Sam sat staring at himself in the window.

It was raining.

It was always raining.

He brought his hand to his cheek, pressed, feeling the bone underneath. It was still tender, but it would do. Like his shitty life, his new face would do. And he’d have to get some money into his insurance before another trip to the emergency room.

He drained his beer, crushed the can and tossed it on the mound on the table. It hit the top, spinning, slid to the edge, and toppled over, onto the pile on the floor

He was never getting out of there.

A search light lit The Elevator as it climbed The Spyre. The flash taunted him. The Elevator was climbing. Taking some lucky bastard away from the Tow. The only way to escape the grind, the violence.

“That’ll do.”

He remembered the command. The one that stopped the pain, but not the shame.

The two words with the power to dole out just enough of a beating. To determine just enough of a warning. Painting the boundary within which he could play.

“That’ll do.”

That night, Sam had seen what was going to go down. It’s not like it was uncommon. This was how it was. You fought your way through The Tow. You done deals; you lied; you cheated; you fought your way to the top. Because it was only the toughest got to climb The Spyre. He’d huddled with his crew, told them to get out while they could. They counted as henchmen, as hired guns.

“You can kill the hired guns but you only beat the dealers.”

He passed them the days takings and told them the hospital he was registered in. Then all he had to do was wait. Or, becausehe was always a cock, walk through enemy terrotiory to short cut home.

***

The fist detonated, white hot, behind Sam’s eyes. His face hit the ground – not that it had so far to travel as he was already on his knees. His nose crumpled on impact.

“That’s going to cost me,” he thought.

A hand reached into his hair, gripping it, and pulled him back onto his knees. Blood and RealBone(tm) dripped over his lips.

“I need to cut that No one needs that much of a grip.” It was his last moment of clarity that night. The fist came down again, this time a ring sliced dangerously close to his eye. The ground was much less kind this time. He felt teeth shatter, his lips splitting, sliced inside and out.

A voice spoke from beyond the wall of fog rapidly moving in.

“That”ll do.”

***

Sam cried tears of frustration. Of impotence.

“It won’t do.” He sobbed. Shocked at the sound of his own voice. “It. Won’t. Do.”

A seething anger grew. A loathing of his place, his station. His shitty life. He kicked the table in front of him, sending cans flying. Sam leapt to his feet, screaming at himself.

“It won’t do. THIS. WON’T DO”

He set about his flat, his rage needing somewhere to go. It went into his furniture, into his walls. And it went on for hours. When it finished he may bleeding and sobbing on his floor.

Like so many other nights.

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