An hour later, Lasko, Tunnel, and Sharp were headed back home, lugging a hefty bag of newly bought tools. Sharp was in a good mood, smiling broadly as they walked; he had gotten the industrial grade tools for 60% off Leonard’s listed price.
“Did you guys see that? I totally got these things for dirt cheap! For once I’ve completely got a great deal over Leonard, that old greedy bastard.” As Sharp bragged, Lasko couldn’t help but smile.
The poor manipulated boy didn’t suspect a thing, but it had been a close call. On top of playing the part of a bad negotiator, Leonard had also tried to sneak in the two multi-tools for PIRA, claiming that they were an extra service. Sharp and Tunnel were instantly suspicious, Sharp even refusing to take the two parts; Lasko had to tell the boys that Lasko had asked for them as a favor; he’d have to pay Leonard back at a later date.
Sharp suddenly came to a halt, stretching out an arm to stop Tunnel. His eyes narrowed, looking at the path ahead.
“Sharp?” Tunnel and Lasko both looked at the dark-haired boy in confusion, then turned their heads to look at what Sharp saw.
Three figures detached themselves from a nearby hill of metal scrap. Lasko recognized one of them right away. It was Pusher, the holdings kid from the previous day. The other two hulking figures were of two men Lasko didn’t know; big, muscular, meaty thugs, dressed in grey camouflage pants and red tattoos that wound around their bodies. One of them had a shiny, shaved head, while the other wore a skull-patterned cloth tied around his forehead. What really caught Lasko’s attention though, were what they were carrying; Bald Thug A had a metal pipe in his hand, while Thug B wore a pair of metal gloves with nasty looking spikes over the knuckles.
They did not look friendly.
Pusher was not holding a weapon, but a knife sheath hanging at his side made it clear that he was also ready for action.
The skinny teenage boy spit on the ground, and grinned evilly. “I told you, I’m a part of Vance’s gang now. Shouldn’t have acted so tough before, huh, Sharp?”
Sharp didn’t answer his question, eyeing the two larger brutes carefully. “What do you want, Pusher?” He said flatly.
Lasko’s mind had stopped for a second, trying to process what was happening, but at Sharp’s question, his thought process restarted violently. They’re clearly here to beat us up or worse.
Sharp had figured that out, and his hands were already moving, removing the bag from his shoulder, and unbuckling his utility belt in one fluid motion; he threw both of them at Lasko, who caught them reflexively.
“Vance wants you gone, Sharp. Turns out you guys selling to Leonard is bad for business.” The cocky holdings kid laughed.
Sharp quickly checked his knifes, tightening the sheaths that hung on his waist. “Get ready to run,” he whispered quietly to Tunnel and Lasko. Tunnel was visibly scared; the little boy’s hands trembling as he nodded quickly in affirmation.
Can’t we just run now? Lasko thought desperately, but the answer came to him as soon as he thought it. There was no way Tunnel could outrun two grown men and the older kid, even if Sharp and Lasko could. And there’s no way Sharp will abandon Tunnel…
Sharp stepped forward, unhinging the metal stick from his thigh.
Shnick, shnick, shick-shick. It extended into the spear and Sharp gripped it with two hands, taking a fighting stance.
Pusher laughed again, this time a bit nervously. Despite having two grown men on his side, apparently the sight of a battle-ready Sharp was still a bit frightening.
“Just give u-“the sneering boy tried to say, but then the bald brute impatiently grunted and shoved the holdings boy aside. The two of the thugs ran at Sharp, the bald, club wielding man leading the charge, lifting his pipe overhead for a downward strike.
Sharp darted forward suddenly, running to meet them; his hand flicked out in a quick movement.
A palmed knife shot towards the leading thug’s face. The heavy man grunted in surprise, bringing his free arm up to protect his face; the knife deflected off of his thick arm, slicing deeply. Roaring in anger, the large man tried to swing his pipe, but Sharp was already too close.
Using the blind spot that he created with the knife, Sharp leapt into the man’s range, burying his spear with all his weight into the man’s chest. The man cried out again, this time in pain, and it was interrupted by a mouthful of blood from a deeply punctured lung.
The man’s companion roared in anger. Arriving just a moment later; he rushed at Sharp, grabbing with his spiked hands. Sharp instantly let go of the spear, and stepped even closer to the injured man, out of the fist fighter’s reach, coolly unsheathing two more knifes as he moved. The injured man, with a gurgling gasp, finally swung his pipe down at the boy standing right in front of him.
But Sharp spun to the man’s side, dodging the blow; his knives flashing in a whirlwind, making another two deep cuts into the man’s leg. It buckled, and the gasping man fell to one knee, dropping the pipe. Both of his large hands went to the spear still protruding from his chest.
The other man rushed again, this time half-jumping over his downed companion in an effort to get to Sharp. As the thug stepped over his friend, Sharp threw one of the knives at the man’s body. Prepared for the tactic, the man successfully blocked it with an armored glove. Sharp stepped in close, and then lunged upwards, his hands thrusting with the knife at the man’s chest.
The man grunted with satisfaction; he had also expected this move (it was the same strategy Sharp had used for the first man), and his spiked hand punched down in a counter, aiming for Sharp’s head, his longer reach insuring that his blow would smash the boy’s skull first.
Just as the armored fist was going to strike Sharp’s unprotected face, the boy twisted his body at the last second, falling to his knees, changing his aim at the last second to the man’s lower body.
The man’s punch grazed Sharp’s face and neck, the spikes ripping through the young boy’s skin and ear; but it was a glancing blow, and Sharp continued on towards his target, sinking the six inch blade up to the hilt into the thug’s thigh. He wasn’t done yet though; Sharp then twisted the blade viciously.
The man howled, losing his balance and falling forward. He attempted to grab on to the boy, but Sharp was already gone, leaving the knife in the man’s body as he scrambled away on all fours shamelessly, towards where Lasko and Tunnel who were watching anxiously.
“Run!” Sharp yelled, blood coursing down the side of his face. Stumbling to his feet, the slightly injured boy began to run towards them.
Lasko had been watching in both amazement and trepidation as the boy fearlessly battled the two men. He didn’t know what Sharp was thinking, but there was no way the boy could take on two grown men by himself.
Only now he realized what Sharp’s plan was: disable the two men so that it would be possible for the three companions to outrun their pursuers. Although Sharp had suffered some injury, and had lost all his weapons, now they would be able to leave their crippled enemies behind.
Lasko was about to erupt into a cheer, when he saw Sharp stumble forward suddenly, his body sprawling lifelessly on the group.