A hand clasped me on the shoulder, shoving me into a wall. I made a weird choking sound as the wind was knocked out of me. "I couldn't find the place," I said, spitting up blood. Another hand came around and punched me in the stomach. "You were twenty minutes late. People are telling me you're the best thief in NYC?" Richie growled, a cigar tucked between his teeth. I gritted my bloodstained teeth together. His hand came around hard and punched me in the face. "I know criminals who could do it in half the time you did." My hearing was going, and my vision was failing, but I could make out a few of his words. A grin crossed my face, red liquid drizzling from my mouth, forming a puddle at my feet. I couldn't help but noticed that when Richie was angry he looked like a chubby naked-mole-rat. His nostrils flared and his face turned a bright shade of read. He leaned in close to my face so our noses were almost touching."What were you doing out there?" He said, "I saw a girl...who was she? If she's gettin' in the way of my business, trust me, she'll never see the light of day again." My muscles tensed, but I managed to keep the grin going. I couldn't let him know about Paulina. "Who was she!?" He shouted again, spitting onto my face. I let out a small chuckle, specks of blood splatting onto his skin. "Fine," he said, spinning on his heal, "boy's, you know what to do." Three men gathered around me. One dealt me a blow to my gut, another to my face, and one more to the ribs. I felt myself hit the wall in agony, and everything went black.
I was woken by a dripping sound. Water was splashing onto my face. There was a harrowing pain in my forehead, and my back, and my gut, and my ribs--basically my entire body was in excruciating pain. I tried to get up, I tried so hard to just pull myself to a sitting position, but I was hurt. I couldn't even raise my head. The best I could do was lay there with my eyes open, looking at the water dripping from the drain pipe above my forehead. At least the mobsters were nice enough to put me under a drainpipe.
I laid there for what felt like an eternity. Every time I tried to get up pain spread through my body like poison. Night was falling and the drops of water from the drainpipe had collected into a puddle beside my head. 'Just move,' I thought, 'just get up.' The sound of footsteps caught my attention. Were the mobsters coming back to end me? It didn't matter anyway. I was helpless--couldn't even move. I was pretty much a corpse already.
"Oh God, oh God," a voice cried as it neared me, "oh God." I felt someone's hand brush against my face, cleaning the blood off. "Don't be dead, don't be dead," it whimpered. I was too weak to open my eyes now but I mustered a cough, blood filling my mouth. Two hands grabbed my face and lifted my head. I groaned as I felt my body being hoisted into the air and onto someone's back. "Hope there's enough time," I heard him mumbling.
"Oh thank Jesus you're alive." It was the voice again. A man's voice. It was really high-pitched for a man though. He was waving a fan over my head, and the look on his face matched that of sheer relief. "Of course I'm not dead," I gagged. The taste of blood filled my mouth again. The man put a finger to my lips. "Don't talk, you're injured enough as it is. You need to rest." I shook my head and tried to get myself in a sitting position. "No!" The man snapped, "lay back down." "I've had enough lying down for one day," I said, pushing myself up. The man sat down next to me and pressed a hand against my back as I wobbled back and forth. "Calvin, you need to rest." My tired eyes shot directly at the man. My aching hand came up and felt my head. My wig was gone, so were my glasses. 'This man must be a criminal too," I thought, 'or else he wouldn't be helping me.'
"You suffered a large blow to the ribs," he said, breaking the silence. "I'm surprised you survived." I looked the man up and down. He was older than I was, in his thirties. He still looked young though. He had thin, light brown hair and kind, earthy green eyes. "Who are you," I said, still in a daze. The man stood up and went over to a small kitchen sink on the opposite side of the room. I sat their, staring at him in silence as he ran a towel under some cold water. He came back, sat down on the bed and lifted my shirt, dabbing the cloth on my wounds. "Jeeze," I said, my face cringing. Their were bruises everywhere, and I twinged in pain every time he touched them. "The names Sedgwick," he said, getting up again. He did the same thing to my back, pressing the cloth against each bruise. I made a squeaking sound as another wave of pain shot through me.
"Why did you rescue me?" I asked, my voice quieter than usual. He let out a loud laugh. "Why do you think?" He asked. I paused for a moment, staring into space. "Because I'm Calvin Cadwell?" I said blankly. Everything went still. Sedgwick stopped dabbing my back, and circled around to face me. "Look kid, I didn't rescue you because you're a famous criminal, that was just luck. I couldn't even see out there--nearly pitch black! I saved your butt because you were gonna die." I let out a laugh, but a violent pain spread through my stomach. "Ergh," I cried. I felt a hand press against my chest and lower me to the pillow.
"Listen," Sedgwick said, "I don't give a damn that you're Calvin Cadwell. I care that you stay alive. Promise me you'll stay alive, okay?" I grinned, blood trickling down the side of my face. 'Okay,' I mouthed.