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He was running.
He wasn’t sure for how long or how fast but that hardly mattered. All that mattered was that he didn’t stop because if he did…
He ducked behind a parked car just as a spray of bullets pierced the car door and shattered the windows. He darted out from behind the car and into a dark side-alley, battered sneakers crunching shattered glass.
A voice rang out behind him and he could hear tires screeching to a stop and the sound of several doors slamming.
Time became a meaningless jumble of gunshots, alleys, and pitch black streets. He knew he couldn’t run forever, but he couldn’t let them catch him…wouldn’t let them catch him. He picked up speed and darted around parked cars and bright lampposts. A bullet missed his head by inches. He ran faster.
He turned into another side-alley. No light spilled in from the street or the surrounding buildings. He dodged overturned trash cans and heaps of rubbish, his heavy breaths and pounding heart ringing in his ears.
He could hear footsteps behind him, crashing through the garbage heaps, hot in pursuit.
He looked around frantically and his heart sank. A dead end. He was trapped.
Forcing himself to quell his mounting panic, he searched for something, anything.
The footsteps were closer, heavy and slowed. He crouched in the shadows of his hiding place, slowing his breaths and willing himself to keep calm. The beam of a flashlight swept the area not far from his position.
“Come out little boy,” one of the voices mocked. “Come out, come out wherever you are. We have you cornered and daddy’s not here to save you. You can’t hide forever.”
He gulped noiselessly and slowly reached inside his jacket.
“Come out, little boy. We won’t hurt you…”
One second. Two.
Fingers closed around cool metal and he waited.
Suddenly, his cover was torn aside and a beam of light caught him in the eyes, blinding him. He drew his arm out and fired. He could hear the shouts of pain coming from the darkness shrouded men and rolled out of the way just as a spray of bullets pierced the air. Years of combat training kicked in and he managed to take down three of his attackers while avoiding bullets and flashing knives.
Pain lanced through his calf missing bone by millimeters. He couldn’t suppress a cry as his leg buckled. The men were on him faster than he could react. He fought the grasping hands and booted feet with all his remaining strength, bucking like an angry bull in the arena. But it was too much. They were too much.
One of the men aimed a kick at his punctured calf and he fell with a cry. Wire-strong arms grabbed his shoulders and shoved him to the ground, his arms twisted painfully behind his back. He kicked and bucked and squirmed, nearly succeeding in off-balancing his captor before another sharp kick to the calf put an end to that followed quickly by a knee to the back and another boot to the side.
“Enough,” a voice behind him growled. The beating stopped. “He ain’t worth as much to us dead.”
He could faintly hear the pound of heavy boots on the alley floor through the haze of pain clouding his senses. Iron fingers tangled in messy, ink black hair and his head was pulled roughly to the side. Glittering blue eyes locked on pain glazed gold and the man smirked.
“Oh yes. He’s the one.”
He felt something heavy settle in his chest as the man withdrew, blowing smoke into his face. He coughed and spluttered as he inhaled the smell of something most definitely illegal. Cold, hard steel clamped vice-like around his wrists and a dark sack was shoved over his head. He was pulled to his feet and a hand clamped around his mouth and nose.
It was pitch black and painful and he couldn’t breathe. His world narrowed into a dense cyclone of pain and dizziness. His ears rang, muffling the sounds around him. He heard shouts but they were far away as if coming through a long tunnel. White danced before his vision and the world was muted. In the distance he heard a high-pitched scream.
All was black.