I was in the spirit.
I saw myself in a crowd, gathered around in circles around two people that were fighting. It was an uneven match. One of the fighters was huge, with bulging muscles straining from under his black body hugging tee shirt, and weighing around 100kg. The other was a boy, not more than nineteen years, skinny with loose fitting clothes. I was astonished at the sight. It was not so much as a fight as a beating. It was a one sided fight.
The boy was receiving a merciless beating from the man and I could see his face bloodied and swollen. He received blow after blow from the big fists of his assailant and only managed to throw a few ineffective ones that was easily blocked by the bigger man.
The man moved a step closer to the boy and delivered a left, right combination hitting the boy on the sides of the head and as the boy shifted backwards to regain his balance, he threw a punch that connected with his lower jaw- a perfectly delivered upper cut. The force of the blow sent the boy reeling to the floor where he lay sprawled. I gasped.
My eyes widened as I watched the man move closer to the boy with a hatred gleaming from his black eyes. He kicked the boy repeatedly and I could not help the tears as they flowed from my eyes. Each vicious kick to the torso, making me wince.
This is not fair! I thought in annoyance. Why wasn’t anybody doing anything? I wondered. Couldn’t they see that the man was going to kill the boy? I was beyond livid. I tried to rush towards the centre, not thinking whether I would be a match for the man or not. All I wanted to do was save the boy from an imminent death. To my chagrin, I could not move, I was rooted to the spot.
I looked at the faces around me, and was shocked to see them jeering and cheering the man. They were actually enjoying the show! I felt bile rise to my throat. ‘What manner of people were this?’. Others had a bored look on their faces like they had seen this a dozen times. A few faces had sympathy etched on them but they did nothing to stop the boy from his certain fate.
I learnt from the man standing next to me that the man’s name was Damon. He was a bully and the leader of a group of dangerous criminals. He was brutal and showed no mercy. The boy’s name nobody knew but he went by the nickname ‘beloved’. He was always kind and had a smile for everybody. ‘’He is a sweet little kid and doesn’t deserve this’’ the man added.
‘’then why is anybody not doing anything?’’ I half shouted, half croaked.
‘’nobody dares to interfere in Damon’s business’’ he replied and a look passed his eyes briefly. Could it be that he himself had fallen victim of the bully? I wondered.
The fight had resulted from beloved’s refusal to relinquish a gold locket that he wore around his neck when Damon had requested him to. The boy had pleaded with the bully that the locket had belonged to his mother who had died while giving birth to him and the locket was all he had that belonged to her. he always kept it close to his heart to feel closer to her. it contained a picture of her as a youth, and was his most prized possession.
Damon would hear none of it and had challenged the boy to a fight. The boy had said that he was ready to die rather than relinquish the locket. The locket was made of fine gold, hence Damon’s interest in it. It was a valuable item.
I watched in horror as Damon delivered blow after blow and kick after kick to the boy who was barely able to see and stand upright. The boy would fall and rise again, throwing punches in the air not seeing his opponent, and would stagger. Then he would be plummeted by Damon and would fall. But each time, he picked himself up and refused to stay down. Staying down would mean accepting defeat and he would have to surrender the locket, something he wasn’t willing to do.
I marveled at the boy’s courage. He has refused to give up the locket he so much cherished-the only reminder of his mother, and had been willing to fight to keep it. I wept at the hopelessness of his condition; he was going to die, and still end up losing the locket. Was it worth it? I wondered.
Apparently, to the boy, it was.
Damon had knocked the boy down again. This time, it took a longer time for the boy to rise to his feet. He stood upright for just a little while before falling on his knees. The end was near. I was weeping openly.
The boy’s head hung down and his mouth was moving, but his words were inaudible. Then he raised his head to the sky and uttered a scream. A guttural sound that reverberated all around the area. He rose to his feet again and was approaching Damon.
Why don’t you stay down? I cried in despair. It was apparent that it would be all over soon. Damon moved in for the kill and putting all his weight behind the punch, slammed the boy in the chest. I felt a rush of blood in my ears and watched as the boy fell wordlessly to the floor. He was coughing and spluttering blood from the mouth. This time, he didn’t rise.
It’s all over, I thought relieved. The pain was over, and the boy has been united with his mother. There, he will always have her close by and wouldn’t need a locket to remind him of her. I was sad too. The boy was loved by all but no one was willing to stand up for him.
My thought was interrupted by angry protests from the crowd. I looked back to see the cause and saw a man trying to make his way to the centre. He was heavily built, like Damon, and his lips were set in a hard line. His face was grim and weather beaten, evidence of hardship. A gash extended across his forehead, and save for that he had a comely face.
He rushed forward and pushed Damon just as he was about to crush the boy with his feet. He staggered and recovered his balance after flailing his hands. He was angry and outraged as he turned towards the new man that had charged him. His eyes were bloodshot and murderous.
He threw a punch at the man and missed narrowly. The man was fast and before Damon could recover his balance, he delivered a punch that landed squarely on Damon’s face. His face widened in surprise as he fell flat on his bottom.
His face flushed with embarrassment and rage and he charged at the man blindly. The man seeing his chance, twisted his body out of the way and stretched his leg, tripping Damon and simultaneously delivering a blow to the back of his neck. Damon was out before he landed on the floor.
Silence descended on the crowd and seeing Damon on the ground, the people began to disperse leaving only the new man and myself still rooted to the ground.
The man moved towards the boy lying still on the ground, hands clutched tightly around the locket, and with eyes closed. His breathing was erratic and blood streaked from the corners of his mouth. The man picked the boy up gingerly and carried him on his shoulder and walked away without looking back.
I sighed with relief. Tears of joy streaming down my face.
Then I heard the voice telling me: “Do not give up, Help will come”.
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