Ten in the Hole

Slavic Swords

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A rough draft excerpt from my current project The Book of Ten, where we find the young hero of the story in a most dire situation…


…I took a deep breath and forced myself to look down at my feet. They were both engorged to nearly twice their normal size, and black from blood pooling under the skin. The sight of them made my eyes grow dim and caused vomit to trickle from my chin. Each foot was crunched inward at a bizarre angle and a jagged stub of bone pushed out the skin of each like a slick, purple tent.

  You will heal. Master the pain, you dog, and you will heal…

  I knew that what I had to do next would be awful, and that if I hesitated I would not have the courage to do it later, after the infection settled in. I sat with my legs splayed out, panting and shaking, summoning all of my strength. I reached out and clasped my left ankle with both hands, then pulled it back into place with a sharp twist that made the splintered ends of bone squeal together like a rusty hinge. I started screaming and crying and the walls of the hole grayed out. I caught my right ankle between my palms and quickly gave it the same treatment, and when it crunched back into place my shrieks nearly tore my vocal cords loose from where they were anchored to my throat.

I sagged over to my side and lay with my face in the mud, convulsing and whimpering and smelling my own feces.

  Good, that’s good. Now you can start healing, you can get better. Remember Ten, this is just the beginning of your story. Remember! This is the part right at the beginning, where you learn, where you observe. This part is almost over, and you know it, don’t you? It’s almost over, because you’ve seen, you’ve heard, you’ve taken their measure. Now heal, heal your bones, heal your flesh. The time for action is rushing down upon you…

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow…

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