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Fred hesitated for a split second, almost deciding to drop the bat back into the car. He wasn’t the type to approach a fight unannounced with a weapon in hand, but there were three of them, and they may have had weapons too.
Another cry came from the dim ally, a mixture of pain and sobbing was the only way to think of it. How long had the poor b****rd been subjected to this meaningless cruelty, or was it simply a matter of savagery rather than duration.
Fred’s eyes flashed towards the ally. Looking at him from certain angles it would have resembled a directed frame towards the climax of an action film. Shadow masking half his features, chin down, eyes raised diagonally, with a seemingly emotionless expression about his mouth and eyebrows. It was as if he were a protagonist, being offered a deal of magnanimous proportions by the well spoken and dashing antagonist. Bloodied, filthy, and sweating, the hero wordlessly refuses the villain nanoseconds before snapping into a seizure inducing five minute crusade to kill his adversary in the manner most indicative of a catchy one line pun.
Fred felt fear. Not a trait indicative of such a heroic scene he was outwardly trying to convince himself he was about to enter into, where the only acceptable outcome is his indisputable victory. But he was not a trained soldier. He was not a retired spy. And he was far from being a walking conduit of super natural power. He was simply a man in this place, at this time. But he was incredibly p*ssed, and nothing, not his own fear, not three to one odds, not even an unholy pact of Satan and God would stand in the way of whatever fate awaited him down that lonely walk into a dimly lit ally.
He slammed the car door shut. Briskly he strode toward the ally with a holy determination. By his moral sensibility his cause was just, a feeling no doubt shared by the men relentlessly beating the defenseless and crying boy. He gripped the bat, knuckles white and fingers red. His palm skipped on the polyurethane with a satisfactory sound as he tightened his grip, seemingly harmonizing with his cracking knuckles and the pounding pulse in his ears.
With more or less half the distance covered, he began to feel more anxious than fearful. At this point he didn’t care how the confrontation would conclude and had abandoned the notion of being covert in his approach. He pulled the bat across him at waist level and struck a trash bin as he passed it. He felt some reciprocating force, but with so much adrenaline coursing through his veins, it barely registered.
He struck the next trash can he came by and the lamp post after that. Anything and everything that would echo ominously with a metallic resonance was fair game and he hoped it was shaking the nerves of the assailants for he had noticed they were no longer shouting there hate slang and yelling one to the other to hit the poor boy again.
Fred had closed the distance around the corner and now stood frozen amidst the concealing silhouette of an abandoned factory. They could not see him, but he could see them all too well. He had thought it might have been these three, who had tormented him for what they chose to believe was an indecent lifestyle. These three, whose ignorance had caused him so much embarrassment and self hatred. These three, who stood by clapping and laughing as they held the coat of the one who nearly took his life.
These three. Who used to be four.
Vengeance replaced virtue. Hatred replaced righteousness. Protecting the young man that lay bloodied on the ground wistfully begging help was replaced by finished what was started those few years ago.
Fred strode out of the shadow and into the street light. He raised the bat and brought it down head of the one he reached first. Though that one had been in daze of confusion and disbelief, resulting in not so much as a flinch until the bat cracked along his head, the other two moved swiftly.
No sooner had the first been struck than the other two were on top of Fred. The forced the bat out of his hands and threw punches. He ducked to avoid their blows and uppercut one in the stomach. But the other grabbed him and locked their arms together. Fred found himself immobilized and defenseless as the other mercilessly sent blow after devastating blow in to him.
As his adversary pulled his arm back to put as much force as possible into a punch, Fred put his weight on his arms and the one holding him, bringing his leg up to strike the other in the face. He stumbled and fell, striking his head on the concrete with a significant crack. The one holding Fred lost balance with the weight shift and the backward force of the kick, and he and Fred fell to the ground. Fred moved to stand but the remaining of the three regained his composer first and lunged for Fred, causing him to smack his head squarely on the ground.
Fred knew he was being kicked but only in a vague sense. And after what was either seconds or several minutes, the kicks stopped and a much heavier but less forceful blow came down on him. Struggling to turn himself over he realized it was a body on top of him. The body of the one who only a split second ago was kicking him with all his force. Fred looked up, his vision going from blurry, to clear to doubled and back. Standing near him was the one who he had come to rescue.
The boy dropped the bat and staggered over to Fred, dropping to his knees beside him and pushing the body off him. The boy looked him over then dead in the eyes. Fred exhaled largely indistinct sounds, but enough discernable syllables for the boy to know he was asking if he was alright. Fred was too dazed to make much sense of the response but he gathered that there was probably a yes in there.
The boy caressed the rainbow colored tear tattoo on Fred’s face with a gentle finger. Distant lights flashed and reflected on the high walls around them. As three bodies lay motionless not far from them, the beaten boy moved himself close to Fred and pressed his lips against his own, as Fred’s vision faded and men came rushing out of there ambulance to save whomever's life they could.