When I came to, I didn’t hear the 60,000 onlookers or the vulturine medical flock hovering over me. My father’s voice preluded the recoloring of my world, telling me that this was nothing — just clearing the spider webs, knocking the rust off — as I stirred out from a pitch black abyss hidden within the byline of the pitch.
He was the reason I ever got into the game. He drilled it into me, from field to film, replicating and reviewing his own techniques. He’d laugh off the footage of him stumbling after errant headers — while he could, anyway. As I advanced, he precipitously regressed; from forgetfulness to belligerence to the irrevocable distortion of himself and his world.
I woke with my face bordering chalked and verdant grass. Echoes of my father cascaded from the stands. These were the memories he couldn’t keep. I let the doctors lead me away.
Written for Ad Hoc Fiction Issue 154, centered on the mandatory use of the prompt word ‘Rust.’