Before I knew what was happening, Sig had grabbed me by the neck. He half hauled, half hurled me into the dark, along the bike path that stretched away from the sidewalk, into the trees. I twisted out of his grip and recognized him—his narrow frame, his mess of pale hair fully head and shoulders above mine—just before we were both covered in shadows. I tried to say, “Sig, what the hell?” but he was back on me before I got it out.
With a tight grip on my coat in one hand, he swung his other hand and landed two dazing punches on the side of my face. As he pulled the second punch back I grabbed his sleeve and tried to tie the arm up.
We fought to break each other’s balance, rebounding off jagged bushes and back onto the trail. Sig’s foot chopped at my ankle as he tried to take my feet out from under me—I planted my weight to stay upright—then he threw a leg behind me to sweep me onto the back of my head—did he realize what could happen if he threw me like that into the asphalt instead of a soft mat? Luckily my balance held. I braced my leg against the sweep, then lunged backward, trying to unbalance Sig toward me.
Sig tried to crash into me but I was finally ready for him and pulled him into a trip of my own. I tried to control his fall—I didn’t want to break him open on the pavement—but we went down together and both hit the ground hard.
We scrambled, blind. I ended up on my back, holding Sig at bay with my legs in a guard position. I worked my hands into his collar as he swung fists around my arms, landing more glancing blows. In the dark I couldn’t make out his expression. I couldn’t ask what was happening—breathing was hard enough as he bore down on me—but if I could sink in a blood choke I knew I could end the fight. We could talk about what was going on after he came to.
I put my hands in position and locked the choke in, pulling hard, and I knew I had him—except I didn’t.
Sig ignored what my hands were doing with his neck. Using his arms to get free of my legs, he twisted bringing into a position where his full weight pressed into my chest. From there he worked his arms into the lapels of my coat, going for a collar choke of his own. It was the guard-pass-to-choke I had taught the class a little more than a week ago.
I remembered how, that day, Nick had shrugged off my tightest blood choke hadn’t had any effect on Nick—it had been because Nick was a vampire. Now I was trying the same thing on Sig and he was ignoring it in the same way—because Sig was—
Sig was choking me, with gravity on his side. And he was so much stronger than he had ever let on. I felt the pressure in my temples as my carotid arteries closed off. Here was where I would tap out if we were on the mat, if we weren’t trying to hurt each other. My grip loosened involuntarily; I let go of Sig’s neck as he bore down on mine. My consciousness narrowing to a pinpoint, panic swelling and filling my remaining seconds of thought, and then—
Submitted by Corodon Fuller