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Author Name: FreeLastTempleKnight 4 Comments
Date Added: February 20, 2007 18:02:34 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Michael of Darch Street -- Short Story

A beer bottle violently shattered against a graffiti covered inner-city wall, followed by angry screams as the intended target of the beer bottle ran for her life.  The 'target', an unfortunate young lady named Vanessa, was pursued for being caught on the wrong side of Morthax City at the wrong time of day.

She had visited a local church and had opted to walk home after the program.  A deeply religious young lady, she made it a point to visit all of the churches in town no matter the denomination.  Despite what others tried to tell her, Vanessa had faith that everything would be alright.  It wouldn’t be long when that would not be enough to ensure safe passage for her.
Down several darken alleys, she managed to put some distance between herself and the local gang called the Back Alley Boys who ruled that stretch of neighborhood in the dark foreboding hours of the night.  Even the city police were afraid of the violent gang unless the numbers were highly in their favor.
Vanessa saw a shabby phone booth on a lonely street corner as a beacon of hope.  Perhaps if she could get a call out that maybe help could have soon been on the way.  She didn’t want to cause trouble for anyone and hoped that perhaps the thugs would give up in their pursuit of her.
“Maybe at least I can get a ride to pick me up,” was hastily thought along with a quick silent prayer.  As she hurried across the recent rain soaked street, the sound of her footsteps as they echoed awoken what appeared to be a down-on-his-luck drunken bum as he slept.
Unfortunately it would turn out to be one of those drunken bums that should have been better left asleep.  Vanessa hopped through the open doors of the phone booth and desperately tried to call out, but to her horror the phone was dead.  In the stunned silence that followed, she stood within the booth as her heart pounded and attempted to gather her thoughts.  From the direction far behind her, an unearthly dark shadow of immense size crept slowly close toward her increasingly frantic situation.
One street over, an old loose pipe broke free and landed on a car’s windshield with a hard crash which drew Vanessa from her increasingly frenzied state of mind.  She couldn’t tell which direction the loud noise came from mostly because she hadn’t paid attention to anything outside the phone booth.  A look around the area that surrounded the phone booth came up empty; the shadow was no where in view.  The sidewalk and street remained clear with no cars nearby or really anything else that hadn’t been there before.
However something in her gut almost like a harsh whisper from within told her that if she stayed any longer in the phone booth things would take a turn for the worst.  Vanessa quickly dashed out of the phone booth and within mere seconds the derelict booth was smashed almost completely flat by the heavy bulk of the enormous drunken bum.  Despite his face being hidden by the shadow of an old Fedora and high collar of an old tattered trench coat, his demonic-like eyes pierced through the shadow an eerie bright red hue.
Draped in old fashioned clothing that reeked of old beer and bodily wastes, the huge beast of a man stumbled to step free of the flatten remnants of the phone booth.  On impulse the young frighten lady took several long yet hesitant steps back but was still overwhelmed by the stench from the 'man' who stood several feet before her.
Almost as if waking from a dream, the sounds of angry voices echoed from a distance came in clear toward her rear direction.  Ugly screams tore through the night air and caught Vanessa' ear, but were not enough to force her to turn for fear of her life.  The young thugs, also known as the Minions of Darch Street in addition to the Back Alley Boys, had ran at full gait once they had seen their target and didn't really care at first about who kept her company. 
Down several blocks they did run, but then they all slowed and all but stopped in place as they approached the strange scene.  A big 'hobo' who stood about eight feet or more so close to the target of their soon to be nightly pleasure, the young men stopped in place as they were hit with the smell of sour beer and stale old urine. 
Not ones to shy away from any challenge, the gang of pompous thugs began to taunt the bigger man in tattered clothes.  It made matters even worse when a couple of the thugs ran up and planted themselves between Vanessa and him. 
Silence from the one draped in foul-smelling clothing as he stood with his eyes closed to those who taunted him.  No matter what was yelled or thrown at him, the giant of a man stood perfectly still.  Soon the rest of the gang had formed a loose circle around him with about five to six feet of space between the crowd and the silent one.  Vanessa was involuntarily forced to be part of the inner ring of those which surrounded the huge bum who reeked of the streets.
One of the young thugs wanted to be cute so he ran up, kicked the hobo’s rear fairly hard, and had planned on retreating back into the crowd.  However the arrogant thug didn’t make it a couple of steps as his head was grabbed by the large hand of the bum.  With almost seemingly little effort the thug was quickly launched into the night sky with a pitiful scream that escaped his mouth.
“What the – Aaarrgh!!!”
The entire group took several steps back in shock and awe, with the exception of Vanessa, the night sky they cast their view as the young thug’s voice diminished until it was too faint to be heard by anyone.
“Holy sh--… poor Ricky…” was whispered amongst the gang of thugs which was very much so outside their nature.  With openings formed in the crowd from the guys who stepped back out of fear and awe over what was seen, the frightened young lady took this as an opportunity to slip through and make her way away from the disturbing scene. 
As a few murmured about how high their ‘buddy’ had been sent, none of them really paid attention to Vanessa as she slipped through their paralyzed in wonder ranks and was then free of the crowd.  Before she could have scrambled a block or so away, the huge man draped in a tattered trench coat opened his eyes stared forward and revealed a deep blood red hue to them.  Something about that glare made Vanessa look back despite her need to flee, and when she did it was an intensely frightening moment to see eyes that glowed with a dark fierceness.
The Back Alley boys were able to snap from their shock to see the open eyes of the huge man they surrounded.  Being the bold thugs that they were, taunts and rocks were thrown at the man in tattered clothes.  With a lightning quickness, the surprisingly agile hobo managed to grab one of the smallest thugs nearby him and whip the kid’s body around with the ease of a baseball bat.
With one quick swing, he nearly decapitated those who were foolish enough to stay where they stood.  Several of the gang members were knocked completely out and a few particularly unlucky ones had their necks snapped from the shocking onslaught.  It slowly started to dawn on the rest of the guys that this was not just an ordinary bum off the street as they were forced back several yards.  Knives and sticks were brought to bare as the gang charged against the hobo with clothes that reeked of an otherworldly foulness.
However it was a foolish charge because with a couple of swings the huge bum continued to use the human ‘flail’ to knock down the resistance that attempted to attack him from all sides.  Yells and screams filled the night as Vanessa ran hard, but in a way she felt sorry for those who sought to do her a lot of harm less than half an hour earlier.  Any other person in her position would care less about the thugs, but it was the young lady’s nature to care about others.  Down a few blocks, Vanessa quickly became winded from the hard run along with her heart that pounded in her ears.
“I’ll have to dodge down these alleys like I did earlier and–” was thought but something drew her attention back to the chaos that continued on behind her.  Things had taken a turn for the worse even with what had already transpired.  Several gang members took off in an attempt to flee only to be caught in mid-run by the bodies of their unconscious or recently departed ‘friends’. 
The tall filthy bum had managed to turn the toughest gang in the city into toys for his amusement.  However his violent onslaught had a purpose and through his seemingly random acts of violence, he managed to make a slow yet steady progress in the same direction of Vanessa.
With an unearthly quickness, the huge man dodged and evaded several gunshots from the only gun on the scene.  Some of the gang members struck by the avoided gunfire were caught with expressions of pure shock and disbelief as they were flung backward helpless to resist.  The gunman then made two mistakes; first when he dropped the handgun from the shock of what he saw, and second when he remained frozen in place right in front of the target of his sights.  The handgun, which still had one shot that remained unfired, was snatched up then shoved into the open mouth of the thug.  The gun was fired without hesitation as the gang member took a stinky dump within his pants from fear.
Whether by chance or luck; the would be gunman, before his weapon was used against him, stood a foot taller than Vanessa which meant her story continued on despite his ending violently.  The frightened young lady nearly wet herself when she heard the gunshot and felt the wake of the bullet as it passed over her head by almost six inches or so.

Shock and surprise was quick to be broken away from as she disappeared down a nearby alley more aware to be careful and to pay attention instead of just running wildly.

This made the tall beast of a ‘man’ in tattered clothes force his way forward faster along with a quick toss of the empty handgun into the back of the head of a thug who attempted to run from him.  More cries had torn through the night as Vanessa struggled to make her way through the cluttered back alleys.  Broken bodies were laid out in disarray almost like an overturned toy box of plastic army men twisted and distorted by a burning hot sun.  The young lady despite her fear paused briefly and whispered a quick prayer for the dark souls of those who left the world so violently.  Despite what others would have been happy for she wasn’t pleased to avoid strife in such a way.
She then used a smarter strategy as she dodged down alleys and took quick breaks to catch her breath and to listen if anyone had followed her.  The rain soaked streets finally showed signs of the moisture being dried by the increasingly warmer night air.  With less graffiti on the nearby buildings, Vanessa knew she was headed in the right direction toward her home.
When she glanced up and saw the corner street sign of Oak Street and Elm Avenue, it was a welcome sight because that meant her home was only a few blocks further down from where she stood.  After a momentary break to catch her breath, Vanessa glanced up and down the street to see that the coast was clear.  After the disturbing and truly gruesome vision of chaos she had witnessed earlier, it was almost overwhelming and heartfelt welcome sight to see a way clear from the troubles behind her.
When she felt up to it the young lady glanced back behind her when she felt an unexpected breeze blow through the alley.  The alley held a few trash cans and bags of trash so she didn’t think much of the stench that hung in the air.  Vanessa turned around and less than seven feet away stood the last thing she wanted to see – the huge foul-smelling bum.  It was almost as if the burly hobo had gained an extra foot or two of height from the last time regretfully seen.  At the sight of the huge man, the young lady’s heart skipped a beat or two as the way home was now blocked.
The members of the Back Alley boys who had chased her easily weighed two to three times what she did, and they were flung around like rag dolls with ease by the big filthy bum.  It was almost too much for her to bear, but then suddenly the man in the tattered trench coat stood to one side of the street and motioned for her to go on her way.
For a long moment, Vanessa wasn’t sure what to do as she stood still until a familiar feeling deep within told her to go on her way.  A few tentative steps and then she had walked to within a few feet of the monstrous sized hobo.  Down the first few blocks toward her home, the young lady didn’t lose sight of the huge man who had stood quietly and waited for her to walk home.  Somehow thought of a ‘thank you’ crossed her mind as she walked and observed the one who watched her.
At her front door, Vanessa glanced down into her coat pocket as she rummaged for her keys. She then felt a surprisingly warm gust of air as it blew through which left her with a feeling of serenity.  Into her pocket she continued to dig again and to her surprise something new was found that hadn’t been there before.  It was a little piece of stiff paper about the size of a business card that had been folded in half.  Vanessa unfolded it and almost immediately dropped the paper to her feet.
She hesitantly looked down and then picked it back up just to wonder if her eyes had played a trick on her.  On the paper a black oval had been printed, and Vanessa thought that at first glance the oval had a golden almost angelic glow to it…
Author's Notes:
A work in progress based on a dream I had several weeks ago after watching late night movies on cable.
Thanks to Len for helping me edit with his great advice!
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'Michael of Darch Street -- Short Story' Copyright © Last Temple Knight
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Comment By: FreeLeonard Wilson on February 22, 2007 06:35:51 PM Report
Much smoother, buddy. I recently re-wrote the Joe Tuesday yarn for the THIRD time because I've gotten better at yarn spinng than I was when I did the second re-write. I got a kick out of Glata's comment..:O)...len
Comment By: FreeGlata on February 21, 2007 11:37:45 AM Report
Holy cow! You need to watch more cable! This is amazing! Loved this! LOL when you mentioned the fedora, I thought you were going to cast Len as the man!




Comment By: FreeQuiltingLady on February 20, 2007 09:46:16 PM Report
Intriguing story, Joe!  Felt a lot of fear for the young lady until the BIG bum starting tossing the thugs around.  Still, her faith can't keep her safe all the time....  Glad everything worked out for her this time.


Comment By: FreeLeonard Wilson on February 20, 2007 08:18:29 PM Report
A finee narrative story, Joe..You hooked me at the start, which is live or die for a story. Intriguing ending, buddy.. You've come a long way, baby..yer pal, len


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