I felt his hand on my face, pressing it sideways against the floor. He was pulling my scarf down to get a better look at me I guessed. It left me with an opening, the only thing I could think of. I opened my mouth jerked my head and prayed he was an idiot.
Never, ever put your fingers anywhere near someone’s mouth in a fight.
I closed around it and bit down as hard as I could. If I hadn’t been pumped full of adrenaline I probably would have thrown up. I felt the bone crack and tasted the hot, metallic blood. I could hear him screaming and yanking his hand away from me. I guess that wasn’t the best way to react because it ended up with me tearing a chunk of his finger off.
Instinctively I immediately spat it at him. He’d let go of my right hand and in the confusion I managed to pull my left free from under him. I’d dropped my baton at some point but I didn’t even notice until I saw myself hitting him in the face as hard as possible with my fists.
Twisting myself to get out from under him I rolled away.
I had to get to my feet; there was still one guy left.
Jumping up I immediately kicked the guy I’d escaped from underneath as hard as I could in the head. He was still kneeling on the ground and it felt like I was kicking a football. My head spun and I immediately lost my balance and fell against the wall.
Panting and spitting blood. I looked up. Our fight couldn’t have taken long, even if it felt like an age. Across from me, jaw dropped, were the three remaining people in the room. The older woman just looked shocked but the other guy was visibly pale, he kept looking at me and then the bodies on the floor.
I pulled my scarf back up again to hide my face and pushed away from the wall to stand to my full height of nearly-5 feet. Intimidation. Hell yeah.
I honestly didn’t think I could manage to walk over to where my baton lay on the floor without falling over or throwing up so in as fluid a movement as I could manage I ripped my spare off my right thigh.
His eyes widened. He started inching round the room holding the young girl out like a shield. I watched him – not confident I’d be able to get near him without falling on my face let alone beat him. As he got near the door he threw the woman towards me and ran.
* * *
There was a silence and I slid down the wall and rested my head on my arms. I felt so bad. My face was beginning to throb and feel hot. I noticed my nose was hurting like hell, along with a lot of the rest of me.
I looked at my hands, they were covered in blood – some of it was probably mine but most was from that guys finger…
Had I just bitten off someone’s finger?
I felt myself gag. I managed to turn to my side and lower my scarf before throwing up, at least I didn’t get it all down my front. After a bit of retching I was feeling much better. I might be able to manage standing up now.
“Err, are you ok?” Oh fuck, I don’t want to deal with people right now. I need to put on a face though.
“Yes.” No. But what else could I say?
“What the fuck? Why the hell did you just do that!?” I looked up at her, she looked angrily at me. Damn, she is not reacting well to this. I got to my feet just in case she was going to try something. I doubted she would though.
“What they were doing was wrong; they were threatening you for money. I stopped them.” Why was that bad?
“Oh, yeah, because now we are going to be really safe what with a room full of dead fucking Kolmek.” She was shouting now. Besides I didn’t think I’d killed any of them, I hoped not. “They are really going to take that well!”
I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose she was in a tough situation.
“By the sounds of it they would have hurt you plenty for not paying. If you couldn’t pay this month, what about next? The one after that?”
“It would have been better than this! They are going to fucking kill us!” I wish she would shut up and make the best of this situation. She was physically unharmed, if I had done nothing chances are she would have been seriously hurt, I’m sure she can deal with staying low for a bit.
Instead of arguing, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through to her, I started to check the prone bodies. They all had a pulse. I kicked the baseball bat into the corner just in case. Picking up my discarded baton I strapped them both back in their holsters. Then I started searching their pockets for wallets.
“You’re a thief? Is that why you did this?” She said.
I gave her a glare. “This is not their money.”
I continued, taking the money from the wallets and giving it a quick count. It came to about ten thousand.
“Here.” I said, holding it out to her. “Compensation. Go find somewhere else to live in another gang’s territory.”
“What the fuck? Who the fuck are you? Why are you giving it to me?” She said, dumfounded.
“It sounds like you need it that’s all.” I shrugged.
“No, I mean, why did you come barging in here dressed like that?”
“I don’t like what these people do, the way they treat people. They profit by making everyone else’s life shit.” I looked at her. “No one else is prepared to do anything. I bet they’ve stolen more than this from you – in my mind that makes it your money.”
“So what, you’re some kind of vigilante? Going out and…” She glanced at the bodies on the floor.
“I suppose I am. I’ve got to get out of here. You should too. I’m sorry if I didn’t help here. Maybe if I do this enough I can help in the long run.” I started towards the door.
“Wait, aren’t you gonna call the police or something?” I stopped.
“What? Why?” I asked.
“To come pick these guys up, I dunno.” She said.
“I’ve never seen a policeman in the Island before, what makes you think they will come?” I sighed. “Besides I don’t have a phone. Also the scene is covered in my blood. Look after her would you.”
I nodded to the younger girl, who was sitting on one of the sofas with her head in her hands still making quiet sobbing noises.
“I always have.” She said.
As soon as I was out of the room I dropped my act and staggered to the stairs. I was a real mess. It was difficult placing my feet where I wanted and the room was spinning. I felt the urge to throw up again.
Eventually I managed to get to where I’d hidden my backpack and grab the battered grey hooded jacket I’d bought second hand. It was far too big for me and served to cover up my armour. Drawing the hood up I slowly walked back to my garage. I kept a hand on the wall when I could to keep myself steady.
I made it after what felt like a week long trek. The snow was beginning to fall in earnest and it made things harder for me with my balance so skewed. I didn’t put much effort into backtracking or any other trail confusing tactics – I really couldn’t manage it.
The garage was cold – I made a mental note to get some blankets some time in case I had to spend the night. I had to get home and sleep – because sleep sure was a good idea after a head injury. Nothing I could do about it, I was bone tired.
I peeled off my armour panels, they seemed to have held up well. I’d probably need to wash the blood out… I inspected my batons for damage, there were a few chips to the coating but no bends or cracks. I changed into my normal clothes and left everything strewn around the room. I had no energy to be organised.
The walk home was worse. The coat Beth lent me was wonderful but the cold still bit through it. My fingers stung even stuffed in my pockets. I slipped and fell twice.
I didn’t bother with a shower when I got home. I went straight to my bundle of blankets and wrapped them round myself – clothes and all trying to warm up. I slept almost instantly despite the cold.