In the Public Eye: Part 43

It took less than a second for him to fly under me, flip around to face me and grab my throat with both hands.

His face told me everything I needed to know about his intentions. Screaming incoherently at me, he squeezed the armor around my neck. It didn’t break, but I could feel it move under his fingers. Cords of muscle visible in his forearms, he strained his arms to put as much force into the squeeze as he could.

For that moment, my armor held.

My martial arts instructor had always made a big deal about asking his students to think about what they were willing to do in a fight. Were they willing to maim somebody? Were they willing to kill somebody? If they weren’t, they shouldn’t practice moves that would maim or kill.

I decided early in my training that in a choice between life and death, I was willing to risk doing either.

Moving my hand in front of his face, I raked my armored fingertips across his eyes, following it up with the hardest punch I could manage to his solar plexus.

His eyes shut reflexively as my hand crossed his face and his grip loosened. My punch made him gasp, sending him away from me and downwards, but not into a tree.

We had passed over Daniel’s position and the forest and flew above the dark waters of Lake Michigan.

Even though I didn’t want to risk being grabbed from behind again, I swung back toward the shore. I didn’t know about Tomahawk, but the Rocket suit didn’t work well in water.

The fact that Daniel hadn’t tried to help, or even sent me a message saying why, worried me. I flew over what had been Daniel’s position a second time.

Nothing.

I decided to check behind me. Predictably, Tomahawk flew towards me at full speed. His mouth was shut, but he definitely still looked angry.

I turned left and dove towards the open area next to the forest with the picnic tables and the playground. It seemed like the best place for a fight. In early November it was too cold and too dark for kids.

It amazed me that Tomahawk had managed to stay enraged this entire time, never stepping back to reflect or trying any better tactics than catch me and try to hurt me.

Well, the mayor had probably messed with his mind too.

I landed in the picnic area and turned to face him.

Less than one hundred feet behind me, he dove and closed the distance, hand pulled back, ready to punch me.

Well, at least I hadn’t blinded him.

His fist blurred toward me as I thought it would. I grabbed his wrist with my right hand, twisting my body as I placed my left hand behind his bicep, aiming him toward the ground.

He hit hard, headfirst, slamming into the grass, then tumbling a few more feet.

I ran to keep up with him, stopping when he did. For a moment, he lay still on the grass, but then pushed himself up, and growled at me.

My instructor would have kicked him while he was getting up (or even before), but I didn’t.

I waited for him to find his footing. Then he charged me, hitting me in the chest with his right fist.

I gave him a sonic blast with my right arm, and punched him in the face with my left.

He stopped, looking dazed.

I punched him in the face again with my right, not holding anything back.

He fell backwards and hit the ground.

Stepping towards him, I studied his chest to make sure that he was still breathing.

He was.

Of course, I had no way to tell if he would end up with brain damage, but given how much it had taken to bring him to this point, I had reason to hope he would be tough enough to avoid it.

Still, I wasn’t completely sure what to do with him. I didn’t have Daniel around to put him under indefinitely so I had to choose between leaving him and carrying him with me.

I don’t know how long I stayed there, trying to think, but then I looked up. Over by the edge of the forest, I saw a red beam lance across the distance between my grandfather’s neighbor’s backyard and the trees.

It had to be a laser. Didn’t Future Knight carry some kind of rifle? And who was he shooting at?

Screw Tomahawk, I decided.

I ran towards the woods.

5 thoughts on “In the Public Eye: Part 43”

  1. Honestly, I’d intended to give his instructor some face time in the story by now…

    I just haven’t. It hasn’t fit yet — which is too bad. The way things are going, he won’t appear till next arc.

  2. I like the thought process he goes through weighing the pros and cons of his actions. It gives pause and makes you wonder “hey he might be super but he could suffer from contusions or brain damage like everyone else”

  3. I was involved in the martial arts for a few years during (and slightly after) college.

    One of the things that impressed me (or that my instructor impressed upon me) was the very real consequences that result from punching/kicking a person. It’s very unlike the TV and movie depictions of violence that way.

    I tend to assume (or at least hope) that most martial arts instructors pass along the same sort of cautions to their students. Thus I’m writing a superhero universe with the possibility of permanent, unintentional damage.

  4. Nick has, imho, shown the most improvement of any of the Junior Heroes League.

    He’s owning opponents, by actually thinking and outsmarting them. He’s going into superbattles with superior strategizing and guts.

    His superhero name could easily have been Tom Brady!

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