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“Ivy!” I screamed into the darkness. Rain fell around me, lightning flashed overhead, thunder rumbled. “Ivy! Whea da hell are ya?!” I ran frantically in the direction I had last seen her being dragged away by the thug. Faintly, I realized where we were: the Brooklyn docks. Thinking it unimportant, I pushed that thought out of my mind and kept running.
“Ivy!” I screamed one more, now in hysterics. “Ivy!”
Then I saw her, her limp body was lying on the limp cobblestones; the thug was still beating her, though she no longer moved.
“Son of a—“ I hissed, looking around desperately for some type of weapon to use against the thug. As another flash of lightning crashed above, I saw the glint of light on a piece of glass.
It was triangle-shaped and bit into the palm of my hand as I grasped it. Feeling neither pain nor the blood running down my arm, I advanced toward the pair.
As the thug rummaged through Ivy’s trousers for her paper money, I rushed up behind him. With my piece of glass at his throat, I hissed into his ear, “One move an yoah dead, ya doity bahstad!”
I felt his body stiffen automatically. Briefly, I had a chance to be grateful that he was on his knees. He would tower over my 5’2” frame if he were standing.
Keeping the glass at his throat, I moved in front of him. Instantly, an evil glint came into his eyes as he realized I was female. Before he could get any ideas into his head, I put a little pressure on the glass. A thin line of blood traveled down his neck and stained his shirt collar. As the glint in his eyes faded to something close to fear, I spoke once more, “A’right, hea’s how dis’s gonna woik: Foist, yoah gonna give me all da money in dem pockets a’ yoah’s, got it?” He gulped. “Next, yoah gonna stand up, an’ I’se gonna walk wit’ ya outa dis alley. Any funny business, an’ yoah doity ass is dead. Ya undastand?” I let up the pressure on the glass enough so he could nod. “Good. Now get yoah ass up.”
I tried not to let it show, but it scared me senseless to have him stand up. Like I said, he was huge! But with the glass still at his throat, he got up carefully and began walking. We were almost out of the alley before he retaliated. It did not matter to him that I could slit his throat in an instant; he was not going to be beat by a mere girl. Before I could even blink, he backhanded me. I went flying, but miraculously kept hold of my glass. I barely had a chance to look up and see him coming before he struck me again. As he raised his hand a third time, the image of him beating Ivy flashed before my eyes. I would not let that happen to anyone again. With a cry of rage, I raised my glass shard and…
There was blood. So much blood. But just as fast as it poured out of him, it was washed away by the incessant rain. Stunned at what I had just done, I stared at the shard of glass in horror. Dropping it, I turned away and retched until my stomach was empty.
“Oh Lord,” I muttered. “What ‘ave I done?”
Crying, I crawled over to Ivy. My best friend still lay motionless, but thank the heavens, she was breathing. Before I could stop it, a wrenching sob tore from my chest. Putting my head in my hands, I sobbed. I sobbed for poor, bloody Ivy; for poor, bruised me; for the poor, dumb thug. With the wind howling between the buildings, the lightning crashing overhead, and the thunder rumbling, I sobbed for any poor soul who had died on the streets, any soul who spent all day working for his supper, only to have his money beaten out of him before it was spent. Under the black, black night, I sobbed.