Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flash: The Choice to Stand

Jordan walked along the street with his eyes cast down. The hood of his jacket concealed his face. His hands were in his pockets. Everything about him shouted to the world, “Ignore me, don’t pay attention,” and that was exactly what he wanted. He did not want people looking at him or thinking about him. So long as he minded his own business and did nothing to attract attention to himself no one would even take a second glance at him.

That was how he wanted it. He just wanted to be another nobody that no one paid attention to. It was not that hard in this part of the city. He called a rough neighborhood home. It was run down and everyone was too worried about themselves to care about some guy they did not know. As long as he did not do anything that would draw attention his secret would be safe.

He came around the corner, a block away from his apartment and safety. Then the shouts started. Three men stood around a woman. The thugs had her scared, and for good reason. She was going to get mugged at the very least, probably worse. There were other people on the street, but they all turned a blind eye. They were like Jordan, they did not want to be noticed. They did not want to be the next victim.

Shopkeepers were heading back indoors. Some even turned their signs to closed. Any blinds that were not already shuddered were being so now and Jordan could hear the volume on a few TVs go up. People on the street just averted their eyes and kept on going about their business. Someone might call the police, after it was over. One man even walked right by the ally that the woman was being coerced into. He looked at his watch, apparently he was late for something and could not be bothered with the fact that someone was in trouble just feet away.

In a way it shocked Jordan. So much of his time was shut off from everyone else that he never had to look it in the face. He knew crime happened and that people suffered. It was a rough place, but he never realized just how callous people were about it. This woman was about to be raped, and everyone was just going to pretend nothing was happening. That is when it hit him, he was about to do the same thing. He was trying to avoid being noticed, so he was going to walk across the street so that none of those people took a closer look at him.

All he had to do was take a step off of the street corner and he would be safe. It was not his problem what happened to that woman. He certainly would not expect anyone to do anything for him. One step and he was free of this problem.

“Hey, let her go!” Jordan said, surprising himself with how loud his voice was.

The men turned and looked at him, surprised and annoyed by the interruption. The woman looked at him with pleading eyes. Some of the people on the street or behind windows looked at him as well. Some were surprised, others just shook their heads. Jordan knew what they were thinking, some fool had just thrown his life away.

“Get out of here and mind your own buisness,” One of the men said. He glared at Jordan thinking he could stare him down and intimidating him into looking away. Jordan was not afraid of any threat the man could make. He feared only losing his anonymity, and he had already sacrificed that.

“Not until you let her go,” Jordan said in a firm voice. An odd sensation swirled around in his stomach. A mix of fear and excitement maybe. He knew the men would not just let her go. He wished they would, but that was a fool’s hope. His body was bracing itself for what he knew was about to come.

“You’re a dead man punk,” said another one of the men as he held up the switchblade that he had been using to threaten the woman. “I’m going to cut you stupid--”

The man never got to finish his sentence. Jordan leapt into the air twisting his whole torso back before swinging a powerful haymaker at the man’s jaw. Corded muscles like woven steel contracted to bring around a punch that shattered the man’s jaw. With bones four times denser than a normal human’s, Jordan barely felt a thing.

Jordan swung at another one of the men as soon as he landed. He caught the man in the abdomen and doubled him over. As the man fell to the ground, the third man attacked. He had his own switchblade and stabbed at Jordan’s kidney. The blade sliced through fabric, but skidded along tough skin, unable to penetrate into Jordan’s body.

Jordan turned and backhanded the man, sending him reeling. Lost in his fury, Jordan picked the man up, lifting him over his head. He threw the screaming man down the alley where he crashed into the side of a dumpster. Jordan stood there looking at what he had done, panting from the exertion.

He turned to the woman, but she looked at him with more fear than she had shown the men. Some people down the block were pointing now, with voices of fear or anger. In the fight, the hood of his jacket had come off to reveal his inhuman state. The excitement had caused his skin to flush to a bright, bloody red. His eyes flickered and fangs protruded from his mouth. He knew he looked like a monster.

The woman had good reason to be afraid. Mutates were feared. Another leftover from the war. Jordan had tried to hide, blend in. That was gone now. He did made the choice though, and he was tired of hiding like everyone else.