Cliff had heard of the game ‘capture the flag’ from his mother when he was younger, but the game he was currently engaged in had far worse consequences than losing if he stopped or was caught at any time. His sneakers slipped just a bit as he ran across a spill of garbage that had been left to rot and congeal on the scored and beaten blacktop, but he wisely accepted the skid before his feet found purchase on rough asphalt once again. Behind him came the sounds of people shouting, calling him such things as ‘coon’, ‘race traitor’, ‘nationalist’, and many other names that he didn’t bother responding to since his main goal was to outrun whoever was behind him and keep the precious cargo in his pack from falling into the wrong hands. For all he knew it was the last one. It was definitely the last that he’d seen in some time.
The American flag, the old stars and stripes, had been banned in many cities and torn down by angry mobs over the years as a ‘racist symbol of oppression’. What had replaced it were the BLM flags, the Antifa flags, and any other banner that people wanted to fly that didn’t inspire any thoughts of the freedoms that so many had given up when bending the knee to the two organizations and their many splinter groups. Their gangs ran most of the cities in the USA at this point, and those within the government that could do something about it wouldn’t since they knew how hard the groups would fight them. Even federal troops hadn’t been enough to get the gangs out, and even attempting to do so simply made life harder on those citizens that didn’t want to pick sides.
A break in the alley was coming up as he could see, offering three different ways he could go. He could continue straight ahead towards what looked like another cross street, or he could turn right or left. Glancing quickly in both directions as he slowed Cliff opted to go to the right after noting that it too made its way out to another cross street. A quick glance behind him showed that there was only one person still on his trail, a lanky, mangy-looking woman in a wife beater with a sports bra underneath and a pair of sweatpants accentuated by a pair of well-worn sneakers.
“Yeah Imma get you little punkass bitch!” she yelled through the mask covering the lower half of her face, “You’ better keep runnin’!”
It was strange that no one else had followed her, but Cliff had an idea that she wasn’t really alone and that any direction he went he might be headed into a trap. That was okay, he could improvise, and as he tucked to the right and continued to run he could hear her catching up as he took refuge behind a dumpster only seconds before she came racing around the corner. He knew the ruse wouldn’t work that long, but taking something from his pack he slipped it over the knuckles of his right hand, holding it to his lips as he said a small prayer to himself.
“Hiding isn’t going to do anythin’ for you little bitch,” the woman said as she stalked forward, “I saw you come this-“
She was just coming around the dumpster when Cliff decided it was time to strike. He didn’t like hitting women, and he didn’t like fighting in such a gutless style, but right now he was just trying to get away. If she was allowed to see where he went next he was confident that anyone that was seeking to flank him would be given a serious advantage that he couldn’t afford. So right now, this was the only way.
Still, he couldn’t help but wince at the sound the brass knuckles in his right hand made when they sent her crashing to the ground.
(to be continued)