No title yet because I'm bad at titles. It's much more traditional than the fiction I usually write. Anyway, this is what I got so far.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I want it out. As in, I don’t want anything left there.”
“This is a permanent operation. it’s not like I can stick it back in if you change your. . .”
“I know that’s the whole point! Just rip the damn thing outta me!”
“Okay. Just making sure you realize what you’re doing.”
Danny laid his head back down on the Egyptian (or Indian, no one really knew) rug covering the warm damp earth and stared at the flawless seams of the tent. Marla sighed, tied up her auburn and gray hair, and started rummaging through her deerskin bag. It was after midnight and the cicadas were droning outside and the fireflies were floating through the humid Shawtowne air. Inside the tent Danny lied across the rug with his jaw clenched, surrounded by candles, bracelets, pictures, powders, small esoteric tools. . .he didn’t even bother to take a good look at any of them. Marla paused and looked down at the young man in front of her; his sunken cheeks were exaggerated by the candle lights and his eyes were watery. He was thin, pale, and his limbs were visibly vibrating. Marla reached in her bag, pulled out a small empty glass vile, and frowned.
“I’m so sorry, but you’ll have to be awake the whole time,” she said as she placed the vial back in her bag. Danny lifted his head and grimaced.
“What? Can’t you do some sort of spell or something? I mean, that’s what I came here for.”
“It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just perform a spell on my own, I need things. And what I need is not available right now. If you swallow a piece of this bark I have,” she reached in her bag, pulled out what looked like a twisted piece of wood, and broke off the end of it,”it will dull the pain some. But nothing I have can completely get rid of it. Do you still want to do this?”
Danny sat up, snatched the root, and stuck it in his mouth. It tasted like licorice and left his throat, chest, and stomach feeling fuzzy after he swallowed it. Marla pulled a knife from her belt and asked him to take his vest and shirt off. He felt a sudden jolt and saw a very brief flash of harsh light, but ignored it and complied. He sat there half naked, gradually breathing heavier as the thing he came here for became more and more tangible. He saw the orange glow of the candle flame against the cool knife and suddenly felt paralyzed.
“So, may I ask why you want this?”
Suddenly Danny snapped back into himself and flatly answered, “No.”
“Do you think maybe you should. . .”
“Listen lady, you got my thirty pons, now do your fucking job! I’m not here to make friends with you or tell my life story. I just want the damn thing out.”
“Fine then. Just lie back down and. . .um. . .here,” she grabbed a stick from the ground behind her, “bite down on this.”
Danny held the wood between his teeth but couldn’t understand why. The only feeling he had was in his fingertips; the rest of his body was numb and warm. He watched Marla inch her way next to him and take a deep breath. She placed her hand on the center of his chest and left it there for a moment with her eyes closed, then her eyes shot wide open. He tried not to think about what was happening and instead focused on the relief he was sure this would bring. No more. Done. Finally. That’s all I want.
Marla slid her hand from his chest to his shoulder, then gingerly ran the tip of the knife up, down, and across, about a centimeter above his bare wiry chest. She sat back, then straddled him. She raised the knife, bit her lip, then brought it down with a sordid crack and Danny saw the same flash again, followed by an obnoxious tearing and grinding sound. Everything was vibrating and the tent was shaking as Danny bit down on the twig until it broke and let out a scream before everything went black.