THE DIARY OF REINHARD KURTZ
PART III

May 17, 1897-
Assidi Kamal Oasis, French Algeria

My hand is different from that which the eventual reader of this journal will be used to and my words will be in French. My name is Marcel Duqualis, although Reinhard insists that I use the new name he has given me. I am the only survivor of the massacre of the garrison of Fort LeClerc by the Berbers twenty-three days ago. I did not know when I met Reinhard the day before the attack that he was a spy for the Berbers. We happened to be close together as we witnessed the executions of a French deserter and a Berber youth, a confederate of Reinhard's who had been foolish enough to allow himself to be captured. Those participating directly in the boy's prolonged execution by burning paid dearly the next day when their victim's uncle, Sidi Barouk, had them in his hands.

I should introduce myself I suppose. When Reinhard recovers...if he recovers...he can purge any of my scribblings that displease him. I pray he does recover as I know not what will become of me if he does not. Plus, I have become quite fond of him...after all, he saved my life, sparing me the torture I expected when taken captive.

I am just nineteen, although I appear older. I am blond and have been told by others, including Reinhard, that I am handsome and I hope that is true...such words make me feel good. I grew up in the small city of Arras in northern France and joined the legion at seventeen to get away from the tedium of my homelife. How naive I was! I imagined service in Le Corps Afrique would be an exciting, dashing adventure. I quickly grew to hate it, especially after assignment to the savage domain of Capitaine Alain Coullone. He did everything he could to create hatred and resentment among the native peoples around Fort LeClerc in his fanatic dedication to the concept of French superiority in all things.

Coullone was as vicious towards us as he was the Arab population...the "ignorant ragheads" ...and we lived in mortal fear of his displeasure. However, because he regarded LeClerc as just a way station in his climb to a general's baton and had arrogant confidence that the Berbers could mount no real threat, he did little to force us to be competent soldiers. With morale at rock-bottom, we became horribly, fatally lax and the fort fell with stunning swiftness when the Berbers descended upon us. I really regretted that Coullone was killed in the attack and thus spared Berber vengeance. Poor, incompetent young Lieutenant Joplaine was the only officer captured alive and paid for them all.

He was crucified and left to broil in the Sahara midday sun.

One positive aspect of life at LeClerc was the absence of French females. Coullone had a death penalty waiting any man who dared fuck a "raghead" woman and, needing some outlet for our powerful libidos, we turned to each other. I had never had much doubt of my own homosexual nature, but had not yet experienced contact with another man. I quickly discovered how great it was. I also learned that pain and abuse applied to my person turned me on fiercely and soon became the creature of a fellow legionaire, Louis Petain, who pretty much enslaved me to his sadistic ends.

That was how I became involved with Reinhard. Discovering their shared tastes following the double execution, he and Louis used me in tandem in the post stable. I ordinarily hated it when Louis proved his "ownership" by giving me to other men like that, but I instantly liked the "visiting French merchant"...Reinhard disguised. Following our capture the next day, at his request, my "master" Louis and I and the savage executioner from the day before, a trooper named Andre LeCost, were given to him as "gifts" by Ali Mohhamed Mahsauddi, the Berber chieftain. He and Louis staked Andre to a fire-ant hill and then he had Louis burned alive, but to my shock he spared me to take back to Germany as his servant.

Considering the alternatives, I was most grateful and I am honorable enough to abide by my promise of fealty to my new master for as long as we both live. Sadly, how long is already a question.

Attiring us in the loose robes and kaffiya headdress that so suits the Sahara, the Berbers escorted us to the trading town of Balhaddi in southern Algeria. There we were turned over to their nomadic cousins, the Turaregs, who operate trading routes across the Sahara to Egypt and the Sudan. We were welcomed enthusiastically based upon the strong endorsement of the Berbers and a few days later were in a caravan bound for the Nile on the swaying backs of those awful but utilitarian monsters, camels.

By the fifth day, Reinhard was obviously ill and shortly fell into the grip of a raging fever. Too sick to travel, he was made as comfortable as possible and left here at this small oasis in the care of an elderly man who is said to have skills in dealing with fevers. I naturally opted to remain and help care for him. The fever abated, but he remains too weak to even feed himself and lies in a near comatose state as the days pass. I fear he was taxed too far before the remedies administered by the old Turareg stabilized his illness.

I shall record his fate herein. I hope it shall not be the last entry in his journal.

May 20, 1897-
Assidi Kamal, Oasis

Reinhard is recovering! He is still weak, but strengthening and has even begun to mildly joke with me about how dependent he is upon me.

"I'm rather glad now that I didn't have you tortured to death," he said, drawing me into a gentle embrace down over his bed.

I'm afraid we both got tears in our eyes then, though he'll probably be furious and deny that when he reads this. Since he insists, for my protection, that I shed my true identity, I think I shall pen my name here just one last time...

MARCEL DUQUALIS...rest in peace...

He is doubtlessly correct. If I ever come to the attention of French authorities, I shall be viewed as a deserter and doubtlessly shot or otherwise executed. To live in safety in Heidelberg when we return, and to travel safely as Reinhard's servant, I have been given the new identity he has chosen. Markus Adlerhertz..."Eagleheart." I rather like it. He says he will whip me severely if I ever forget and revert to Marcel. Although I would willingly, even eagerly, submit to his lash, I have a suspicion he no longer has any desire to subject me to pain. Something has happened between us.

When he sees I have written that he may well prove to me I am badly mistaken! We shall see!

MAY 22, 1897-
Assidi Kamal Oasis, Algeria

What a joy to be writing again! I knew when the fever began it would be bad and suspected I might die, though, considering where I have travelled these past months, it is a wonder I was not stricken earlier. I am still very weak, but at least can now stand up for short periods. I will not be able to go on here at length, but I have read Markus' entries and am deeply touched. In the awful depths of my fever, whenever I drew back into lucidity, Markus was always there. He would cradle me gently in those powerful young arms or bathe my face and body with cool water from the springs. I saw in his eyes a remarkable degree of caring. My spontaneous decision to spare him has turned out to be the best decision of my life.

The boy is right. Something has happened between us. For the first time in my life I have come to genuinely love another person just as I believe he loves me. At least his loyalty to me is so intense as to be nearly unnerving! I do no longer have any desire to take pleasure from his suffering, although that general impulse still throbs close beneath the surface of my being and Markus will now become my assistant and partner when I indulge in those pleasures with other young men.

MAY 29, 1897-
Assidi Kamal Oasis

I am regaining my strength rapidly. Markus and I exercise together to ne back up my wilted muscles, although I suppose ultimate proof of my recovery is the intensity of the mating between us that occured last night. The boy, for such a youth, is an amazingly accomplished lover! He does the most remarkable things with his abdominal muscles while I am lodged inside him and his tongue is demonic when employed between my thighs.

When the next Turareg caravan happens by we will continue our journey to the east. In the meantime, this is a pleasant site with abundant water, fruit and livestock and the small population dwelling here have been gracious hosts.

June 12, 1897-
Assidi Kamal Oasis

Finally a caravan heading east has arrived! They expected our presence and seemed pleased at my recovery from the fever. When they depart in the morning we shall be going with them. On towards Egypt!

July 6, 1897-
An Encampment In The Libyan Desert

Passing for a seeming eternity across this miserable Italian colony, we have three times had to wait out monstrous windstorms in which everything was clutched in a swirling fog of sand. The first wait was for two days, the second three and the most recent again two full days. The Turaregs proved adroit at predicting when the killer blows were coming and stoically prepared. They created windbreaks with their big, bulky camels and dug out depressions in the lee over which they secured their tents. Within these shallow bunkers we waited out the howling winds with surprising comfort.

Each time it took nearly the full next day to dig everything out, repack the camels and progress to the next oasis to bathe and recuperate. The caravan trail winds snake-like across the desert from oasis to scattered settlement and the Turareg pause at each point to barter and collect additional goods to trade in Egypt. Between this leisurely progression and the wind storms, I seriously doubt we have made more than three hundred linear miles east from Assidi Kamal Oasis. At this rate it shall be a long time before we reach Egypt!

The boredom would be pretty miserable if I did not have the delicious pleasure of Markus' companionship. We also have developed a friendship with a boyish Turareg warrior named Hammud, one of the muscular young bulls who provide armed security for the caravan. Since the caravan is all-male and the attitude towards sexual activity as relaxed and tolerant as it had been among the Berbers, it took little coaxing to convince Hammud to join Markus and I in our revels. The Arab youngster proved admirably equipped between his thighs and uninhibited in his lusts.

He also provided fascinating tales of the agonizing ends the Turareg warriors mete out to captured enemies, especially those Italian soldiers unfortunate enough to be taken prisoner. I note that the Italians occupying Libya are loathed with even greater disdain than the French to the east. It is amusing that this horrible real estate provides no beneficial return to Italy other than to nurture the national ego fantasy that they are a "colonial power." To the contrary, maintaining its African holdings...Libya, Somaliland and Eritrea...is a significant drain on the Italian economy and has cost the lives of numerous young men in gaining and keeping the possessions. Italy, late into the colonial game, was forced to satisfy her sad pretentions at statehood by picking up the dregs left after other European powers carved up the valuable parts of the African carcass.

I can only hope that we are fortunate enough at some point on this long hejira to encounter Turaregs with prisoners. It would be interesting to observe their executions directly considering Hammud's descriptions!

JULY 14, 1897-
Galiya, Libya

Arriving at this Turareg settlement two days ago, we learned of an impending engagement celebration and the caravan at once determined to remain. I was surprised that a simple betrothal would prove such a distraction but supposed there would be feasting and much drinking. I had learned that away from their mosques, these desert muslims paid little heed to their religion's prohibition of alcohol. It did sound pleasant enough.

How little I knew! Today turned out to provide the most exciting demonstration of violent, primitive custom that I have encountered since leaving the Berbers eleven weeks ago...the very essence of why I came to Africa!

Among human societies such as the Turareg, subsisting in harsh environments, production of sons is critical to meet the need for male strength to provide food and protection for the group. Unwanted female babies were often simply abandoned to die out in the elements causing significant imbalance between the sexes with far more young males eager to mate than young females to suit their needs. The majority of young men in such groups will never mate and the competition for the few girls available is intense. This situation is aggravated among the Arab peoples with their great insistence on female chastity prior to marriage and unbending fidelity by a wife.

Further, in times of relative peace, the glut of unneeded youths poses a problem and innovative ways to dispose of them are often created as "traditions."

Turareg courtship is such a tradition.

When the father of a girl determines her to be "eligible," suitors signal their interest and a final group of four to six candidates is selected. In our instant situation, the group was composed of five stalwart, handsome youths who for the past several days had sought to prove their fitness to the father and today the entire encampment gathered for him to announce his choice. He opted for a sturdy young stud who looked jubilant. The losers looked particularly glum and, to my surprise, were instantly seized, tightly bound and hauled off to tents to await some unknown fate.

My curiosity was strongly piqued at this intrigueing development.

There was a feast that evening for just we men, the women bringing forth the food and drink to the serving carpets but then retiring. As the drink began to have its effect, the throbbing thud of drums and wail of reed pipes filled the air. Firelight glinted on the hard, whirling bodies of nearly naked dancing warriors, lending a highly erotic pagan overtone to the celebration. Their high-pitched warbling screams rent the night and occasionally they discharged rifles into the air, the loud cracks making me start a bit. The guest of honor, the handsome groom, was gorgeously attired in pure white robes and kaffiya with gleaming gold cords and jewelry, thick strands of ivory and lapis beads around his throat. A serpent of thick gold wire curved around one forearm. Another youth sat beside him and Hammud told me this was the bride's brother who would shortly play an important role.

At some signal, the revels ebbed and the failed suitors, all stripped naked, were dragged from their tents and staked out in a kneeling position, their knees widely splayed. To much encouragement and ribald teasing, the groom carefully divested himself of his robes and stepped towards the captives. His tawny, muscular body was a beautiful sight, nude but for his kaffiya and the gleaming gold and lapis jewelry still adorning him. His penis had risen into steely hardness and I held my breath as I realized where this might be leading.

He selected one of the others who had sought his position and knelt behind him, a soft pleased smile of anticipated pleasure on his mouth.
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To the victor goes the spoils! I watched with delight as he proceeded to sodomize the pinioned stud's tight asshole with about as much brutality and heated lust as I could ever envision. It was clearly an act of victory, demonstrating his superiority and debasing the loser in their contest for the right to mate.

I have read of such contests among rutting bulls of deer, elk and buffalo herds, sometimes fought to the death.

When he reached his gasping orgasm, the assembled warriors descended like a pack of howling hyenas on the four prisoners and proceeded to rape their asses and mouths with abandon. As quick as one cock discharged its load, it was replaced by another.

When in Rome...

Markus and I both took our turns which delighted our hosts who eagerly encouraged us. Most of the Turaregs have ebony hair to match their gleaming brown skins, but a few had lighter locks. One of the failed paramours had wavy hair of an odd bronze tone that somehow gave him a most sensuous appeal and it was he that Markus and I chose to mount. His rectum, like those of his companions, was freely bleeding from the brutal repeated entries forced through his torn, protesting sphincter.

Eventually, all of the warriors had taken their turns and the stunned looking captives were made to stand to be bound together in a tight grouping, back to back. I gasped when the Turaregs started piling dry wood all around them until they were buried to their knees. Hammud was standing beside me and explained that it was deemed "dangerous" for failed suitors to survive. Their resentment might lead to quarrels with the selected husband and their very existence was a source of discontent for him. Further, it was possible that the bride might have taken some fancy to one of the losers and be tempted to carry on a forbidden liaison after the wedding. That possibility was now to be eliminated.
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It was the bride's brother who ignited the pyre, acting to provide peace of mind for his prospective brother-in-law by eliminating his competitors. He alone had refrained from participating in the rape and now knelt with his torch to the side of the condemned youths, his cock jutting up in steely erection.

As the crackling flames began to dance and pop into the night and the demented screams of the human bonfire rent the air, he slowly masturbated himself and finally ejaculated contemptuously into the fire.

It was an amazing event that I felt highly honored to have witnessed!

JULY 23, 1897-
The Libyan desert

We are going to deviate from our journey once more. Hammud is leaving the caravan to visit a place called Khamyadi in the barren stone wasteland to the south. It is here, apparently, that Turareg youths are sent for training in warrior skills and self-discipline. It sounds rather like the imperial army training facilities at Grafenwoer and Hohenfels back home. He has invited us to join him and we have agreed.

JULY 29, 1897-
Khamyadi Oasis, Libya

Markus and I are regarded with wonder by the desert Arabs, the first Europeans willing to accept and openly encourage their customs. Once they understand that I want to observe and experience these, they show schoolboyish delight in showing them off for us. Our visit to the training camp at this rock-bround oasis, obviously viewed as a major event by the commander and his trainees, was greeted with loud acclaim. There was much shouting and firing off of rifles into the air, a common Arab celebratory gesture.

If I had had any doubts about the fanatic self-discipline and courage of a Turareg warrior, it was utterly dispelled by the incredible event that was staged in honor of our arrival.

A group of a dozen of the finest of the trainees, warrior boys of eighteen or nineteen, assembled at the foot of a high cliff, the rest of us gathered at the top. The ground at the base of the cliff was a forest of sharpened wooden stakes. It was explained that before he "graduated" a trainee-warrior had to scale the cliff in the nude to prove his physical dexterity and courage and this selected group, all volunteers, were going to demonstrate their prowess for my approval. At a sign from the commander, the naked boys swiftly, surely began scaling the nearly perpendicular stone face using the scanty little handholes and footholds available.

I watched with rising excitement, sure that at least one of the ascending youths would lose his purchase and fall screaming down onto the waiting stakes. With luck, perhaps several might fall!

I hid my disappointment when all twelve safely arrived at the top, panting with exertion but beaming with self-satisfaction.

"I fear our honored guests may think there was some trick here and the risk taken by you less than it was," the commander spoke to the nude youths as they assembled into a line facing us. "Would any of you be willing to demonstrate how courageous a Turareg warrior truly is? Which of you will uphold the honor of our people through the sacrifice of his useless person?"

To a man, all twelve instantly stepped forward in eager response, young chests swollen with pride.

The smiling commander turned to me.

"Esteemed Reinhold, beloved guest, If you were pleased by the performance of these young men, who ,when it comes to marking your welcome among us are of no importance whatever...mere useless curs...it would do my people great honor if you would consent to select one from among them whose body shall be forfeit to prove our true dedication as warriors."

"Noble Abdul Ahbaddyi, I am indeed impressed. Your young men are filled with strength and courage beyond imagination. I shall be most pleased to honor them...and your mighty people...by making such a selection."

I am fast becoming proficient at responding appropriately to Arab flowery speeches.

I studied the group at length, giving each youth the courtesy of carefully examining his body for worthiness and making some complimentary comment about his physique.

"This one," I would say, "Has such a fine chest."

"Just look at the wonderful legs on this man."

"How magnificently hard is this warrior's muscles!"

"His penis would do a God proud!"

And so on.

After bewailing what a difficult choice it was to select the finest among them, I finally pointed to a tall, powerfully buff stallion bulging with corded muscle and massively hung.

"That one."

The other eleven looked slightly crestfallen and I realized with amazement that each had truly desired to be chosen to serve as a sacrificial lamb in my honor. Without hesitation, the man I had selected stepped to the edge of the abyss and stood facing outwards. I realized he was going to jump to his death just to entertain and impress us! The commander spoke again, giving me a deep obeisance with his head and shoulders.

"It would do the young warrior great honor if esteemed Reinhold and his man Markus would consent to send him to reside with Allah."

Almost trembling with excitement we stepped behind the Arab hunk's naked form and gripped his shoulders. I shuddered with pleasure at the delicious warmth and silky texture of the smooth skin stretched taut over the granite muscle beneath. An intoxicating aura of power surged through me like an erotic current. I felt god-like poised high atop that cliff with unrestricted power over this rugged, buff young bull who could have overcome our grip with impunity. Instead he passively, even eagerly, submitted to our mastery of his life and body.

Markus and I glanced at each other and he flashed me a pleased little grin. I could tell he too was luxuriating in the heady rush of that flows from exercise of absolute, ultimate power over another man.
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"On the count of three," I instructed.

"One...two...THREE!"

The warrior offered not the slightest resistance as we hurled him from the cliff .
Although his face grimaced, he did not scream as he tumbled downwards. There was a distinct wet thudding noise as he hammered into the points of the spikes and was impaled into a bloody mass of torn meat. He had to have died instantly. The assembled Turaregs broke into whoops of exuberant celebration at the way their man had so courageously upheld their honor in his splendid plunge to death.

I made it abundantly clear I was suitably impressed with Turareg dedication and discipline.

JULY 31, 1897-
Khamyadi Oasis

How exciting! With splendid luck, an Italian army patrol has been ambushed not far to the north and eight surviving captives brought here to be put to death starting at dawn tomorrow. An air of great jubilance swept over the entire camp at the sight of the muscular, boyish Italian prisoners who were quickly stripped naked and bound to posts to await their fate. None is beyond his early twenties and most are still teens, but each is a fine, strapping well-hung specimen which will make their executions that much more enjoyable to witness.

Five of the prisoners, probably Sicilians, have dark hair and complexions, somewhat similar to their captors, while two have lighter skins and soft brown hair. The eighth, a golden blond from the northern Alpine region of Italy, has creamy fair skin and is hung like a horse!

AUGUST 1, 1897-
Khamyadi Oasis
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Just after daybreak, the blond boy was put to work digging a hole in the sandy ground not far from the camp. His enthusiasm was markedly lacking and he was, at first, just idly scratching at the dirt, a sullen look on his handsome face.

When one of his guards produced a nasty looking whip, the Italian adonis's labors radically improved. Another captive, one of the sandy-haired youths, was staked out spread-eagled on his belly and a wide leather strap fitted around his throat and tied to an iron ring behind his head. This in turn was drawn by a loose strip of rawhide to a stout post a few feet behind his feet. The rawhide had been soaked in water, of course, and as it dried in the gathering sunlight it would contract powerfully. He would have a long time to contemplate what was happening but eventually the boy would be drawn so far backwards by his neck that he would either strangle or have his back broken. His last hours were not going to be remotely pleasant.
 

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We left these two and followed as two more Italian soldiers were taken to a place in the rocks some hundreds of yards away where one was bound between two posts in a sitting posture, wrists, knees and ankles securely roped. The other was tethered prone by his wrists and ankles to iron stakes driven deep into a rock on a nearby ledge. The wooden and iron stakes used for the two soldiers appeared to have been there a long time and I suspected this was a well-established execution site. That was confirmed when Hammus whispered into my ear.

"This is a very bad place. Trainees who fail or violate rules are brought here to die."

It didn't take long to discover the nature of the evil lurking there. A long, thick black snake with a yellowish belly and greenish markings shortly oozed from a hiding place among the nearby boulders. It was monstrous...at least eight feet long and as thick in

its middle as the bicep of the terrified captive it approached. I knew even before it coiled, slowly raised its head and spread its hood that this was a cobra of remarkable size.

It was also obviously highly territorial and its domain had been invaded. That was not to be tolerated.
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As the snake sat weaving before him, inches from his bound body, the soldier seemed frozen in fear but eventually he made an involuntary flinching movement with one leg. The strike by the cobra came with stunning speed and violence. It plunged its fangs deep into the bulging muscles of the right thigh not far below the hairy genital package. The screams of the captive infuriated the snake and it struck again and again, mostly into the thighs and lower belly. Once it even sank those terrible fangs directly into the soldier's big sex organs.

Just then our reverie was broken by the screams from the other soldier staked out on the ledge. At first I couldn't see the cause of his terror but soon spotted the first of the huge jet-black scorpions infesting the stony couch upon which he lay.

His screams redoubled as the first of the deadly insects darted in to sink its stinger into one of his trembling legs.
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The cobra's target died in dreadful agony as his nervous system was stricken and shut down by the venom coursing through his veins, eventually suffocating. But he did die fairly quickly compared to the slower death of the scorpions' victim. That soldier was still alive, moaning and writhing, when the Turaregs tired of the sport and left him.

Back near the camp, the blond hunk was standing in the four-foot deep hole he had excavated. Stones were arranged around and over his feet in the bottom to anchor him, then the dirt piled in and tamped down until he was securely buried to his waist, his hands bound tightly behind his back. A small depression accomodated his massive genitals which were left exposed on the ground in front of him.

The Arabs are really quite expert at masturbation and the Italian boy's cock was easily urged into erection. One of his tormentors produced a long, thick thorn and teased the soldier with it, scratching his chest and belly and pricking his big nipples. Then he took the boy's cock in hand and positioned the thorn against the side of the flared crown head...and thrust. The blond screamed and writhed in agony as the tender head of his organ was slowly skewered.

He sex rod was pressed to the ground and a second, longer thorn poised against the top of the cockhead. A warrior raised a small rounded rock in his fist and brought it hammering down. The thorn was driven through the sex flesh and deep into the ground beneath. The teen's scream was almost demented then.
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The goose-egg balls were spread out to either side of the pinioned cock and themselves staked down with thin sharpened wooden rods driven with studied slowness directly through each orb. A thick pool of dark blood began to gather around the tortured sex organs while their owner left little doubt that his suffering was excruciating.

His position exposed him directly to the searing heat of the sun and as it rose in the sky his exposed fair-skinned upper body would be slowly broiled. We left him to his lingering agony as we watched the final drama of the boy being strangled nearby by the contracting rawhide. Every muscle in the fine frame was etched like steel through his skin as he choked and gagged and flexed. He still lasted a surprisingly long time before he was finished, but he was already dead or at least unconscious when the rawhide finally snapped his spinal column with a very audible crunching sound.

The other sandy-haired soldier was first hanged from a post, but not by his neck. A rope was looped about the neck of his genitals while he was held up by several warriors. Then they dropped him. He screamed as if being chewed by demons when all his weight was communicated to his most tender organs. They then laid a small fire beneath him and ignited it. He writhed and danced and kicked beautifully as he sought to evade the blistering heat rising around him while each violent movement tortured his cock and balls as they were slowly crushed and ruptured by his weight.
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It took a very long time before he was finally roasted to death. His torture was about as agonizing and protracted as could be imagined and he repeatedly pleaded in screaming tones to be put out of his misery by a quick bullet or knife. That, of course, was not done and the Arabs laughed disdainfully at his cowardice.

Two of the remaining three prisoners were bound to posts facing each other. Erections were induced with adroitly applied Turareg mouths, then one of the torturers placed the tip of a long wooden dowel to the slit lips of one soldier's turgid cock. As he began to slowly force the organ to swallow the wood, another warrior performed a similar operation with the other Italian's manpole. It clearly hurt like hell and both soldiers made that quite clear as they screamed and bucked against their restraints.

Stuffed with seven inches of wood, blood oozing from around the tips of the dowels poking from the slit lips, the cocks remained frozen into involuntary erection. Next their ball sacs were stretched out before them and small hardwood rods snugged behind each gonad and tied tightly together above and below. Wet rawhide strips were attached to the tops and bottoms vise-like rods clutching one soldier's big balls and drawn out tightly to connect to those of his comrade.

Then the sun did its thing.

The shrinking rawhide forced the two Italians into a brutal tug of war as their seeders were stretched further and further out before them, the tightly gripping wooden rollers behind each set of sex orbs crushing them with increasing force with each passing minute. It wasn't long before both young men were screaming out their lungs and begging for mercy. Having their balls slowly crushed to pulp like that was bad enough, but the screams increased noticeably in volume and shrillness when one of the Arabs ignited the tips of the wooden dowels protruding from the hardened cocks.
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Shortly the little torches danced merrily on the tips of each penis, searing, blistering and cooking. I was filled with admiration. The show was, if anything, more dramatic than Hammud's earlier descriptions.

The Turareg have torture honed to a fine art!

Eventually the balls of the two captives were crushed into putty, imploding with squishy plops. The cockheads were burned to blistered, blackened lumps of over-cooked meat. They were just left like that all day to suffer in the broiling desert sun and both were dead by dusk. Amazingly, the blond hunk survived the day buried in his pit, his stretched genitals staked to the ground before him. Ants found him and swarmed busily, eating at his helpless flesh. Not long after sunset a pack of jackels was heard snuffling and snarling out in the darkness and the boy's hoarse screams filled the night briefly, then abruptly went silent. All that was then heard was the frenzied sounds of the feeding pack.

Surprisingly, the last Italian soldier, a slim, handsome dark-haired teenager, remains untouched. I wonder if for some reason he is to be spared. We will be departing tomorrow under Hammud's guidance on our continuing route to Egypt and I would like to know his fate before we leave.

AUGUST 2, 1897-
Libyan desert

I needn't have puzzled over whether I would learn the fate of Antonio, the surviving Italian soldier. The method employed for his killing was so diabolically clever that the thought of executing him in the fashion employed would never have crossed my mind. He simply accompanied our tiny party when we departed the oasis.

Riding on one of our spare camels.
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Stark naked with his legs tied in place, his heavily hung crotch pressed against a splintery wooden frame positioned between his parted thighs.

Anyone who has ever ridden a camel knows how uncomfortable it is. Each lumbering step of the swaying beast jerks and jolts and under the best of circumstances you end up tired and sore and very happy when you can dismount. Heavily padded saddles ordinarily obsorb much of the discomfort and the body is heavily robed. In Antonio's case, each step was a living hell as his bared male parts, ass and groin were bounced and grated harshly directly against the underlying wood. As we led the boy across the desert, within less than a mile blood was seeping from between his thighs and he was moaning and flexing with each rise and fall of the camel's great feet. In the meantime, his smooth, naked body was exposed to the full searing glare of the sun.

After a bit, he was screaming with each new jounce. Finally he fainted. We revived him with splashes of water and continued the journey. Somehow he made it until we paused for a long break in the shade of a rocky outcropping. He was clearly in his last stages before sunstroke and his blood loss from his crotch was becoming serious as well. He had been, effectively, castrated over a period of hours by the constant rubbing and abrasion, his organs just a bloody mess.

Enough was enough. The three of us raped him, then Hammud unsheathed his curving Turareg dagger. Positioning the point just above Antonio's groin, he jabbed it in and proceeded to slowly slit him open up to the sternum. We just left the gutted boy, still very much alive and concious, lying in the sun as we mounted and proceeded on our way.

I have little respect for the Italian army. They are an ignorant, arrogant, poorly trained and undisciplined lot and I suspect that eventually we will have to go to war with them. Thus, the killing of the eight soldiers was no cause for regret for me. In fact, every such soldier killed now may well be that many fewer we Germans will face in a future war...they or their prospective sons who will not now be produced. I will admit these young men were indeed beautiful creatures, but truthfully their best use was exactly what was done with them. Of course, seeing firsthand how the Turaregs torture and execute prisoners has been most interesting as an addition to my studies and well worth the particular lives involved in my judgment.

AUGUST 25, 1897-
B'Hana Luxor Village, Egypt

At long last we have reached the Nile valley far to the south of Cairo, not terribly far from the fabled Valley of the Kings. Hammud lodged us temporarily with Egyptian traders friendly with the Turaregs and departed. The trek was arduous and we are very tired, so we will simply relax for a few days before starting up the river to Cairo.

AUGUST 27, 1897-
B'Hana Luxor Village

I cannot believe our continuing luck! First we stumbled into the Turareg betrothal ritual, then the execution of the Italian soldiers...and now we have been introduced to the incredible world of Aga Mustaffa!

The Egyptian Turk is a white slaver, trafficking in eastern European youths between eighteen and twenty-two, filling the needs of wealthy muslim masters throughout the middle east. He operates from a small valley just east of this nondescript little village, nicely hidden from the prying eyes of the Khedive's police (who could care less) and their British protectors (who would happily hang him). He buys his living wares from muslim "catchers" working out of Islamic enclaves in Bosnia who regularly raid christian farms and villages throughout the Balkans from Greece to Hungary. The kidnapped boys are smuggled onto Mustaffa's tramp steamers in Adriatic ports, shipped to Alexandia and brought up the Nile concealed in padded cases among legitimate cargo.

The young bulls, mostly illiterate farmboys, handsome and strong but dim witted, are acquired for a pittance but after being broken for slavery fetch high prices, making Mustaffa quite wealthy.

He is ruthless and harsh as we learned when we met him this evening!

This afternoon our Egyptian hosts captured three of Mustaffa's slaves-in-training who had managed to escape. Markus and I happened to be on hand when they were discovered hiding in a stable, naked and terrified. We could not understand their babbling but I was fairly sure they were speaking Bulgarian which was also suggested by their pale skins and dark hair. They were handsome, well built youngsters of possibly eighteen to twenty.

The Egyptians were clearly nonplussed. It took a great deal of coaxing to finally gain their reluctant explanation. They obviously were paid by Mustaffa to keep watch for him and were very concerned that we would report matters to the British. We had good recommendations from the Turaregs, but had yet to win these traders' real confidence. They looked immensely relieved, if somewhat amazed, when I insisted immediately that Mustaffa's "property" be returned to him.

A man, after all, is entitled to his possessions.

Truthfully, I had concern that any other reaction on our part would risk our winding up in the Nile with slit throats. However,

even without that motivation, my reaction would have been the same. These brats meant nothing to me and I was extremely curious about Aga Mustaffa's business.

Shortly the outraged slaver arrived on horseback at the head of a small group of husky young guardsmen, all attired the same in silk blue pants, soft leather boots and deep crimson fezes...the Egyptian round hats...with gold-cord tassles. They were bare-chested and wore gold chains with cresecent-shaped pendants around their necks.

Although Aga Mustaffa wore identical garb, he was distinguished by being the sole member of his troop who was bearded. He was a bullish man in his early thirties with bulging muscles and fierce, hard eyes. The way he looked at Markus and I made me uncomfortable, especially since I suspected he was calculating how much he could get for a young man as spectacular as Markus, presumably after doing me in. However, after the traders advised that I had insisted that he be summoned to reclaim his lost goods, the hostility in his eyes was replaced with curiosity.

"I thank you for your actions," he nodded, "But I would have thought our 'savage' ways would repel you and that you would have sought to protect and free these people of yours."

I gave him a slight smile. "First, Bulgars, assuming that is what they are, are not my people and certainly the fate of empty-headed boys like these is not my concern. It seems to me, in fact, that you are putting such young men to a rather good use, harvesting them like a crop. I am fascinated by it."

"Ah, but if I had German youths for sale, you would most certainly object vigorously?"

"That would depend on who they were. We have many useless young thugs in my country whom I would gladly sell to you!"

That amused him but he persisted in his interrogation.

"You do not view me as a barbaric savage?"

"I have yet to see you act as a barbaric savage."
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A wicked glint sparkled in his eyes. He took a spear from one of his guards and without pause drove its point into the gut of one of the runaway slaves. The boy screamed and collapsed and Mustaffa knelt to slowly force the spear on through the quaking young body, turning and twisting on the shaft..

He pinned the youth to the ground like a butterfly to a board and rose. For a few moments we watched the writhing, flexing boy as a great pool of his blood began to form around his prone body. He would not live long, but was clearly in excruciating agony.

"Now am I not barbaric in your western eyes?"

I shook my head.

"What I just saw was fitting punishment meted out to a foolish young man who would probably never adjust well to slavery anyway if he can't be trusted not to run away."

His dark eyes widened in surprise.

"You agree they should be killed?"

"Of course! They cannot be trusted after showing this propensity to cause trouble. Unless you are a far weaker man than I think you are, your slaves are warned that to attempt escape or rebellion is to die."
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He gave some slight signal to his guards. Instantly one reached from behind one of the two surviving Bulgar boys to lock one arm around his throat. The other hand darted in to bury a long, sharp dagger to the hilt in the slave's broad, deep chest.

The blade was in the youth's heart and when it was given a swift, hard twist, he dropped like a rock, dead almost at once.

Another guard seized the last escapee's dark, silken hair in one hand and jerked the head back to bare and stretch the neck. The other hand brought up a wicked-looking knife and swiftly drew it across the throat. Blood spurted in throbbing gushes and the boy's attempt to scream ended in a loud gurgling noise.
 

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"I am not a weak man," Mustaffa said quietly. "My men will get your belongings to move you to my quarters. You will be my guests until I am ready for you and your young friend to leave."

"When you are satisfied it is safe for you to allow that?"

"Yes."

"Is it possible that will never occur?"

He smiled slightly. "Possibly, but I think you are in no danger. I do not think you are a weak man either and that we shall actually get along quite well. I don't suppose you'd consider selling your young man to me?"

"I'm afraid not. I've grown too fond of him for that."

"A pity. I could get you a fine price from certain Arabian sheiks who enjoy possessing such superb blond stallions."

I cast Markus a teasing glance. "He'd be a disappointment. He's terrible in bed and very small between his legs. Also very arrogant and uppity."

Despite his attempt to maintain a stern visage, the Turk slaver laughed. As Mustaffa's men escorted us to the horses, Markus managed a fierce little whisper.

"Small between my legs! Fuck you, oh great master!"

"Careful," I laughed. "Remember, I now know you're a valuable piece of livestock. Hmmm, I wonder just how good of a price I could get for you?"

Actually, I'd have died fighting anyone who tried to take Markus from me. He was one of a kind.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1897-
Bakhara Valley, Egypt

Although I suppose we are technically prisoners, Markus and I are not treated that way. Mustaffa's desert home is really a palace and our luxurious apartment liberally staffed with slaves to suit our every purpose. That seems natural. Would not an apple farmer's home see intensive consumption of apples? Among the beautiful young slaves buzzing around us, my favorite has already become a charming Hungarian teen named Anton. What a delight it is to wake up to that sweetly smiling face beneath his fair, silky hair as he stands there with a breakfast tray by the side of our bed.

Naked of course, and with a wonderful erection jutting up from between his thighs.
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We don't quite devour the boy the way we do breakfast ... but we make a good effort, leaving the handsome lad gasping for air from exertion by the time he leaves us. He is only eighteen but looks and acts older and seems surprisingly content in his slavery. I can see why Mustaffa has chosen him as a "keeper." He wears the special mark that uniquely denotes one of Mustaffa's products. Upon completion of training, each newly prepared slaveboy is branded high in the inside of his right thigh with a small crescent-shaped iron.

I have no doubt what would befall us if we attempted to leave without permission, but apart from that we have complete run of the valley. Thus, over the past several days I have been able to study the slaving operation in detail and am impressed.

It is a large operation. At any given time there are over a hundred boys undergoing conversion to slavery with the reduction caused by the monthly auctions promptly restored by new shipments from Europe.

New arrivals, uncrated from the shipping barges, are treated as maximum-security prisoners though kept in clean, healthy surroundings and fed and exercised well. They are, however, subjected to a steady dose of painful punishments that gradually abate as each, at his own rate, proves responsive to becoming a good, obedient slave thus "earning" lesser security and more pleasant housing. At the same time they are subjected to a regimen of exhaustive education while in a drugged state that cleverly twists their thinking until most boys come to believe that they were "intended" by nature to be slaves and accept that lot in life. He refers to it as "cleansing" their brains and the technique intrigues me.

The result is that a Mustaffa slave is notably obedient and hard-working and highly unlikely to rebel or run off. The process, of course, does not work on all subjects. Some simply cannot be reduced to the compliant state Mustaffa requires of the finished product he markets. He will not sell an inferior slave which is why he turns a top price for those he does deem suitable. It is a wise business practice.

Those boys proving unsuitable for slavery are simply destroyed. To make at least some productive use of them, they are put to slow, painful deaths for entertainment of the prospective buyers at a feast on the eve of each month's auction. I hope to be permitted to witness this process, though Mustaffa has not yet given any sign that he will permit that. I imagine he fears the presence of European outsiders might make his clients edgy.

SEPTEMBER 12, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

A few days ago I decided to share with Mustaffa the interesting drugs I had obtained from the N'Kibo tribesmen months ago. The sedative qualities of one, the anti-shock properties of the second, and the ability to force continued involuntary erection of the third might be quite useful in his operations. I had, of course, the ulterior motive of currying his favor and earning his trust. He was fascinated by my gifts, especially after testing them and determining they would do the things I suggested.

Today my gesture paid off. He has determined that Markus and I may attend the feast and auction this coming week! We are excited! We suspect we may be the first white men to ever attend an Arab auction of European youths other than as merchandise.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

Tomorrow is the auction. Tonight the fifteen bidders for the two dozen slaves going on the block were feted with a sumptuous banquet in the sprawling garden of the villa and the violent entertainment for which the events have become known. There were three failed slaves to be disposed of.

At the very outset of the meal, the first, a brawny Macedonian, was brought out naked and bound to an iron frame suspended over a deep pool of water. Guards then slowly lowered him until he was immersed to his knees, then brought him up. Down again, this time he went under to mid-thigh. Up again. To the hips, then up.
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The deeper he was dunked each time, the more tense and disconcerted the boy became. Soon he was going in up to his neck. Then his chin. It was a masterful bit of entertainment as we consumed the various courses served and drank copious amounts of wine, every eye on the suffering teenaged muscleboy.

Finally the condemned youth was totally immersed and left for ten seconds. No big problem for him. The next trip down was for twenty seconds...then thirty. The intervals between dunks was tightened too to reduce recovery time. As soon as his feet cleared the water, back down he started. When he was left under for a minute and a half, he was gagging and choking and spitting water by the time he surfaced. He was trembling and his deep chest heaving powerfully as he sucked air into his straining, tortured lungs.

The one minute forty second mark caused him to suck water into his lungs and he was not at all well recovered by the time his head went under for a minute-fifty. He was limp when brought up and the guards hastened to press the water from his chest and get him breathing again. When he had recovered, down he went for a full two minute stay. He just barely managed to hold his breath that long, again taking in water. Sadistically he was allowed to recover completely, then they started immersing him again but now for unpredictable stints. He could not know whether he was going under for ten seconds or a minute. Worse, since he had to be aware that eventually they would not bring him back up at all, every time his head went under he had to be experiencing the terror of wondering...will this be the time?

After tormenting the lad interminably, following a deceptively short dip that had not even winded him, he was finally left down to actually drown. For a brief while the water churned with his death struggles but then the water stilled.

When it was clear his execution was complete, his corpse was brought up for us to examine. From the expression frozen on his dead face, it had been an agonizing way to die.

Next they brought out an incredible Greek adonis and bound him with his arms drawn over his head. He was as sensuously beautiful as they come, with a thick mane of ebony curls rioting over his skull. He was also heavily hung and I noticed he was very erect. That he stayed that way as his torture proceeded confirmed my suspicion that Mustaffa had used my drug on him. I was pleased.
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One of Mustaffa's guards, a stocky, cruel-eyed brute, was armed with a leather bullwhip with a large knotted tip which he tested in the air, cracking it with a curling snap of his wrist. The quaking, bound boy jerked at the cracking noise which was as loud as a gunshot. The guard's arm drew back and the whip flew again, coiling through the air like a deadly black snake. That wicked cracking noise echoed again but this time the end of the curling whip delivered its deadly power to flesh. It chewed through the skin of the smooth back to leave a bleeding rent surounded by deep bruised welts. The naked youth gasped and flexed wildly, his face contorted with pain.

The whip flew again. And again. And again. Onto the buttocks, around to the side of the chest. Into a thickly muscled thigh.. Across the back. After a bit, the boy was screaming and bucking in sheer agony with each new stroke. Each kiss of the leather left a bleeding tear behind.

He was being literally skinned alive with the whip.

He was strong and had a lot of stamina. I was sure he had also been administered my anti-shock drug and that made him last so much longer.

His shrieks became demented as the whip was eventually targeted between his thighs. Employing the awesome power of the bullwhip on the fragile sex parts was like using an iron maul on a melon. The ball sac literally exploded when the leather knot thundered into the twin orbs. It took but two carefully aimed strokes to destroy them beyond the slightest chance of repair. The penis was almost ripped away by the third. After five hissing lashes streaked home into the naked groin, there was virtually no trace remaining of the handsome organs and dark blood pulsed steadily from the smashed pulp between the Greek's legs,

Naturally the appreciative, feasting crowd loved that! We broke into spontaneous applause. The guard smiled and raised a hand in acknowledgment of our hearty approval. Then he raised the whip back yet again and went back to work.

It took a surprisingly long time before the second slave-reject's heart finally gave out. By then a substantial part of his body had been abraded of its skin, the underlying muscle deeply bruised and welted.
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Did the third boy die a harder death than the boy skinned alive with the whip? I personally thought so. The sandy-haired Croat teen was positioned with his spread ankles manacled to iron stakes, his chained wrists drawn forward to a post forcing him into a somewhat awkward, partially bowing stance. A small leaded weight was attached around the neck of his genitals to draw the organs painfully down between his legs.

When the guard took a pointed, red-hot iron from the brazier where several were being heated, the boy started babbling and crying in his fear.  He started screaming even before the branding point was applied to the eraser nib of his right nipple.

The measure of a good torturer I have discovered lies in his patience. The tendency too often is to greedily attack the victim, as a fat man gulps down handfuls of chocolates from a candy box, rather than slowly savoring the sweetness and flavor of the treat. The victim's anticipation of pain in itself can be a devilish torment.

The Croat's executioner proved to be a master. Each touch of the searing metal to the boy's tender skin was a brief little jab, inflicting a tiny, deeply blistered burn that was utterly excruciating, but doing little real damage by itself. Of course, the accummulative effect was awful. The big, rubbery nipples were slowly, steadily destroyed, the pain from each burn allowed to sink in before the next was inflicted. Next his toes and arm pits were repeatedly branded. The glowing point was slowly run in lines down the inner thighs from crotch to knee. Eventually, the irons constantly being reheated, the prisoner was burn-castrated with demonic slowness while he screamed out his lungs. His penis was patiently cooked to a blackened mass of blistered flesh. The process lasted for hours but none of us tired of the spectacle.

The torturer was an artist at work! The medieval Catholic inquisitors would have been envious.

Finally, a long, red hot poker was slowly forced up the boy's asshole and on through his guts and lower stomach up into his chest cavity. He suffered horribly as he was skewered but at least this last assault on his flesh was fatal.

Mustaffa was a consummate showman and the dramatic executions calculated to fuel the lusts of his prospective clients. That mission was fully accomplished!

SEPTEMBER 21, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

The auction was spirited. The chained and manacled slaves went naked onto the block in groups of three, their restraints more for the erotic appearance than real need. They obeyed their instructions to keep their cocks hard so the prospective buyers could see these assets if that was part of their interest. What a gorgeous sight they were ... silky-blond Serbs, darkly sensuous Romanians, curly-haired Hungarians and Greeks, brawny Bulgars, boyish-dimpled Croats...each superbly muscled and in the utter prime of blossoming young manhood.
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And each sported Mustaffa's trademark, the fresh, raw crescent brand high in the inside of his right thigh just below the crotch.

The bidding was spirited and noisy with much good-natured banter among the enthusiastic buyers. Top prices were being paid in gold and silver and by the time all eight three-slave lots had been disposed of, Mustaffa had earned a tidy fortune. Although Arab masters have veritable armies of their own youth available for slavery they appear to especially prize the posession of white christian boys and Mustaffa was the best source for them, offering high quality and reliable training.

I witnessed the show with avid interest, trying to choose which boy in each trio would bring the best price. My taste in young male flesh must be good as my guesses proved generally accurate.

I nearly had one disappointment but was able to avert it.

For an additional fee, Mustaffa would geld any of the purchased slaves for their new masters. I had been looking forward to seeing how he carried this out but to my chagrin none of the buyers appeared interested in having their new slaves so modified. I decided to attempt a bold stroke while engaging one of the purchasers in conversation as we sipped wine at a reception in the garden following the last bidding.

Markus and I were something of curiosities among the Arab buyers and they were all interested in talking to us and learning our views. Of course Markus was a particular attraction and they buzzed around the stunningly handsome lunk like bees on honey. I had made a mental note to keep my French adonis close by when they left lest someone try to kidnap him.

The sheik with whom I was speaking had purchased a particularly handsome Romanian gypsy boy and he nodded and responded promptly when I asked why he had not had his new acquisition castrated.

"There is no question the process is desirable...castrated slaves are much less headstrong and more willing to just labor away...but we can relieve him of his balls ourselves back home. Why pay Mustaffa to nut him?"

"Have you never had a slave die from being castrated?"

He shrugged.

"Well, yes, of course that happens, no matter how careful you are. Some have unexpectedly weak hearts, bleed excessively if the cutters get careless, or develop infections."

"Mustaffa has a standing offer to replace any slave who dies under the castrating blade if it done here."

"Really! I don't think I knew of that! I suppose it was said but I must have missed it! That really is an attractive proposition. Mustaffa's fee for performing the process is really sort of an insurance payment, isn't it?"

I nodded. "If I were making a purchase, that's certainly how I'd view it."

It worked. The hunky Romanian fox shortly found himself strapped to the splay-legged wooden castrating chair in Mustaffa's special de-balling room, his genitals jutting out freely over the vee where the table-like leg-wings of the chair came together. A brass pot was positioned below his hairy man-center to catch his balls when they dropped free.

I watched with interest as Mustaffa's house gelder inserted the sensuous young bull's huge gonads through a hole in a small iron frame and closed a retaining block down around them and locked it. He then went to a brazier and carefully lifted a slim, flat metal wedge out by its insulated wooden handle. The bottom edge was razor-sharp and glowing with pulsing red heat. He approached the boy strapped onto the castrating frame and the youth's beautiful dark eyes followed it in seeming mesmerized terror.

 

It was a clever device. The sharpened wedge fitted perfectly into a slot in the top of the iron frame imprisoning the gypsy balls.

"No! Please master," the boy pleaded in choked, anguished tones. "Don't have them cut off my..."

The Arab who had purchased him gave a nod to Mustaffa's technician. He slammed the wedge home.

KACHUNK!

The slave boy screamed as his balls, still within their severed scrotum, dropped into the waiting pot below with a wet splatting noise. The stench of his cauterized wound filled the air along with the puff of smoke from between his widely parted thighs.

There was no bleeding.  The boy fainted, sagging within the grip of the straps affixing him immovably to the chair.

There was a line at the door of the castrating chamber as more than half of the newly purchased slaves were brought to be nutted. Mustaffa told me afterwards that the number of cutting fees received from this auction had set a record. He knew it was my doing and was immensely pleased.

"How did you manage it?" He asked.

I told him of my spur of the moment invention of a free replacement policy if a slave died while being relieved of his seeders.

"Clever!" He commented. "I should have thought of that inducement. Actually, my young men are so strong and conditioned that

I have never had one die directly from the ball chopper. The branding heat of the blade strongly cauterizes, sterilizes and closes the wound instantaneously, though a couple have ultimately developed fatal infections. Still you were being pretty generous with my property!"

I laughed.

"Come on! I've studied your operations. You get the eastern European boys so cheaply and have so little overhead that even if you did have to replace as many as one out of ten the accumulated castration fees would still give you a higher profit than if you'd sold the extra boy later on at auction for the highest price you got today."

He conceded I was correct and adopted my new policy as a standard offer at future auctions. His trust of me was also fully cemented by the episode.

OCTOBER 7, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

We have open freedom now and could leave if we insisted, however we are in no great hurry, not being particularly anxious to give up our luxuriant lifestyle, knowing we will never live like this again. From it, I can envision what it would have been like to be a pampered absolute ruler.

The ownership of young men is a heady, highly erotic experience.

For his part Mustaffa seems quite pleased to have us continue as his guests. I think our presence somehow enhances his reputation and lends a degree of legitimacy to his slave trade. So be it. Perhaps to induce me to tarry longer, he has hinted at some highly interesting event that he suggests would be an absolute highlight of my visit to Africa. He has certainly piqued my curiosity.

I have another ulterior motive is wishing to please Mustaffa so that when we do leave he may feel favorably disposed to grant me a favor. Markus has become extremely fond of Anton, the young Hungarian chamber-slave mentioned herein previously. Truthfully, I too am enamored of the pert teenager and will seek to obtain him from Mustaffa to take back to Europe with us to complete our little household.

OCTOBER 16, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

Some strange event is afoot. We had just about decided two days ago to advise of our desire to depart by the end of the month when a contingent of strangely somber, furtive-acting Egyptians arrived unexpectedly. At once the compound was in a mild uproar and Mustaffa behaved with uncharacteristic fawning deference towards the strangers. Markus and I were promptly confined to our quarters and Anton was concerned.

"It was a very bad thing that you saw the high priest's party. He is agitated that you laid eyes upon him and is berating Mustaffa for it."

High Priest?

OCTOBER 17, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

Although I naturally have some skepticism about the story related to me this date, deep inside I believe it to be true. If so, I am on the verge of a stunning discovery which no-one in acadamia will credit without proof beyond my mere testament. Proof that I will not likely have. That actually does not trouble me. If it is true, then I shall have the rather smug comfort that I possess singular knowledge of one of the world's darkest, most guarded secrets. Put simply, Markus and I have been invited by the Egyptian priest Adh-Ankh Re to return with him to a hidden site to witness sacrificial rites that have been in continuous practice for over five thousand years!

It is certainly a measure of Mustaffa's trust that he put his considerable influence on the line in vouching for us with the priest. We were thus provided an opportunity to convince him that we sincerely wish to witness his ceremonies for our own learning, simply accepting them without recrimination or western moral judgment. Even so, measures will be taken to ascertain that we do not know where we are taken.

Historians hold that the Roman conquest following the Ptolemaic period in Egypt marked the end of worship of the pantheon of Egyptian gods. However, it stands to reason that three thousand years of religious activity would not fade away quite that easily, especially in the sprawling, secretive land of the pharoahs where so much remains mysterious and unexplored. If I am accurately informed, a cult of worship centered on the crocodile god Sobek has quietly survived and preserved the ancient practices.

If the worship of any of the old gods has survived, logic dictates that Sobek's was best equipped to do so. Even at the height of the pagan pharoanic empire, this dangerous, bloody deity's ceremonies were conducted in guarded secrecy by his chosen priests, a secrecy dictated by necessity. Periodically, efforts were made by "mainstream" religious leaders to wipe out his cult as heretical inasmuch as Sobek lay claim to being the "true" chief god, rather than Amun Ra, the sun disc generally worshipped. That claim arises from Sobek's status as the son of Seth, dark god of violence and discord, murderer of his brother Osiris, and Neith, the great creator goddess.

Thus, by the Roman era, the cult of Sobek already had tremedous experience in undercover operation and resistance to suppression. Of course, that stubborn survivability in the pre-Roman days was aided greatly by Sobek's close association with Sekhmet. This terrible lion goddess of violence and destruction also happened to be goddess of courage in battle and thus important to the warrior-pharoahs. Since Sobek and Sekhmet were served in tandem by the same priests, they could hardly be destroyed by those opposing Sobek's competition with Amun Ra.

Confusing certainly, but it seems that this bloody pair of violent gods had the last laugh when Amun Ra's last adherents died out some two thousand years ago and his temples crumbled to rubble. For another twenty centuries the crocodile and lioness have continued to receive unbroken homage in the valley of the Nile, perhaps making them the longest continuously worshipped deities known to archaeology. And possibly as ferociously blood-thirsty as any. There have long persisted unconfirmed rumors that, unlike most of the Egyptian gods, Sobek and possibly Sekhmet demanded human victims for the sacrifices offered up in their worship. It appears that these rumors are quite true and that Markus and I will be the first westerners to witness the rites...and live.

OCTOBER 18, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

We will depart tomorrow with Adh-Ankh Re's party for our undisclosed destination. I have further learned from candid discussions with the aging priest that there is a purpose for his cult's survival other than worship of Sobek and Sekhmet. There are still undiscovered, unlooted tombs in the Valley of the Kings. One is said to be that of a little known boy-pharoah named Tutankhamun, really rather unimportant as they go, but the others are of some of the truly great monarchs and the sect keeps careful watch over their sites. Adh-Ankh Re is not willing to disclose their identities. It is forbidden to even speak their names so closely held is the secret of their burials.

With some disdain, he also tells me that they know the burial place of the invader Iskander who preceded the Romans. Although he is of no matter to them, they nonetheless will protect the site of his peaceful slumber simply on principle. Iskander is known in the west as Alexander the Great.

Four young studs have been carefully selected from Mustaffa's most recent shipment of European boys and they are still untrained as slaves. Their purchasers clearly have quite a different use in mind for them. They are all tall, powerfully built and handsome creatures in the full rosy bloom of manhood...exactly the type of youths fitting to serve as gifts to a god.

OCTOBER 22, 1897-
At a hidden oasis

After three days of travel, the last half blindfolded, we arrived late this afternoon in this isolated valley. A surprisingly large pond, surrounded by lush vegetation, extends into a low cavern-like recess in the base of a steep cliff of the mountain that towers over the oasis. There is no sign of permanent inhabitation, but the sect surely maintains a close watch and I suspect that any wanderers stumbling onto the place might meet a violent fate.

For reasons not clear, we were warned to stay well away from that deep, murky pond. Fresh springs nearby provide all the water needed for our use anyway.

We will arise at dawn for the sacred rites. Markus has an enviable ability to fall asleep at will under almost any circumstances and is already deep in slumber, his breath the soft purr of a contented cat. I am so keyed up that I doubt I will sleep much.

One thing I would report is that Adh-Ankh Ra told me last evening that Mustaffa sold him the N'Kibo drugs I had provided. They are curious as to how these will enhance their rites and the fact that I was the source was a significant factor in his decision to allow us to come here. Again I am indebted to my N'Kibo friends.

OCTOBER 27, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

What amazing observations I must now commit to writing! Following the rites honoring Sobek and Sekhmet, we were again bound and blindfolded and returned here. Many of Adh-Ankh Re's junior priests were hostile to our presence and he was anxious to get us away from the sacred place.

At dawn, attired similar to our hosts in short linen skirts, headdresses, sandals and chest pectorals of what appeared to be thinly beaten gold and bright enamels, we were again blindfolded and led on a circuitous route to some nearby location. The sudden disappearance of sunlight and coolness of the air told us we had entered a cavern and the grating of a stone door shutting behind us suggested a carefully masked entrance. We were guided further, deeper into the cavern, before our blindfolds were removed. As our eyes adjusted to the torchlight illuminating our surroundings, we gasped and stared in awed disbelief.

I was utterly unprepared for the splendor of the secret temple. We were standing on a wide avenue of stone paving between two rows of massive engraved columns soaring out of view into the darkness above as the flickering firelight from bronze braziers lent an unwordly aura to the scene. Between each set of columns stood a gleaming representation of the various primary gods and goddesses of Egypt worked in precious metals, gilt wood and gems, most on a massive scale that towered over the viewer. Staring about in wonder, we accompanied Adh-Ankh Re as he escorted us down the long walkway towards a set of massive gilded wooden doors.

"Anubis, God of the Dead," he pointed out. "Bastest, Hathor, Horus, Isis, Min, Neith, Seth, Nekhbet...they are all here, their sacred representations secretly rescued by Sobek's priests in the horrible days when Augustus Caesar began to suppress our gods and plunder their temples. Even the primary representation of the pretender Amun Ra was saved from his temple at Thebes just hours before the rapacious Romans arrived."

"How old is this temple itself? The archaeologists have never been able to identify the site of the primary temple of Sobek."

He smiled slightly as he answered.

"You are standing in it. No-one knows when the first small shrine to Sobek was established in this cavern. Roughly thirty-six hundred years ago, following the confusing reign of the heretic pharoah Akhenaten, when the priests of Aum Ra were busily reestablishing his worship, they attempted once again to settle the score with Sobek as well. For once, the protection of Sekhmet was not effective; Sobek's temple was razed and the priests had to flee here for their lives. Although the furor subsided soon enough, it was decided then to expand the cavern and reconstruct the primary temple for the god here, a site known only to his priests. It was decades in construction. How ironic that Amun Ra should find his last refuge of respect here in Sobek's hidden precinct."

There were copper-skinned guards everywhere and scurrying priests, all attired similar to ourselves in linen skirts and headdresses secured by thin gold bands displaying the cobra and vulture pharoanic uraeus, a symbol I had thought reserved for the king alone. The priest confirmed that but noted that following the Roman murder of the last pharoah, the boy Ptolemy VI, the cult adopted the uraeus as their symbol as the inheritors of Egypt's traditions.

"I thought Cleopatra, who succeeded Ptolemy VI, was the last..."

Adh-Ankh Re snorted. "We do not recognize that usurping bitch who bore a bastard by the Roman beast Caesar."

Passing a row of gleaming granite Apis bulls, we arrived at the doors which were thrown open and entered another great chamber, gleaming everywhere with golden statues and relics of the splendor of the ancient dynasties. The esteemed Egyptian Museum is Cairo is a cheap souvenir stand compared to this treasurehouse! The priests were gathering here and as each arrived he joined in the strident chant that was steadily increasing in volume, rising and falling in its cadence of worship until it became overpowering as it throbbed in the air around us. A chill raced down my spine as I realized these sounds had been echoing here unchanged for millenia! The high priest spoke to us again, having to raise his voice to be heard against the coursing chant.

"These most sacred of rites...the blood sacrifice and creation of the new guardian of the innermost sanctuary...are performed only once each year and only the most senior of the priesthood witness the actual ceremonies. I know I am angering some of the other priests, but I am going to permit you to see it all. The world is changing and one day we will be discovered and destroyed and the ancient gods consigned to oblivion, their sacred images relegated to museums for gawking tourists. I think it is a good thing for you to document our most important proceedings before they are lost forever in some final upheaval."

The sacrificial party exited into a long sloping passage, leading one of the men purchased from Mustaffa. He was under the sedative influence of one of the drugs and stumbled along docily, unbound but closely guarded. His penis had been treated as well and jutted out in full erection, bobbing as he walked. The Serb hunk was a solidly muscled young giant, at least six foot three with close-cropped brown hair and a ruggedly handsome face.

The thought of seeing such a magnificent youth sacrificed in ceremonies dating back fifty or sixty centuries was powerfully erotic and I was anxious to see how he was dispatched. Markus was practically salivating in anticipation of the coming spectacle.
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We came to a cavern with a stone walkway circling the wall some feet above a deep, murky pool. I spotted a water-filled tunnel, blocked by iron bars, exiting the place and imagined this was the extension of the pond from the oasis. In the center of the pool, a black flat-topped granite block jutted up a few inches above the placid water. A wooden ramp was extended and the naked Serb made to go out and stand on the rock. The ramp was pulled back and there was a loud rasping groan of metal on stone as the exit grate was raised by priests hauling on chains.

Then everyone stood waiting in quiet expectation for something to happen. I did suddenly notice that the water in the pool was stirring more and more, increasing ripples sloshing against the walls and the sacrificial rock. I thought I saw a dark shape glide out of the tunnel just beneath the surface but it could have been a trick of light and shadow. An excited murmur buzzed among the assembled priests and guards.

"Sobek...Sobek...Sobek...Sobek..."

The priests' whisper became a throaty chant, increasing in volume and I felt my pulse quickening as I strained to see.

Sobek. The crocodile god! Surely not! There simply are no crocodiles left in Egypt! They were eradicated decades ago.

But then the god Sobek's worship supposedly ceased two thousand years ago.
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It happened so quickly that it took my breath away. The water seemed to explode into a surging, roiling fountain even as a thundrous bellow shook the air in the cavern. In the midst of the wave a monstrous set of gaping jaws rose with express train force to envelope the handsome, naked Serb stallion. Light glinted off the long, rounded teeth studding the jaws just before they snapped shut around the sacrificial boy's mid-section even as he screamed and stepped backwards, his arms rising in a futile attempt to ward off the hurtling green-black monster.

The momentum of the croc's lunge carried it completely over the shallow top of the rock and I was able to gauge the size of the reptile before it splashed down on the far side with the thrashing, screaming boy in its jaws. It had to be twenty feet in length and close to five wide at its middle. It was obviously an aged bull, introduced or perhaps even born here and lovingly served by its priest attendants, the living embodiment of their god Sobek. I wondered how many boys it had snatched from that rock over the years and how many shattered skeletal remnants littered the bottom of the pool and the tunnel leading out into the oasis pond.

The thrashing water began to turn crimson. The boy's head and shoulders suddenly emerged and he screamed in demented agony and terror. That ended abruptly as he was suddenly jerked violently back beneath the surface. He did not come back up again and gradually the water began to calm, sloshing in lessening wavelets against the walls. The great crocodile had apparently hauled its prize out through the tunnel to dine at its leisure at some more remote location.

We returned through the central chamber to a passage on the far side. This led to yet another cavern, apparently hand-carved by human hand with tremendous labor. From a stone balcony we could see into a large, sand-floored arena below. Adh-Ankh Re quietly informed us that before the final ritual, the most important one, the lion goddess of violence and destruction, Sekhmet, consort to Sobek, must be honored with blood.
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Two more of the youths, a dark-haired Greek and a luciously beautiful Croat kid with hair the color of the sun, were bound by their wrists by ropes to heavy iron rings on a short wooden post. Topping the post was what appeared to be a solid gold head of a lioness. Both boys were naked, of course, and their cocks powerfully, involuntarily aroused. They were trembling and looking around nervously despite being slightly sedated, obviously realizing something very bad was about to be done with them.

It wasn't long in coming. A steel gate was raised and the first of a small pride of huge, sleek lions stepped confidently into the arena. She looked at the pinioned boys, curled back her lips to bare her great yellowed fangs and uttered a coughing growl. She was obviously used to the eating process employed here and lost no time before making her charge. The blond Croat was screaming and trying to evade her even as she hit him and took him down, her claws flailing and tearing at him. Her force was so great that the rope connecting him to the post snapped like a string.

With one great paw ripping at his ribs and another circling his neck to tear into his shoulder, the feline paused for just a frozen second to stare at the struggling, writhing, screaming boy embraced within her front limbs.
 

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Then the massive mouth bit down over his exposed neck with incredible force and an audible crunch. The classic killing bite of the great cats. The blond's screams and struggles ended abruptly.

The Greek youth was under attack from a smaller lioness who wasn't quite as skilled yet at killing. A third female eventually thundered in to assist and ripped the dark-haired stud's belly open. An indolent male, a truly magnificent sight, watched in seeming boredom until the killing was done, then ambled over and joined in the feasting while the chanting priests, many crying in joy, repeated over and over...

"Sekhmet...Sekhmet...Sekhmet..."

And I imagined priests thirty-five hundred years before standing here chanting like that as they watched similar lions devouring similar perfect youths to encourage the goddess to grant her courage to a mighty pharoah...Ramses, Tutmoses, Amenhotep...before some great battle. What a copious flow of blood had soaked into the sand of this arena over the years. Even if only two boys a year were devoured here...it still meant that something in excess of seven thousand had been sacrificed on this spot!

Seven thousand!

Truly awesome, heady, erotic stuff!

If I doubted the figures I was calculating, the doubts were erased when they unsealed the inner sanctum of the voracious reptilian deity and we entered. The air was musty, the place being entered only once each year, but it wasn't just stale air that assaulted our nostrils. It was the cloying smell of death that pervaded the massive chamber.

Small wonder. We were in the presence of hundreds if not thousands of dead, mummified boys, each wrapped in resin-soaked linen bandages and seated on a round wooden stand supported by four curving posts forming a sort of backrest. Their arms were crossed over their chests and their knees bent up even with their chests to each side. They were arrayed in multiple rows that marched out of sight all around the shadowy recesses of the god's vast, dimly lit sanctuary.

"My God," Markus whispered in my ear. "Look at that!"

It was not the army of boy-mummies that had his attention. A priest had just lit a beautifully worked pink alabaster oil lamp, each cup shaped like a half-opened lotus blossom. It was doubtlessly thousands of years old and itself an utterly priceless work of art, but it was the massive object illuminated by the lamp and lying next to it on the huge white-quartz altar that dominated the room. The stylized depiction of a crocodile...Sobek...adorned with a high plumed headdress, was at least five feet long and two feet high and made of solid gold with huge blood-red rubies for eyes and nostrils. Perfect blue diamonds accented the tall headdress and the back and tail of the beast gleamed in shimmering shades of lustrous, sensuous green as the lamplight reflected off the facets of dozens upon dozens of square-cut emeralds.

This had to be the most priceless historic artifact on the face of the earth.

Our reverie was broken as loudly chanting priests slowly carried in the last of the sacrificial males. The Romanian man-boy was already encased in linen bandages in the same posture as those who had died here long ago...or last year. Apparently he was not to be suffocated as his eyes and nose were not covered and the bandages over his chest slightly looser than those encasing his limbs. He was utterly helpless as he was deposited in one of the wooden frames directly below the altar holding the gleaming gold and jewel depiction of Sobek. The resin soaking his bandages had hardened until they were like stone, giving the occupant within no room to move.

About the boy's brow was a ring of gold interspersed with pieces of blue lapis lazuli, a gleaming gold uraeus symbol centered over his forehead. In his left hand he held the small gold and blue crook and in his right the gold and blue flail, symbols of pharoanic power.
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Adh-Ankh Re approached the boy and offered up a series of incanted prayers. He positioned a golden stake at a downward angle on one side of the bandages covering the teenager's groin and used a single hard, well-placed stroke with a small golden hammer to drive the it home. The living mummy quaked violently within the bandages, the eyes clearly registering the terrible burning pain as his crotch was pierced. His covered mouth was sealed shut by the resin-soaked bandages but you could still hear his muffled groans and attempted screams.

The high priest positioned a second golden spike at a similar angle on the opposite side of the boy's groin and drove it home.

The reaction of the suffering sacrificial animal was again graphic. Blood began to slowly seep from the bandages and ooze down to drip onto the floor. A pair of blood-red rubies were inserted into little niches in the cap of each of the spikes.

We reverently exited the inner sanctum and the doors were resealed to await another year. The mummy-boy, the still

living new guardian for the god, was left to slowly die as he might from blood loss, shock, dehydration, or starvation. He would have some light until the lotus-lamp on the altar used up its oil, then he would be alone in the stark darkness of his tomb where he would remain through eternity, just one more among Sobek's army of guardian youths.

DECEMBER 28, 1897-
Bakhara Valley

A near disaster today!

I should explain that the opportunity to extensively explore Egypt has induced us to remain for the past two months, using Mustaffa's valley as our periodic haven to rest from our extensive travels. I know I have neglected this journal but reporting our tame tourism after the events in the temple of Sobek hardly seemed worthwhile.

In a deja vu repetition of our first encounter with Mustaffa, three of his new arrivals managed to escape last night and were seized in the nearby village of Sad'r Bakassi. Today, Mustaffa, myself, and Markus rode out to bring the three back for suitable, doubtlessly fatal punishment. With terrible timing, not long after we arrived a British patrol happened into the village to carry out one of their periodic spot searches for illegal weapons and stolen antiquities.

We were in a merchant's stable at the time putting shackles on the slaves having completed one but with the other two were as yet unrestrained when the panicky merchant rushed in to alert us. Markus and I had been guarding the trio with bolt-charged crossbows, scimitars sheathed to our belts, while Mustaffa manacled the sullen, muscular boys, a Bulgar, a Serb and a Greek.

With a curse, Mustaffa rose to hurry off with the merchant.

"I'll try to distract the patrol by reporting illegal activity in another village to the west. With luck they won't search the stable.

In the meantime, make sure those three stay quiet and raise no alarm. If the cursed English find them, we are all in serious trouble."

The three were not fools. We could see their eyes light up slyly at the prospect of possible rescue. As soon as we were alone with them, Markus and I looked at each other. If he were captured and his real identity established, he probably face return to the French for execution. Mustaffa undoubtedly would be hanged and I didn't want to find out what the English would do with a captured German "spy" who had been abetting a white slavery operation.

"What do we do if the soldiers come to search the barn?" Markus asked.

"We have just good enough papers to pass ourselves as tourists about to be guided by Mustaffa to the Valley of the Kings."

"With three naked, kidnapped eastern European boys in tow! No way!" He sounded like I had gone mad.
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"No," I agreed as I raised my crossbow. "Not with them still around."

I aimed my weapon at the belly of the stocky, buff wavy-haired Bulgar. Before he could react, his face filled with sudden realization of what I was doing, I fired. The bolt slammed into his gut with tremendous force, nearly passing entirely through his body, and bowled him over backwards.

The other unbound boy, the Serb, turned and tried to run. Markus aimed carefully and fired. His bolt pierced the spinal column midway down the back and blasted out the front of the broad chest just below the line of the pecs. The running figure threw his arms high out before him and sprawled face down in the dirt. He was dead before he hit the ground.
 

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The one I had shot was writhing around, fatally wounded but still alive. Markus knelt, took his head between his hands and swiftly twisted it at a sharp sideward angle. You could hear the bone as it snapped.

Even as I started dragging one of the bodies towards a pile of hay to hide it, Markus drew his scimitar and slowly approached the remaining slave, the manacled Greek boy.

"Kneel down, tilt your head forward to expose the back of your neck and close your eyes." He instructed. "I'll do it quickly. Otherwise I'll gut you."

Shuddering, the youth dropped to his knees and did as instructed. Markus lined the razor-edged blade with his neck, raised it high and brought it slashing down.
 

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SWOOSH! KACHUNK!

The boy's head came off cleanly and landed at my feet. The decapitated corpse stayed upright for a long moment, then toppled forward. I picked the severed head up by the hair and tossed it into the deep furrow I'd carved in the haystack.

After hiding the bodies, we covered the pools of blood from the killings in dirt and straw and then stood back to wait for the possible arrival of English searchers. We recharged the crossbows and hid them where we could easily retrieve them. If the soldiers discovered the bodies, two would get arrows and we would then attack the others with our scimitars, determined to avoid capture, dying fighting if necessary.

Fortunately, that was not necessary. The English bought Mustaffa's ruse and departed the village without coming near the stable.

"Where are the slaves?" Mustaffa asked when he rejoined us. "And how did you manage to keep them quiet? We were within earshot when talking to the English officer and I kept waiting to hear an alarm raised."

I shrugged and walked to the haystack and pulled back enough straw to reveal the bodies..

"We decided there was only one sure way to keep them quiet."

Beaming, Mustaffa slapped us both on the backs.

"As soon as I got to the house I regretted not telling you to do exactly that! Excellent work. I'll make good slavers out of you two yet!"

JANUARY 5. 1898-
Alexandia, Egypt

Using faked papers, Markus and I...and, yes, beautiful young Anton...have just sailed for Genoa where we will catch a train for the last leg home to Heidelberg. As Africa dims on the horizon behind us, I am filled with thoughts of the incredible experiences of these past ten months. I came here to explore man in his primitive, primeval, barbaric grandeur. I certainly accomplished that. I came as well to seek and loose the primitive beast within myself in order to understand my own workings. I did that as well.

I suppose the remaining question that I must now deal with is whether, having once been free and in control of me, can that beast ever be again content to rest dormant and caged within my being? More basically, having savored the heady, erotic behavior of the beast, do I want to keep it controlled?

EPILOGUE...

It is known that Dr. Kurtz did visit the N'Kibo in the spring of 1901 and again in 1902, in each case accompanied by a number of unemployed muscular teenaged German farmboys, laborers and sailors, none of whom had noticeable family ties. When he returned and reported they had all opted to remain in Africa, no-one raised any questions.

After his companion, Markus Adlerherz, died while climbing on the Matterhorn in Switzerland in 1908 at the age of thirty, Kurtz became reclusive and brooding. He was killed in Munich in 1943 in an allied bombing raid. His longtime loyal servant, Anton Husak, inherited the doctor's sizeable estate and lived comfortably in Germany until his death in 1977 at the age of ninety-eight. The mortician preparing his body for burial made a note in his records of a tiny, puckered, crescent-shaped burn scar high in the old man's right thigh and wondered idly what it was.

In 1903 the region around the Bakhara Valley in Egypt was shocked when a group of apparently kidnapped eastern European youths rose in rebellion and killed their captors including one Aga Mustaffa. Embarrassed British authorities quietly shipped the boys home and covered up the details of the incident under the "Official Secrets Act."

After finishing my translation of the diary, I visited the church graveyard in Zermatt, Switzerland and pondered the grave there of one Markus Alois Adlerherz and the enigmatic inscription on his stone.

I overheard an American tourist remark to her husband as they browsed the graves in the Alpine cemetary.

"What odd names. Do you suppose those are relatives who passed on before?"

I smiled as I walked away.

There is no record of where the bomb-shattered remnants of Herr Doktor Reinhard Kurtz were disposed of.