They dropped me off at Kipling Station, the westernmost point of the Toronto subway system.  Before I got out of the car, Dorothy turned to look at me.

            “We leave you here.  It’s far from your usual routine, and no one would expect to see you.  You understand that we can’t let them know that we’ve contacted you.  They’ll be watching you, so be careful.  We’ll be in touch sooner or later, but I don’t think we’ll ever see you again.”

            “Good luck.”  Rebecca said.  “We’ll pray for you.”

            “Thanks.”  I said.  I pulled my Maple Leafs toque out of my coat pocket and tugged it over my hair.  “Can I just ask one thing?”

            “Sure.”  Rebecca smiled softly.

            “What’s this organization that sent you?”  I asked.  “You mentioned it, but didn’t really explain much.”

            “The less you know, the less you can tell them if you’re caught.”  Dorothy pointed out.  Rebecca gave her a look.  “Okay, okay.  I can tell you this much:  we call ourselves the Church of Ephesians.”

            “‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil’.”  I said.

            “Ephesians six, verse eleven.”  Rebecca nodded.  “And in the Revelation, the church that hates evil-doers.”

            I nodded and exited the car.  I raised my hand in farewell as they drove away, and then turned to enter the subway station.  I rode the Bloor line to the Yonge, and then headed north on the next train.

            The sun had gone down by the time I reached Lawrence Station and got on the bus towards campus.  Another chilly winter night.  I huddled in my coat, watching out the window.  I got off at my stop and started walking towards the bridge over Bayview Avenue.  Traffic raced along on the street under the bridge, but there was no one driving on this end of Lawrence.  I looked towards the campus gates and was surprised to see a man in a dark coat standing on that end of the bridge, blocking the sidewalk.  He was wearing a winter hat that covered his face.  I had worn one like it in high school and always pretended I was a ninja.

            I felt pinpricks at the base of my skull.  I looked over my shoulder and saw another man following me from the bus stop, dressed the same way.  I was trapped.  The two men seemed to relish in this, making no move to speed up their attack.  The first man just stood watching, while the other walked slowly, inexorably drawing closer.  I felt my hands instinctively curl into fists.  My knuckles were white with tension.

            My senses seemed almost heightened.  I could hear the dull roar of traffic below us, feel the chill wind on my skin, pulling at my coat.  My heart was thumping in my chest, and the approaching man’s footsteps grated on the cement sidewalk, clomping over sidewalk salt and ice.  I made a decision.

            I ran straight at the second man, back the way I had come, hollering a war cry.  He took a step backwards in surprise, and then instinctively caught my case as I threw it at him.  This left his hands busy as I tackled him low, crashing him into the sidewalk.  I rolled off him and got to my feet quickly, kicking him in the head with my steel-toe winter boots, driving him against the concrete wall of the bridge.  I kicked him again and again, enraged to be attacked a second time.  He dropped my case to the ground.

            I didn’t hear his first man coming behind me, preoccupied as I was with kicking the shit out of his friend.  I only became aware of him when he grabbed hold of my head, his fingers trying to grip my hair through my hat.  I shook free, leaving him with the toque, and dodged.  I faced him, about four feet away.  He had drawn a knife from somewhere, and it glimmered in the glow from the streetlights.  I unzipped my long coat, breathing hard.

            Behind him, his partner was getting to his feet.  His hat was wrinkled up to one side from my kicks, blocking his eyes.  He tugged it off in disgusted frustration, and revealed a face that had been burned very recently.  I recognized him from the factory as the one I had put through the rack wash.

            With both of them on one side of the bridge, it left a clear path towards campus.  I turned and ran.  As quickly as pouncing lions, they were after me, and I felt one grab hold of the end of my coat, pulling.  I let my arms go loose, allowing him to tug my coat straight off, knocking him off balance.  I had never intended to leave; I knew they’d just come after me again.

            Instead, I turned back quickly, delivering a swift kick to his knee before he could get out from under the coat.  I was rewarded with a loud snapping sound as I broke his kneecap.  They couldn’t feel pain, but broken bones could slow them down.  He went down, and I slammed my knee into his face, grabbing his head to force him against it hard.  He crumpled to the sidewalk, down for a moment.

            I used my momentum to spin past his friend onto the road, forcing the one with the burned face to turn towards me, his back to the concrete wall of the bridge.  He roared at me, brandishing his knife.  Moving fast, I ducked under his swipe, catching him around the mid-section.  I pushed forwards, carrying him on my shoulder and then pitching him over the side of bridge.  I watched him fall to the road below, where he crumpled someone’s windshield in a super nova of broken glass.  The car’s brakes shrieked as it spun against another in a collision, tying up traffic.

            Incredulous, I watched him roll to his feet and stumble away down the road.

            In my shock, I forgot to watch my back again.  The other assailant grabbed hold of my dishevelled hair, getting a thick handful.  He tugged my head back, and I felt the cold steel of his knife against my neck.  I kicked off the bridge wall with my feet, knocking us both into the road.  I rolled away fast, getting to my feet near the case, still lying on the sidewalk.  I clicked open the clasps with my chilled hands, feeling numb in the night air.  I flipped it open, hearing my assailant coming up behind me.

            He loomed over my shoulder, his shadow spilling over me from a streetlight behind him.  I swirled round as fast as I could and felt my short sword rip through his neck.  His body slumped to the ground as his head rolled into the street.  I slumped against the bridge wall, breathing hard.  I looked at his bloodless corpse, lying in the snowy gutter.  I had done it.

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