The following is an excerpt from The Scarring, one of fifteen stories in the collection, Voices. You can find Voices on Amazon here, or you can contact A.J. Brown directly at email@example.com if you would like an autographed print version of the collection.
The Scarring (an excerpt)
On the bed lay the drunken man, his eyes wide and bloodshot. They darted from side to side. His mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water, but he only managed a few strangled croaks. His arms and legs were bound to the bedposts with ropes. He was as naked as the day he came into the world.
“Do you hate?”
The first scar came at the age of eleven, courtesy of an angry father and a bottle of whiskey. He had ducked when the old man threw the bottle. It shattered against the wall, slivers of glass spraying back at him, along with the remainder of the caramel-colored liquid.
He probably wouldn’t have been scarred if only small pieces of glass had pricked his skin. If not for the old man’s follow-up to the bottle toss, he would have been just fine. But the old man chased the broken glass like a beer at a drinking party, and the smack to the back of the head was unseen. He—Nothing was his name—went sprawling backward, hands out behind him, a heavy sting on the side of his face. A gash appeared from mid-forearm to elbow when he landed among the shattered glass.
Nothing bled. He cried, and as he did so, his father wailed on him, telling him to “clam it up, boy, or I’ll clam it up for you.”
Mom stitched him up with a sewing needle and thread as thick as fishing line. Nothing wasn’t sure which was worse, the initial slice of skin by glass or the constant poke of the needle and tug of thread.
The skin puckered over time, leaving a pink welt of flesh that grew as he grew, never shrinking, and a constant reminder …