Push [Flash fiction prompt: Discharge]

Flash fiction prompt 24! I hate the word discharge almost as much as I hate the word moist. I had a bit of trouble getting past that so I looked up the dictionary definition to see if I could find a direction to take it in. Dictionary.com gave me to “fulfill, perform, or execute (a duty, function, etc.)” and I was sorted.

Content warning for detailed descriptions of violence in an evenly-matched context and the enjoyment of said violence by the (male, in case it makes a difference to you) people involved.

Colour photo of a man's face made up with fake blood to look like a Glasgow smile

We met at 3am. I was out for the kind of walk you might go on in the middle of the night because whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, you’re seeking an ordeal. Through boredom, frustration and a rarely satisfied desire for violent release, I chose my route carefully, hoping to run into exactly the kind of people no-one else hoped to run into. I had a knife concealed in my waistband and although I was ready to use it, I was hoping for an opportunity to use my fists instead. I had developed a skill for recognising the right ones, for feeling the potential of a vicious temper from a distance. Never the overt perpetrator, all I needed was an excuse and when I saw him heading towards me, I knew I had found it.

He was tall and broad, a stature that made self-defence a feasible justification should it come to that. I was hoping it wouldn’t. I didn’t want this to be over too quickly, but I wanted it to be over tonight. I felt a familiar twitch in my fingers. It had been too long. He was looking at the ground as he walked so the eye contact I craved to get things started wouldn’t come easily. Blatant provocation always felt dull to me but needs must, so as we were about to pass each other I took half a step towards him and crashed my shoulder into his chest. I allowed myself a fraction of a second to glance up at his face, past the square jaw waiting to be broken to eyes as dark as an angry ocean. He looked down and there it was. Eye contact. Perfection.

His hands were huge and with the force of his weight behind the punch, I felt the inside of my cheek split open against my teeth as his fist connected with the side of my face. It was exquisite. It had always felt good before, but never this good. I looked up at him again, taking my time now, and smiled, feeling the delicious iron warmth of my own blood coating my teeth and pooling around my gums. The knife could stay where it was for the time being. This one was too good to waste on a blade. This one deserved my hands.

He hit me again and I stood still, licking the blood from my lips. Stronger than I looked with a surprising ability to absorb impact and a distorted perception of pain, I savoured the moment when he realised that I wasn’t going to go down as easily he had first assumed. At his size, he must have been used to taking people out with one punch, two at a push, but I was still standing, still smiling. He was stunned into inaction as I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and launched myself at him, equal parts unstoppable force and immovable object.

I usually lose myself in the fight, running on autopilot until I end it, but this time I was deliciously present for the entirety. The most pronounced difference from my other encounters was that I was holding back, not enough for him to knock me out, but enough to let him do more damage than I normally allow. I couldn’t help myself. It didn’t normally feel this good. By the time he slammed my back against the wall, I was almost ready to let him finish me if he wanted to. He grabbed my wrists, lifted my hands above my head and held me with a grip like steel chains. I made no effort to move though. If it had been anyone else I would’ve been kicking like a mule, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t stop looking at him. His face was a mess and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, man? Are you fucking enjoying this?”. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth as he spoke. I wanted nothing more than to taste it.

“Why? Are you?”. I tilted my head, raised an eyebrow, flexed my hands in his grip, then relaxed, my whole body loosening and resting against the wall, the knife in my waistband completely forgotten.

“I . . . I  don’t . . . what the fuck is this? What do you want?”. He let go of my wrists but didn’t move back.

Slowly, I reached up and lightly trailed a finger through the blood on his cheek, at the corner of his mouth, on his chin. He didn’t look away, even when I held my finger to my lips to feel his blood mix with mine on my tongue.

It was one of those rare experiences where time stands still and you step outside of yourself and watch from something like another dimension, a not-quite-physical plane overlaid on top of the reality you’ve spent your whole life in up until that moment. It’s such a cliché but a few seconds really can stretch out to feel like an eternity of high-definition slow motion with a sudden understanding that there is truly something of yourself outside of your body and your senses. It makes you think in first-person and second-person and third-person, in cause and consequence. It confuses your concept of past and present and it feels like an ending and a beginning and an entire turn of the wheel all at once. And the most wonderful and terrible thing about it is, you get to share it with another person knowing that neither of you should have ended up here in the first place, but through a collision of accident and decision, you did. And here you both are, watching yourselves and each other from outside and inside and before and after, waiting for whatever comes next.

“So”, I said, breaking the silence, “Same time next week?”.

About the photo
Another one from the archives. It was a make-up test for a ‘Glasgow smile’ so not entirely in keeping with the details of the story but weirdly the only photo I have of an injured male face that isn’t full-on horror style make-up.

Index of January 2017 flash fiction prompts.

5 Replies to “Push [Flash fiction prompt: Discharge]”

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