Sticks and Stones
by Nathaniel Lee
The dead body was ugly, as dead bodies tended to be. The man’s face was swollen and purple-black with the blood that had pooled in his cheeks before congealing. Blood on the sidewalks had smeared with the rain before the sun rose. Lillian stared at the stains with her hands in her pockets, toying with her ring.
“Blunt force,” she said, not turning around. “Probably some pretty heavy words, by the look of them; he’s almost crushed. Loser, maybe. Failure. Took him by surprise, I think; the first blow from the back spun him around. You can see the blood spatter where he turned.”