The Magic Beans – Page 15

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magic-beans-15

“I have no time to waste, and will not wrestle any of your pets,” declares Perilous Jack. Xerxes’ smile takes on a brittle edge.

“How unfortunate. I had thought you a man of rare courage. But you are a common coward, like so many who have come this way. Throw him in the Boros Pit.”

Before Jack can raise his sword, the huge Stone Giant bounds from the pit, and a second appears, loping down the staircase behind Xerxes. The Giants knock Jack to the ground and pluck away his sword, dagger, and pouch. Dizzy from their blows, Jack cannot resist as they hoist him up.

One of the Giants throws Jack over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carries him up the staircase, to a GreenShaft at the top.

“Goodbye, little man,” the Stone Giant rumbles, and tosses Jack into the GreenShaft.

Jack’s eyes barely have time to adapt to the light before a huge shape rushes toward him from the darkness. He catches the gleam of saliva on a huge fang and raises his hands to protect himself, catching the fangs in his hands. For an instant he grapples with the creature, holding its enormous mouth apart with sheer strength. Further details emerge from the darkness; a tiny chamber of stone, a giant serpent body, beyond it a treasure chest.

The leather of his gloves begins to smoke, and he realizes that the creature’s saliva is acidic. He strains harder, trying to tear the creature’s jaws apart – and looks up.

A fatal mistake. The Boros has a humanlike face, wreathed in hair of hissing vipers. The eyes are huge, red-shot globes bulging from the ugliest face Jack has ever seen. So ugly, in fact, that he feels his limbs begin to stiffen. With a sob, he fights to turn his eyes away, but they are frozen in his head, frozen in the gaze of the Boros. His body becomes heavier, and he realizes – his thoughts are like thick mud, now – he realizes he is turning to stone.

He wonders vaguely if the Boros will be trapped in his stony grip, locked by the fangs in his fists, but probably not – the creature is certainly powerful enough to shatter a man of stone. He wonders what secrets lie hidden in the treasure chest. He will never know, for this is . . .

THE END.

Return to 1 and begin again . . .

. . . or continue the adventure in Perilous Jack and the Land of Death.