Something crashed into his side and shoved him into the alley.
Devin recovered from the shock to find himself looking at the pinched face of the blonde’s boyfriend. Rage burned in close-set piggy eyes.
“What are you doing staring at my bird!” he said. He punctuated his words with a jab of his finger to Devin’s chest.
Uh oh. Now this was a scenario Devin was all-too-familiar with. It was one he thought he’d left behind on his home streets of Wolverhampton, certainly not something he expected to encounter on the supposedly more genteel environs of a university halls of residence.
“Don’t deny it,” Piggy-eyes said, getting in more solid jabs with his forefinger. “I saw you. Drooling all over her like she was a prime steak.”
This was messed up. Okay, fine, so he might have drooled over her a little. Girls as stunningly attractive as that turned heads.
This wasn’t about that, though. Devin knew how these things went. Piggy-eyes was looking for an excuse to fight. If Devin denied he’d been looking, Piggy-eyes would take it as a slight on his girlfriend’s appearance instead. Whatever gave him justification.
“Sorry man,” Devin said. “I didn’t realise I was being that obvious. She’s a good-looking woman. You’re very lucky. You’re both lucky to have each other.”
The blonde girl came over. “I’m not his,” she said, giving Devin a look indicating that she could be his.
Great. The last thing he needed was for the girlfriend to stir the pot.
“Whaaa, babe!” The boyfriend turned to his girlfriend. “You like this long-haired piece of shit!”
“I’m sorry, babe. It’s a female thing,” the blonde said. “Watching men fight over us is such a turn on.”
“Hey, hey, hey,” Devin said. “I’m not interested in getting into a fight here.”
The blonde’s face twisted up in a sour expression.
“You should have thought about that before you decided to creep on my girl all night.” Piggy-eyes jabbed Devin in the chest for emphasis.
The blonde turned on him as well. “He is a creep,” she said. “He’s been making me feel uncomfortable all night with his creepy stare.”
“See, you made this beautiful girl feel uncomfortable. Creep!”
“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise I was doing it. I didn’t mean to spoil your night, but look, we’re at university now. We should be above this small town shit.”
Devin had a horrible feeling ‘small town shit’ was unavoidable. He suspected Piggy-eyes had set this up in advance with his girlfriend to give him a flimsy excuse to punch some long-haired freak’s face in. Devin didn’t know why. He didn’t need to know why. Some people were assholes. That was reason enough.
“I think he needs to be taught a lesson, don’t you, babe.”
The blonde’s face lit up with an animalistic lust for violence.
“Yes babe, teach him,” she said.
Piggy-eyes jabbed Devin in the chest again. Hard.
Right. Fuck this, Devin thought.
Devin had been practising Jiu-Jitsu since he was eleven years old. When he was younger it was because he wanted to be badass like the classic legends of martial arts movies. He wanted it to be so nobody would mess with him. As he grew older and wiser he realised being accomplished in a martial art wasn’t a guarantee of being able to defend himself. And even when it was, if you hit someone hard enough to put them in hospital, you were the one likely to get into shit with the law. They didn’t really care ‘who started it’. No, the best self-defence was to defuse the situation before it came to blows.
Of course, there were those situations where conflict was inevitable. If it was inevitable, then the best thing a person could do was to get the first hit in and hopefully stop the fight before too much damage was done.
Devin knocked Piggy-eyes arm aside and punched him in the face.
...and then it went horribly wrong.
Piggy-eyes was not physically daunting. He was short and scrawny. Devin expected Piggy-eyes to have some wiry strength. Aggressive streaks of nothing invariably did.
This was more than that.
Hitting Piggy-eyes was like hitting a heavily-muscled pro wrestler. He sold Devin’s punch like a pro wrestler in a squash match as well. Then he pushed Devin up the wall like The Undertaker. Except Mark Calaway, the wrestler that became The Undertaker in the ring, was human and Devin was starting to realise the thing in front of him was not.
Piggy-eyes mouth widened and sprouted pointed tusks. His eyes turned shark-black. This transformation didn’t faze his girlfriend. Why would it, she wasn’t human either. Her burning red eyes gave that away.
The monster pushed Devin further up the wall. The pressure on his chest was immense. The worst of it was the monster before him didn’t appear to be expending any effort. As if it was more than capable of pushing and pushing until Devin’s ribs splintered and his chest caved in. Devin was fucked and his shocked mind was still trying to comprehend how this could have come about.
“That was an unprovoked violent act, wouldn’t you say, babe,” Piggy-eyes the monster said.
“Oh yes, definitely,” the blonde girl with red eyes said. “A wrathful act for sure.”
Piggy-eyes the monster turned back to Devin and smiled. “That makes you mine, bitch.”
Devin said nothing. With the pressure on his chest he could barely breathe.
“Put the long-haired fellow down, now there’s a good chap.”
Devin turned his head and saw the silhouette of a slender young man standing at the end of the alleyway.
Carny to the... rescue? To be continued...