Kneecap boasted, “Hellcat! The more you fight, the more fun we’ll have, and the longer it’s going to last.” They dropped her, and Kneecap started ripping off her clothes as Jake held her down. It wasn’t easy. She was fierce. But they were bigger. Stronger. Heavier. And there were two of them. Hellcat was losing the battle. It was only a matter of time.
Daniel crept up to them. With Jake’s back toward him, Daniel swung the tire iron as hard as he could into his neck at the base of his skull. Kneecap was so focused on the struggling woman that it wasn’t until he heard the sickening thud that he looked up to see Jake ragdoll to the ground. He inhaled to scream a warning to the others as Daniel sprang. Daniel swung the tire iron at Kneecaps’ neck to silence him, but Daniel tripped over one of the startled woman’s thrashing arms. Instead of a crashing blow to the front of the neck, the tire iron swished through the air as Kneecap jerked backwards. Daniel crashed face first over the legs of the woman, and Kneecap pounced on him.
Hellcat’s legs were pinned by the weight of the two struggling men, but her arms were free. She grabbed a handful of dirt and smashed it into Kneecap’s face. Blinded, and with a mouth full of dirt, Kneecap could neither yell nor fight well. She clawed his face. He let go of his grip over the hand in which Daniel clutched the tire iron and leaned toward the woman. Daniel pushed off the ground with his left hand, twisted, and swung the tire iron up into Kneecap’s head. He collapsed onto Hellcat and didn’t move.
“Mom! She’s in the car!” Daniel pushed what was left of Kneecap off her and helped her up. They raced toward her mom. Hair-puller had pinned her mother down by the shoulders. The other animal had pulled off his pants and was climbing into the car to mount her. Hellcat screamed and jumped onto Hair-puller’s back. He spun out of the doorway and fell back onto her.
Pants-less’ head jerked up just as Daniel pulled him by his long hair completely over the woman and through the passenger-side doorway. He saw Hellcat doubled-over from a punch to the stomach. There was no time to fight Pants-less.
Daniel dropped him onto the ground, twisting his head sharply so the attacker ended up on his back. It was easy to decide where to hit him. Using both hands and his full bodyweight, he smashed the tire iron into the depraved monster’s groin.
Daniel stood up, turned, and was thrown to the ground by Hair-puller. The tire iron flew out of Daniel’s hand. The animal took out his rage on Daniel with a brutal shower of fists. Daniel tried to block the blows but several got through.
CRUNCH! Hair-puller crumpled. Hellcat had found the tire iron.
They were exhausted, panting, and shaking. Daniel and Hellcat had collapsed in heaps onto the ground. The older woman was still in the car sprawled on her back on the front seat. She moaned. Daniel and Hellcat dragged themselves up and staggered over to where she lay shivering. Hellcat said, “Sh-She’s in shock.” She leaned over and pulled keys from the ignition. “S-suitcase.” She shook her head, trying to shake the fog away. “Trunk. My clothes.” She lifted the keys with a shaking hand to give them to Daniel, but she was shaking so much they fell to the ground. She slumped against the car and slid to the dirt.
Daniel bent to pick up the keys and nearly fell over. “We must all be in shock” the thought came slowly. He steadied himself with his right arm sliding along the car as he slowly walked to the trunk, opened it and pulled out the suitcase. Daniel half carried, half dragged the suitcase to the ladies. He laid it on the dirt, but shook so badly he couldn’t open it the first two times he tried. It finally popped open and he laid out a couple of larger pieces of clothing in the dirt. Daniel helped Hellcat lay on them, then covered her with more clothes. He pulled out several items, piled them onto the floor of the car, and closed the suitcase lid. He elevated Hellcat’s legs and pushed the suitcase under her calves to treat her shock symptoms and allow more of her blood to return to her brain.
Daniel then went to help the older lady, but as she saw him she panicked, shrieked, and began kicking him. Surprised, he fell backwards into the dirt. Brushing himself off, crawled back onto unsteady feet, and tried again. “I won’t hurt you. Please. Let me help. You’re in shock.” The kicking continued, but only briefly. He didn’t know whether it was because she began to believe him or because she was too exhausted to fight anymore, but he was able to cover her. Daniel elevated her legs and put a wad of clothes under them. As he stood up, the world went black and he collapsed to the ground.
Darkness. He heard voices. Women’s voices. He started to open his eyes but the world began spinning. He tried again. Slowly. His vision began to return to normal. Hellcat and her mother were dressed. He began to get up.
“Take it slow,” Hellcat warned. “You were in shock. We all were.”
“I should get you both to the hospital,” Daniel said.
“No. We just want to go home. It’s only a few miles away. Is your car nearby?”
“We’ll call the police from there.”
Daniel nodded again.
“Mom was taking me to the airport when the car broke down, and those animals showed up. Thank you for stopping them.”
“From what I saw, the two of you were putting up a hell of a fight before I came along.”
“Well, we might not even be alive now if it wasn’t for you. Thank you. I’m Michelle, and this is my mom, Jean.”
“Hi, I’m Daniel. Daniel Hansen.”
The women looked at each other. That name. Jean said, “You wouldn’t by any chance be on your way to meet Harrison Dunsmuir.”
“H-How’d you know that?”
“Harrison’s my husband.”
Daniel got the promotion.
A year later, Hellcat became his wife.
Daniel never did see his father-in-law, The Dragon, spew fire.