shouted to the Nazis.
Sergeant Schmidt stood up and smiled wide enough to show off his missing tooth.
“Because,” Schmidt said. “Shootink iz more paperwerk. Also: less amusink.”
Schmidt made a motion with his hand and a portcullis at the far side of the arena cranked open. Beyond it was a large shadowy cell. Something was moving inside—something big and dangerous. Through the shadows, Jack could just barely make out the flash of a yellow chitinous shell, silhouettes of long, spider-like legs that moved chaotically, and the glint of a stinger slick with venom.
Jack kept his eyes on the darkened doorway, as he called over his shoulder to Schmidt: “Is it too late to get you to shoot me?”