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Wednesday morning I decided I was going to go to school. I wasn't sure if I wanted the semblance of normalcy that routine provided, or if I just wanted to go somewhere that I doubted Mickey would follow. Either way, morning came and off I went, but I didn't take the Civic. Between the crash and thinking I was being followed, I wasn't a big fan of cars lately.

Besides, it was nice outside, and it wasn't as though I lived far from school.

The pinks and yellows of the sky were fading to a sharp blue as I walked down the street, and though a few cars passed me by, the rest of the world seemed drowned in silence. I didn't mind it. It was the first peaceful moment I'd had in a very long time.

The longer I thought about it, the more I wondered when I had last enjoyed silence. No moment came to mind, so I derailed the thought process.

"Hey! Thomas!" an ear-gratingly familiar voice shouted from behind me.

I turned slowly, apprehension already rising within me before I even laid eyes on Walski. He wore a vicious and wide smile, but it wasn't him that the bulk of my attention was on. No, it was the entourage that followed him -- four men in dark clothes. Upon closer inspection, I could see shotguns on their hips . . . and after I noticed those and looked back to Walski, I saw the shotgun in his hand.

"Walski," I said slowly, the space between my brows creasing as I took a few more steps backwards upon their approach.

They all came to a stop a few yards away from me, the brutish men following Walski beginning to spread out slowly, covering more ground.

"What's going on, man?" I asked carefully, eyes flicking between each of his muscular buddies, before settling on him.

"Oh, you know," Walski shrugged, gesturing with his gun in a way that I somehow recognized as being both idiotic and unsafe.

You don't point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.

"I've had enough of this crap," Walski continued, maintaining my attention. His smirk had morphed into a scowl, his features creased and twisted in annoyance. Without another word, I found his gun pointed at me. "I'm done screwing around."

I didn't have a chance to say anything else before one of Walski's new friends had come at me from the right. He hadn't pulled his gun, and instead swung for my head. I ducked without thinking, and as he began to fall from his exerted force, I acted.

Everything seemed to happen without my knowing. It was as though my body was a separate thing from my mind. I was half-surprised I didn't witness everything like an out-of-body experience. No, when the first man began to fall, I launched my backpack at his legs, sending them clear out from under him.

He was down for the count the moment the second came at me, this one fumbling with his gun in the process. I kicked the gun out of his hand and slammed an open palm into his nose within the same breath, sending blood spurting and him to the ground within seconds.

To my surprise, neither of Walski's remaining two goons came for me, but it didn't take me long to determine why. Though Walski still had his weapon pointed my way, neither he nor his remaining men were moving.

It didn't take me long to determine why.

Mickey stood smack next to Walski, a gun of her own pressed right beneath his ear. She radiated menace in a manner I couldn't put my finger on, but I knew that the smile she wore was purely wicked. I couldn't fathom how she looked relaxed in such a situation, but then again, ever since the car crash, I couldn't really comprehend much when it came to her.

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