The Last Day The Sun Danced | Liam Pender


The Last Day The Sun Danced

Liam Pender


My eyebrow throbbed as salty sweat dripped from my forehead into the opened wound. Mixing with blood it formed a red screen as it gushed over my eyes. Through the red I could make out the blurry figure of a man with his fists primed to strike. The figure was no longer the brown skinned athlete I had climbed into the ring to do battle against. He was an elusive crimson shadow.

I attacked, but as my fist reached him it met no resistance. He had vanished. The figure reappeared, this time to my right.

Breathing out I tried to regain my composure. He was a nobody I reminded myself. I am the champion. I fought and won this belt. I am the glittering sun. He is a naive pretender.

Patiently, I waited for the shadowy figure to slip within range. I saw my opening. Straining every muscle from my toes through my calves, thighs, torso and arm, I hurled my fist. Again, the figure vanished. I had committed my entire body. My fingers headed towards the mat, my body followed unwillingly. I steadied myself. Years of experience made that easy.

The blow to my head was sudden. I saw his fist from the corner of my eye. It struck my chin like a hammer to a brick wall. But the wall was weak. The bricks cracking, the mortar soft with age.

My feet were in rebellion. They no longer listened to my orders, instead moving in their own fashion.

My eyes were closed but I could feel that I was falling. I reached out to grasp something. I found only air. I was the setting sun and the mat was my horizon. With one strike my career had ended.

Don McCrady Invitational Award