He saw stars.
He was pleasantly surprised. Seeing stars; it’s not an uncommon metaphor, but he only now understood how accurate it was. Points of light, pink and blue and gold, and all very far away. They swirled around like glitter being stirred into a cauldron of ink.
He’d never been punched before.
He felt hardwood floor beneath his back. Must have fallen down; couldn’t remember. He was in the cauldron now, the twinkling blackness swirling round his head like a tornado. For a moment he thought he glimpsed a face.
Then, more punches.
His body went limp as his nerves chemically cried out to protect his face. Everything was puffing up; was his face made of balloons? His eyes swelled shut and he tasted blood and snot on the back of his tongue. He wanted to dunk his head in cool water and sleep for a hundred years.
Foreign and frightening sounds made his stomach turn. He did not realize they were coming from his own throat. What was that amongst the pained gurgling?
Perhaps he’d had the last laugh after all.