Story Excerpts

Shall I continue?

I’m really not kind to my characters. This week I’ve been rereading stories I wrote in high school. These lovely little paragraphs are from one of those stories (I’ve cut out a lot of the exposition):

He sighed. “It’s not as bad as you think.”

Not as bad as you think,” I repeated dubiously.  “What exactly happened to you last night?”

“I tried to fight them off but I was sluggish and couldn’t see. There were too many of them.”

“And why did they attack you?” I pressed.

“Why do you think?”

“And what did they do to you?”

“They broke my wrist and four of my ribs,” he began, eyes never leaving mine. “They fractured my jaw and nose. They beat me severely, causing multiple contusions, cuts, and bruises, as well as internal bleeding and two concussions. Apparently one of them nearly choked me, which almost crushed my trachea. Shall I continue?”

I swallowed, unnerved at how emotionlessly he could say all of that and appalled at what had been done to him. “And all of that,” I gestured vaguely, voice guttural, “is not as bad as I think?”

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