Jim refused to quiet down. All attempts to warn him off of his reckless behavior only seemed to rile him up even more. Deidra shook turned her back and set to work shoveling clumps of blood soaked dirt into waiting wheelbarrows. The other five prisoners followed suit, working in silence punctuated by Jim’s griping. Heather walked past the group, shooting him a dirty look.
She disappeared through a door at the rear of the arena. Thinking they were alone again, Deidra heaved a sigh of relief only to see her reappear a few minutes later. Jim aimed some of his snarky comments at Heather, as she walked past them and up the stairs to stand at the head of the stairs leading down into the arena. She folded her arms across her chest and surveyed them with tight lipped irritation. Heather’s silence seemed to embolden Jim, whose complaints grew steadily louder, until he was shouting. Heather abruptly stopped them.
“I thought I made it clear that you lot aren’t to question me. There’s only one thing I hate more than questions and that’s complaints. Everyone except Jim come up out of the arena and have a seat in the front row. Since he’s just dying to find out what goes on in here, I’m gonna let him find out first hand.”
Deidra sat down wringing her hands anxiously. She had already lost so much, the prospect of losing Jim tied her stomach in knots. He hesitated momentarily, looking warily up at her. Not wanting to appear weak, he continued shouting questions and accusations at Heather. Eyes wide with fear, Deidra tried to get his attention. Something bad was going to happen, if he didn’t stop. Heather shouted for the gateway to be opened. A massive gate in the far wall slowly rattled open.
They transferred their gaze to the moving gate. Seemingly oblivious to what was going on behind him, Jim continued to harangue Heather. Deidra spent a tense moment staring into the cave-like opening left by the gate. For several minutes, nothing happened. Deidra was beginning to relax, when Heather whistled shrilly. There was an answering shriek from the dark recesses at the rear of the arena. Jim turned in time to see a hideous mud brown creature possessing the body of a man with the head and wings of an enormous bat swooping down on him.