Edit: fixed a few things. Grammar, spelling, and the little details that made me cringe
Not abandoned, just taking a long time to get going
Prologue – What's a bar like you doing in a guy like this?
The bar is on the very ass crack of civilization. Stinks of piss, sweaty ass, and stale beer, but that's okay. It's my kind of place. Any where I can make a quick buck and have some cheap brews is good enough for me. The sorry suckers here hit a little harder than other places. This is lumber jack territory and they know how to throw a decent punch, they can take some too, but they still go down. It just takes a little longer and they fall a little harder. I have an unfair advantage, I know, but they don't and that's fine by me. I feel no regret as the last bub's nose crunches under my fist and he drops, out like a light. If he knew, if they all knew what I was I'd get a stomach full of lead before I could even snub out my cigar. Not like that'll kill me, but getting shot hurts like a bitch and I'm running low on shirts.
His buddies come in and drag the poor bastard out. The ringleader's spouting out shit but I don't listen. I turn and take a puff from my smoldering cigar waiting for me at the edge of the cage like an old friend, the taste helps wash out the stink of blood and sweat. The guy's crooked teeth had cut open my knuckles but it's already closed up before he had even dropped. I run my finger over the smooth skin. I'd be nothing but scar tissue if weren't for this…. Curse…. Gift? Whatever you wanna call it, it's damn handy most days. Must suck sitting around waiting for a smashed in face to heal.
The bell rings and it's time for another sorry sap to get his ass handed to him on a silver platter. I take one last inhale and turn, blowing out smoke as I seize the other guy up. The bub's shirt is off and his stomach is flat and chest defined, outta place with these beer bellied hill billies. He actually looks smart since he's sober and seizing me up too instead of throwing punches like a wild animal. Probably ain't a native then. And damn handsome too. Usually it don't matter to me what my punching bag looks like, but this town must be drinkin' ugly juice cause not even the ladies are close to decent lookin'. I'm a man who appreciates beauty and around here with every lumber jack lookin' like Sasquatch wearing plaid and every waitress lookin' like Sasquatch wearing makeup, the man looks like a damn angel.
The fluorescent lights ain't flattering to no one but he manages to look like a fuckin' swimsuit model under it. The lights shine off messy hair that look like a product of a really good fuck, all wild and black and glossy. Straight nose, strong jaw, full lips and the damn greenest eyes I've ever seen. Not the kinda muddied changes-colors-whenever-I-feel-like-it hazel green but impossible green-as-fuckin'-EMERALDS-green. I promise myself now to avoid hitting his face cause it seems almost a sin to blacken eyes that mesmerizin'.
Mr. Swimsuit crouches down low and takes a stance that shows he knows what the hell he's doing. He means business. Maybe he'll make work for the win for once. I take my stance and we start circlin' each other. Them green eyes are on me, watchin' my every move, he's taken his time, thinkin', plannin', strategizin'. I ain't a patient man so I throw the first punch aimed at that taut stomach. He dodges easy. It ain't my hardest or quickest but it still makes me grin. I can see in his eyes that he knows that I'm goin' easy on him. Then the fight really starts.
He hits fast and hard and smart, keepin' his distance and then goin' in for places that he knows will hurt. It does fuckin' hurt. I'm a little impressed. It's obvious this man had trainin'. Somethin' about the way he holds himself says military, but I don't see any dog tags or ink on his skin that says so. There are scars on him. All over him in fact, Swimsuit has seen some real action.
If this were a fair fight, and I didn't have the hardest bones in the world and didn't heal every hit he gave me, he just might have won this. But I do. He knows he should be at least wearing me down but I'm still on my feet shrugging it off like his punches like they're nothing but annoying flies.
His panting now, sweat pouring off of him, brusies already bloomin' on his stomach and chest. His hits get cheaper. He goes for the throat, kidneys, stomach, gonads, pressure points, the weak spots near the arm pits and groin. I block most. Some get through. Got me straight on the artery on the inside of my thigh. Whole leg goes numb. Hurts but I ain't pissed. He's startin' to look desperate. Not desperate just to win for pride's sake, but desperate cause there's more ridin' on this fight that losin' ain't an option. I knock him down a few times. The bastard is stubborn and spring rights back up. His nose is bleeding and his lip is split, but there's determination burning in those emerald green eyes.
I could end this real quick if I wanted to, I could break a bone real easy, knock him in the throat and make him stay down. I don't. I'm curious. He needs cash fast. Were loan sharks breathing down his neck, threatenin' to mess up that pretty face if he didn't pay up? Or maybe he's laid off and they're taking back the house? Or what if dear old grandma needs an operation but insurance won't put out? Could be any of 'em, and I've heard all of 'em sobbed at me after the fight's over, the sad bub beggin' for the money I won. Tough luck. The money keeps me comfortable, keeps my truck running and food in my stomach. I can't die from starvation or exposure, but it's fuckin' hell goin' hungry and cold in the night. They're humans, normal, they have other options. I don't.
I need to end this fight. The guy is hot but a pretty face won't make me give up the cash. At least he gave me a good run. Hell, I might even buy him a beer if he ain't too bitter. A good fist to the stomach should do it, knock out all his air. He's already swayin' on his feet from exhaustion, green eyes goin' a little hazy and punches getting' sloppier.
I pull back a fist. The crowd is shouting, screamin', cursing. The chain of the cage rattling, a bottle shatters somewhere. In all that, I hear a tiny little voice yelling, "KICK HIS ASS DADDY!"
Out of the corner of my eye I see a little tyke up against the cage, tiny fingers clutchin' the chain link. A bright orange beanie cap swallows up his head, almost fallin' over the same impossible emerald green eyes. The fuck?
'Daddy' sees the shot and takes it. He kicks me in the face, hard. Gets me in the jaw, snapping it shut. My teeth take off a chunk of my tongue. I go down, mouth filling up with blood.
That explains why the fucker wouldn't stay down. No parent with a house and a steady job would ever bring their kid to a bar, at least I hope not. I ain't no professional at parenting but I'm damn sure that bars are pretty high on the list of 'Don't bring your kids,' right up there with gun ranges and pedophile therapy sessions. So 'Daddy' has no house, no job, and no one to look after the kid. And oh yeah, he's hard on cash.
I spit out another blood stain on the dirty floor. The crowd is going fuckin' ape shit, and so is the kid. He's jumping all around like he just won a trip to fuckin' Disney Land. He woops and hollers, green eyes shining and... wait. I double take. His eyes turned fuckin' yellow.
I look to 'daddy'. He's swayin', barely keeping on his feet, but he saw too. He saw and he swallows hard. His hand brushes over his brow like he's gonna wipe away the sweat, but then a finger traces his cheek, like a signal. I look back to the kid. It was a signal. The boy grabs his hat and pulls it down over his eyes, hiding them. Hiding like he's scared of someone seeing.
And now I really get it. The kid ain't normal. Whatever he is, he's like me. 'Daddy' can't leave the kid with someone. They'd find out, they'd hurt him, they'd call someone to take him away, open him up and see what's inside. TV says its bullshit, but I remember flashes of needles, green boilin' water, pain, runnin', escapin'. I know better.
'Daddy' has no options. He's takin' care of his kid. Protectin' him. But that takes money.
Money that he needs worse than me.
For the first time in my life I do somethin' I never thought I'd ever do.
I stay down.
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