The Penalty

I caught his kick in a chap kho, spun around and drove my elbow into his face, hearing the snap of bone that was wrong.

Samon’s body fell to the floor like a loose bowel, salting my legs with blood, and six thousand rabid muay Thai fans went fucking crazy.  Not because of what I did to him, but what he would do to me.

I collapsed beside him, shaking his lifeless body, begging for him to get up.  Terror gripped me by the back of the neck, for I knew I had taken an illegal shot – a horizontal backward thrust.  If your opponent dies from such a strike you are likely to get an ancient pahuyuth penalty.  The referee started chattering excitedly into the microphone and backed away from the body.

Panicked, I sprinted to the corner of the ring and tried to jump out, but my manager shoved me back in.  I went down hard on my ass, scuffing the backs of my legs on the mat.  His eyes met mine, and I knew there would be no escape.  I had to answer for what I’d done.  I would have to face the pahuyuth

A guttural snarl purred to life behind me – I heard it just before the crowd did – and then the place went into a frenzy.  I spun around and saw Samon get to his feet.  His eyes were yellow and his fingers had grown into long razors of curved bone.  His lips twisted into smile under the smashed remains of his nose.

I tried to get up, but tripped over my own feet and then he was on me.  I stared at the lights as he tore into my stomach and fed.  Soon the lights grew big enough to accept another tired fighter.  

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