He would never know whether it was a sixth sense or the sight of a branch springing upward, shedding it's burden of snow, out of the corner of his eye.
Whatever the reason, he had begun to rise out of his crouched position and turn, so that the blow had not the force it might have.
As it was, it was stunning, and vibrated his skull down to the base of his neck.
Dallas Cowboys blue swam in front of him.
Another blow, more solid, more square.
A child's face, looking afraid. . .
He resisted consciousness, because he vaguely suspected that he probably would prefer to remain unconscious.
He became aware of his surroundings in waking glimpses, before squeezing his eyes tightly shut and willing himself back into darkness.
A dirt floor, exposed rafters with nails jutting through plywood, a pile of sticks in a corner, a card table stacked with cans, an ax handle that looked fleetingly familiar.
He knew the boy was there, and he knew he couldn't move. He lay on his side, with both arms behind him. His left arm was completely numb, but he could feel the rope chafing his right wrist.
He lay as still as possible, feeling that if he could avoid attention, life might go on indefinitely. Not ideal, but discomfort was better than any new developments.
He was in the back of the room, farthest from the door. Somehow that didn't disturb him as much as it might have, because no instinct stirred within him to escape. Not yet. It was easier to lay still.
The cold, seeping up from the earth, further immobilized him. The semi-fetal position sustained the little warmth remaining in his body, yet another reason for remaining completely stationary. He began to discern a cycle to life. The door would open at roughly regular intervals, and for a time he could sense no movement. During these times, the door would remain open, permitting an intrusive draft that dulled any relief he might've gleaned from his respites of solitude.
Following usually what seemed about ten minutes, the door would scrape closed, and the other cabin-dweller would take up residence in the cabin's one chair, and watch him, or so Joshua assumed, with his eyes shut.
Time passed, doors opened and closed. He shuddered and slept.
His captor's chair creaked and cans clattered.
Consciousness stalked his resistant brain.
Book Review: Peace for Today
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