Beginnings: Part 2

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He’s maybe 5’6”, 5’7” tops, which is still plenty tall to a guy on the floor with maybe a crushed spinal column.  Definitely human, but he’s got hair all over like matted fur, his pants and shirt are torn open along the seams, and his footsteps sound like he weighs maybe twice what you’d expect.  And he’s coming at me like I insulted his mother and his favorite sports team all in one breath.

I know you’re not supposed to move if you’ve got a back injury, but I figure that maybe I’d better take the chance, so I try to scramble away.  And weirdly, my back doesn’t hurt at all.  Maybe I’m in shock, I think, but I decide to count my blessings and deal with the damage later.  First priority now is staying out of his way.

And he’s not making it easy.  He comes in with a double hammer-blow right where I was sitting, roaring as he goes.  I can smell his breath, and it smells like blood: not like he’s been eating meat, but like he’s got something torn real bad inside.  It’s not slowing him down any, though, and he scoops up a chunk of shattered tile and lobs it at me underhand like a fast-pitch softball.  I flinch and throw my arms up in front of my face, and it smashes into them.  The impact knocks my forearms into my face and pitches me over on my back, but although it stings a little bit, it still doesn’t hurt like I’d expect it to.

Finally, I start to get mad.  This guy comes in after me, trashes my desk, chucks me around like a rag doll, and what did I ever do to him?  And it’s not like my bosses are going to thank me for stopping him; I’ll probably get yelled at for letting the place get torn up.  They might even fire me over it.  Stupid useless job that I didn’t even want to be at, and they’re going to fire me?  All because this idiot went mental and I happened to be nearby?

He’s running at me again, but I’m on my feet now, and furious.  I grab up a piece of wreckage and take a swing at him, and it connects hard; it’s a rising blow from the ground that meets him squarely under his chin.  His head snaps backward and his entire body is lifted off the ground; he does almost a complete backflip in the air and smashes chest-first onto the ground with a grunt.

He’s not moving, which is good, because I’m in shock.  I’m trying to figure out how I hit him that hard.  I look down at my weapon, and suddenly realize I’m holding a chunk of the marble slab from the security desk.  It’s solid stone, about two feet wide and maybe four feet long, which has got to put it in the neighborhood of 150 pounds.  And right now, it’s just casually resting in my left hand; I’m supporting it like it’s Styrofoam.

The guy makes a noise, which snaps me back to reality.  I see him moving a little bit, like he’s thinking about getting up, and I know what I need to do: I need to walk over to him with this slab I’ve got, and pulp his head while he’s down.  I don’t need to try to take this guy in a stand-up fight again.  I got a lucky shot once, but I might not again.  Besides, it’s not like he wouldn’t do the same to me.  He already tried once, after he bounced me off the wall with that first sucker shot.  It’s just good sense.  Self-preservation.

And even with all of these perfectly great reasons, I can’t talk myself into it.  So I square my shoulders, take a couple of steps back, and get my club ready for another hit.  There’s seriously something wrong here; I lift the marble to my shoulder like I’m holding a baseball bat, and I’d swear to you it’s not more than a couple of pounds.  I’m not even feeling undue pressure where it’s resting on my shoulder.

The guy levers himself up to his forearms, head still hanging low.  I think maybe he’s gonna try to come in low, take out my knees, but instead he just opens up his mouth and vomits out a cascade of blood.  It’s bright red and it’s got horrible torn chunks in it; the river comes out of him for maybe four or five seconds before he collapses face down into it and lays there, totally still.  And oh my God, I’ve killed him.

I drop the slab and run over, but he’s already got no pulse and I have no idea what to do.  I’ve seen CPR in movies, but given the amount of blood he just poured out, I don’t think hitting him in the chest is going to do him any favors.  And then I remember that I’m a security guard, and the right thing to do in this situation is to call the police.

I scramble over what’s left of the desk and find the phone, which is fortunately still working.  I call the cops to report a break-in and an injured man; I tell them that he’s not breathing, and they need to bring an ambulance.  I sort of expect them to ask me a lot of questions, but the dispatcher just asks if I’m safe, tells me to be calm and that they’re on their way.  So I hang up, only now I’m alone with a dead body and time to think.

Everything makes basic sense to me, right up to the point where the guy chucked me into the wall.  Why wasn’t I hurt?  Why could I lift so much and swing it like it was nothing?  I know adrenalin boosts people’s strength, but this seems extreme.  Besides which, the fight’s over, so I should be coming down from it, but I still don’t hurt at all.  I’ve got some small cuts on my forearms from blocking that tile, but that’s it.

I go heft the slab I was using as a club again, and it still comes up off the ground like a Hollywood prop.  I set it aside and find a larger piece in the rubble, maybe two by seven, so working on three hundred pounds.  This outweighs me, but I can still pick it up without even trying.  I start stacking stuff on top of it, looking for a limit; I’ve got a stack of wood and stone maybe a foot high, and it’s starting to get a little heavy, when I suddenly feel that all-over instant ice cream headache again, the pile plummets out of my arms like it’s just gained all its weight back, and a half-ton of wreckage slams down on my right foot.

So that’s how the cops find the scene: a smashed entrance, a dead guy in a pool of his own blood, and me with both hands wrapped around my ankle and begging them to please come get the desk off of me.  Pretty heroic, right?

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