After collecting his thoughts, Andrew decided to make a move. ‘Time to make a house call’, he thought, smiling to himself.
Turning and locating a nearby, more recently built building, a rather shabby-looking block of flats, a ways below, he took a running leap off the tiled roof, feeling time slow as he soared through the air, heart pounding and muscles seething with energy. Landing in a roll to minimise the impact of the landing and maintain speed, he sprinted across the unyielding concrete surface and vaulted clean over the parapet, scattering some roosting pigeons. Slamming into the side of the neighbouring construct, he winced and pulled himself up with gloved hands. “Misjudged that, damnit!” Andrew hissed aloud, feeling the dull throb of pain in his chest and arms, soothed by the first few drops of rain.
Suddenly, his keen hearing caught the sound of an impact, and a cry of pain, from somewhere below. Peering over the side of the derelict office block into an alleyway below, he could see an all too common scene in his city. A malnourished-looking young man, dressed in a shabby hoody and baggy tracksuit trousers, the old-fashioned uniform of the streets, stood squarely in front of a frightened woman, who had clearly just been hit and was cradling her shoulder in pain.
“I said, give me the phone now, b%£@&! Anythin’ else you ‘ave would be nice an’ all.”
Andrew sensed a hint of fear in the mugger’s voice, behind the posturing. ‘Desperation. Or maybe this just the only way he knows how to survive. Either way, I can’t let this carry on. Evil has no excuse. I need to save that woman before something worse happens.’
With these thoughts, Andrew pulled a red bandana over his face from his pocket to conceal his identity. He noticed a line of balconies, connecting his position on the roof to the alleyway. Lowering himself down swiftly but quietly in order to avoid alerting the thug, he anchored his feet on the balcony railings, allowing him to reach down with his arms and position himself on the railings of the next balcony. Repeating this process until he had reached ground level, he quietly dropped to the ground and began treading softly over behind the mugger. That was when the assailant decided to pull a fearsome, if well-used, kitchen knife from his sagging trousers. He raised the blade to the terrified woman’s face, breathing hard.
“Give it to me, now, or no-one will ever see you again.”
Suddenly, the woman caught sight of Andrew behind the mugger and impulsively cried out, cheap make-up running down her cheeks.
Andrew sighed as the mugger swung around. ‘I really hate it when they do that..’
“What the…” was all the thug had time to say before Andrew landed a jaw-shattering punch into his face, sending his head flying back with the impact, flecks of rainwater and saliva scattering like confetti. Recovering quickly, the mugger thrust the knife viciously forward. Anticipating the attack with ease, Andrew just barely side-stepped the move, wincing in pain as he felt the after-effects of his earlier wound. In one smooth motion, he gripped the thug’s outstretched arm, before bringing his knee up swiftly and smashing it into the prone limb. Screaming in agony, the mugger dropped the knife and staggered backwards. Seeing her chance, the woman defiantly pushed her dazed attacker toward Andrew, who lunged forward and delivered a knockout blow to his chin, finishing the fight.
Sniffing and rubbing her shoulder, the woman looked weakly up at Andrew. He grinned gently. “Nice work back there. Ever thought about joining a self-defence class? You’d do well.” She smiled. “Thanks, but I think I’ve had enough violence for a lifetime. Thank-you so much. I should get home..” As she turned to leave, he noticed an angry purple bruise on her back, between her shoulder blades. ‘That couldn’t have come from the mugger’ he thought. ‘She was facing him the whole time.’ A wave of pity and anger washed over him as he realised the implication. Even in their own homes, people faced violence and suffering, and inflicted it on each other. He sighed, before leaping up the nearest wall to return to his rooftop vigil. ‘Now, where was I?’