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Slayer's Writings
Hi. I don't really know what to say to introduce this, so here's a topic where I'll put random things I've written, particularly since I plan to start writing and selling e-books for money. I'd of course love any constructive criticism people can offer. Just to start us off, here's a short story I wrote some months ago, which got into my school's literary magazine. It's about 457 words (weird, thought it'd been a lot longer before I checked the other day) and is set in SOTF-verse, though that matters little to the overall story; the viewpoint character is implied to be a v2 concept of mine, and the city of Denton is mentioned, but that's about it. I plan to take this and include it in a collection of boxing-related short stories as one of my first e-books, so absolutely any constructive input is appreciated, particularly in terms of edits to make for publication.

All that said, here's "The Last Round"

---

“He still up over there?”

Through the swimming lights, he saw Danny look over his shoulder, across the ring. His trainer frowned, furrowing an age-worn brow. “Yeah, he’s still with us. Now listen, Tommy, we have to...”

The veteran’s voice was lost in bright lights and swirling thoughts. The stool under him was hard and uncompromising, the bag of ice pressed to his head damp and bitterly cold, keeping him just a little bit more alert. Fires of pain erupted from all over his body, lances of heat stabbing at him from his arms, his gut, his face. He couldn’t make a fist with his left, any more; it had broken somewhere in the fifth, and he was pretty sure it had taken Butler’s jaw with it. A worthy sacrifice, and not one he was going to let on to. Not when he could smell victory.

Victory, huh? Could he really do it? Breath was an effort, drawn in slowly and expelled with relief. The urge to tear out his mouthpiece and take in huge gulps of precious air was almost irresistible. Had his nose gone, too? Sweat and blood ran down his face in tiny streams, and when he drank the offered water and spat it into the bucket held to his side, it came out red. Almost pure blood. Nobody important saw, or this might have been over by now. It probably would have been when the stirrings in his gut began, the nausea and the spinning in his head. How many punches had gone unanswered in those last few seconds of the previous round?

You could have ended this at any time, a voice in his mind said. Just show the referee, and you’d be on your way to a hospital. Then home.

Home, where nothing but humiliation would have waited. He saw the dark, pitiless eye of the television camera at the corner of his vision. It stared, damning in its neutrality. He’d agreed to this, hadn’t he? The entire nation could see him, either droning in the audience around him or at home, safely distant from the barbarity. All he had to do was see this fight through, and the world stage was in his hands. He couldn’t go back to Denton, to its dirty, hopeless streets. To broken people robbing and killing each other in the dark. To ritual duels fought over a few square feet of ground, the pretence of honour the only thing stopping complete anarchy.

What was pain, really? He had felt the fists of larger men, fled from gunfire, seen his own blood. This man, #12 in the world, was nothing compared to that.

“Seconds out!” cried a voice. He stood, shakily. His support disappeared. Two warriors approached the centre of the ring, looking into dark, battered eyes. They understood as only men of the same background could understand.

It was time to finish this. The bell rang.