Returning From the Dead

Darren couldn’t have smelled his favorite food if it were placed beneath his nose; his nasal cavity was clogged with shattered bits of bone and cartilage.

Coach’s voice could be heard in the distance, but, as the seconds moved along, Darren felt less less and less like the self he had sharpened for the past six-weeks. A dreamlike sequence—where the victor collected all the spoils—awoke into a prizefighter’s worst nightmare. Coach’s word’s were impossible to discern through all the banging on Darren’s eardrums. 

Darren detached from the possibility of being stuck in a state of slumber when his extremities, which were much heavier than he ever remembered, began coinciding with his consciousness. Coach instructed Darren to stay down. Darren would have obliged—he always listened to Coach—but the words didn’t completely register; therefore, he strained to get closer to Coach to better understand. A hand covered in latex pressed against Darren’s chest and guided him flat against the canvas.

As lucky as Darren was to have Coach in his life, he, at the moment, searched his memory’s archive of Coach telling him he had a twin; the pair hovered over him with looks of grave concern painted on their weathered faces. The lights surrounding Darren blurred into a blinding array, reminding him of the nights he’d driven home following a full shift at the lumber yard and an exhaustive sparring session in the gym—all while cutting weight for an upcoming title fight. The more things pixelated into view, the less Darren liked the picture.

When Darren attempted to ask What happened?, he realized: the sweetness of victory had soured into a thick mouthful of copper behind loosened teeth. A mixture of coughing blood and a slow return to his vocabulary bank made Darren’s speech an incoherent babble. At the onset of trying to form words, Coach and the cage side physicians were pleased that more signs of recovery were present.

Finally, Darren, sitting upright on a stool, asked—for what he believed to be the fifth or sixth time—“What happened?”

“You got caught with a head kick,” Coach responded.

Prompted from Dee Kelly’s Word of the Day Challenge: https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/babble/.

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