“Hey!” I called out, feigning bravado. “You motherfucker, you sold me some of that shit and it put my brother in fucking hospital.”
Maybe that would make the kid would think twice? The dealer turned to me. I suddenly realised he was over a foot taller than me. Shit.
“What did you say? You got a problem with my stuff? I haven’t seen you before in my life!”
“You can’t even remember last Friday? Are you taking your own shit or something?” I was making this up as I went along.
“Fuck you, girl. Go home to your mom or I’ll teach you what a real beating’s like.”
Maybe it had been a bad idea. I’ve spent all my life avoiding confrontation. Why did I just decide to throw that away? I had been angry and it appeared that made me astronomically stupid. I looked at the kid, backing away from the scene. He had a frightened look on his face. Maybe my impending death would scare some sense into him at least…
The big fellow took my silence as a sign of defiance it seemed. He took a step forwards, pushing out his chest.
Good – we are still in the ‘let’s see if I can threaten the other guy’ stage. Prowling around showing off our plumage, fluffing up our fur to make ourselves intimidating.
I was sorely lacking in fur to fluff. Rating my ability to intimidate? Short skinny girl? I was maybe slightly above ‘toddler’ at a push.
Still, it meant he could win at that and I’d back down. No fighting would have to take place; that was the idea. Almost all animal rituals surrounding fighting within species had this stage, where your opponent could back down and no one got hurt.
Except I didn’t back down. I stood my ground. Why? I have no idea. I found myself looking up at him defiantly, my chin nearly touching his chest.
Even if I wanted to fight him, it would have been sensible to keep my distance. Getting into a wrestling match with someone that much bigger and stronger than me? Bad Idea.
I wasn’t prepared to make the first move; I was hoping he’d back down out of morals – not wanting to sully his reputation hitting a little girl.
Thinking a thug on the streets of the Island had any reputation to sully was a mistake.
His left arm swung out. I darted sideways, trying to get some distance and avoid what I thought was a blow aimed at me. I was being stupid; it didn’t mean I wasn’t prepared to get out of the way.
I was not ready for the burst of pain as my head was wrenched back towards him. Any coherent thought I was capable of was stalled.
I found myself pulled back in close and my head pulled uncomfortably far back, exposing my throat. He must have taken a grab at my hair. I felt his other fingers slowly enclosed around my windpipe.
Feeling the panic building in my chest I flailed around, just causing myself more pain when I moved my head. I stopped moving and tried to calm myself. I had to look at this objectively.
Right, his left hand had a handful of my hair his right was around my throat. He wasn’t choking me – just making me feel uncomfortable. Letting me know he was in control.
Let’s see, what could take advantage of? Was I close enough to kick? Yep, targets? Crotch was the easiest, he hadn’t even turned his body sideways from me – he wasn’t expecting any retaliation. I could rake his shins or stamp on his feet. I had my hands free, what could I reach? Face, eyes, mouth, his hands. I could smack him in the ear? Nah, I didn’t know if that actually did anything or whether it was just made up.
Eyes or fingers? Eyes would be good – but while he still has hold of me blinding him wouldn’t be much good. Fingers then.
He had been talking; I had no idea what he‘d been saying though.
I took as deep a breath as I could manage and made my move in one. I brought my leg up to kick and grabbed the one of the two smallest fingers on the hand around my throat in each of my own; luckily it wasn’t in a fist. As my kick to his groin connected I pulled apart and twisted with as much force as I could, I felt at least one bone crack.
To my joy he let go of my hair to cradle his injured hand. That was a bad idea.
In fact, I don’t think he had recovered from the shock yet. I’d been expecting a fist the second I started fighting back. It seemed people were more likely to pause than act when inflicted with pain…
Anyway, it wouldn’t take him long to recover his wits. His was leaning forwards, his head at about my shoulder height.
I needed to end this.
After a moment’s thought I punched him in the side of the head as hard as I could. He fell onto his side like a puppet with its strings cut.
That was surprisingly easy.
I looked around in case he had any friends but there were few people around and no one was moving towards me. In fact, the only person who had even paid any attention was the kid, still standing. Watching.
I felt like I should say something but I couldn’t for the life of me think what.
I gave the unconscious body a shove to flip it onto its back and kneeled down. A quick check confirmed he was in fact unconscious and I hadn’t killed him. His jacket pocket held a wallet a wad of cash and 10 small bags of white powder. I took out his ID and pocketed it, I don’t know why. I wasn’t sure if I should take the money, but figured it was the best way of inconveniencing his superiors – I didn’t have to spend it.
I was tempted to force all the drugs down his throat but it was too brutal a symbol for me. I didn’t want anyone to die from an overdose. Instead I ripped open the packages and poured the powder into the muddy road, stamping it in with my shoe.
I stood up. I wondered how long he would be unconscious. Was it common to throw up after a head injury? I didn’t think being on your back would be ideal – not wanting the guy to choke on his own vomit I flipped him onto his side with the tip of my foot.
Anything else that happened to an unconscious body in the middle of the island was his fault I figured.
I’d worked out what to say to the kid.
Kid is just like, “Jesus. All that arguing for nothing. My last dose hasn’t worn off yet, apparently!”
Seemed pretty realistic until the knock-out, which I’m sure is justified with enhanced strength. Just worried about the depiction of unconsciousness, as such is pretty hard to cause and typically will result in brain damage if it lasts for more than about two minutes. And old and convenient trope, but hopefully dying.
Typos: “brother in fucking hospital”
I did actually consider this while deciding how realistic knock-out should be in the book. It is just so convenient though… There is a good reason all fiction ever has knock-outs working like that!
Unless I have her carry around some kind of drug…
Not so sure about a knockout being abnormal here. A hammer-fist blow to the side of the head if you are completely unprepared for it, undefended, is pretty brutal. Sure she might be small, but she’s fast, and precise.
I’m going to be so angry if she doesn’t spend that money. There is no good reason not to, that I can see. If she spends it, it won’t change anything, except that she’ll get a decent meal or some new clothes.