What was he even doing here? That was the only thought going through his mind. He was standing on the sidewalk in front of the abandoned apartment building, his mind racing and the night sky growing ever so darker.
You should go back. Somewhere inside of him, the doubt was trying to convince him to go back home and live out the rest of his Thursday night.
You should be at home, sitting in front of the TV with a can of your favorite soda, watching one of your favorite movies while simultaneously procrastinating your many many responsibilities. But no, you’re standing here, about to do something really really stupid.
From his right ear, he hears something else:
And I can’t deny
‘Til the day I die
Oh, ’til the day I die
‘Til the day I die”…
Stop ignoring the facts. There’s no way you can do this. Even with that selfless bravado that’s being blasted through your right earbud, you can’t do this.
Despite the voice’s pleas, his head fills with images. Thoughts. Of different times. Times he had heard this familiar tune. Simpler times. The times that were filled with nothing but good vibes and valuable life lessons, courtesy of his dad and uncle.
YOU CAN’T DO THIS. Despite what you can do, it won’t be enough. Not for this. Not for something you haven’t done before. DON’T DO THI-
He plugs his left earbud back into his ear and begins walking to the peeling, splintered door.
And I won’t deny
Bad, bad company
‘Til the day I die, oh, yeah
‘Til the day I die, ”…
He stops as soon as he reaches it. The song trails off as it ends. Perfect timing. He pulls his iPod out of his pocket as he disconnects his earbuds from it. He then turns on the small BlueTooth speaker that’s hooked to the left belt strap of his jeans, and connects it to his iPod. He grabs his black-makeshift mask from the inside of his navy blue hoodie and pulls it over his face until it curves around the bridge of his nose and stays. And with the flick of his wrists, he grabs and rests his hood over his head. The door opens with a resounding creak, as he lets himself through the entrance of what would surely become his tomb.
Then, he hears it. The sound of laughter. Bellowing laughter, courtesy of heartless thugs that prey on the weak for riches and sport, coming from just one floor above him. He walks quickly down the hallway to the nearest staircase and marches up each step, fueling himself with increasing anger over what these turd-blossoms had done. Each creak is masked by the sound of his own heartbeat and the ever-increasing laughter as he reaches the top step. He hears voices coming through the door that separates the second floor hallway and the emergency exit staircase room that he’s currently in. He takes a peek through the small, rectangular window of the door and sees two big men outside of an open doorway. One with a leather fedora, and one as bald as the moon itself. He also makes out voices. Some cursing at each other, while others speak of other things. Like ransom prices. Now he knew he was definitely in the right place. He reaches down for his iPod from his pocket and starts scrolling through his playlist for the right song while simultaneously holding the “VOLUME +” button until it’s cranked to the max. Before tapping the “PLAY” icon, he pauses as the voice, the doubt, comes back for one more try-
He hits play. The sound of an accordian begins to strum as the cut-in riffs of a bass guitar and the beat of drums begin to play along. He flexes his hand and fingers, playing with the sound, altering it to a slower decibel rate.
From the other side of the door, down the hallway; the quiet, yet unfamiliar commotion warrants the attention of the two big men outside of the door. The Indiana Jones-wannabe begins to walk down the hallway toward the room with the staircase, his attention fixated on finding out what the source of this strange noise is. As he grows closer to the source, he hears what he believes is chanting, almost like a song he once heard on the radio:
“Come with me now
Come with me now”…
The man barely touches the door when it suddenly breaks apart with enough force to send him flying into the adjacent wall. For a second, a thundering voice, paired with an array of instrumental sounds and static is heard as the walls around the door begin to crack-
“WHOA, COME WITH ME NOW
I’M GONNA TAKE YOU DOWN!”
Our lone hero pushes through what’s left of the door as he makes his way, over a crumpled fedora, and down the hallway.
“WHERE ARE THEY?!”, he yells to the oncoming freight train of a man that is running toward him. No response. He lets the song play as he waits for the right moment, quietly reciting the lyrics in the back of his mind:
“I was born without this fear
Now only this seems clear
I need to move, I need to fight
I need to lose myself tonight”…
The second bodyguard lunges himself toward the walking speaker as he lifts his hands in front of him with outstretched palms and is blasted away with a wave of words, drums and riffs:
“WHOA, COME WITH ME NOW
I’M GONNA SHOW YOU HOW!”
The man lands on his back with an echoing thud, as he slides on the ground towards the doorway to the room full of goons. Two more men, smaller ones, step out into the hallway and begin to pull out their weapons. He doesn’t want to find out what they are. With perfectly timed movements to the rhythm and beat of the song, he directs his palms behind him as he jumps. The combination of this and the next couple of drums launches him toward the two goons at an almost breakneck speed. But he’s fast, fast enough to process his next step. As he sails through the air, he increases the decibel rate and switches the direction of his hands and gives the goons a sample of his taste in music:
“AFRAID TO LOSE CONTROL
AND CAUGHT UP IN THIS WORLD
I’VE WASTED TIME, I’VE WASTED BREATH
I THINK I’VE THOUGHT MYSELF TO DEATH!”
This blast does two things: 1) sends two bodies flying back toward the end of the hallway with even louder thuds and 2) gives our hero enough pushback to touch ground and brake himself, like a landing parachuter, in front of the doorway. He looks over just in time to see two more guys with brass knuckles on the other side of a round table with some chairs. One by one, they both charge around the table. And one after the other, they’re met by him. The second-to-last goon goes in for a right hook as he’s met with another towards his chest, knocking him out of the way:
“WHOA, COME WITH ME NOW!”
Without missing a beat, he turns around and continues towards the last goon. He runs, kicks off the table and brings his left fist down on top of his head and sends him down toward the ground with the last few lines of the song:
“I’M GONNA TAKE YOU DOWN
WHOA, COME WITH ME NOW!”.
The song ends as abruptly as the fight. For almost a minute, all that is heard are the groans of unconscious and beaten men and the heavy breathing of one tired, young man. But he doesn’t stop there. He looks up and heads toward a door at the other end of the room and unlocks it. But before he goes to open it, he stops to pull down his hood and mask and tries to calm himself down. He, then, slowly opens the door and walks into the small room:
“Hi… You don’t know me. But it’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. You’re safe… I promise.”
Bad Company by Bad Company
Come With Me Now by KONGOS