“Push on it. See if that works.”
Fingers press against destroyed cartilage. Twist. Hammer.
“It’s not working.”
“You have to get on in there. Here, watch this.”
A thumb pushes through blood and tissue. A scream. Nausea.
“See. That’s how you do it.”
“Think it will make him talk?”
Tears, burning. Teeth clenched.
“You going to talk now?”
A fist meets the jaw. The teeth clatter, one falls.
“This is going to be messy.”
“You knocked my tooth out you mother fucker.”
“It was an accident, I swear.”
“I’m going to tell mom on you.”
“Please don’t, I’m sorry; please don’t tell on me…”
“Did you have to hit him so hard?”
“I thought he was tougher than that.”
“You knocked his fucking tooth out.”
“What do you care?”
“I don’t. But he’s out again.”
It always starts with teeth. Shattering. Some object- a bat, fist, boot- crashing into an open mouth.
Spots fly in front of the eyes, quickly enveloped by a blanket of sleep. The world stops spinning and all goes quiet. Still. Peaceful.
“Wake him up.”
“I think he’s really out for good this time.”
“We’ll come back in an hour. Give him a bit of sleep.”
“You are in so much trouble. Mom is going to kill you. She’ll send you away.”
“No she won’t.”
“Yeah she will. I’m her favorite. You hurt me; she’s going to send you away.”
An angered fist flies, trying to knock out another tooth.
“You little shit.”
Bigger fists fly. Eyebrows are cut. Eyes are blackened. Bruises. Scrapes. Cuts.
“You think he’s awake yet?”
A kick to the tied up foot.
“He’s not moving.”
“Hit him harder.”
A rifle butt stabs the rib cage. A cough. Sputtering. Bloody drool.
“There we go.”
“You got the camera?”
“Alright, my man, look up here for the camera now. Have to send your girlie some proof of life. So give us a big, happy smile.”