funny thing (the dark look continued)

continued from: the dark look 1
(Go back and read yesterday’s post, this is a continuation of the story I started. )

I’m a wanted man. And I don’t mean by the police. The police don’t even know who I am. If I said I was wanted by the police, that would just be boasting my ego which I’m not very fond of doing, because it’s quite large already.

I’m awake and still on the floor. My neck is craned against the leg of a bench, my cheek pushed up against the wall. My hands are numb from lying on top of them. There are footsteps and voices from far away, coming nearer, and there is a cough near me, and some guy starts yelling about five feet away, he’s yelling about indecency or something. The footsteps grow louder, then stop, then the heavy metal door opens and I’m being dragged to my feet by the chain around my neck. I’m gasping for breath, leaning against the wall, because my neck is all bruised from when I was almost choked to death. Just about now I’m wondering why I wasn’t choked to death, why I’m still alive. I’m led out the door and down a hallway by the chain around my neck. Our footsteps are echoing and there are two sets of boots and one pair of bare feet, mine. The ground is dusty and cold, we are underground. I’m pulled through door after door by the chain around my neck, like an animal, and the noise gets louder and louder through each doorway. It’s the noise of men yelling and hollering and cheering. I’m right in the room now, where all of them are yelling, I’m standing in the midst of a crowd of sweat and blood, being pushed and shoved, and from the center of the room I hear a dull thud like the sound of fist hitting flesh.

I knew before they took off the black sack where I was, what was happening. I knew because I had been here before, but I was part of the crowd back then, watching the man with the black sack pushed into the ring, the gate closing behind him, ripping the thing from his head as soon as they unlocked the chain, looking wild eyed into the light, blinded. I rubbed the skin around my neck, and my wrists, where the chains had dug in. I chewed on the side of my cheek, raised my chin, and looked across the ring at my opponent. He had the wild eyed look, just like I had seen so many times, and now he was looking at me, too. I shook my head like a dog, and the sweat was already flying from my hair. My bare chest was caved in with the thought of it, my feet were digging into the red dirt of the pit, and somehow I knew, even ten years ago, when I was part of the screaming crowd, I knew I would be in this position. I could see the man across from me was coming to the realization as the bets were being passed behind him. He knew as well as I did, it was kill or be killed.

I don’t think he had a problem with that.

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