First chapter of Granite Grit. The story of one mans self destructing downward spiral to find and destroy the demons in his head from his brutal past. Taking you on a journey through love, hate, determination, destruction, violence and back to love.
The Beginning of the End:
Standing in this run-down retired shipyard building on the banks of the Clyde, a desolate part of Glasgow, staring down at the palms of my shaking hands I wondered what my fists had turned me into. Questioning how I let things escalate this far.
Across from me was a beast, a monster like no other I had encountered, a modern day barbarian intent on seeing me defeated, lying in a puddle of my own blood and piss. A man with no mercy who destroyed everyone he had faced. He earned his reputation as the hardest man with two fists in the country.
That nonchalant look as he stared me down across the circle of thugs and gangsters was one I had never previously witnessed, no signs of weakness but instead a burning fire fuelled by his hatred of life hidden beneath intense, intimidating eyes.
The doubts were racing around my head like never before, where will I be after this is all over? Am I going to make it through this?
But this was no time to reflect. I had to stay focused on the task at hand, or I’d be lifted off this cold concrete floor in a body bag.
It was the money, or so I kept telling myself, but to be truthful, I was hooked on the game. The buzz of the crowd, the feeling of tearing your opponent apart, the adrenaline rush when you swap punches, and of course the sight of your foe lying on the floor partially paralysed. The cash handed to you upon victory was secondary to the real reason I stood in this basement.
The countdown was on. Five minutes to go.
There would be a duel between two warriors that no one in this crowd of peasants had seen before and a battle no one in this room will forget. My hands began to feel clammy with sweat and my legs started to shake with fear. All this was hidden on the inside, but on the outside, the only feeling that was projected from my face and pumped-up frame was the need to see the Reaper broken down, in pain, bloodied, bruised and begging for his life.
I was the main man. The top dog. Not him. He was just some cunt in the way of me becoming the hardest in the country. I had come too far, gave up everything, lost the love of my life and my two kids, to let this degenerate Liverpool faggot beat me.
Time was ticking and I could smell his blood, could picture me smashing his head off the concrete floor. He gave another stare from across the room. He looked as pumped as I did, standing a few inches taller than me, every bit of his body rippled with muscle. His arms were bulging, his stomach, body and back were all ripped, with a set of traps on him that made seeing his neck difficult.
His physique and the look of hatred in his eyes made him spine-chillingly evil to face. His two sidekicks looked as if they were giving him his last pep talk. That wasn’t going to help him, no pep talk was going to stop me fucking him up and sending him in a taxi to the morgue.
I took my eyes off his, turned my back and gave myself a final word, as the memory of my murdered mate ran through my head.
Things went unusually dead in the room, as if the crowd were awaiting the starting pistol for a hundred metre race. Everybody knew what they were about to witness, they knew history in the underworld was about to happen. I briefly felt a shiver up my spine and the strangest feeling I had been here before, or maybe this was my destiny?
A shout of a minute to go came. This was it. The time had come to dethrone this cunt and separate his head from his body. My heart beating like a mad man, the adrenaline kicked into overdrive and my blood pumped through my veins with fear, my breath heavy in anger and anticipation of the first exchange of fists.
Tim, one of a few friends I had left that didn’t fear me, turned and fixed his stare into my eyes, nodding his head. “You fucking ready for this Joe?”
“Born ready, my friend.”
“Last man standing, no fucking mercy, or you’ll be a dead man.”
“There will be none” I answered, no sign of remorse for what I had to do, or what he might do to me.
“No guts! No glory!” Tim grunted from the depths of his throat.
“Let’s get the show on the road.” The so called ref in the middle of me and The Reaper shouted.
Tim took a step back, still looking at me with overwhelming uncertainty, anxiety written over his face, as if this could be the last time we exchange words.
I turned around, stepped towards The Reaper, leaving all doubt behind, ready to fight for my right to exist. As The Reaper did the same, our eyes locked, glaring at each other like a couple of battle-hardened warriors.
We met in the middle…