* * *
'Get up, lad. You'll freeze to death like this.'
Zach raises his head. His skin and lips are already numb, his nostrils packed with ice crystals. The splint and dressing after they'd broken his nose had not felt much different-a foreign body, one which he'd welcomed as a constant reminder. He'd flushed the painkillers down the clinic loo. And six months later, one of the kids needed an implant for the two front teeth he'd lost; a few weeks afterwards, the second one spent ten days in intensive care; and the third would likely never father a child.
With gloved fists, Zach digs at his eyes like a small child but the lids are iced shut and it frightens him, that feeling of resistance, as if someone has used catgut to stitch away the evidence of his genetic code. The man helps Zach to a sitting position, and crouching before him, places