The sun beat down, wringing sweat from the boy's body like water from a sponge yet he avoided the water. Waves crashed, exploding against each other in tumult of noise and fury before dying and rolling toward the shore where a bubbling foam, like acid or drool from a rabies-ridden mutt, sizzled in the early August heat. He could feel it. The surf popping against his neck. No matter how much he tried to avoid it, to look away at something else, the susurrus of the surf would not repent.
And so, he watched.
It was the summer. Two boys had had an argument. Over what was anyone's guess. They were young and it was summer. What more reason did they need.
A girl who looked to excited to be there, walked to the center of a circle a few other kids hag traced in the sand with the heels of their feet. Holding what looked like a shawl above her head, she twisted on her toes as if to present herself to the crowd. A low-rent ring girl soaking up the sun and applause. Boys howled and hooted. A few girls called out to her. Some in encouragement, some in mockery. She sneered at the latter, smiled at the former.
The shawl whipped in the wind and in an instant the girl had gone from bubbling performer to dead serious arbiter of violence. Eyeing both boys out of the corner of her eyes, first Luke to her right then Evan on her left, she reached up, holding the shawl higher toward the sky, drawing out the moment, then, with a downward stroke that shook her whole body, she ripped it down, smacking the sand.
By the time the boys met in the middle she had backed away, retreating into the cool Atlantic where water lapped at her heels.
Bruce didn't know what turned his stomach more. The two boys ready to damage each other beyond recognition, or the young woman, her back to the ocean as the sun set further up the shore.
The first strike came hard. After a flurry of half-feints and glancing strikes that always seemed to accompany these types of fights, Evan landed a right on Luke's cheek, knocking him backwards. The blow must have taken both boys by surprise, Bruce thought, because neither reacted. Luke with a furious counter or Evan with a devastating followup.
A cheer erupted from the audience, mostly boys. A girl turned away, burying her face in her boyfriend's shoulder. Ignoring her, he bumped his fist in the air.
The moment of hesitation gone, the boys circled each faster now. It was as if an essential truth had been revealed to them. There was no turning back now. There would be no mob of peacekeeping friends who rushed in, broke up them apart, kept them safe. Their bodies fell into a rhythm. Not just Luke and Evan but the rest of them. The punch had communicated to them that, yes, this was indeed a real fight and they might see something particularly brutal. This truth erased all reluctance. They were cheering in earnest now, no longer afraid of looking like fools.
After having circled each other for a few seconds, no longer wasting time or energy on half-heart blows, the two came together, each with a fist cocked. The blows were glancing ones but they came in a flurry. Cheers grew louder, drawing in strays from along the beach. Two boys came rushing over from the beach wall. Another boy, practically dragging his girlfriend by her hand, ran over. No longer simply a fight, this had become an event. The sun was beginning to dip. The heat beginning to break. A perfect night for beer and bonfires, and some kid getting his nose broken.
When the boys pulled apart, pushing each other away, they both bore the consequence of their blows. Evan's eye was red and beginning to tear up. Luke had the beginnings of a fat lip. They were both sweating.
Bruce looked around. In the raucousness, it seemed no one noticed both boys beginning to shake. Whether from exhaustion or fear or the fever-pitch of adrenaline undoubtedly coursing through their veins they both appeared ready to drop.
"Maybe we should stop it." The comment wasn't to anyone in particular, but Bruce felt the need to say it.
In the distance behind the shouts and whoops, the waves crashed on.
A hand fell on Bruce's shoulder. "Not on your life."
The two boys continued circling, slower now, more ragged. They'd come together again and the result was more wrestling than boxing. The neck of Luke's shirt hung loose from his neck, like the
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Location A beach
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Prop Include a shawl
Event A fight breaks out
Letter Use the letter E
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Sentence "Not for you."
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