My acceleration seemed almost leisurely as I tumbled through the air, and my mind raced with anticipation of what it would feel like when I eventually landed. When I landed, I felt as if almost every bone in my body had shattered. The white-hot agony of broken bones and bruises overwhelmed my senses, and for a moment, I thought death had come for me, an ironic consequence of wishing for it many times before. Today is not one of those days.
I lay there, my body limp and motionless, and the sounds of the city assaulted my ears. I could hear the cars passing by, the engines roaring like dragons, and the clatter of the evening traffic bustling about its business. I could feel the chill of the sidewalk beneath me and the cold seeping through my clothes as I lay on the concrete.
I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t move. I was in shock and could feel blood seeping from a wound on my forehead. I knew I had to get up, and soon, the footsteps of my attackers were growing louder as they closed in on me. I closed my eyes and prayed for strength.
I forced myself to stand and, with great effort, took a few steps. I was wobbly and unsteady, but I was on my feet. I was determined to fight. I had to survive, no matter what.
I searched around me for anything I could use as a spiritual weapon aside from the blade I carried. I would need a lot more for these goons. My eyes fell upon a jar of black salt by my feet. It must have fallen out of my hip bag. It was a magical substance passed down in my family, and I knew it could be used to fight off my assailants. I scooped up a handful and mixed it with my blood. I drew a protective circle around me with shaking hands and muttered the incantation.
The attackers drew closer, and I could feel their menacing presence. I stared at them defiantly, and with one explosive yell, I released the magical energy I had conjured. The air filled with a blinding light, and an invisible force pushed the attackers away from me. But only a hundred feet or so. I was too weak.
“I’m failing to keep myself alive. I have to learn to fight better. I can’t die now. This isn’t going to be enough; I’m too hurt. Damn it! “It looks like another life gone much too soon.”
The menacing figures were again approaching me, their heavy boots pounding the pavement with assurance and superiority. The streetlamps illuminated their smirks, which only added to the intensity of my terror. Clenching my fists, I raised my eyes skyward in a desperate plea for intervention. But it was all in vain, as the men’s cruel laughter shattered the eerie silence of the alleyway. I cast my gaze to the heavens and pleaded with anyone who might hear my call. The men again laughed at me, their mockery echoing off the walls of the deserted alleyway.
“I am determined to battle the darkness that plagues our world. This is mostly to seek the absolution I desperately crave and make my life valuable. Although I lack any special skills, I am doing my very best. However, the demons that come at me are colossal foes, and I’m too hurt to move on my own. So, I call out to the universe for help in this fight — a guardian angel to give me courage? My sword has been drenched in blood and salt, and my heart still burns with determination, though tonight I have paid a great price in wounds. Yet I shall not surrender; I humbly ask for assistance in this battle. Who will be my warrior?”
A celestial voice resonated through the air, filling me with a strange sense of calm despite my frightened and battered state. I spun around in search of the source, but no one was found. Then I heard them coming — their menacing voices cutting through the fog like a blade. My hand instinctively reached for my knife as an unknown figure appeared from the clouds and swiftly snatched it away. He stepped in front of me to shield me from harm and pushed me aside just as my attackers had almost reached me.
Who? An angel, perhaps?
As I watched the struggle unfold, I tried to make out the face of the unknown man. His dark hoodie concealed his identity, even in the midst of battle. Though I had asked for help, I never expected a human would come to my aid, and I certainly never anticipated that someone else could die due to my weakness.
Surrendering to my wounds, I was helpless as I felt a growing sense of dread with every blow landed against the man who had answered my call. His moves were so fluid — like nothing I had ever seen — yet he only took 45 seconds to overpower the evil invaders. Yet it seemed like an eternity before they were defeated and vanquished into oblivion.
The aftermath was excruciatingly painful. Seeing innocent people’s lifeless bodies thrown aside after being held captive by demons filled me with an emptiness, unlike anything I’d felt before. Evil was indeed vanquished, but at a terrible cost.
He stood in the darkness, his hand trembling as he gripped his leg. His breaths were heavy and raspy as he tried to compose himself. I limped closer, grateful for his presence, but he stepped back abruptly when I was only a few steps away, avoiding my gaze.
I asked if he wanted help with his wound and waited, watching every movement of his shadowed figure. He seemed almost hesitant, as if debating whether or not to accept my offer. Finally, after what felt like a lifetime of silence, he began walking away again. I followed behind him, eager to prove my gratitude by offering whatever help I could.
“No. Look after yourself. Be sure to go to the hospital this time,” he says, rushing off.
“Wait! Please I…”
As my feet pounded the pavement, chasing after my savior, waves of agony pierced my body. Finally, I dropped to the ground, close to the mangled remains of what were once people. The torturous pain weighed heavily on me as I considered surrendering and allowing myself to die right there among the bodies.
But then something stirred inside me — a strength that was not my own yet seemed to fill me with purpose. It gave me the will to stay strong. I slowly staggered back to my feet, still dazed by the experience.
Who was this man? How did he know exactly where to go and how to save me? Could he have known what kind of hellish creatures he must have encountered? Or was he a brave vigilante, unafraid of risking his life for the safety of others? My questions lingered as I watched him disappear into the night.