Modern Day Conscience (warning: graphic violence)

Martin was in no way a violent man. Or was he – somewhere deep down inside? Had it just been locked away in a primitive chamber of his brain, hidden from view by his modern day conscience? If even a shred of brutality lay dormant within him, certainly now was the one time in his life he needed to tap into it.

Every muscle in his body, laced with adrenaline, twisted and writhed until one arm was freed from his captures clench. One arm was all he needed – he seized the opportunity without even thinking. Clutching at a toothy necklace dangling from the brutes tree trunk-like neck, he turned the large, angular teeth upward and thrust them fiercely into his captures throat.

The thug made a quiet, gargling sound and released Martin’s other arm, to wrap his hands around his gullet. The man mistakenly yanked the protrusions out. Blood spurted in coordination with his quickened heartbeat, finding its way through gaps in his slackening grip. He wavered, stumbling backwards as the blood lost pressure, now just dribbling from the gash marks. Before the brute dropped to his knees, Martin had moved on to the next and closest threat. 

This was a skinny, and decidedly ugly man twisting his dirty knuckles around an axe handle. He stood about five feet away with his back turned to Martin. His attention was elsewhere and Martin capitalized, reaching into the smoldering fire and retrieving a red-yellow ember with his bare left hand. He leapt forward and pushed the hot lump into the thin goons eye socket using his right hand to hold the back of his head, applying maximum force.

There was a crackling, sizzling sound that was immediately layered over with a shrill scream. The smell of both men’s flesh roasting intermingled and filled Martin’s nostrils (a smell he would later compare to a roasting pig). Rattled by shock, the thug relinquished his grip on the axe that most recently helped to shroud him in intimidation. Martin wasted no time, snatching up the weapon microseconds before it reached the ground.

With one hand and a sweeping gesture he ran the blunt end of the axe into the man’s skeletal ankles, dropping him hard to the dirt and knocking the scream out of his lungs. With the ember still clutched in the other, Martin bent down on one knee, mashing it into the goon’s cheek bone, and leaving it behind in his boney face. The shrieking started up again. He now had everyone’s full attention.

Taking the axe up in a two handed grip he returned to both feet taking a snapshot of each surviving gang member, surveying for the nearest, most vulnerable prey.

The decision was made for him as another made a mad dash toward him, winding back an improvised sort of club covered in spikes. This thug’s intention at striking a blow was cut short before the club could even make it back past his shoulders. Martin kicked one leg forward and twisted his torso, delivering a mighty swing. The torque drove the axe deep into the ruffian’s unprotected ribcage. Martin released the weapon and strafed aside as the man continued forward, stomping through the fire and across the other end of the small camp.

The moment was focused and raw. Martin did not think, he only reacted. He did not feel, he only absorbed. After a lazy, heavy thump, the screaming weened into a gentle sob and it was mostly silent.

Two hooligans remained. Their minds entangled in a conflict of flee versus fight. Martin held his position unwaveringly. He curled his fingers so tightly into his palms that he broke skin sending little red beads down his knuckles. The droplets became audible as they patted on top of the crisp orangeish and brown fall leaves scattered about. Like a second hand inching towards the end of the 11th hour, pat, pat, pat, each drop coerced a sense of urgency.

Violence radiating from his persona, Martin took a step forward.

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