“What did you do?” Celeste demanded of Thelonius.
Thelonius’s lips pulled back into a guilty smile and he made a very human shrug.
He never had time to explain, because the Nazis had found them. A pair of them kicked the door open and rushed for them, murder in their eyes. Thelonius was able to bring up his blunderbuss in time to parry the first soldier’s knife, and then they were locked in deadly struggle as they vied for the flintlock rifle held between them.
The other soldier seized Celeste by the wrist and the lapel of her grey uniform. He bore down on her, pressing her into the microphone system that von Wartenburg had used to address his troops below. Her spine pressed against the switch, activating the loudspeakers outside the ship, so that her voice was picked up and amplified a hundredfold.
Her scream crashed down onto the city like a tidal wave, rolling over the slaves and the soldiers alike, filling every corner of the city and piercing the depths of each dilapidated building. It washed over the walls and out into the jungle where it shook seed-pods from trees and flung clouds of winged reptiles into the skies. A herd of ten-ton triceratopses and a flock of lumbering, placid stegosaurs looked up in sudden panic, ready to run but unsure of which direction to flee.
The scream was cut short, and all the jungle seemed to enter a state of trembling paralysis. Then, from far out in the wilderness, Celeste’s scream was answered by a thunderous roar.