Post by Mitch 'The Broken' Heart on Dec 24, 2020 1:00:41 GMT -5
2 Days Before Christmas
Mitch Heart still hurt all over. He still didn’t feel like himself.
The drive back from Baltimore had been difficult. He’d had to pull over a few times to avoid passing out at the wheel, and Pen hadn’t stopped worrying the whole way back. But make it back he did, and despite Pen’s pleading he’d gone to work.
He had to. The castles in the air he’d built had crashed to the earth in flaming wreckage the moment Zane… Kane…had pulled him off of Kyra Johnson just before the three count and proceeded to disable Mitch just long enough to steal the pin for himself. Robbing him. Robbing him of his glory, of the ecstasy of the hunted… and of a big fat winner’s purse that would have made this a very happy Christmas.
Instead, thanks to St. James’ edict against insuring ultraviolent wrestlers, he had a big fat hospital bill on top of everything, and was racking his brain to think where he could possibly skimp to save money. How many extra shifts he could take. Who and where he could nip some extra cash from.
He’d promised someone he’d stop doing that, but considering who it was, any promises made to him were now null and fucking void as far as Mitch was concerned. Any and all bets were off. Survival mode was in full force.
He looked at his reflection in the storefront window he was standing in front of. He looked sick. Exhausted. He hadn’t really slept- even when he had the time to rest, his mind was too busy to let him sleep. He hadn’t eaten much either- his own food was a cut he felt comfortable making. His needs were secondary.
His forehead pressed against the cold glass. On the other side was a large polished oak box, the size of a small briefcase, full of a myriad of paints and pastels and a full set of brushes. The thing Pen wanted most for Christmas. She deserved it. She was brilliant, even he knew that, and her talent deserved to be nurtured. You couldn’t really nurture prodigy-level artistic skills with cheap dollar-store crayons and watercolor boxes.
She wanted the art kit so much. There had to be something he could do to get it. His eyes flicked to and fro- he couldn’t see any sort of wiring leading to the glass, or any hints of lasers. The art store was a mom and pop operation- probably didn’t have the money for sophisticated security. He didn’t want their cash register. He didn’t want to crack their safe. He just wanted the art kit. That should be fine, right? Just taking that wasn’t killing the local economy, wasn’t it?
He balled up his fist, pressing his leather-gloved knuckles to the window. He could. He really could. What did he care, anyway? It didn’t matter. He didn’t matter. Pen mattered.
Tap. Tap. This is going to fucking suck. It’s okay. It’s going to be worth it to see her face. Just pull back and…
It all happened so fast. He felt an iron grip on his upper arms from behind. One, two, three… three young men, all lean muscle with a hungry look in their eyes. Mitch knew that look- he could have been peering into a mirror going back to the past. Like wild animals, but a small, scrappy pack of them.
The one who’d spoken paced in front of him like a hungry cat. Dark eyes like black pits stared at him straight on.
“Your fucking money. Now.”
Mitch stared back, wondering if his eyes had that same cold and empty look. He felt ice in his veins.
“Hey fuckwit, I can’t give you shit with your goon here pinning my arms back.”
“Okay, fine. Marcus, let off.”
The unseen man behind Mitch- Marcus, presumably- released his grip on Mitch’s arms. The three youths surrounded him, muscles taut, eyes steely, waiting for him to make one wrong move. Mitch reached into his pocket. The trio leaned forward, practically salivating, ravenous…
...and Mitch lunged forward, a bright flash in his hand slashing, tearing at the third man’s coat, who swore as he jumped back. The dark-eyed man with the feline hunger- the leader of this little outfit, Mitch supposed, blinked, and shook his head with a chuckle.
“Oh, you stupid motherfucker. You’re about to have one shitty-ass Christmas.”
Fists flew. Mitch’s knife was knocked out of his hand and kicked away, leaving just his fists. He fought valiantly, but he was slower than he should have been. More sluggish, and more tender. His wounds gave him obvious weak points for the trio to go for. He felt something- the largest one’s boulder-like fist or maybe the butt of a gun- crack into the left side of his face, his vision going half red. At one point there was a shattering sound, so loud that Mitch couldn’t believe nobody else came running. He felt shards of glass in the back of his neck. Ragged fingers tore at his stitches. He kept fighting.
He kept fighting until he went down, worn boots slamming into his back and ribs. The world through his good eye was a swimming blur. He could feel rifling through his pockets, bits of what they said.
“---iece of shit phone, ain’t wo--”
“--ash in his wallet, barely, maybe the ca--”
“--ife went, it was nice, fucker got lu--”
“--arm on that window? We should get the fuck out of he--”
Something hit the pavement next to him. A harsh whisper was in his ear.
“...you fight like a beast. I respect that. So me and my boys are gonna let you live. Consider it a Christmas present. You die of the cold or bleed out from here? Not my fault. Happy holidays, Mitch.”
Mitch spat copper tasting saliva out, but his assailants were long gone.
It was so fucking cold. Trying to move felt like trying to lift giant bars of solid lead. Everything still looked like a blur, one side of the world washed out in red. It was making him dizzy.
He closed his eyes.
...you’re full of shit.
The world swam in waves of red. He could see a mountain of a man standing before him, amber eyes and a self righteous smirk twisting his unusually bared face. In one hand, he held a belt of red leather, savaged by teeth marks, tantalizingly out of reach.
Instinctively, Mitch put a hand up. One titanic boot stepped on it, the toe pressing down on Mitch’s wrist, not hard enough to break it but definitely hard enough to pin it down.
No, no. This isn’t for you. I deserve it more, been through more than whatever your petty struggles amount to. Don’t you see that? We’re supposed to be friends, aren’t we? Or are you too stupid to know that your job is to support me no matter what I do?
The giant slings the belt over his shoulder, impossibly out of reach.
So I’ll tell you that you’re full of shit. I’ll do it right in front of your sister and say it’s for your own good. And you’ll fucking smile while I do it.
Slowly, the behemoth leaned down. His laugh was a deep rasp, his cracked lips twisted into a vicious sneer.
Mitch… you’re not smiling.
His eyes popped open. The cold clung to his skin. One eye still hurt and he closed it tight, but slowly, he tried to move. He was heavy as before, but he felt a new resolve now. His ribs and back felt like they were on fire. He could still taste wet, thick copper in his mouth.
His wallet, emptied of cash and credit cards, lay beside him. So did his phone, a jagged crack running across the screen. He reached out, grabbing it. To his relief, it turned on. His wallpaper glowed back at him.
Pen’s smiling face. The cracked screen couldn’t dull how beautiful she was.
He had to get up. He had to be okay. For her. He grunted, moving his arm to pocket his phone, and rolled over. Planted his hands onto the pavement and, with all his strength, pushed. Dragged his feet underneath. Reached for a glint half fallen into the storm drain- his knife, lost by his attackers. It’s funny- the two things rejected and lost by the people who robbed him
The art store window was shattered. A hole festooned with cracks. He saw a million shards of something monstrous, caked in blood from old wounds and new. A staggering monstrosity. What little he had damaged or stolen.
He smiled, teeth stained red, lips cut and bloody.
Reaching through the hole with a trembling hand, he snapped the wooden box shut and tucked it inside his coat, turned around, and headed for home. He left spatters of blood on the pavement, soon to be washed away by the frigid drizzle. He’d have to call fast to get his cards frozen before the thieves stole all his meager savings, and yet…
...he felt the box under his coat. The gift that Pen had most desired. His clothes torn and blood-soaked. Worth it. She was worth everything. She would rise out of this one day. It was his job to make sure she could.
You and me.
He would make it. They would make it. No matter what it took.
soon i’ll come around
lost and never found
but i’ll keep coming...