Cheers, claps, hoots, and wolf-whistles. That is what greeted the ears of the sweaty but elated brunette in black. Black cargo pants, black tank top, black skate shoes, black safety gear; in fact, the only non-black would be the toxic green dripping skull design on her skateboard. Her signature shadowy getup is what gave her the name, albeit quite (read immensely) lame, Shadow Skater.
“Wooooh! YEAH!” a scruffy blonde cheered as he half hugged the grinning brunette. Drew Callahan was dressed in army print cargo pants and a plain olive green V-neck t-shirt that was glued to his back with sweat. His helmet was unbuckled, the straps loose and swinging against his jaw, but he still had his guards on. His light brown eyes were bright and alive despite his tiredness. “That was FUCKING AWESOME Ty! You kicked their asses!” He was still as hyper as ever though.
Ty winced slightly but grinned, “Drew, you’re gonna destroy my eardrums and I rather enjoy being able to hear stuff.”
Drew ignored his best friend and continued to scream and holler praises of “insanely rad-tastic killer moves”, his exact words. Though it sounded like he was bragging instead of praising.
She let the hyper boy carry on damaging eardrums while she eased out of his grasp to breathe the cool, cold, and electric air. She hi-fived, fist-bumped, guy-hugged, and thanked the many other spectators and skaters who came up to her until she was stopped by a tense hand on her shoulder. She turned around to face three boys also decked out in skate gear though they had scowls instead of grins decorating their faces.
Ty smirked and removed the hand from her person, “Hey there. Your last kick-flip was pretty good but your finish was a bit...” She moved her hand in a seesaw motion with a small mock-grimace. “Ehhh.”
The leader of the trio, George Friedman, a burly, class-A misogynistic douchebag, forever burned into Ty’s hit list, growled and his scowl deepened. His blue eyes darkened in anger as he spat, “Shut up, bitch. There is no way a fucking girl could win.”
It was Ty’s turn to scowl. Even though she received comments of this nature quite often, she still got pissed as hell. The amount of male stupidity and perverseness truly astounded her, and not in the good way. Her short temper didn’t help either.
She was about to retort (cussing, insulting, provoking and maybe a few harmful physical actions included) when a certain scruffy blonde returned to interrupt, “Then what do you think just happened, Friedman?” Drew stood beside Ty and his mere presence calmed her considerably. Now she no longer wished to decapitate, dismember and disembowel the idiot in front of her. Just mortally wound him a bit. Just a bit.
Ty cut in again, “Drew, don’t be mean.” Drew gave her a questioning look and the trio let their scowls slip to create masks of confusion. She answered their unvoiced questions, “You know that thinking isn’t his strongest of points. We don’t need to get an ambulance for when his brain explodes from overuse when it can be prevented.”
It was incredibly difficult for Ty to keep a straight face while she spoke in a completely innocent, matter-of-fact, ‘duhh’ kind of voice. Drew let his surprise show on his face, wide-eyed and raised eyebrows with a gaping jaw, before he struggled to keep his laughter down as he agreed. He threw on an apologetic look with all the sincerity of the most narcissistic narcissist calling someone else more beautiful towards Friedman before waving and pulling the brunette away. Just in time before Friedman and his two followers realized what had happened and tried to start an all-out fistfight with curses and profanities that would require at least four bars of soap.
When out of sight of the trio, Ty clutched her stomach in laughter. “Holy shit…did you….see….their…..faces? Shit, that…was fucking hilarious,” she gasped out and held onto Drew’s shoulder for support.
Drew wasn’t a stable support for long before his shoulder began to shake and quiver with his own rumble of laughter. The two were bent over using the other as a stand so as to not writhe on the concrete floor. They received a few curious glances, but were otherwise ignored. Most of the skaters knew they weren’t dying or having a seizure, as it was relatively normal behavior for the two.
“Shadow! Shadow’s shadow!” voices called out, causing Drew and Ty to raise their heads. Their faces were flushed and they were panting, trying to recover the air they lost in their laughing fit. If one didn’t know any better, they would assume that Ty and Drew had recently completed acts expected of hormonal teenagers.
“How many times have I told you not to call me that stupid name? You all know my name so use it, dipshits,” Ty answered with a grin as a group of four boys, all in skate gear, came up to her and Drew.
Two were brunets like Ty, the third a redhead and the fourth black haired. The brunets, Henry Evans and Jimmy Jenkins, had shaggy hair, one short the other long, respectively. Other differences between the two who could have been brothers were their eyes and height. Jimmy, the shorter of the two had dark brown while Henry had light blue. The redhead, Fred Fox, had short curls paired with light brown eyes that reflected his emotions no matter how hard he tried to hide them. The dark haired boy, Grant Malcolm had an army-like buzz cut with chocolate skin, though he’d deck anyone who described his skin to be like that of the sugary treat. He was never too touchy about being called black in a derogatory way, but his friends always stood up for him and made sure no exceptionally racist assholes were injury free.
Before they could answer, Drew interrupted in a dramatic disbelieving tone, “Shadow’s shadow? How thou pierceth my pride! To put me in such a place and name me a mere shadow’s shadow? Thou art no longer my bestest of friends!” He finished by putting a hand over his chest and overdoing a look of distraught.
Fred snorted, “Yeah, yeah. This is the fifteenth time, Drama King. And bestest isn’t a word.”
Drew retorted, “Well since I’m a king you have to bow down to me and serve me grapes and shit whenever I want. Also, since I’m a royal and the top of the royals I can make up words, so bestest is too a word, Red.”
Grant ignored the slight banter between Fred and Drew and directed his question to Ty who was watching the normal display with open amusement. “So Ty, you coming to Sal’s? Some other guys wanted to grab a bite too and already left. They’re gonna meet us there.”
Ty smiled but shook her head, “Nah, can’t, sorry Buzz.” She smirked slightly as he grimaced at the new nickname his recent hairstyle helped acquire. It also didn’t help that the same day he first appeared outside with the new do, his little brother had stuck his Buzz Lightyear action figure in Buzz’s bag. Coincidence? No, it was a brat called Brady.
Henry pouted and whined, “Aww, c’mon Ty! It’s a celebratory party for winning! You gotta come.”
“Celebratory party, my ass,” she scoffed with a knowing grin and eye roll. “We go there whenever possible for no reason whatsoever. But no matter how much you whine, Rinny, I can’t. I gotta go home. The ‘rents are coming back and I have to be there to ‘welcome them’. Trust me, I’d much rather stuff my face at Sal’s than spend any time with my parents.” Ty mentally grimaced at the inevitable encounter with her parents. She didn’t hate them per say, just couldn’t stand their snobbish ways.
Drew and Fred had stopped arguing about the importance of having the word ‘bestest’ as a legit word and were giving Ty sympathetic looks as were Henry, Grant and Jimmy. They knew about the complications of Ty’s more or less dysfunctional family but never pressed her and gave her space when shit hit the fan at home. Knowing one another since preschool and being closer than kin since, they knew every last thing about each other down to the last drop of useless information.
Slightly miffed at feeling pitied, Ty smiled encouragingly, “Okay, get those looks of your ugly faces. It just makes you look more monkey butt-like. I just gotta open the door, listen to them bitch and then do Monday’s homework.” After she got skeptical looks from the five she amended, “Okay, I’ll probably end up playing Skyrim or something and not bother looking for where my homework is. Anyway, I’ve got some stuff to do tomorrow and with them here…” she shrugged, letting the thought fade, unfinished. “So I’ll see you and the others at school on Monday. Tell ‘em I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. Later, losers.”
She said her usual goodbye and walked out of the skate park and waited until she was on the empty sidewalk before hopping onto her board. She rolled along silently, the long since familiar and comforting sound of wheels turning on corroded concrete filling her ears. She opted for the long route back to her place of residence. Prolong the torturous meeting.
Her parents were never around, always going off to some island, city, mountain, ocean or whatever leaving Ty with an overly paid sitter she never bothered to remember as they were all different and of a plentiful variety. It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that Ty was loaded. Both her parents came from old money. A lot of old money. Adding to their wealth, her father, John Jackson, was a succeeding businessman in the automobile industry while her mother, Heather Jackson, was a well-known fashion designer and had recently started up a perfume line.
They valued materialistic goods and status over anything else, even their only child and their own marriage was based on mutual benefits. They wanted to be the perfect rich family and forced Ty to behave accordingly. She put up with it to please them, but soon realized nothing was ever enough and she felt miserable. Everything her parents wanted her to be brilliant at, she either hated or had no talent for or even both.
She was horrible at anything remotely musical and hated piano with all her being. She was just barely average at anything academic, her strongest subject being physical education. Sports varied. It seemed as though Ty was made to be disastrous at what her parents forced her to do, such as tennis, golf and swimming, but great at what her parents disapproved of and was “unfit for a girl” like skateboarding, basketball and rugby, or American football as her friends repeatedly corrected her. Chess was out of the question and everyone’s eyes would be saved if she never picked up a paintbrush. All the art related crafts were to be left to Henry; he even painted the skull on her skateboard. Ballet? Memories that should forever be forgotten.
She was skating through an old park, one she and her friends spent many a days causing trouble in and sometimes still do, recalling her less than happy childhood relating to her neglectful, superficial parents, when she was abruptly startled back to the almost vacant area.
Even though it was a late Saturday night, the streets were quiet and empty. Not a single drunk couple in sight or sound. The only lights were the lamps’ dull orangey-yellow glow that flickered inconsistently since no one bothered to replace a few measly bulbs in a long abandoned park frequented by rambunctious teenagers. Other than her, there were two men in dark brown coats talking near a bench.
What startled her out of her own mind was the sound of a gunshot. At least it was a gunshot if TV, movies, FPSRussia and video games were anything to go by.
She immediately stopped and whipped her head towards the direction of the sound. She saw the two men she only barely noticed before. One fell to the floor with a gasp of pain while the other stood completely unharmed and unfazed. Her eyes widened and her body froze in paralyzed fear and shock as she took in how the fallen man had stilled, now a fresh corpse. Almost immediately after, a whole group of men in dark clothes emerged from crevices that were not there previously. Under the dim light, she saw a flash of silver.
They have fucking guns. Well no shit, there was that fucking GUNSHOT. Why am I still here? They’re gonna kill me next!
She was about to kick off the floor and speed away when another group of men in dark clothes emerged from other crevices her brain didn’t deem important enough to notice. In a matter of seconds, the two groups were attacking each other. More gunshots echoed, mixed with sounds of pain and agony. It was amazing how their commotion attracted practically nothing, just the unfortunate brunette who had been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ty was completely paralyzed and no matter how much her mind told her to get the fuck out of there, she couldn’t move. She watched in amazed horror as the two groups clashed. She differentiated the groups by color. The first group was in bland brown clothing while the second was in dark blue and black. To her, it looked like Brown was losing as most of their numbers had fallen to the floor.
She noticed that guns were not the only weapons of choice. A Blue was brandishing a very sharp looking knife that sliced the arm of a Brown, drawing blood and a pained grunt. They carried on, and she watched, unnoticed as of yet. Not long after, only a few Browns were remaining and a little less than half the Blues were wounded.
Too bad for Ty as her luck ran out. A Brown had looked past his blue enemies and surprise decorated his face. The Blues noticed and turned around to discover Ty gawking. One of them, after the awkward staring in shock moment, shouted, “Get him!”
Him? Never mind that, I have to get out of here! Ty’s common sense finally reached and was understood by her brain and she kicked off the floor to propel her towards the nearest exit. She skated with all her strength, adrenaline pumping her heart and making her gain speed. She just reached the park exit when an object hit her back, making her lose her balance and fall forward. She took the crash with her hands and knees, thankful for safety gear. She quickly got up and scanned for the object that hit her eliminating a bullet since she was still very much alive and not bleeding profusely. Her gaze fell upon a lone potato. What the fuck? Psycho murderers with guns use…potato launchers?
Pushing potato launchers out of her mind, she quickly picked up her skateboard and ran for everything she was worth, which could be quite a lot if she were to be held ransom considering who her parents were. Her shoes slapped the sidewalk and her breathing became ragged and shallow. She didn’t look behind for fear of seeing crazy psychos with guns aimed directly at her. She couldn’t hear steps other than her own, but didn’t want to look behind despite the paranoia.
When it was too hard to resist, she finally looked back and saw…nothing. An empty street.
Confused, Ty slowed to a stop and gratefully caught her breath. She looked around for any sign of a gun, knife or potato-wielding killer but only saw empty streets, stray cats and flickering street lamps. Her ears only heard her own thumping heartbeat and ragged breaths as she tried to remember how to breathe normally.
Sighing, she turned around and opened her eyes to come face to chin with a man in dark blue almost black clothes. She didn’t scream, but did use the board still in her hands to whack the man’s head completely out of pure instinct. He fell over backwards, unable to do anything to stop the board from connecting to his skull. He didn’t even have time to replace his hidden smug smirk with a stunned expression.
Immediately, Ty began to run again, going right past the figure of the guy she temporarily knocked out without a backward glance. Her body was piloting completely on fear and adrenaline as she raced once again despite her chest and legs’ protests.
She barely got a few blocks away when five more people from Blue appeared in front of her and when she turned she was greeted by three more. Looking left and right, her chances of escape diminished when the eight fanned out to surround her in a circle. A circle that was slowly getting smaller and smaller.
Ty’s eyes darted wildly, looking for any possible way to escape, but none were present unless she could turn invisible, teleport or have superhuman speed or strength to take on the eight burly, threatening men. Standing straight, she attempted to look fierce, but knew that her fear was very well evident. Her frantic, panicked running was certainly a tipoff. Still, she tried to keep her voice firm when she spoke, “Leave me alone. I have nothing to do with you and I will not go to the police. I doubt they’d be able to do anything anyway so there really is no point in killing me. I don’t even know who the fuck you guys are!” Her voice cracked slightly at the end as she fought the creeping hysteria that made her want to burst into tears or uncontrollable laughter at her fucked up luck and stupidity.
The eight men gave no indication of hearing her speak. They only closed in on her in agonizing slowness.
Ty’s fingers turned white as her grip on her board tightened and her arms tensed to the point of going numb with tension.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m dead. They are going to kidnap me and then slowly kill me by dissecting me and selling my body parts to weird creepy body part collectors. Shit.
As the group in front of her stepped closer, she instinctively stepped backwards, only to fall right into the hands of the men behind her. Strong, seemingly unbreakable hands fastened on to her arms and squeezed, eliciting a gasp of pain that was muffled by the hand that clamped over her mouth. Her board fell from her grasp and almost clattered on the floor, but was caught by the man directly in front of her. The men grunted in hushed whispers and Ty couldn’t understand a word. Her fear-riddled mind couldn’t make out the words to be English, French, Spanish, Pig Latin, German, Hebrew or any known language. In fact, she could barely tell that they were speaking words at all.
The only thing she could hear was her own thoughts. I am going to die. They will kill me. I’m going to die. They won’t let a witness live. Why did I take the long way? Why didn’t I go to Sal’s? My parents don’t actually care and it wouldn’t be the first time I ditched them. I am going to die. I. Am. Going. To. Fucking. Die.
One of the men flipped open his phone and spoke rapidly in it before quickly shutting it and stuffing it into his pocket. Not a minute later, a sleek black car quietly but quickly pulled up beside the group. Ty was immediately shoved in once the door opened and a little less than half the group entered the vehicle. Her hands were held behind her back, and one sharp tug would either dislocate the bones completely or create blinding pain. Most likely both. They replaced the hand over her mouth with a foul tasting cloth that made her gag.
When the door closed and the car lurched forward, Ty’s fight or flight response activated once again. This time as flight was not quite possible, she went with fight. She began to writhe and struggle, trying to release her hands despite the sharp stings of pain that erupted with every move. She thrashed her feet, kicking out at anything and anyone. Her kidnappers were caught off guard and received a few stray blows before growling and grabbing her flailing limbs.
The one who had hold of her hands lost his grip for a moment and Ty used the opportunity to lunge forwards and punch the first person in sight. She socked him right in the eye and immediately dove to the door, hoping desperately that they were stupid enough not to lock it.
She pulled the handle, kicking back at the people in the crowded car, and her heart sped up when the door actually opened. They are fucking idiots! Murderous, kidnapping idiots, but idiots nonetheless.
She used her knee to hit the closest man’s most prized possessions and used the extended time to open the door completely and jump out. She dived right out the door and landed on the pavement, her arms breaking her fall and getting scraped along the way. She barrel rolled to a stop and quickly got up despite the pain in her arms and hammering heart.
The car had slid to a screeching stop as soon as she had jumped out of the vehicle and the men who avoided Ty’s limbs climbed out. This time they had their guns out and aimed at her. Ty’s heart stopped in fear and she paled visibly. Her throat dried and her tongue decided to unveil its transformation abilities to turn into crackly, rough sandpaper.
She slowly backed up before turning and running blindly. She had no idea where she was; she just had to get away. She passed alleys, homeless high hobos, demon cats, broken lamps and creepy shops without pause. She barely noticed the drunkards too wasted to be of any help making lewd remarks, the skeletal dogs barking, the possums raiding dumpsters and the second black car that shadowed the first one.
She took a sharp turn into a narrow street and risked a look behind her. They were still there, running angrily. The man who received her punch was leading and he looked pissed as hell. Ty turned to face the front again but was too late to notice the discarded, cheap beer bottles.
She flew forward, the glass breaking and clinking loud enough to raise the deaf dead. As her face decided to meet the puke stained floor, she felt a rush of air fly over her head, just skimming her dark brown locks. When she looked up, the trashcan in front of her had a bullet hole.
They tried to shoot me. They tried to shoot me! They SHOT AT ME! Holy shit. Cheap beer bottles temporarily saved my life.
Ty shook the thoughts that would have been amusing had they not been so true out of her head and quickly got back to her feet. Her legs and hands got cut numerous times by the bottles she had broken and the already broken shards of glass that already resided in the dank alley.
Promising to thank the invention of bottles at a later time, she continued her frantic escape. Her energy to run had been refueled at her extremely close contact with death, but she was thinking more clearly now. Actually, she was actually thinking.
The gunshot had snapped her mind back together and she was searching for ways to escape instead of running like a mad woman. Her luck shone through in the form of a very narrow crack in the wall that she could just fit into. It was behind a dumpster, and as predictable and clichéd as it was, she immediately slipped inside.
She quickly removed the cloth that left a rancid aftertaste and tried to even her breathing. She waited and mentally chanted, “Please don’t look here. Please keep running. Please don’t look here. Please keep running.”
Her heart froze as the sound of footsteps grew closer and closer to her location. She squeezed her eyes shut, rambling promises in her mind for what she would do if she made it.
I’ll stop harassing people. I’ll repaint Mr. Yvuicks car back to its original color and never mess with it again. I’ll stop being a complete bitch with my parents. I’ll never pick up a bottle of alcohol or a cigarette again. I’ll give Jimmy his video game I stole last month and Buzz’s comic book from five months ago. I’ll call Buzz Grant again. I’ll stop ditching class. I’ll do my homework. I’ll… I’ll, uhh, I don’t know, but I’ll do anything. Just please don’t let them catch me!
She almost released a huge relieved breath and crumpled to the ground when the footsteps didn’t slow down or stop, but kept going past her. Only when she was absolutely positive that they were gone did she creep out of the hole and ran back in the direction she had come from.
When she finally got out of the alley she put her hands on her knees and finally got a chance to catch her breath. Breathing heavily she allowed a small smile to form on her exhausted face.
“I got away,” she whispered under her ragged breathing. Standing up, Ty almost chuckled at her unbelievable luck, but the chuckling turned into a muffled scream when an arm grabbed her around the waist from behind and the other hand pressed a cloth to her face, covering her nose and mouth completely. She didn’t have time to fight before she fell under a thick layer of darkness.