This is the first chapter of my WIP. It’s shortish as far as chapters go, but I realized that shorter chapters were working better for me at this stage. All feedback – including Floss – welcome, but I’d prefer larger structural issues rather than copyedit-type stuff, as I’m still in the initial draft and no revision has been done yet.
To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
If you ever hold a gun on someone, don’t stand too close to your intended victim. If she has the right training, and her hands are free, and is willing to get shot rather than keep following your orders, then she will probably take that gun away from you before you can react. If she knows how to do that, she probably knows all sorts of other nasty things to do once you no longer have a weapon to hide behind. You, without your gun, are going to have a bad day.
Our kidnappers didn’t know this. Maybe they did and just didn’t believe an American teenage girl knew it too. Either way, chalk up one seriously bad day for four low-life British thugs, courtesy of me. I was either getting out or dying trying.
Punk Number One had a Glock 17, the over-hyped pistol favored by two-bit delinquents everywhere. He was holding the muzzle about six inches from my chest with his right hand.
Shuffle step to the forward left, rotate to the right. Left hand up from waist, palm striking back of his right hand. At the same time, right hand up from waist, palm striking inside of his right wrist. His wrist bends violently to the left, immediately releasing his hold on the gun.
He was especially unlucky. Most of the time when this move works, the attacker’s muscles flex before he can tighten them and he drops the gun before he can react. Punk Number One was strong enough to hold on to the gun for a fraction of a second longer than normal and quick enough to pull the trigger before it dropped. By that time, his hand was already twisted so that the muzzle was now pointing somewhere in the region of his own left shoulder. He shot himself just as he dropped the gun, leaving his friends stunned by the sound of the discharge and giving me an unexpected opening.
I still had his right wrist in my left hand, I was expecting a shot, and while I wasn’t trained to count on a freak chance I was trained to capitalize on it. A second later, he was on the ground with a broken wrist and dislocated right shoulder to complement the gunshot wound in his left shoulder. His friends were momentarily half-blind and deaf from the muzzle flash and report of the 9mm round. I now had the initiative, but let’s not get ahead of things; a three to one fight is bad odds for just about anyone.
I could be scared later; now, I had to look around the room outside the closet we’d been locked in and figure out my next steps for survival. Going for the gun was a sucker’s bet, as I’d just proved; besides, most legal jurisdictions are very squeamish about foreign nationals shooting their citizens, even in self-defense. The British courts would especially go nuts over an American gunning down four Englishmen. No sense playing into stereotypes.
Shelves with supplies. Plumbing supplies. Pipe sections leaning against the left wall 20 feet away.
My feet were moving before I had time to consciously register. Two inch copper pipe, about as long as I was tall, would make a perfect ersatz bo staff. It would be heavier and slightly larger than the traditional oak bo I trained with, but the added heft would help me put down punks two through four quickly. They had chains and knives and numbers. I had a length of metal tubing, years of training from bad-ass senseis, a serious will to live, and the knowledge that if I failed not only was I going to die, but Kim would also pay for my misjudgment.
Punk Number Two recovered enough to pull a butterfly knife out of his pocket and move toward me, flipping the knife open expertly as he came. He was dangerous; he held his knife down out of his right fist, blade toward me, so he could slash at me with every movement of his arm. His grip greatly increased his attack flexibility in return for reducing his range; in a normal fight I would have to close to hurt him, but any move he made to defend himself would almost certainly cut me in return. Even with my pipe, he could probably move inside my guard faster than I could react. I would only get one chance at him, which meant I had to draw his attack now.
Right foot and hand forward. Shuffle step forward and right overhead strike.
As long as he wasn’t an idiot, the first strike wouldn’t hit him. Always a chance, though. I needed him to close the range, which (if he was good) he wouldn’t do until I’d committed to an attack. He bought it and moved forward toward me, swinging his blade toward my head in a blinding sweep.
Shuffle step back. Belly roll high striking his arm and deflecting knife as shuffle step in, return stroke impacting left temple. Follow with three flowing up strikes to his chin. Finish with a forward strike.
His knife went flying — it’s hard to hold a knife with a shattered wrist — and he dropped like a sack of wheat with a gash in his temple and a broken jaw. Two down, two to go.
Punk Number Three was trying to unwrap a length of chain. I didn’t give him time.
Shuffle step forward, forward punch to the bridge of the nose. His hands come up to his face. Left foot step forward, upper strike into the groin, continue into forward strike on crown of head as he bends down.
Punk Number Four had also grabbed a length of pipe and was holding it in a vague imitation of a ready stance. He yelled, stepped forward, and tried to hit me with what I charitably considered to be an overhead strike.
Left foot step back at an angle, change body and drop to one knee. Circle right hand out and up, coming back into bicep curl to impact his right arm just behind the wrist. Pool cue strike to the throat.
I stood up and back off a step, staff at the ready. Punk Number Four had fallen to his knees with his pipe dropped at his feet, hands brought up to the bloody crushed ruin my pipe had made of his throat. I could hear him gargling for breath. He looked at me with eyes full of panic.
“Don’t look at me,” I said evenly. “You were going to rape and kill me and my friend. The wages of sin and all that.”
He shook his head and gargled some more. I was unimpressed by his argument, even if I could have understood it.
“Doesn’t matter if you didn’t personally touch us. You never once complained when your friends did. Besides, by the time I could get emergency services here, you’ll be dead anyway. I have no idea where I am, remember? Oops. Maybe that was a bad decision.”
He sighed helplessly and fell sideways to the floor. In a few moments, he stopped twitching, for which fact I was grateful.
Punk Number One was on the floor feebly moving, moaning in an impressive pool of blood. Punk Number Two lay motionless where he’d originally fallen; I could see a large gory dent in the side of his skull and his jaw was obviously dislocated. Punk Number Three was curled into a ball of agony and appeared to have vomited all over himself. Having your testicles crushed back up into your abdominal cavity has that effect, I hear. He was the lucky one, though; he’d probably survive. I didn’t think the other three would, but I wasn’t sure. I’d never killed anyone before.
I walked back towards the closet where they’d kept Kimberly and me captive for the past three days. “Kim, are you awake?” I asked softly. I was worried about her. She was the famous personality, while as far as my captors knew I was just some useless American teenage girl. Between no food and Punk Number One having a sadistic addiction to his taser, she’d by far gotten the worst treatment. At least they’d given us water.
“Amanda.” Her voice was low, slow, and exhausted, like she’d run a marathon. “I heard yelling and a gun. What’s going on? Are you okay?”
Even as mistreated as she was, she was still trying to protect me. If I hadn’t still been so keyed up by adrenaline, I probably would have started weeping. No time for tears. I checked out the door again. There were no further signs of movement, so took a deep breath and willed my hands to relax. Then I leaned the pipe by the door and knelt down beside her. “I beat the hell out of them. They gave me an opening and I took it and got lucky.”
There was a long enough pause I worried she’d lost consciousness. “That’s…good. Are you hurt?”
“You bet it’s good,” I agreed as I picked up the remaining cup of water we’d been saving. “Drink this, and then you need to sit up. And no, I’m not hurt. Turns out my senseis actually know a thing or two. Now, we’re getting out of here as soon as I recover a cell phone. By any chance, do you happen to know the British equivalent of 911?”