Hell's Kitcen

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Hell’s Kitchen
H. Toogood
Grey eyes. Grey like steel. Less an Iris, more a mottled expansion to the whites. When he was born, Ben’s eyes had been a startling blue. By the time Ben Miller was twenty, they were a faded aqua. Now, at seventy-two they were like saucers of milk, left out a day too long. It made him grow pale with fear, how all things warped with change. Surrounding these two bleached eyes was deep craggy skin, olive and speckled with liver-spots. Hundreds of scars and burns littered his body. They were ugly, but made him smile. They were the medals showing his hard and varied life, each one had seemingly been there forever, and each telling a chapter of his story. He looked down at himself; a pristine white shirt, brown jersey, grey trousers, brown shoes. Nondescript clothes, to try and blend in. People still stared even now. His hands were covered with flinty, conditioned skin like leather. One of them anyway. Where his right hand was, there was now a scarred stump. This bought no feeling of shock or hysteria; it was as much of him as the sun was of the sky. *

He was living in New York, in the district known as “Hell’s Kitchen”, the roughest place there. Twenty-three, and the most infamous boxer anyone had heard of. He wasn’t one of the rules-and-regulations league fighters; He fought dirty. He didn’t known any other way. Known as the most brutal, bloodthirsty fighter to appear in decades, he was a favourite for the savage audiences. The scariest thing about him wasn’t that he had no qualms about breaking arms, or even that one time he gouged out a man’s eye. It was that Ben simply didn’t mind getting hit. With his abusive drunk of a father, who was intent on beating Ben within an inch of his life, he was plenty used to being hit. When he was eighteen his father was jailed for killing Ben’s mother, he left and needed money. He hated fighting, but it bought the cash in. After twenty-three fights undefeated, his manager...
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