Sudden realization

While re-examining a piece I did last year for submission, I suddenly realized that it had (what I now consider) a beautiful ending spot, but silly me insisted on writing a lot of extra scenes that bloated it into something grotesque. This is my favourite part:

“One,” he said, although he didn’t mean to. “I have one secret.”


“You have to promise not to get mad.”

Sage crushed out her cigarette. “Sure. You’re on.”

“Dad fucked up my arm,” Patrick said. “We had a fight after you and Mariah left for good. Roy got me on the floor. He bent my elbow back. I don’t know how he did it. It just hurt.” He blinked at her. “And that’s why I don’t play bass anymore. Because I can’t.”

To his surprise, Sage didn’t flip out. No lethal calm stole over her. She simply stretched out beside him on her side so that they faced on another, twin-like. “What did you fight about?”

You. It was about you. Christ, if you knew the things he accused me of thinking about you. “He said something about you I didn’t like. So I hit him. And then he made me pay for it.”

She poked his shoulder. “You were injured defending the honor of a lady, huh?”

“A lady? Really? You think so?”

Her face moved and he saw the piercing at the center of her tongue; the little ball glowed in the dark. Then it disappeared; she was no longer sticking her tongue out at him. “This lady nursed you back to health that time, you know,” she said. “This lady took your drugged ass back to bed and stayed with you.”

“I remember. I woke up and you were reading Nietzsche.”

“Breakfast of champions.”

“No, it was Nietzsche.”

“I know that! I was there! I was making a joke.”

“So was I.”

Warm fingers fluttered over his mouth. “I have a secret, too,” Sage said, her voice terse and small as though compressed by the surrounding shadows. “But I’m scared. I’m really scared.”

He carefully moved her hand away. “Why are you scared? It’s just me.” Patrick dug his head further into the pillows. “I’m your brother.”

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