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I wander the dark streets, cold and alone. The shadows follow me, growing darker with every step. My mind races, images flash across my eyes. A clattering noise comes from the right. I jump. I hear yelling and the sound of skin slapping against skin.



“You still owe me twenty dollars.” The scratchy voice echoes down the alley.

“I'm sorry. I promise…” Another smack.

“Don't lie to me. What did you do with the money?” The fear in the air is palpable. I pull the neck of the tight shirt away from my throat. I slip the glasses into my pocket and slip on the mask. I feel different, stronger.

I approach the mouth of the alley and see the altercation. The man looms over the cowering woman, his size overwhelming her small frame. I hear her whimpers. She cups her cheek, blood drips down her cheek. A rat skitters across my feet, but instead of jumping this time, I stand tall and brave.

“Stop.” I yell down the alley, my voice loud and deep.

The man backs away from the woman and looks in my direction. “And who the fuck are you?” The man chuckles and walks toward me, the woman forgotten. “Some kind of fucking superhero?”

I step closer to the man, taking in his appearance. His head is shaved and I can almost see my reflection. A white tank top clings to his muscular body. I can't make out the individual tattoos, but ink traces up and down his skin. He's still coming closer, dragging his feet along the cement. “That's close enough.” My voice calls out and I raise my hand to stop the man.

The man doesn't stop. He keeps walking toward to me. “What are you going to do about it, punk?” The man sneers at me.

“Take one more step and you'll find out.” I threaten the man, but his face shows no trace of fear.

“Oh yeah?” The man is standing in front of me now. I can smell the stale beer and cigarettes on his breath. “I don't think you have the balls.” He raises a hand and pokes a long, fat finger into my chest.

“Big mistake.” The man's eyes widen in shock when grab his finger. He screams out in pain as I twist it until the bone snaps. I've caught the woman's attention now. She's sitting on the dirty ground, watching me with her mouth hanging open. I let the man's hand go and he cradles it to his chest. “I warned you.”

“You just fucked up.” He steps closer. “This is none of your business. Now scram.” His voice is higher, I'm assuming from the pain of his broken finger.

“Leave her alone.” I look to the woman, still watching me. “She didn't ask for this life and you are praying on her weakness.”

The man looks back at the woman and then back at me. “What's it to you?”

“That's not important. Leave. Leave her alone.” I stand up straight and stare into the man's eyes.

“No.” He steps away and turns toward the woman. He takes a step in her direction, but a long arm grabs his ankle. I hole opens in the ground and I watch as he's pulled through the cement. His screams pierce the night air. The hole seals itself and his screams can no longer be heard. I chuckle to myself. “I warned you.”

The woman stares at me, gaping. I walk toward her with my hands held out in a non-threatening gesture. She stammers words that I can't understand. “Its okay.” I reassure the woman, pulling her to her feet.

“Where'd he go?” Her voice is still shaky. She stares at the spot on the ground, where just moments ago, the man stood.

“Home.” I walk to the end of the alley and nod my head in the woman's direction. “I'll always be watching.”

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