Healing Into Death

Posted: July 5, 2007 in Brawl, Dark, Fiction, Sci-Fi

Chapter Two

The fights were never organized. More than likely I would be drinking in a bar and I’d wind up outside, beating the shit out of someone. I was never too clear on the events leading up to the fights, but the fights themselves were always crystal clear.
I don’t think alcohol fueled my passion. It was already in me. I didn’t need anything to settle or ready me into the brutality of those back alley meetings. I look back now and wonder what kept me going, through the blood and the breaks, some so severe that I could only lie in a hospital bed and stare at the wall while I slowly healed.
I called those times “healing into death.” Every moment of my life was fleeting, and spending it glued, by my own sweat and boredom, to a hospital bed was simply hurling me closer to an endless oblivion. By the time I was out, I was aching for a fight, to feel more pain, to break more of my bones and the bones of others. But I would bide my time, waiting until a fit occasion to emerge back into my alleys and feel alive again.
My worst and last great injury occurred several months before my last fight. My skull was fractured when I fought a lucky fucker who picked up a trashcan lid and pounded my brains into shit. I spent 3 months in the hospital, through bandages and medical bills that destroyed my bank account, and 2 months recuperating. It had been a comminuted fracture, the metal lid breaking my skull and driving bone splinters into my brain tissue. If he had hit me more than a couple times, it’s possible I would have been permanently brain-damaged.
Anyway, I had kept in shape as best I could during the hospital stay, so I hadn’t wasted any power. Soon I stepped into an Irish pub and before I knew it I was breaking the ribs of a perfect stranger in a trash-strewn bum haven that reeked of sweat and piss.
I didn’t stop after he collapsed onto the ground. I knew his ribs were already pulverized, so I concentrated on his face, taking out all the aggression of 5 months free of violence.
It was the best fight I had had in years.
Soon my fist was streaked with crimson, the blood leaking out of my knuckles and the remnants of his nose mingling in a cacophony of death. I had never killed anyone in a fight before, but this time it wasn’t enough to simply beat him. My knuckles must have been shattered from the impact onto his ribs alone, but I kept working at his face until the life was completely extinguished from his swelling eyes.
I felt it the very second that his life left him.
It was almost as if I was him, accepting my fate and dying on a battleground of fists, unready and not knowing what he had done to deserve this. I loosened my grip from his collar and dropped him to the asphalt below.
I stood. There wasn’t any pain; not yet, anyway. The vibrating buzz of the fight was fading now, and I felt empty and drained of everything. I walked around restlessly, mostly ignoring the battered corpse.
The alley was illuminated solely by a glowing, red ‘EXIT’ sign suspended over the bar’s back door. It was hard to tell what was blood and what was untainted. A small rectangle of light enclosed a postcard-pretty view of the children’s park across the street from the pub. I began to walk towards the light and was stopped.
There was a figure hidden in the shadows, made visible only by the cigarette she had just lit. Yes, she. In the shitty lighting I caught a hint of breasts under a thin black t-shirt. She was tiny, around five feet tall, with medium length black hair and a mouth that was curled back into either a smile or a grimace, I couldn’t tell.
She stepped into the light of the sign; I immediately looked straight into her eyes. They looked red, but then again everything was dyed red from the EXIT sign’ light.
“Nice fight,” she said, breathing out a crimson cloud of smoke. “I’m Kylie.” She didn’t offer a hand. Neither did I.
I spoke.
“Lucas. Nice to meet you.”
With that, I walked towards the rectangular light, pushed past her and didn’t look back. I felt the red eyes smoldering at my back and resisted the urge to go back to her.
Emerging onto the street, I finally took a breath.

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