Manerra remembered Tackta's grunts as he swung and the acrid stench of Tackta’s sweat, but not the pain of the blows.
After the beating, Tackta staggered away, leaving him curled on his side with his face in the sand. Matera crept to him and with a tentative hand, wiped blood-adhered sand from his brow and cheek. Her expression, her blood, terrified him. He sniffled and she lifted him from the ground, clutched him to her breast and rocked--without words and without tears--as if shock were communication and empathy enough. Only then did he feel pain: an excruciating hurt.
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