The other man hit me again, caught me on the side of the head, and I swung at him, too. Metal connected on the meaty part of his shoulder. Zebulon Faith stepped in for a shot, but I beat him to it, delivered a short punch to the point of his chin and he dropped. Then the lights went out. I found myself on my knees, vision clouded, getting the shit kicked out of me.
Faith was down. So was the man with the broken arm. But the other guy was having a time. I saw the boot arcing in again and I swung with all I had. The tire iron connected with his shin and he flopped onto the dirt. I didnt know if it was broken, didnt really care. He was out of it.
I tried to stand up, but my legs were loose and weak. I put my hands on the ground, and felt Zebulon Faith standing over me. Breath sawed in his throat, but his voice was strong enough. Fucking Chases, he said, and went to work with his feet. They swung in, swung out. Swung in again, and came back bloody. I was down for real, couldnt find the tire iron, and the old man was grunting like he was at the end of an all-night screw. I curled up, tucked my face down, and sucked in a lungful of road grit.
Thats when I heard the sirens.
Excerpted from Down River by John Hart. Copyright © 2007 by John Hart. A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Minotaur. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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