Instinctively, Nole backed away from his enemy, his back hitting the metal surface of the side door he’d just used. Brute force won’t be enough, he reasoned, facing his dangerously close three hundred pound opponent. I need an advantage, and if it’s not strength, it’s got to be location. In an instant, Nole fumbled the door open and made a break for the inside of the bar. Despite his brief time in the bar, he was counting on confusing Tyrone, or at least finding a weapon to help take him down.
Rushing into the room, Nole hopped over the counter and ducked down to formulate a strategy. Immediately following him, the pounding footsteps of who must’ve been Tyrone came trampling through the room. Nole held his breath and he heard the sharp, unmistakable click of a switchblade being unsheathed.
“I know you’re in here!” Tyrone’s booming voice shook the room. Nole quietly crawled down the length of the area behind the counter while the crashes of flung furniture echoed around him. Nole was nearing the end of the bar without any luck of finding a tool to help fend off his enemy.
By the time he got to the end of his crawl. Nothing!
Weaponless and idealess, an eerie stillness had overtaken the room. Stray creaks on the wooden floor put Nole on edge. He’s stalking me. He knows I’m back here. Urging himself to remain calm, he racked his brain on an escape. Before he could successfully calm himself down, the loud thud of Tyrone’s fist came smashing down on the countertop directly above him. Nole shot his head up and saw the monstrous opponent looming above him, switchblade in hand.
Leaping to a standing position, Nole backed away toward the way he came as Tyrone eyed him from the other end of the counter. When his pursuer's foot rose to the countertop, Nole dashed for the backside of the bar. He was met with a large storeroom lined with metal shelves similar to the lined shelves of the old library.
Before doing anything, Nole clambered to close the door after him to keep Tyrone at bay for as long as possible. Grabbing one of the few rusted metal chairs inhabiting the edge of the storeroom, Nole propped the door handle. As soon as he released his careful set up, the handle vigorously shook from the other side. Nole knew the barrier wouldn’t hold for long, so he scoured the shelves for something, anything that he could use. No one’s coming to save me this time. I’m on my own.
As Nole’s hopes began to fade, he came across a box of old, chipped glasses, and another box full of empty wine bottles. Thunderous bangs filled the room, which Nole assumed was Tyrone slamming his body against the door. Gathering all of the necessary supplies, Nole carefully scaled the side of the metal shelf. Just as he reached the top, a panting Tyrone burst into the room.
Inaudible from his position on the shelf, Nole patiently waited for his moment to strike. Tyrone cautiously peered into each row of shelves, meticulously searching for his prey. When he finally made it to Nole’s row, he peered between every nook of the shelf. Clutching one of the larger glasses, Nole forced himself to wait until the perfect moment. Even though he had a perfect view of Tyrone, the only thing that captured his attention was the switchblade. The danger of the situation, paired with the riskiness of his plan, made his palms sweat.
Poking boxes and tilting his head in confusion, Tyrone continued down the row. Tyrone stepped exactly below him, peering into another box. At that moment, Nole chucked two drinking glasses at his foe’s feet. Taking a few steps back, Tyrone bent down to examine the broken glass before standing again. Just as he was getting back to his full height, Nole gripped two of the empty wine bottles and launched from his perch on the shelf, to Tyrone’s spacious back.
The force of Nole’s jump was supposed to take Tyrone down, but the giant remained on his feet. The only consolation was that the switchblade was, thankfully, dropped to the floor. Almost instantly, Tyrone grasped the situation and attempted to peel Nole off of him. The constant movement made Nole dizzy, and unable to fight back. He hadn’t anticipated Tyrone’s nimble shuffling.
Latching all four limbs to the large man, Nole couldn’t unwrap his arms and carry out the original goal of smashing the bottles onto Tyrone’s head. That didn’t stop Tyrone from continuing his vengeful tirade.
Unable to pull Nole off, Tyrone slammed his body, back first, against the metal shelf. A sharp, throbbing pain emanated from Nole’s back as Tyrone once again threw Nole against the hard edge. Nole clenched his teeth, allowing a muffled grunt to escape him. When he hit the shelf for the third time, Nole felt like his back was going to snap in two. The excruciating pain blinded Nole’s ability to think. Whenever he began to put a plan together, the agonizing pain of his back striking the shelf interrupted him.
To Nole’s relief, the rhythm of the pain ceased while Tyrone caught his breath. Ignoring the huge discomfort, Nole once again adjusted his plan. When the brief intermission ended, Tyrone let out a thunderous shout as he resumed his repetitive attack, however Nole wouldn’t be there to cushion the blow.
Timing it perfectly, Nole hurled his mangled body off of Tyrone seconds before making contact with the shelf. Landing in the fragments of glass from the initial diversion, Nole turned in time to see Tyrone throw himself against the shelf, a shout of pain escaped him. Distracted by the pain, he didn’t notice Nole creep up behind him. In one move, Nole took both bottles and smashed them against his enemy’s head.
Tyrone’s massive body hit the floor with a loud thud. Staring at his unconscious opponent, Nole normalized his breathing and refocused himself. He reached for his back and pushing down on the area that received most of the blows. Wincing at the touch, a fresh wave of pain coursed through him. Resolving to see Valerie’s advice on the matter, he decided that he couldn’t just call it a day.
He sighed, slowly bending over to pick up the switchblade, and grunting from the sting of his back from the exertion. Clenching the handle, Nole withdrew the blade back into its compartment and stuck it in his pocket. I’ll be fine. I’ll have to be.
Even though he would seek treatment for the injury, he couldn’t help but consider his position. I haven’t even gotten to the library yet, and I’m already being jumped by wannabes. Olivia can handle herself, but with my back in its current state, I might not be able to take another fight.
Thinking of her name was like a wake up call. Shoot! I forgot about Olivia! Ignoring the pain, Nole hurried back to the front side of the bar and achingly went over the bar. When he opened the doorway and burst back into the side street, he met Olivia sitting on top of an unconscious Marco. He didn’t look bloody or beaten, in fact if someone stumbled upon him laying down stomach first like that, they’d think he was sleeping.
The Enforcer baton was lodged under Marco’s neck, making Nole assume Olivia used her enemy’s weapon to choke him out instead of engaging in a tiresome fight. I wish I’d had that luxury, he thought bitterly.
“You sure took your time in there,” Olivia remarked, lifting herself off of Marco as if she were getting up from a couch.
“Well I wasn’t lucky enough to fight a scrawny pervert,” he retorted. “Why didn’t you come looking for me? I could’ve been dead for all you know.” He tried to mask his frustration the best he could, but his pouting gave him away.
“I knew you’d be fine,” she replied. “You’re pretty resourceful when your back’s against the wall.”
“And you know that how?”
“When I saw you talk your way out of the Pent confrontation a few days ago.”
“You guys were at Murphy’s the entire time?” he asked, the shock clearly discernable in his tone. It makes sense now. When Olivia raised her eyebrows and nodded, he got the clarification he needed. “Where?”
So they never left. That explains how they were able to avoid the Pents during the initial part of the confrontation, and how they managed to come out of nowhere when he was trapped in the cellar.
“Wait, how’d you get on the roof unseen?” he inquired.
Swinging the knapsack over her shoulders, she slid the baton out from underneath Marco and inspected it while answering him.
“We slid out the side window. There weren’t any Pents stationed there at the time, so we were able to get up onto the roof unseen.” With the conclusive statement, she slid the baton through the belt loop on the back side of her jeans, similar to Marco. “We should get going. Their friends may show up.”
YOU ARE READING
[Check out BOUNTY HUNTERS, the sequel to Errand Runners] Unlike the other criminals in Nova City, Nole Vale has a curfew. While most civilians just want to survive in their crime-ridden, gang-infested city, this sixteen-year old is determined to co...