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Knuckles arch, buck and catch the corner of the jawbone, sweeping across osseous matter with a startling, almost blazing kind of precision. The ricochet thunders upwards, pulsating rapiers of shining, immaculate pain that vibrate athwart the mouth’s twenty eight delicate and varied piano keys, multiplying nay, amplifying an oscillating wave of escalated paralysis, a crescendo of searing agony.

The heart seizes.

Held in acute stasis for one elongated, elastic second, along with time itself . . .

. . . Then beats again with the emergence of heavy, pulsating background harmonies which lacerate, then swell in grandeur, scaling the right cheekbone, encapsulating it in a cruel embrace.

In sync, the soft orbs of the eyes shuttle back, forth and upwards — electric baby blues gone interstellar under a chorus of a thousand invisible blows, each at perfect pitch. Upwards, upwards, upwards . . .

Blinding.

White.

Recrudesce.

Leaden limbs drag themselves across worn, coarse-woven carpet towards the mirror. An impossibility presents itself: unblemished skin reflects off guileless glass.

No bruises, no torn lips bleeding copiously, no raw flesh exposed to chill air. The sole indicator of trauma received revealed only by the closest of inspections.

A world of hurt nestled in the confines of the iris.

The letter falls, released from numb, bloodless fingers, and drifts quietly to the threadbare floor.

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