The Oath

Boots pushed into the side of her shiny, silver dress and into her skin as one of the men in black kicked her side, sending her sprawling on her knees, winded. Will knelt a few paces away, eyes closed and holding back tears as he tried desperately to ignore the gun muzzle pressed to his temple, cold metal stinging in the chilly air. Ken knelt next to him, knees soaking on the wet concrete and face stone, eyeing each of their attackers in turn as he sized them up.

“Now, I was just gonna ask if I could borrow a few bucks,” the tallest man said. “This piece of ass, though, that’s a different matter. See, if you’d just kept quiet at the beginning I might have let you get off easy but now, well, now we got somethin’ different.” Will breathed deeply, opening his wet eyes and looking at Kiley, her dark-blonde hair now twisted under her head as the tall man put his foot on her back and used his weight to hold her down. “Me and the boys, you see, we’re gonna have us a little fun now.” He chuckled and pushed a bit, smiling showing from the mouth opening of his ski mask. He began unbuckling his belt, running a hand over his crotch. His smaller cronies laughed, the one by Will twisting his gun sideways, keeping the muzzle to the man’s head.

A frightened whine escaped Kiley as she clawed in the mud, her lithe form unable to escape the weight between her shoulder blades and she squirmed on the ground underneath the tall man.

Ken began breathing deeply, slowly, his eyes closed. Will’s captor moved the gun over to Ken’s head, the muzzle digging into his wool hat. “The fuck is wrong with you?” he asked as he pressed harder. Ken bent under the pressure but continued to try to calm himself.

“Hey, careful with that one,” the tall man said. The captor looked up at him, and that was all that Ken needed. He swung his arm up, smacking the gun. It went off in the man’s hand as it was pushed away and the bullet whipped out, lodging in the side of the other small aggressor. He went down, howling in pain. Will ducked and rolled away, panicking. Ken leapt on the armed attacker, pulling the knife from his belt and swinging it down into his arm. The man screamed and as Ken twisted the blade into the muscle he pulled the trigger again on reflex The bullet struck the alley-brick right above Will’s head, sending a spray of red dust into the air as the man cowered beneath it.

“Get the goddamn gun!” Ken barked. Will froze, looking down at the thing. “Right goddamn now!” Will leapt on the gun and gripped its handle just as the tall man plowed into the side of him. They tumbled, struggling feet away from Ken and the remaining small man. Ken’s fists were flying down over and over, blood spurting out of the man’s mouth .The third man was crawling away, trying to escape but having a hard time of it due to the pain. Will rolled with the tall man, grappling for the weapon.

Ken leapt off of his attacker and into the tall man, knocking him aside and accidentally slamming his knee into Will’s side. The young man pulled the trigger, the barrel pressed into the tall aggressor’s leg. Blood began to spurt and run out in little shots, pumping out of the leg. Ken rolled off to the side and the man lay there on the ground, crying out. “In the head!” Kiley shouted. “In the head!”

Ken looked at her, then looked at the gun in his hand, and finally at his attacker. He shook his head and clicked the safety on, pulling the slide and ejecting the magazine. The bullet bounced out of the chamber, clinking to the sidewalk.

“I’m not killing either of them,” he said.

“Like hell you aren’t,” she spit at him.

“I’m not,” he replied calmly. “I won’t kill them. Besides, looks like this one might have very little time left anyway.”

“I do?” the man asked, frightened.

“Maybe,” Will said. “You’re bleeding pretty hard there.”

“Well do something!” the man begged.

“I would, but I’m not sure if you got shot in muscle or an artery.”

“So help!”

Ken rolled his eyes, “If only,” he said, “there was a doctor around.”

It took Will a moment to figure that one out.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “That asshole was going to rape Kiley.”

“Hippocratic Oath dude.”

“Oh fuck off with that.”

“Seriously, dude.”

Will looked at Ken, who had already lifted the man’s leg up and putting it against his own shoulder. His hands squeezed against the wound, putting pressure on it to slow the bleeding. “The bullet is still in here,” he said to Will, calmly. “We don’t get it out and he’ll die, for sure.”

“Goddamnit,” Kiley said, crawling to Will. “Shit.”

“Well what do you want me to do about it?” he said to his girlfriend. “He’s dying.”

“Let him,” she said.

“I can’t.” Will sighed, angry could be. He shuffled over to Ken to help. Ken, in turn, reached into his pocket and drew out a flask. He poured some of the liquid on Will’s hands. He then took a deep swig and held it out to Will. The doctor shrugged, leaning forward. Ken tipped the burning alcohol down his throat.

Hands steadied by alcohol, Will went to work. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Who the fuck cares?” the tall man asked.

“Well, I’m trying to because you’re annoying the hell out of me.”

The man paused at this. “It’s Steve,” he said.

“Steve?” Will asked. “That’s a terrible name for a rapist.”

“Oh yeah? Well….yeah, ok that’s true.”

“Seriously, what the hell? Like, for real.”

“First time I’ve ever tried that, honestly,”

“Yeah,” Will said, “well you’re a cunt.”

Less than thirty minutes later he was gone, seated in the ambulance alongside the tall man. He had done what he could in the street and continued on to help at the hospital. Kiley sat on the curb next to a police car. Ken swaggered up and plopped down next to her on the sidewalk. “He saved the guy’s life,” Ken said. “Not bad, huh? You picked a good guy.”

She seethed there, eyeing him. “You don’t get it, do you?”

“Sure, I get it. You were beat up and nearly raped, I get it and it’s fucked up. You lost your dignity a little, but your boy-toy kep with the lives tried to save.”

“He’s like that, my boyfriend.”

“Aren’t you proud?”

“Always,” Ken said. They Sat, silent for a long time. She did not make a peep and seethed. Ken looked at her and she met his eyes. “Wanna fool around” he asked. She looked at him and raised her middle finger. “Hey, that’s the spirit,” he said with a wink. She got up and stormed away, leaving him on the street.

Ken put his arms behind his head and laid back, looking up at the stars. He smiled to himself, feeling like an asshole, and that was just fine.

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