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The third time she was beaten up by a different roving city gang and this time left for dead. The guy who saved her life wanted to help solve how she ended up that way.
What wasn't working was to be anything they wanted. White, Black, Male, Female, Gay, Straight - someone was always offended, no matter what.
And now she had no choice. They had taken all she had, even her job, her apartment... Even her identity. Now she was a no-one.
It was only when she met a fat, jolly fellow who everyone liked that she got a clue what she must do to survive in these modern "tolerant" times. Whatever his secret was, she had to find out. She had to solve herself.
Otherwise, she didn't have long to live - without becoming one of the gangs who had left her like this...
That left me was traveling the long and gerrymandered route along the edge of where they would protect me until I could get close enough to sprint to the relative safety of my apartment complex and their snoring, dull paid "guards." The ones who would only protect you if you got through that armored front door in one piece, preferably not bleeding on their carpet.
And it wasn't my luck that night. Because the borders had shifted again, always without warning to their victims.
Soon I saw myself surrounded by a bunch of dark hoodie-wearing thugs. Male-female, it didn't matter. They were out to hunt.
Turning left and right, I saw only that the noose was tightening. Standing bodies with their faces in shadow. Weapons in their hands that I could see, and more weapons underneath their long sleeves I couldn't.
Part of that money had been spent in martial arts training, after the second time I was mugged. And that had occurred right outside the front door of my apartment. I could still see the shocked fear and remorse of those security guards as they kept themselves protected behind the armed glass.
Broward. That was my apartment. And still a block away. Not that it would matter in a few minutes.
I decided. Throwing my bag at the face of the biggest one, who was instantly swarmed by the smaller (females?) who were at his sides and behind them. They wanted my dress clothes.
Then I launched behind me at some smaller thugs, who still were taller than me by a head or so.
Unexpected, I was able to deck three of them and take off running through that gap. In the wrong direction to get to my apartment.
At least I was wearing my street running shoes. And I ran for my life.
But they knew the turf better, as they lived it. And no matter how many turns I took, how I dodged into and out of traffic, they boxed me in again.
The trick was to protect my face and my right arm. The rest I could heal. But heavy makeup and shades to cover eye bruises would only go so far. I needed my job to survive.
Feinting right and left, I worked to get an opening. But found none.
The ones carrying the long pipes came closer, where they could strike and still be safe. I was dodging them OK for now, but was being pushed back against the others who had knives.
Turning my back on any of them was the trick. Any wrong move would save or cost me my life.
One, a smallish one, jumped on my back. That one was simple enough to hurl.
But then I felt my right wrist seized. And I panicked, trying to desperately free it. My jacket was pulled and hood ripped from my head and down around my shoulders.
"An-dro! An-DRO! AN. DRO!!" The shout became a chant.
I still struggled to free myself.
That just got me a pipe across the back of my head.