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"hey baby, tuck's fight is on in a couple minutes."

cal remembers the easy way his brother used to be: long before boxing matches, before coming home spitting up blood and pushing bones back into place, before he'd crawl into bed an ancient man, bruised and bloodwarm, befor(more)
will thinks about the gun to his temple and yet, he doesn't.
i prayed to cornstalks for ten years.

three hours of belt whipping and bruise-ups and there i would be, knobby knees pushed rough into the earth beneath the stalks of green corn and my mottled, faith-beaten skin shining red and purple under the light of the moon. (more)
kentucky shakes himself awake in the bed of a stranger's pickup truck, still wide-eyed and dopesick from the heroin, honey-thick tongue lolling around in his mouth as he spins and spins and spins when the truck takes a jeering left that yanks the pit of his stomach up and(more)
gatlin was decaying: a quick death, pulling skin from his bones and shredding the lean muscle and flesh on his forearms and calves, a tempting mess of damp tissue hidden underneath gucci and chanel and the crisp, clean-line-no-iron-never-seen-the-floor sharpness of his linen pants, bled red, all the way through,(more)
i met tommy on the fourth of july. he was standing underneath an oak tree in the park, hands and knees and elbows bruised purple, waifish and careful in his gestures while his sister, sun-blond and chipper, held him by the pointed edge of his shoulder to lead him(more)
they put tommy in a dark room after violet died.

he wasn't allowed to touch anything-- nothing except the sheets on his bed and the tiny pillow he was allowed, and really, it would have been awful hard because honestly there wasn't a damn thing in that little(more)
people underestimate ideas.

i was standing on the corner of main street and hawthorne when harrison reed's truck pulled up to the gas station, red paint peeling in the dim flatline of october's four o'clock sun and there, in the palm of his hand, was an open bottle(more)
fox is losing consciousness in broad daylight, swimming beneath the hazy swell of the sun as i slam my hands somewhere near his breastbone-- an effort beyond me, beyond my comprehension, but it's all flying away beneath my fingertips as i realize that he's bleeding from somewhere underneath his(more)
"this is not the south," they say. "this is where you come to die when you've got nothing left."

it's on the barrel end of a shotgun that ridley remembers this. his mother-- coarse and unaffected by the rest of the world --had uttered it, the pointy end(more)
they talk about the dead girl early that morning.

foster is traitorously tired. he imagines this is a byproduct of wandering the woods till three, limping closely to the line of trees behind skunk's house until the breath in his lungs stumbled out of his body and hi(more)
these are the things that turn blood to nothing: the things that take time and essence and the following force of a blow to the knees, ramrod straight backs and the fettering acid drip of bloody noses on early mornings lit with fire and smoke beneath the lashes and(more)
we died first in small ways: where the tramping of our boots morphed into a hollow sound, curling beneath our ribs, unlucky, undeserved, until the darkness came and the blood dried-- sprayed across faces and hands, mouths painted red --beneath our nails, beneath our eyes, underneath our very skin,(more)
in moments of absolute clarity jinyoung would find himself standing over gatlin's bedside in the early hours of the morning, his fingers tacky with sweat, forehead melting into his eyes like the caustic sting of shampoo, and finally, with the soft slowness of sheets being pulled away from a(more)
"do you remember what happened to jinyoung?"

dr. harris is cold, eyes washing over like the flood of a tidal wave, and gatlin pulls up his chin in challenge.