My brain went through its personal boot sequence, loading whereami.sys and whathappened.exe. I’d only been out a second, but I didn’t know that.
Meanwhile the fight was still going on without me.
Someone was pulling Sig backwards with a rear choke. I could only make out shapes, but that was enough. That figure holding Sig from behind, that was Jenna! A third figure started fighting to control Sig’s hands—Miranda!
Sig snapped a long leg out at Miranda’s stomach, knocking her over double—suddenly I was alert again.
Jenna had Sig by the neck but she was making the same mistake I had: you can’t blood choke a vampire because they don’t use blood like we do. Now Sig had stood up, and he was too tall for Jenna to keep her grip. Before she could let go, he caught her arm and dropped to his knee, throwing Jenna hard over his shoulder. I heard bone hit asphalt.
In the time it took me to stand halfway up, the fight had gone back to the ground. Sig was bearing down on a stunned Jenna from her side, in a frenzy, throwing punches with one free hand. He didn’t consider me, and I pounced on him from behind.
This time I didn’t go for his neck; I went for his legs. We were a tangle of limbs as he tried to turn to face me. I caught Sig’s heel in the crook of my elbow as I rolled with him. Jenna held onto the arm he’d been using to hold her down, straightening him out.
I’d tried to stop Sig without hurting him before, and now I wasn’t taking that chance. I twisted Sig’s foot like a corkscrew, and I heard—felt—tendons tearing, cartilage unhinging in his knee. Sig screamed. I let go. Cold nausea cut through my adrenaline haze.
Just like that it was over. Jenna was unsteady and her face was bloodied as Miranda helped her up. Sig was holding his knee in something like shock. Jenna, Miranda, and I exchanged a look that was as good as a dozen questions.
Miranda gave the first answer. Even bent-over from a kick to the stomach, she looked in the best shape of any of us. “After you ran to that bus—like an asshole, I might add,” Miranda gave me a look that cut me, even in the dark, then gestured at Jenna, “she saw this guy’s car pull out and follow after you. She said to go after him in case…”
“This happened?” I finished.
“Pretty much,” Jenna said.
“Are you all right?” I asked her. “You took a drop seoi.”
“I don’t—” Jenna hesitated, winced. “Something’s messed up.” She leaned on Miranda.
I looked from Jenna’s bloody face to Miranda’s. “Is the car nearby? Can you take her to an ER?”
“Yeah,” Miranda said. “But what about him?”
I turned to the cringing mass that was Sig, trying not to think of what I’d done to his knee. “What about you?” I said, kneeling close to his face. “Should we take you to a hospital? Get you looked at?”
Sig summoned the presence of mind to gasp, “No hospitals.” I’d expected as much.
“I’ll take care of him,” I said to Miranda. I didn’t know yet whether I was lying.
“You need to tell me what’s going on,” Miranda said.
She was right. It was less than I owed her—or Jenna, for that matter—but there wasn’t time. “Miranda,” I said, “if you take care of Jenna, I’ll tell you everything. I promise.”
Submitted by Corodon Fuller