Impenetrable fog drenched blackened stone of a cluttered alleyway. The sound of footsteps echoed down the narrow space. A lone boy trudged aimlessly toward the alley. He couldn’t remember from which direction he had come, he had long since gotten lost and couldn’t use his cell phone to call for help because he had no signal. Confusion was written on his face, uncertainty clouded his eyes.
Panic bubbled up in his body, as it did ever time her entered an alley.
Listless, he stared at the toes of his worn boots. A glass container skittered down the musty space as his boot struck it, he looked down the passageway. Empty beer bottles and cigarette packages were scattered with other debris that littered the walkway. Fresh spray paint oozed down the pitted, muddy walls.
Shuddering, he pulled away from it.
A soggy cardboard box scrapped on the gravel, a hand scattering shredded pieces of paper. A muted moan drifted back toward the boy, along with the stench of cigarette smoke and an unwashed body. A haggard, drunken man staggered forward, his red shirt stained many times with alcohol. Fresh liquid was smeared down his front. A half empty beer bottle was clutched in his muddy hand. A package of cigarettes stuck out from one pocket of his filthy jeans.
Holding onto a thin emotion of calm, the boy backed up, his elbow jammed into someone’s stomach.
A much larger drunk roared at him, throwing his weight against him.
The boy’s insides melted in pure terror as the man gripped him in a tight head lock. Immediately his panicked mind thought back to what his karate sensei had said in class two days early; “The fight is over the moment you tense up and freak out. Its terrifying to be attacked. So if you are, take a deep breath and relax.’”
Sucking in a ragged breath, the boy dislodged the head lock. The bloated body of his attacker flipped over his shoulder. The boy staggered, banishing his fear he forced himself to focus on his calm center.
The man with the red shirt wildly swung a punch. The boy dodged the fist, kicking out backward as he did. The drunkard spun as he fell, his beer bottle flying out of his hand, smashing into the wall above the boy’s head, splattering him with the fowl tasting liquid.
He felt a stinging pain under his eye as the broken shards dropped to the ground.
The drunkard was livid, cursing in a loud voice. He ran at the boy, jabbing the air with his fists, spitting as he yelled. The boy ducked under the first punch, stumbling on bottles the second punch hit his jaw, causing him to bit his tongue.
Blood traced a crimson line down his chin as he fell spinning, throwing a hooking kick to the back the drunkards neck.
The man fell motionless to the cold cement.
As he fled the boy thought; I may have done the fighting, but I thank God helping me stay calm.
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