Arms reached out of the darkness, roughly pinning him to a shadowy brick wall. Grunting with surprise, Liam struggles against his assailants, trying to dislodge the damp hand clamped over his mouth.
His struggles are to no avail; a hand slams his face into the brick, pain exploding in his face as his nose is smashed into the hard surface with an audible crunch.
“Where is it?” Demands one of his attackers roughly, before something cold and sharp is thrust against his neck. A knife.
Gulping, Liam tried to focus. “I – what? My wallet’s in my pocket, just take it!” His heart is beating wildly in his chest, his mouth and nose filled with the viscous taste and smell of blood.
With a growl, his other faceless assailant leans in. “Where is it?!” he insists, his friend pressing the knife blade firmly against his throat.
“I don’ – I don’t know!” Liam stuttered thickly, his voice shrill with rising panic. What the fuck do they want?! He wondered, panting into the grimy brick.
Pain arcs across his neck; the knife is pressed more firmly against his throat, blood welling hotly at the base of his throat. Liam struggles wildly, yanking his head away from the cruel blade. “Please! I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He tries, only to be pushed roughly against the brick again.
“Tell me! Or I’ll have my man start taking fingers until you do.” Hisses the man not pressing Liam’s bloodied face into the building.
Suddenly, another voice cuts through the darkness of the empty street.”How’s about I take a few of your fingers, mate?” A woman, her voice blunt and no-nonsense.
“Shit,” mutters the man holding Liam captive. “Boss, what’re we gonna do?”
Without another word, footsteps recede into the darkness – and the thug holding him pushes Liam to the ground and dashes after his boss.
As he slumps against the building behind him with relief, Liam catches sight of a short, feminine figure disappearing around the corner after his attackers – the woman who interrupted, he assumes.
Muted sounds of fighting reach his ears as he gently probes the bloody mess of his nose. Then; silence.
Hoping the woman hadn’t gotten herself in trouble trying to defend him, Liam hauled himself to his feet and made to amble painfully home, before noticing that his apparent saviour was standing before him.
“Better get that nose looked at,” she said, apparently not believing in introductions.
“Uh…thanks? I’ll do that.” said Liam, somewhat off balance.
“Took care of the idiots who attacked you – mistaken identity, obviously. I was assisting with an arrest a few blocks over when I heard the disturbance. Sorry I didn’t get here sooner – some people just don’t know when to give up, y’know? Are you sure you’re okay? You’re kinda…swaying. Sorry, I’m rambling. I do that.” She stopped, rocking back on her heels as she peered suspiciously at Liam.
“You – heard me?” he asked confusedly.
“Oh. Yeah – I do that. Um. Forget I said that? Please? And turn around? I gotta go – can’t – well, I’d prefer if you didn’t see that.”
Dazed and figuring the night couldn’t get any more weird, Liam made to shuffle around, before turning back with a question on his lips.
But she was gone. Vanished into thin air.
Figures I’d be out to get pizza and meet a superhero instead, he mused, before turning shuffle stiffly home, pizza forgotten.
From a nearby rooftop, a short black-clad figure perched. Watching the bloodied figure of the man she’d saved turn the corner, she waited until his footsteps faded from her heightened hearing, before dropping lightly into the alleyway she’d left the two unconscious thugs.
The night wasn’t over yet.
I do enjoy swapping stereotypical gender roles in fiction…