It's time to treat you to more from my current work-in-progress.
You might want to read last week's tease to see how Dante and Carl got here.
This is still a first draft so pardon any errors. (I should mention that I write in UK English)
I stepped into the warm night, looked left and right before heading in the direction of some dark alleys I'd seen earlier. The man Carl had followed out didn't look like the book-a-room type of guy. I gambled that he planned to get down and dirty out here on the grimy streets. I didn't have far to go before I heard the voices.
"I said I'm not interested anymore." I recognised the voice immediately as Carl's. It still had a note of defiance in there masking the fear I could hear in the tremble of his voice.
"You can't bring us out here with a promise of your tight little ass and then change your mind, boy," a deep male voice said.
"I didn't ask for two of you," came the annoyed reply.
"No more out of you."
The sound of fabric tearing filled the air and I heard what sounded like a muffled cry.
Hurrying, in a matter of seconds the end of a narrow dark alley came into view. In the shadows, two hulking figures leaned over a smaller fella on his knees. Carl.
A good place for a reckless person like Carl. But not for those two brutes. My nose flared.
Here goes my night.
Flexing my fingers, I strode into the alleyway keeping to the shadows.
"Move away from him," my steady, low-pitched voice hung in the humid air, arms stilled at my sides.
"This is none of your business, mister," the man Carl had approached in the club spoke as he straightened to his full height. A large man, he stood wider than me and built like a wrestler. Same as his friend. They reminded me of an old nursery rhyme I'd read as a kid—Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
"I'll walk way if you let him come with me." The negotiator in me held court. In my line of work this skill had saved my skin more times than I could count. Especially since it distracted the adversary into thinking I lacked the physical strength to back it up.
"Not until we're done here."
One look into Carl's rounded and pleading eyes, I switched tactics, stepping into their space.
Tweedledee growled and charged, swinging his arms. My reflexes took over. Ducking low, my fist smashed into his groin. He yelled out in agony as he fell with a thud to the ground.
Tweedledum came at me, fists jabbing in methodical motions like a boxer. Jaw clenched in a snarl, I ducked his punches, bidding my time as he slowly pushed me back into a corner. My experience kept me cool despite the adrenaline flooding my veins.
The chance came. I stepped wide with my left foot swung my right leg behind him and kicked back. He tumbled. I pulled forward with my arms and flipped him over my right hip. As he crashed onto the ground, my hand corked ready to deliver a death blow.
"No!" Carl shouted, a terrified tremor in his voice.
Perhaps he thought I'd kill the man. He wouldn't be far wrong. Delivering death to any man who deserved it ranked high in my skill set. And right now, these two deserved all they got.
"Please," his voice sounded more subdued and his fingers clasped my arm. Electricity from his touch reached the humane part of me. I stepped away from the prone man, releasing his neck from my death grip.
Tweedledum spluttered, coughing as he doubled over. Tweedledee groaned, stumbling to his feet.
"Be gone," I said, my voice chilly and filled with menace.
The man grumbled as he grabbed his accomplice and staggered out of the alleyway.
With the brutes gone, I focused my attention on Carl, looking him over as he rose to his feet. Aside from his torn t-shirt, he looked intact. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." I suspected his words were more bravado than fact. He appeared shaken up and I resisted reaching for him. The way he looked at me—the steady eye contact, parted lips, and soft expression—anyone would think I was his hero. I was no such thing, more likely to take a life than to save it. If he hadn't been in the damned alley there wouldn’t have been a need to save him.
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