Here is something I wrote a few years ago. It took a lot of elbow grease to straighten it out! I guess it’s proof that I really have learned some things since then. I still would give it another… six revisions if I weren’t so tired.
This one’s for Tom, author of Slumdog Soldier. If you guys want to read some addictive action and make a nice friend, check out his site.
Walking alone in the park was foolish at the best of times, but tonight was Mardi Gras. People were especially rowdy and dangerous.
Still, there were things she needed from the store. If she didn’t get something for her lunch tomorrow she would be stuck with convenience store food.
She wasn’t comfortable on the street with all the dancing, jostling, vomiting drunks (any one of them could be a criminal) so she decided to take a shortcut through the park. Tucking her purse safely under her arm, she headed down the path toward the dark trees.
She had made it nearly halfway through the park when she noticed a man following her at a distance.
Maybe the park hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
Clutching her purse even closer, she quickened her pace.
There was a rustle in the woods, and a second man emerged from the trees just ahead of her. He brandished a pocket knife so small, she had to wonder if bringing it to the mugging had been an afterthought.
The first man wrapped a cool metal wire around her neck and pressed himself against her back.
“Are you robbing me?” She said, aghast. She’d never been in a fight before.
“Shh,” the man with the knife said. He buried his face where her neck met her shoulder and inhaled deeply. He still held his knife, but he was distracted and it was loose in his hand at his side. His neck, dark with stubble, stretched in front of her as he took his first taste of her skin. He was so close that she could see the jugular veins throb beside his esophagus.
She had spent her whole life trying to be gentle. But these two were clearly a lower class of human, undeserving, uncivilized. Criminal.
Just this once, she gave herself permission to join their level.
With one hand, she batted the knife from his distracted grip and let it fall onto the leafy path. With the other, she grabbed the back of his neck and brought his throat toward her open teeth. She sank in with a crunch of gristle. Metallic blood welled into her mouth.
The man didn’t scream; he couldn’t. He brought both hands up and tried to push her away, then stopped when he felt the increased tugging of her teeth at his still connected flesh. So she did it for him, with a well-placed kick to the groin.
He staggered backwards, pouring blood black in the moonlight.
Her victory came at a price: the man behind her tightened the garrote around her neck. She couldn’t breathe. Her decision to fight tonight could very well cost her her life. The sharp wire cut through her skin, and deeper.
She was ready. She would take any damage necessary, if it meant she could deal equal damage to her attacker.
With that resolve, she stomped as hard as she could on the top of his foot once, twice. She heard more than felt his metatarsal snap, but it didn’t make him let go. Fine. She drove her elbow into his gut with everything she had, then fell backwards into him. They hit the ground together, which caused him to slacken his grip just long enough for her to work her fingers under the wire.
She could run out of air at any second, but she still hadn’t done this man any significant damage. Her survival was secondary to that.
He would not let go of the garrote, but her fingers prevented him from killing her outright. He lay on the ground and she was almost atop him, on her side. How could she hurt him? His grip was unbreakable, and he had good pain tolerance… but he had reacted to the belly blow. His gut was his soft spot.
She drove her elbow into his stomach, then again, repeatedly, until she felt a small bone under his ribcage snap. This wasn’t enough. He wouldn’t die from this, and he knew the surest way to win was to hang on to his weapon just a little longer.
Her lungs burned, her eyes saw pink. Was that from the garrote or something else? She pawed the ground for a weapon, but there was nothing. Only solid rock. Solid rock…
She ceased her assault on his diaphragm and grabbed his hair with her free hand. Quickly, before he tensed up, as fast and as hard as she could, she raised his head by the hair and slammed it into the concrete path, then again, then again. Each blow weakened his grip on the garrote. The sounds of his skull hitting the cement got wetter, until he didn’t have any fight left.
She stood up, unwrapping the wire from her neck.
The first man’s Adam’s apple was still in her mouth? She spat it out and wiped her lips with the back of her sleeve.
She’d never committed a crime, so they wouldn’t be able to match her fingerprints or dna. If she just walked away now, there was a solid chance she would never get caught. She would have to rinse off in the dark pond before going back into the street.
Fortunately, it was Mardis Gras. Everyone looked criminal at this hour. She would blend right in.