“Not so fast you little c…” The boys voice turned into a whoosh of air as my foot caught him in the midsection.
It was a lucky kick and I knew I’d probably regret it later, if I let another one get their hands on me. I recovered, a little more clumsily than I would have in Tae Kwon Do class, but street fights are the same as ones on the mat. His friends weren’t far away and they were caught short by my reaction. I was glad, and not for the first time that night, that these weren’t real gang bangers.
I ran as fast as I could, finding more speed somewhere deep in me. It wasn’t much further to the store. Then it hit me, the metal grate was down. There was no way I could get that up in time and get behind the safety it offered. Blood thundered in my ears, but now I could here every angry voice and catcall behind me.
The store came up on my left and I ran past it and cut into the alley just beyond. Angels must have given me a push giving me just enough speed and bounce to make it onto the lid of the dumpster. From there it was a short jump to the fire escape. Miraculously, I didn’t miss a step and climbed to the roof of the three story building in a flash.
It hadn’t bought me much breathing room. The ones right behind me didn’t realize I had gone up and went down the alley looking for me. I had a minute, maybe two. I looked around for the roof access. Mr. Looper talked about his roof garden and I knew there had to be a way to get downstairs. Then I realized I had gone up the wrong building. I’d seen action heroes make the jump from building to building, but they were trained athletes and I was just a scared little girl. At least, that’s how I felt.
The iron bars on the fire escape started grinding against brickwork. Heavy boys, nearly grown men, were climbing up here. My eyes darted around the rooftop and I saw the access to a stairwell near the center of the plane. I rushed to it, trying not to trip over anything in the dark. I grabbed the handle and pulled, only to be rewarded with nearly pulling my shoulder muscle. My scream was a mix of rage, fear, and disappointment. It fought with the wind for sheer volume and won hands down.
Shaking, I turned to see how close the Dragons were. For once something played in my favor. In going to the door’s side of the access, I was hidden from them. There was no other way down except for the long jump, so my freedom wouldn’t last long. I made myself small, but kept on the balls of my feet. With any luck they would all come around one side as a group. They weren’t very bright, so I felt it was realistic enough.
“Chica, come on out. We won’t hurt you. We just want to play a little game.” The boy’s voice wasn’t long out of puberty and cracked once to the amusement of his friends.
“Yeah,” another one yelled, “we just want to play a little touch football.” The next to the last word was emphasized and she could nearly feel the leer.
She balled her fists and relaxed them in a rhythm. She’d touch them alright. If she could draw blood on one of them then whatever happened next might be worth it. The way her stomach felt, she might even get to puke on them while she was at it. It did seem like they were all coming around to her left side.
As softly and slowly as she could, she circled around to the right. In the dark she couldn’t tell if hat she tripped over was a pipe or a string of cable. Whatever it was, it put her down on her side just as one of the smarter boys was sneaking around to intercept her. She lay at his feet and had a moment for her predicament to register before his black Chuck caught her on the side of her head.
Here There Be Dragons by Scott Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.scottroche.com.