Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Therapeutic Skin Jobs #24

Chapter 24
Second Verse, Same As The First

Mr. Red charged at Dr Skin again, snarling in pure rage. Skin sidestepped him again, but Mr. Red was ready for him this time and swung back around, grabbing Skin around the shoulder.

Skin wriggled out of his grip, but Mr. Red loomed in close and headbutted Skin right across the nose, breaking it and sending blood streaming down his face.

Staggering back, Skin blocked several short, sharp jabs from Mr. Red, but left himself wide open to a huge haymaker which knocked Skin off his feet.

Skin fell to the ground, cradling his aching jaw and Mr. Red went to stomp on his head, but he rolled out of the way. He didn't get a chance to get to his feet as Mr. Red continued to stomp after him. Then Skin stopped and Mr. Red lifted his foot high, ready to drive it right through Skin's chest.

But Skin reached out, grabbed hold of the raised foot and twisted. Mr. Red began to wobble as he lost his balance, but Skin hurried things along by kicking him as hard as he could right in the knee. Mr. Red toppled down and Skin leaped on him.

Mr. Red tried to crawl away, but Skin wouldn't let him budge and the two men began to grapple on the ground, neither of them able to get the upper hand.

Max watched them, disappointed by how quickly the fight had degenerated into a crawl brawl. Skin seemed to be holding his own, but in their current state all finesse was lost and any of Skin's fighting skills were negated. It was only a matter of strength now and Mr. Red had the upper hand in that respect.

She was proven right when Mr. Red moved around and got his legs between him and Skin. He shoved out with them, sending Skin sprawling away as the breath was pushed right out of him.

Mr. Red got to his feet first, although the winded Skin somehow managed to scramble to a standing position a split-second later. Skin could feel the last of his strength failing and put everything he had into one last lunge at the bigger man.

He almost landed the blow that would have finished Mr. Red off, but he dodged Skin's punch and with a slap, grabbed onto Skin's wrist and twisted. Skin cried out, but then screamed as Mr. Red drove one of his huge fists right into the back of the elbow on the outstretched arm.

Dr Skin's elbow bent in a direction that it should never have gone anywhere near and Max heard the snap of bone reverberate around the wasteland.

"Oh fuck," whispered Max as Dr Skin fell to his knees cradling his shattered arm.

Mr. Red gave Skin no further chances and kicked him in the face. Skin fell backwards and Mr. Red leaned forward and began punching Skin over and over again.

The sounds from the beating soon degenerated from dull thumping sounds to something a lot wetter, but Mr. Red showed no sign of slowing down.

Slowly and methodically, Mr. Red began to beat Dr Skin to death and Max suddenly realised she had to get involved.

She had to do something.

She didn't understand any of this. Most of the recent events had gone right over her head, but she knew deep down that she could trust Skin, that she had to help him before he was beyond any help.

She had to do something.

Max saw the blade of the broken spade lying nearby. She picked it up by the small part of the handle that was left and walked towards Mr. Red, who was still busy with his punching and did not notice Max coming up behind him.

Max's mind went blank. She raised the blade and smacked it as hard as she could into the side of Mr. Red's head.

He didn't go down, but he did stop beating Skin.

He turned around to Max with murder in his eyes. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

Max looked stupidly at the broken half of the spade in her hands. "Ah. Nothing."

Mr. Red stood up and advanced on Max. "You idiot. You don't understand any of this."

"I never do," said Max meekly as she backed away. "But I do my best."

Embarrassingly, she could feel her bowels begin to loosen as Mr. Red reached out for her.

And then the other half of the broken spade suddenly sprouted out of the front of Mr. Red's chest, staining his red suit an even deeper scarlet. Mr. Red looked down at it in disbelief and turned around to see Skin standing there.

Dr Skin's face had been pounded into something that could barely be recognised as a face anymore, but he still managed to smile and spit out a few words.

"Our fight is not done yet."

Mr. Red sneered and he tried to slap Skin away, but his legs went out from under him and he fell to his knees on the ground, kicking up a small cloud of dust. He idly nudged the bloody broken end of the handle that protruded from his body with one finger before looking up at Skin and smiling sadly.

"Oh well," he muttered. "I tried my best."

He slowly reached into his suit jacket pocket, pulling something out with a wince of pain. He threw the object to Skin, who caught it in one hand. Looking closer, he saw it was a key-ring with a green smiley-face on it, with one lone car key attached.

Mr Red coughed, a small spray of blood flying out into the air. "You can go now."

Then he fell back into the dust. The ground swallowed him up and within an instant, there was no sign he had ever existed.

Max wandered over to Skin, who was still examining the key. "Jesus, man. Are you okay?"

"I'll be fine," said Skin, accidentally spitting out a tooth as he spoke.

"Are you sure? That arm looks pretty bad."

"Trust me. I'm a doctor." He looked up at Max and forced his broken face into a smile again.

"Thanks, Max. I knew I couldn't have got there without you."

"I didn't really do anything."

"You did everything. You made a choice. Now come on."

"Where?" asked Max.

Skin pointed behind her at the pristine car sitting in the middle of the wasteland. Max didn't recognise the make or model, but Skin did.

"I thought I blew it up," he muttered. "But that's the good thing about fictional things. It's easy to bring them back."

He began to walk towards the car, waving Max on. "Come on."

Max didn't move. "I don't get it."

Skin turned and looked back at her. "You never do. But don't worry, this is the last part of the journey. We're almost there now, it's all just a car ride away. Everything I've ever wanted is just a car ride away."

He held up the key ring and managed a smile again. "And this time, I'm driving."

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