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All week I’ve been dying to get my rage out of my system. I know I shouldn’t take it out on these boys, but… well, they brought it upon themselves.
“Get away from my sister,” I growl as I approach. One of them looks up and smirks at me, but the others continue taunting her.
“Now.” I’m a foot away from the tallest, whom I assume is the leader by his commanding mannerisms. Plus, he’s the only one wearing huge, black sunglasses. He jumps, getting the smaller boys’ attention.
“Who are you?” he asks rudely, looking defiantly into my eyes.
“You don’t need to know. Who are you?” I fire back.
“You don’t need to know, “ he mimics me. I glare at him.
Out of the corner me my eye, I realize the other urchins have stopped pestering Ani, amused by the fact that someone dares to threaten their ruler. Smart child like she is, she should be backing away while their attention is diverted. But no, she’s caught up in the spectacle of the confrontation. Why doesn’t she just move?
As if she can hear my thoughts, Ani shifts her weight to the other foot. Even though her movement is barely perceptible, three of the kids surrounding her turn and grasp her arms.
Their prize isn’t getting away without a fight.
“Do you want to do this the easy way, or the hard way?” I question, beginning to circle Mr. You-Don’t-Need-To-Know.
“Oh, I have a choice now, do I?” he drawls. His minions laugh with him.
“No, actually,” I smile poisonously at him, baring my teeth a bit more than necessary. “You either walk away now, with your little followers and no one else, or I kick your a**. All your a**es,” I add for the benefit of the others.
He snickers, and suddenly I’m surrounded by echoes of mockery and taunting, bouncing off the walls of the alley.
“Let’s fight, then,” he suggests.
“Okay,” I grin as though I’m a two year old on Christmas morning.
I’m fully anticipating the fist flying through the air at my face, so I duck to the right, straighten, and kick his knees. I’ve disrupted his balance, and he goes down.
Swift as a cat, he’s up again, although his surprise is obvious. His eyebrows are raised so far above his glasses that I can see them clearly, and I realize they’re blonde, a completely different color than his hair.
Odd, I think.
With one hand, I pin him to the ground. With the other, I hold his arms.
“Hey!” several voices cry out in protest. S**t, I forgot about the others. Too busy being cocky...
They’re upon me like a tide, punching and pulling and biting and scratching. I hear Ani cry out, but her voice is muffled; hopefully only by a hand and nothing worse.
My nose is bloody, my left eye is swollen shut, my lip is puffy…. And that’s just my face. All of them are tearing me to shreds, pounding upon every bit of me. I was too confident, damn it. I thought I could beat him, therefore beating all of them.
I only have one chance. These boys mean business, and I misjudged them.
If we don’t get out of here now, if I don’t do something really drastic, they’ll kill us. They’ll quite possibly take pleasure in it too.
“From the streetlights above I call fire, from my breath I call air, from the dandelion in the corner I call earth-“ I hesitate, not sure where I can draw water from here.
In that moment, I hear a yell from the leader of the gang.
“STOP!!! Stop, stop!”
What? I wonder drily. Does he want to kick my head before they finish me off? Perhaps make a ‘witty’ remark or two?
“Eline?” he whispers in disbelief.
“How do you know that name?” I demand, standing up. “Only one person has ever called me that…”
He takes off his sunglasses, and I almost fall right back down.
“Finn??!?! What on earth are you doing here?"