"Hey!" I yelled.
I didn't mean it. It was out of my mouth - a cold breath in, a warm breath out- and then it went all bells and whistles around the neighborhood. It carried back and forth though these old, vacant lots. Not vacant enough, though, to prevent it from finally pinballing back to us. Us, in that we sense, of not only me, the two people about half a football field away. One guy, one girl.
My brain blanked a second, and in the time that fell between what happened and what didn't, I evaluated this:
- How surprising the very sound had been. How, if a sound could actually make something happen, the sound I had just made would, definitely, be it. I was witnessing a miracle. An intangible thing turning as tangible as a slap right in front of my face.
- How, as the guy turned his attention from the other girl to me, I'd succeeded in whatever intention my unconscious self had had for this scenario. Apparently, now that my resting self, and my conscious self were finally talking again, I was going to be a hero. Whatever end my unconscious self had for either of us, at least the girl at the end of the field wouldn't feel alone.
Team Solidarity for the mother fuckin' win!
Only problem, I had nothing on me. No weapon more complicated than a spoon. I'd taken down guys before, but the guy at the end of the field was a monster. Two and a half bucks, easy, and I weighed in at 110.
He moved like he'd grown up stalking things. Like a hunter's son, trying for the perfect approval. He wanted to put me down.
I shrugged my jacket, watching the girl take out her phone and dial.
I raised a small prayer. It left just as unconsciously as this whole thing started, and I gave pause to the thought that maybe I should put a little more brain power into considering things before I actually did them!
When he came at me, I'd already curved the plastic spoon into the palm of my hand, the hardened plastic digging into my pulse. I'd left less than a millimeter or two of it exposed, just sharp enough to cut into his face. To leave a huge pressing injury, blinding his eye, a crescent shape cut from his forehead to his cheek.
He reeled back, wiping the blood out of his eye. I watched shock turn into a hungry interest. I'd piqued something so dark inside him, it came up with fascination. An excitement no one had any business inciting.
I muttered, "Fuck," falling back as many feet as they would carry me.
"I'm going to enjoy this," he replied.
When he came at me again, it was with newfound steam.
No one is lucky all the time. I missed the first three punches, but caught the end of the last one with my jaw. It sent me staggering. I tried to dance out of it, to put space between us, but he was on me in an instant, pulling me down to the ground, climbing on top of me.
On my chest, his knees digging into my sides, he sat back to study me. Like a butcher, he sized my body into quarter sections, rubbing his hands together. He'd waited to pull the knife. It hung between us, brilliant like diamonds, light from the field flashing off the blade. It sent starbursts in every direction.
He was so close to the core objective. I could smell the defeat. His cold sweat landed on my neck and slid. There was nothing I could do.
That's when he started to jerk like a fish out of water, dying in the August sun. Falling to his side, he gave me enough space to wriggle out.
At his feet, a young black officer, stood. Her stun gun ready to deliver another bolt if dude moved. Another cop was sprinting the distance from his car to where his partner had just saved my life.
I breathed, "Thank you." Thank you a thousand times. Thank you all the way back to the precinct where they took my statement. Thank you all the way back to my dorm, where I was advised to stay with someone.
I fell into a chair, my elbow nudging the box of spoons, sending them cling clanking like my bruised bones. There wasn't a place I didn't hurt. But all the hurt in the world was better than never drawing another breath.
I might have sat there, too, quietly thanking those god-damned spoons.