A Woman Alone
By Lew Gibb
Published December 12, 2015
The man in the shadowed jewelry shop doorway hoped the crew he sent would be worth the money he had paid. He watched Jessica Barnes reach the turnaround point of her nightly five mile run, touch the light pole on the corner, and turn around.
A man in black jeans and a black hoodie stepped from a narrow doorway as she neared the middle of the block. She swerved to go around him but he moved to block her path. Seeing that he was not going to let her pass, she did what Krav Maga instructors, all marshal arts instructors, probably, advised. She turned to run the other way. One of the basic principles of self defense David had drilled into her, was to avoid fighting unless absolutely necessary.
Two more men dressed in black, one bearded, and the other sporting a bushy mustache, stepped from the side door of a van parked twenty-five feet from the first man. She stopped. The two men spread out, the mustached one moving along the sidewalk, herding her toward the brick building on her left. She checked behind and saw the first man had closed the distance. Only about twenty feet now separated them, with her in the middle of what she realized was a very effective trap. She backed up against the wall of the adjacent building. The men took a few steps toward her.
Tall and well built, the first man had long, stringy hair hanging out of his hoodie. The others kept looking at him while his gaze remained fixed on her. All three wore heavy black work boots and leather gloves. The one with the mustache wore baggy jeans with holes in them, and bounced on his toes like a boxer.
She cringed against the wall trying to appear weaker than her thick shoulders, muscular arms and lack of body fat indicated. Her tight fitting tank top and form fitting running tights didn’t help in that regard. The men closed the distance slowly, being cautious, or perhaps they were savoring the moment. As they moved in, she cringed and shuffled closer to the man on her left.
When the distance narrowed to five feet, she took two quick steps toward the beard and aimed a kick between his legs. He turned his body, and deflected her kick, but left his head unprotected. Jessica drove a half fist into his exposed adams apple. He groaned and grabbed his neck with both hands. She turned slightly and drive a side kick into his left kneecap. He dropped to the ground, grabbing his knee and gurgling threats of sexual violation. He seemed to be out of the fight but David had hammered home the advice that few men were ever incapacitated with a single blow.
Before she could follow up, her arms were pinned to her sides from behind and she was lifted off her feet. The man holding her turned her one hundred eighty degrees. The leader stepped forward and punched her in the head. She partially slipped the punch by turning her head, but his huge, meaty fist connected solidly enough to make her see stars and blur her vision momentarily. Next, he delivered a blow to her midsection that knocked the wind out of her.
Nauseas and struggling to breathe, Jessica grabbed her captor’s wrist with both hands and dug a thumb into it’s soft underside. He screamed and his grip relaxed enough for her feet to touch the ground. She bent her legs and twisted out of his grasp. Still holding his wrist with both hands, she spun around behind him, putting additional pressure on his arm. A satisfying pop proceeded his scream. She backed up, turned, and swung him into the first man who was just getting to his feet. The pair went down in a pile.
Jessica turned to face the leader. He pulled a knife from behind his back. Light from the nearby street light glinted off the eight inch blade as he glided toward her. He thrust the knife low, aiming for her stomach. She sidestepped and parried the blow by pushing his forearm to the side. He slashed at her backhanded and sliced a channel across the outside of her upper arm.
Jessica hopped back as he slashed again. She felt a tug at the midsection of her tank top. The savage cut unbalanced him when the knife failed to burry itself in her abdomen. She stepped forward and delivered a kick between his legs. He groaned, dropped the knife, and fell to his knees. Jessica felt blood coursing down her injured arm and dripping off her fingers as she grabbed him by the hair and smashed her knee into his nose. He rocked back and fell to the ground, blood streaming from his damaged nose.
She turned to face the first man, hobbling toward her and cursing with each step, a butterfly knife in his right hand. Jessica feinted left and sidestepped back to her right, before driving another kick into the man’s injured knee. He dropped the knife and went down just as a man, hands in the pockets of his dark overcoat, stepped from behind the van.
Jessica locked her fingers together on top of her head, breathing hard as she stared at the new arrival.
“Sorry,” he said, kicking the knife away with a gleaming loafer. “I told them no weapons.”
“You did this?” Jessica said in a rising voice. She dropped her arms to her sides. “They could have killed me.”
“I was more worried about you killing them.”
“But they had knives.” Jessica stared at her bleeding arm.
“Yes.” He shrugged. “I said I was sorry. But really, what else can I do?”
“You’re supposed to be my teacher, David, not my executioner.”