TITLE: RUTHIE 1:16
GENRE: Young Adult
The slime on Ruth’s face itched. It trapped the nervous sweat in her pores, wouldn’t let it run down her cheeks.
“All you, Ruthie, it’s all you. Stay focused,” her brother said from outside the ring. The string that cordoned him from her was a brick wall, that’s how good he was to her now. No help. She was alone.
They didn’t get girls in here much. Probably not at all if Cain had been right. He yelled at her again. “Watch the right, Ruthie.” She flicked her eyes to him, but he waved her gaze back to the man opposite her. The right. She’d watch the right. Her opponent was scant bigger than her, but the whispers from the watchers and money changing hands said he had won fights. Good money was on him. Her lungs filled with the damp air that permeated the small underground room. Not much longer.
The official raised his arm. It sliced through the air. “Fight!”
She clamped her teeth onto her mouth guard, willed the vomit at the entrance of her throat to go back down until this was over. It would be quick. She was a natural, Cain had said so.
The boy came at her. His face, shiny with Vaseline like hers, but full of self-confidence, filled up her world before she ducked the premonitory right. The punch flew over her head. His body curved open to her. She took her chance, put all of her weight into the fist she planted into the exposed flesh of his ribs and felt them crack with the force.