The Rescue on Flickr.
* * * * * THE RESCUE
The massive blast had sent all of the patrons of the Meat-n-Greet Diner to the floor. On their knees, many crawled for presumed safety under the tables and behind counters. The explosion seemed to rip through the atmosphere and blow down to the city streets.
It rattled window panes and knocked plates and cups to the floor where they exploded like multiple small caliber gunshots. A little girl screamed at the top of her lungs as the bright flash illuminated every corner of the diner. She began crying loudly as her mother instinctively attempted to shield the child. For a moment, everyone was blinded and suspended in a state that no one would ever comprehend.
“What in Heaven’s name was that?”
“Sounded like a nuclear bomb or something,”
Deanna’s boss exclaimed. Big John had hunkered down behind the cash register counter. His bloodshot eyes slowly appeared just above the glass.
Deanna’s maternal instincts kicked into high gear and she shouted back, “Not a clue what it was, Big John, but I’m out of here. I’ve got to get home to check on my kids!” Grabbing her purse and the bag with three pieces of pie the diner’s owner always packed for her family, she rushed out the back door.
In a concern rush, she never thought about anything other than getting home to her children. As she rounded the corner to the parking area at the back of the Meat-n-Greet,
Deanna saw not another living soul. In the half-shadows and isolated pools of illumination from the few functional lights on the lot, she suddenly felt very vulnerable and alone. The phenomenon had completely emptied all signs of human life from the streets.
To her left, the crash of a trash can slamming to the ground on her left startled her. It caused her to drop the keys she had been fumbling with while hurrying to get the right one into her car’s door lock. They clinked to the pavement.
Terrified, she stooped down, and searched the pockets of darkness. Suddenly, an enormous black cat leapt onto the overturned can and hissed at her. Tension melted away as
Deanna laughed aloud. “Oh, silly me.”
A bit amazed at her child-like reaction to spooky noises in the dark, she continued searching to retrieve her keys. She relaxed, relieved that her imagined boogy-man turned feline.
Suddenly from out of nowhere, he appeared. A young man snuck around the hood of her car.
She quickly turned away to find another youth materialize from around the back side and blocking any exit. She immediately felt trapped as her heart raced. Her breaths became short and quick as fear gripped.
Now, there were a total of five young delinquents surrounding her car. The first one, a marred young man who looked like he’d ran face first into a wall at fifty miles per hour, moved around and leaned against her door. She couldn’t open it now with or without a key.
Tumor snickered. “Well, well, look what we have here? Meal in heels?”
Instinctively, Deanna stepped backwards. She studied his disfigured face as he moved closer flashing an evil smile. He wasn’t much older than her son. “What? What do you want? Are you hungry?” She dropped the bag of desserts before him and stepped aside. “There’s not enough for all of you, but if you’ll come inside -”
Tumor looked her over and grinned. Moving still closer, he reached out and touched her arm with the backs of his fingers. “Naw ain’t after no eats, pretty lady. Don’t you know its dangerous being out at night?” His cronies all laughed, heckled and made jokes one to the other.
“See, lady, gentlemen such as ourselves? We can’t hardly stand seeing you without no protection at all.” His head and shoulders pulsed and bobbed constantly. “So we’re here to offer our services. For a price, you understand. But, a price I think you are gonna like.”
Though her insides quaked, she steeled her emotions trying to keep her terror from showing. “It’s money then.” She wished her voice sounded stronger. “Here, I don’t want any trouble. I need to get home- to my children. Please. Take my purse.” Deanna tossed it the short distance forward.
The lead banger glared anxiously at his booty, while the waitress looked back toward the Meat-n-Greet diner hoping a customer would appear.
“Ain’t no help coming, lady.”
“Look, guys, just take my money and the dessert and leave. You heard that blast, didn’t you? I have two kids waiting at home alone and -” Her mind raced from every woman’s worst fear realized to the fact that she might never see her children again. “Please, my husband’s gone and my children need me. I’m all they have. Please, just let me be.”
She could no longer control the terror. Frantic and fearful, her whole body shook. Her eyes filled with tears. She was powerless against the thugs and everyone knew it.
Laughing at her pleas, Tumor kicked her purse passed her to the fellow at the rear of her car.
Without taking his eyes off her, he instructed his henchman. “Hey Lumpy, check out the lady’s purse. Probably way too heavy, lighten it.” He walked into her space and grabbed her wrist. “Me and her have some business to conduct.”
Trembling with fear, Deanna couldn’t think of a single thing to escape. Tumor violently pulled her to his chest. He wrapped his other arm securely around her waist. Deanna looked over her shoulder to see his wicked expression. She could feel his hot breath on her neck. It made her nauseous. She let out a blood curdling cry.
He let her wrist go and out of nowhere brought forward a long, shiny-bladed knife and pressed it against her throat. “Silence,” he demanded. “You hear me baby?”
She immediately hushed, but continued to struggle against his hold and whispered, “Lord, please help me.” A calm chaos settled over her. She knew any further resistance would only escalate the violence.
“Here, here. God ain’t gonna save ya tonight. Plus fighting ain’t ladylike.” He grabbed a handful of her hair, turned her head to his. His teeth were rotten and his breath was nasty. It smelled of booze and cigarettes. “We’re just trying to have some fun and entertainment lady. And you’re the star of the show.”
Deanna almost threw up. Every possible sad scenario crashed upon her mind. She was losing hope fast. Maybe if she didn’t fight, she might live. Her focus landed on Michael and Katie. What would happen to them if she never made it home?
She closed her eyes tightly, and tried to steady herself for the inevitable. Either this punk would have his way, or worse, but she had to scream. “Oh God, please help me.”
Tumor covered her mouth with the hand holding the razor-sharp knife. Its tip came close to her eye. “You going crazy on me? There ain’t nobody going to save you tonight baby! Ya hear?”
At that very moment, from the deep, dark shadows of the alley, a deep, low, firm voice announced, “I beg to disagree.”
Tumor loosened his grip on Deanna. He pointed the knife toward the voice in the darkness. “Where’d you come from, dude?
“I just dropped in,” the voice answered back.
Deanna glanced over her shoulder. The silhouette of a towering man was outlined by the dim back light. As he stepped out of the darkness and into the light, his appearance awed her.
His strange sunglasses resembled a mask. His massive mane of long blond hair fell over broad shoulders. The opened shirt of his skintight black suit revealed a powerful, sculptured chest adorned only by a small rock on a black string. He looked like someone she’d seen before. But where?
Then what did it matter? He came to save her.
A new faith transformed her. Her life and loved ones, seemingly doomed only a moment ago, were now in the hands of this man in black. Fear fled, replaced by the hope of seeing her children again.
She couldn’t help smiling at the question that ran through her head. Thinking of another hero who rode a white horse, she thought comically to herself, who is this masked man?
He slowly walked forward. His full intimidating size and absolute lack of fear in the face of five-to-one odds mesmerized Deanna. Though she could hardly take her own eyes off him, she did so long enough to see that each of her attackers gazed upwards in obvious disbelief.
The menacing combination of size, stature, and strange dress obviously worked together to cause Tumor to ease his vice-grip hold. Her escape was still blocked though. He looked nervously from one crew member to another.
In a blatant effort to dissuade the stranger,
Tumor changed his tone. “Everything’s cool here, man. You just keep on walking, and nobody gets hurt.”
“Cool?” The tall, muscular one raised a brow causing his mask to tilt. “Sir, your actions here are far from cool.” He advanced toward Tumor.
“It’s all good then. Right, Homies?” The leader laughed as he grabbed her again and stuck the knife’s tip to her neck. Deanna winced with fear as a sharp pain hit her throat.
“Ouch,” she cried
At that instant, her hero opened his right hand and motioned forward. The knife shot directly from her throat straight into the stranger’s waiting palm. Amazingly, like being pulled by a super magnet, the knife flew from one hand to another. With one simple motion, Tumor was disarmed and confused.
The gangster stared at his hand in disbelief. “What -the” All the criminals looked around at each other like frightened little boys.
“Truly,” her champion began, “there will be nothing further happening against this woman tonight, so be gone. I wish no harm to anyone.”
Tumor shook his head in disbelief, and then proudly announced, “Oh, how wrong you are. There’s going to be a party!” He shoved Deanna to the ground, but kept a hold of a fist full of her hair. “This woman here- She’s our guest, but you? You’re not invited. Did you notice there are five of us, big guy?”
With dead certainty in his voice, the masked man warned them all again. “Understand. If we fight; you will lose.”
“That’s it mother…,”Tumor screamed. He reached into the deep pockets of his saggy jeans and boldly produced a nine millimeter automatic handgun. Without a hint of hesitation or remorse, Tumor slowly raised the weapon. An evil smirk emerged upon his face, as he aimed at the stranger, and commenced firing.
Deanna screamed, “Oh my God!”
With speed faster than anyone could see, the stranger somehow dodged the bullets, grabbed the gun and with one hand expertly ejected its clip. Tumor looked on with sad desperation as the weapon was safely deposited into a sewer drain with a simple flick of the hero’s wrist.
From her street level view, Deanna couldn’t believe her eyes. She smiled on the inside as the thug was disarmed again, and her hero remained unarmed and unharmed. “Yippie,” she whispered to herself.
Looking disappointingly at the young men before him, the stranger in black shook his head and said, “I had hoped you would understand.”
Once the gang recovered from their obvious collective shock at what had just transpired, like trained vultures, they slowly circled the masked man. With his crew still backing him with their weapons, Tumor’s pride lay on the line. He took a half pint whiskey bottle from his back pocket and removed the plastic cap. In one motion, he raised it to his mouth and drank it all. He was ready to rumble.
“So, you’re faster than a speeding bullet. Huh, Superman? Why I bet you’re even more powerful than a locomotive, aren’t you?” He snarled, and then growled at his crime cronies.
“Yeah, Tumor. That’s it. He can probably leap tall buildings in a single bound, too!” Lumpy chimed in, while all of others giggled.
“So just who – and what – are you?” Tumor asked.
The stranger humbly stepped forward. “I am Zac Master.”
Immediately, each one of the combatants dropped to the pavement like marionettes with their strings cut. They appeared to be paralyzed. Deanna rose to one elbow and watched in amazement as her attackers tried again and again to rise or speak, but they only flopped silently on the pavement like fish out of water. They were helpless and surely ready to give up and leave.
“Now if you’re finished here, arise and be gone.”
Tumor slowly, angrily rose. “You’re the one finished here.” He signaled his gang to attack. “Kill him.”
As each member staggered to his feet, they looked around. “Hey, where’s my piece?”
“My blade! It’s vanished!”
Not one weapon could be found. They were all gone. Still, with fearful and perplexed expressions, the young men followed the order like robots. They struck like men possessed.
They crowded around Zac Master. Lumpy, a huge guy though not as big as the hero, attempted to hold his arms back so the others could wreak havoc on his body, but Zac Master broke free from every clutch, headlock, and restraint that the gang tried.
Using incredible physical strength and dexterity, he launched the young men across the parking lot one by one, leaving each bruised, bloodied and defeated. None of them even tried to get up again. They crawled away into the darkness.
Now, it was just Tumor left to face Zac Master. Who is this man, he asked himself? He looked skyward and studied the massive being before him. Tumor wisely took a few steps backwards, and then ran for safety into the night.
Calmly, Zac walked over and picked up the purse. “I think this belongs to you, Deanna.” He offered her a hand up. “If you need, I’ll help you into your car.”
“No, no.” She took his hand. “I can make it. How, how do you know my name?” she asked, arising to her feet.
“Your name tag, of course.” He smiled. “And I am Zac Master.” He bowed slightly, “At your service, my lady.”
“Deanna Singleton, Mr. Master, and I don’t know how I can ever repay you. It’s amazing that you showed up when you did.”
“Not so amazing, ma’am. I came to help.”
“But, how did you know? And how did you do those things? Where’d you come from?”
Suddenly, she thought of the blast, then the flash. “Were you responsible for what happened earlier tonight? Was that you?”
“That, Deanna Singleton, is a very long story that I will share with you someday soon.”
It suddenly hit her. Zac Master! The Zac Master? Could he be? “You said, ‘Zac Master,’ didn’t you? The music superstar?”
He smiled and bowed, deeper this time. “Yes, ma’am. That would be me.”
Her face heated. She couldn’t look him in the eye or in the mask as it were. “I – I’m sorry. I should’ve recognized you. My son thinks you’re the greatest. Guess now, I do too.”
“My dear Deanna, do not be embarrassed.
Please.” He lifted her chin. “Here, look, there’s something I need to show you before we go any further.” With that, Zac Master brushed along the side of his strange sunglasses and took them off.
Shocked and surprised, she gasped. “But, but, your eyes. They’re -”
Zac extended his glasses to her. “Try them.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t.”
But he gently slid them in place over her eyes.
She gazed upwards to her hero. Her mouth dropped in awe as she raised her right hand to touch his face. The light filled the night as Deanna witnessed the truth of Zac Master and was happy, grateful and amazed.