There was the sounds of several pairs of feet entering the house. Kayla and I looked to the stairwell, and then when we looked again the green man was gone.
Kayla, beer bottle in hand, stepped out into the hallway. She was shaking all over and white like a sheet. As the footsteps approached, she turned on the hallway light.
In the stairwell, several men in suits and ski masks stared up at us, like deers in headlights. Dangerous deer. One minute, they were shocked, the next they were all anger and venom.
“Well, this changes things,” said the first man, who had one eye patched up.
Kayla took a deep breath. She lifted her beer bottle. It looked piddly and pointless. In a flicker I realized my keys were about the same, but I felt so much more than Kayla right then. I felt ready to burst out of my body. I was brimming full of power.
Stretching out my arms, I rolled my head and shifted my grip on the keys. Here I come-
“What’s this about? Is it money?” asked Kayla. “I can pay you to go away.”
The men stopped. They looked at each other.
“Do you want a drink?” asked Kayla bitterly. “Why don’t we talk?”
“Lady, you don’t have enough money to understand what’s at stake here,” said the patched up gangman.
“I understand kidnapping,” said Kayla angrily. “It’s usually about money, isn’t it?”
The men hesitated. Kayla continued, voice trembling. “You can go find another kid, how about that? Go pick on someone else.”
That made them shake their heads. “It’s got to be her,” said the patched up goon, taking a resolute step forward. “So move aside, woman.”
Kayla braced herself, beer bottle pointed forward. “You stinky shit-”
“Don’t touch her,” said a man’s voice behind me. I spun and the man in the medieval cloak was there, appeared and fresh out of thin air. He was directly behind me and Kayla, but he reached and placed a hand on my shoulder. “She’s just a child,” he said solemnly, staring down the kidnappers.
“Who the fuck are you?” demanded the one-eyed jerk.
“Who are you? And what claim do you have to her?” asked the man in green.
“Oh, feeling smart, are we?” snarled the talkative goon. But he wasn’t advancing.
“You know who I am,” said the man behind me. “Now tell me who you are.”
There was a pause. “They’re here to kidnap her!” snapped Kayla shrilly, pointing at the kidnappers. “Her dad got in some mess – and now they want her to pay for it!”
“She ate the card!” spat the one eyed goon. “She will -” and he stopped himself, chowing down on his anger.
“Yes, she ate the card,” said the man behind me, softly.
Kayla was looking from one man to the other. I felt anger boiling in me. “What card? A credit card?”
“No,” shouted the angry kidnapper just as the green-cloaked man said it too, softly. The kidnapper seemed to have made his mind up. He drew a knife from his belt. “Step aside!”
I bolted forward.
The goon stepped back in shock. I darted past him, slashing my keys on the side of his stomach. There was a digging feeling, and I was whizzing past them, down the stairs.
I was yanked to a stop, my shoulders grabbed from behind. I spun, slashing with my keys at anything and everything.
There was a smash of a beer bottle crashing into the head of the man who was holding me. He stumbled back, tumbling down the rest of the stairs. I bolted again, down the stairs and darting across the living room.
I made it to the kitchen, where I yanked a knife out of a fancy set on the counter. It was a steak knife. I spun, bracing myself.
There was the sounds of swearing, and the kidnappers tramped across the living room. I was trapped in the kitchen as they filled the entryway, the one with the patch in front.
“Don’t touch her!” intoned a voice from behind, along with the sound of feet marching over.
“You take the idiot, I’ll take the girl,” said the patched guy to his co-goons with a nod of the head.
“Don’t you dare-” said the medieval man as the other kidnappers turned to face him.
“Come at me!” I heard myself scream, crouching with the knife.
I was afraid. Terror and anger mixed in my veins in a dangerous cocktail. I braced as the man took one step. Another step. His blue eye was glittering with menace and vicious delight.
I stepped back and snatched another knife from the set. This one was a cleaver. Two-handed, I braced again.
The man was approaching slowly. His knife was gone. He was here to catch me, not to kill me.
The kitchen seemed silent. I heard only my blood roaring in my ears. I saw only the man stepping so slowly – then he darted forward.
One of my hands was grabbed, my right. I hacked blindly with my left as the other hand grappled at me. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Anger was overflowing, bursting from me as I saw red.
Crack! A baseball bat smashed across the man’s head. The grip on my hand vanished and he crumbled at my feet. On the other side of him, Kayla was breathing heavily, bat in hand. Beyond, the medieval man was rushing over.
At my feet, the man stirred, blinking widely.
Finish the kill, I thought on instinct. Slit his throat and avenge yourself.
I switched the cleaver to my right and was dropping down to grab the man by the head to deal my finishing blow- but I was hefted up by the arm. The medieval man, again.
“Don’t,” he said. “You’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
In a surge I knew I wouldn’t, for I hadn’t regretted any of my other kills – other kills?
I shook myself, wondering where that thought had come from. At my feet, the goon was groaning and trying to sit up. The medieval man put a foot on his chest, and his weight with it too. The goon grunted, eye bulging.
Far away, there was the sound of sirens approaching.