Caleb's Cage 

When he was eight, his porn-mogul uncle killed his father in a Shakespearean family feud. Now grown up, Artie Mitchell's son meets his demons in the ring.

Page 8 of 8

For a good minute, Hamlitt held his rival down, gathering energy for his last barrage. Suddenly, he rose up to his knees, straddling Caleb at the stomach, and began whaling punches on Caleb's face, like a windmill, one after the other. The crowd cheered more, sensing the finish.

Their instincts were right. Caleb's defenses dropped, and his body went limp. It could no longer defend itself. His face bobbed as if he were asleep, and the ref wedged a straight arm between the two men, halting Hamlitt's fist cocked in midair behind his head. The crowd cheered and booed, and immediately began calling for its next dish.

A bikini girl entered the cage with the MC and handed a dreary Hamlitt a very large trophy, which he just barely had the strength to hoist over his head. He spat out his mouthpiece and smiled.

Below him, Caleb left the cage, confused, his face swollen and blue with rivulets of blood trickling down his cheekbones. Breathing like a bull, he stood barefoot and shirtless in the evening heat, his chest heaving.

The fighter waved off his trainers and friends who gathered near him at the stairs. Then, after a few seconds, he tapped his hands together, and without a word turned away from the cage and walked across the dead dry grass toward his trailer, his demons behind him for the moment, but still very much alive.

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