A single bead of sweat rolls down his forehead, the only motion I have seen in the past hour. An observer would see no more than two men, tensed like loaded springs, staring at each other a few yards apart… but the battle had begun as soon as our eyes met, wills clashing as surely as if we were swinging bloodied fists. The first to move would be disadvantaged… ever so slight, but between reputations such as ours, neither wanted to lose that edge.

So we stand. So we stare. So we sweat. So we wait.

It has been years since I saw him last. I was young then. Weak. I remember the feel of my broken body, labored breathing, swollen-shut eyes… I remember almost letting myself drift to the light. I remember hearing the smirk on his voice as he gleefully reminds me of how they struggled, screamed, were finally silent… his chuckle before he saunters away. I remember deciding to live.

This time, I am ready. I watch as the drop of sweat rolls over his brow… into his eye.

He blinks.


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