Chapter 2Mature

Through the pouring sheets of rain ahead of me, I could make out four figures in the dark alleyway. The heaping piles of trash that littered the narrow alley and the rusty, disgusting, oily dumpsters that were discarded along the way made it that much smaller. The brick walls were stained black with the illegal graffitti that coated the place. The alley was only illuminated by a single, florescent, motioncensored light, and that didn't help at all. For only a moment, everything was silent, until a second scream bounced off the walls of the tiny alley; this one was even more bloodcurdling than the last. The scream was immediatley followed by a hard smacking sound that cut the terrified howl off. I inclined my head towards the sound; going a few steps deeper into the alleyway. That's when I saw it happening. At the end of the alleyway, up against the freezing brick wall, was a woman. Her back was pressed firmly up against the wall, her throat held in a firm grip by a hooded figure; a pocket knife in his other hand. Two other men stood beside him; one had a steel pipe, the other had no such weapon. They were all wearing dark clothing; the woman was wearing a cream colored trench coat,  red, sparkling heels, little makeup, and a dazzling red dress that fell just below her knees. Her clothes were beyond soaked in the rain, as was my own. Over the knife wielding man's shoulder, I could see every inch of her face in the light above her. She had radiant green eyes, and they glowed like that of a cats. Her skin was slightly tan, but appeared to be extremely soft to the touch. Her dark brown hair fell to below her shoulders in soft, wavy, curls. Her nose was slightly longer than average. Her eye brows were darker and thicker at the bridge of her nose, but narrowed out and became lighter as they floated across her eye. I could see no blemish of any kind in her face. Too put it bluntly, she was beautiful. 

The crackling, weasel-like voice of the knife-wielder cut the silence of the dark atmosphere, "C'mon, girly, just hand over what you've got on you, and we'll let you go. Easy as pie." 

The girl spat at him through gritted teeth, "Fuck you." In a flash of movement, she managed to swat the man's arm off of her throat and rammed her knee straight into the crouch of the knife wielder. The man never saw it coming; in a matter of seconds he was on his hands and knees, gagging and squealing in pure agony on the wet, concrete floor. 

The weaponless man reacted immediately; he took two long strides towards the girl and threw a strong punch straight into the woman's left cheek. She screamed as she went down to the ground. She seethed in pain as she struggled to get back to her feet, but the knife wielder beat her to it. He lurched over her, grabbing the hair on the back of her head and tilting her face up towards him. He placed the blade of the pocket knife just below the base of the woman's neck. He seethed in fury, "I'm gonna kill this cunt. Marty, search her, then I'll slit her throat." He let out the last sentence with a savage, broken toothed, grin. 

The goon with the pipe, Marty, threw the weapon aside and began patting her down. She struggled against him, but the pocket knife held her firm in place. A few moments passed until Marty's hand stopped at the inside pocket of her trench coat. "Well well well," he snickered, "look what we have here." He produced a thick, vanilla envelope that was hastily taped shut. The woman spoke in protest, but the knife wielder pressed the blade deeper into her neck. A small drop of blood flowed from the cut and onto the knife. Marty opened the envelope and pulled out a very thick wad of hundred dollar bills all bounded together by heavy rubber bands. "Jackpot!" exclaimed Marty. He stuffed the bills into his sweatshirt pocket and happily slapped his boss on the shoulder, "Boss, let's get back and count this dough! Theres gotta be at least a hundred grand in here!" His boss flashed the woman a wild grin in response,

"Well, darling, I guess you had more on you than I thought." He removed the blade from her neck, "That wasn't so hard now was it? Now, be a good girl and don't call the cops after we leave this place, otherwise me and my boys'll come after ya!" He suddenly paused and then let out a hoarse laugh, "Actually...hell, do whatever you want. Most of these cops are too corrupt to do anything anyway! Hahaha! Come on, guys, lets get out of here."All three of them spun around and began walking out of the alley, when they suddenly stopped short, finally noticing me standing in the middle of the alley, soaked by the rain with my arms folded across my chest. I yelled out to them defiantly,

"You're going to give that back to her, right?" 

Obviously, the leader of the trio stepped forward, swinging the vanilla envelope in the rain like it was a prize he recently won, "What? You mean this thing?" He stuffed it into the back of his pants, "Fat chance, kid. Get outta here before you get hurt." 

I could've walked away at that point and none of this would have happened. I could have just left and let those men do their thing; never getting involved in the mess I am now. But I now realize that I never would've just left, even if given a million chances to do otherwise. That's just not who I am. So, after the thugs realized that I wasn't going anywhere, the knife wielder merely pointed at me, "Go take care of him. Beat him within an inch of his life, that'll teach him to mind his damn business." 

The guy with no weapon, and the guy with the pipe, Marty, smiled evilly as they began advancing towards me. Marty lightly tapped his buddy on the shoulder and said, "Age before beauty?" His goon friend only shrugged in response. 

They've done this a thousand times. I thought to myself. They think that taking me down will be a piece of cake. The weaponless man strode confidently towards me, throwing his arms out wide, revealing his entire body for me to attack, "Come on, little man," he teased, "let's see what you've got!" 

I raised my fists up to my face and took a fighting stance; moving my body perpendicular to my opponent. I made myself a smaller target. The man held up his own in response, but I made my move before he was even halfway through with the gesture. I threw a strong right jab that flew right through the thug's slightly raised fists and bashing him right in the nose. Before the guy could react, I followed through with a quick left hook to his jaw, then a strong right hook to his cheek. The goon's entire upper body swung to the side against my right hook, but he was surprisingly quick to counter. He hastily tossed a right hook towards me, but I easily blocked the attack with my left forearm. A palm strike to the base of the thug's neck was my next move, and as the wind was crushed out of him, he sagged over, which was just what I was expecting. As the man gagged for breath, I threw my right knee up and into his nose. I heard the crack echo from his face; a broken nose. The crushing blow tossed his head clear back and before he could regain his balance, I heel kicked him in the stomach. The guy was tossed back into the brick wall behind him; he slowly let out a defeated wheeze as he slumped to the ground, but I wasn't finished. I took off at a full sprint at his sagged form, ramming my left knee straight into the guy's face and bashing it against the brick wall behind him. His entire body went limp as he surrendered to the darkness of unconsciousness. The entire encounter lasted only about six seconds. It wasn't bad for how long I've been away from fighting. 

Cocky bastard. 

Just as I began to turn to my other two opponents, I was gifted with the view of a dark, wet, and metal object hurtling towards my face. In a split second, I managed to spin away from the pipe wielder's attack, but only by mere inches. The attacker, Marty, kept coming. He swung at me again, like a wild cat cornered in a cage. I ducked as the pipe sailed over my head, even closer this time. I threw a low jab into Marty's midsection, but all I felt was my hand get sucked into his body fat. Marty was a big guy...So before he could swing at me once more, I simply summersaulted away from him; getting to my feet as fast as I could to avoid another in coming attack, but it never came. I quickly spun back to Marty, but he only stood there, pipe in hand like a bat. "I'm gonna bust your head open!" he yelled at me. I said nothing, but thought,

We'll see, fatass, we'll see. 

"Hey! Let's get this over with!" The leader yelled, flipping the blade from one hand to the other. He looked in no way affected by his partner's beat up. He only cares about the money. Marty took two huge strides to me, but I was ready this time. I took a quick shuffle slide towards Marty and sent a front snap kick right between his legs before he could even perform the swing.  In a cry of pure agony, Marty let the pipe slide through his fingertips as he went down towards his crotch, but I caught the weapon and slammed the side of the pipe straight into Marty's temple.  His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he fell to the rainy cement ground. I let the weapon slip from my cold hands and clatter on the ground. I slowly turned to the knife wielder, who no longer had the cocky look he wore so well. He looked unsure of himself; almost afraid. Afraid of me; the feeling of being feared felt...good. 

The last thug looked around him nervously, as if there was any other way to escape this hell hole that he was thrown into. I believed that I had ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time, but now I realized that I was wrong; he was. After noticing that the only way out of the alley was through me, the weasel gave up, "Who the hell are you?" 

I couldn't help but flash my signature smirk, "Your worst nightmare." As the words left my lips I looked past the man standing before me to the girl who was only just standing up from the ground. The bruise from the knife wielder's punch was just beginning to form on her left cheek. A single, reflexive, tear flowed down her face. He was going to pay for that. Then my eyes refocused on my target, who was making one last effort to take me down, knife pointed out towards me. When he reached me, the thug swung the blade at my face, but I back stepped out of the way. He threw two more swings, but I dodged them easily. On his fourth attempt, I blocked the incoming strike with my forearm again, only this time, I locked his arm in place, elbow towards the ground. I held it firm in my grasp as I threw my open palm upward as hard as I could straight into the elbow joint of the thug. I felt and heard the man's arm bend and snap like a twig; the wrong way. As the man's jaw opened to let out a shriek of pain, I threw my right elbow into the throat of the weasel. The scream only came out as a hoarse whisper, but I wasn't done. I swung my right leg in between his and kicked out into the inside of his left kneecap. I felt the bones pop and shatter as his leg gave out and he tumbled to the floor. A single crushing blow to the face was all I needed to do to knock him out for good.

I stood over all three men, each of them groaning and moaning with their injuries. I knew that I had won and I felt great. I looked up to the pouring sky and let the rain wash away any perspiration that remained. It felt good.  Just then, the woman's ragged cough distracted me from my sense of victory. I looked back down towards her to see the woman walking towards me, attempting to gather whatever sense of dignity she had left. 

"Oh, I'm sorry." I said, ashamed. I knelt down next the leader of the crime trio and dug around his pockets until I found the vanilla envelope. The rain hadn't seeped through the paper to the money inside, but if mother nature continued to sob on us, it wouldn't be long before it did. I handed the package back to it's rightful owner, "Here's your money back." 

She looked down to the floor as she took it, "Thank you. I couldn't think about what I would've done with out this." She held it close to her chest, squeezing the money tightly before putting it back into her trench coat pocket. I stuck my hand out to her, "My names Jason. Jason Hawk."

She took it and shook gently, "Dakota Bates." Her hand was bitter cold. The rain had already soaked through both of our apparels. I felt my sweatshirt droop like a damp towel and my jeans were so baggy that they almost fell beneath my waist line. I also felt the water swishing underneath my socks in my shoes, and as for my socks, I would have to throw them away later. 

"You must be freezing." I said. I was freezing my ass off. 

Her instinctively hugged herself against the wet cold; the rain continued to bash down on us from above. "Yeah. It's horrible out here." 

I took her hand again, "Why don't we go to my place? It's only a few blocks from here, you could freshen up and maybe dry your clothes too." I regretted what I said as soon as it left my mouth. You idiot, you sound like you wanna get in her pants! I dragged my free hand down my face at my own stupidity. Dakota merely looked around her and bit her lower lip as she considered her options. Then she looked up at me and smiled, "Sure. Anything to get out of this storm." I only smiled and nodded. 

"Great. Let's get out of here." I led her out of the alley and we made the rest of the walk to my apartment. 

The End

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