The second thing he noticed was the bat. It was singing through the air, although he couldn’t hear it.

   He rolled right, flying off the pillar. He could hear the reverberating thud of the bat connecting with the spot where he just stood.

   Blood screamed through him. It was exhilarating. Frightening.

   The tidal wave, Rex Antonius was a beast of a man. A titanic frame of corded muscle and iron bone, and all of it reeked with fury for Derek.

   Wrestling prodigy, 6 foot– 5 inches. Standard wood baseball bat. Angry.

   The mass lunged toward him, wielding the bat around with only his left hand to bring it crashing on Derek’s right side.

   He’d expect me to keep my distance.

   Responded in kind, Derek didn’t wait for the blow to land. He stepped into the swing, his cast-arm raised. He could see Rex’s surprise.

   “Anger is a stupid emotion,” Tansen had said

   Rex’s left wrist connected with Derek’s right armpit. It stung a bit, but the important thing was the bat continued in a fierce arc behind Derek.

   Rex’s free hand was already moving, about to strike at Derek’s head.

   “You can tell, when the stupid use anger. The stupid shows.”

   In a single move, Derek blocked the strike aside with his left and brought his broken arm down around Rex’s, trapping it.


   Derek swiftly continued the block into a push, throwing Rex’s arm away. An exposed center.

   “They worry too much about hitting first.”

   Derek slapped his left hand up high, against the back of Rex’s neck.

   “About hitting hard, hitting strong.”

   Derek felt it.


   "They all end up as Achilles.”


The End

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