Daren pulled his debit card out of his wallet and handed it to the clerk. He was purchasing a genuine Indian knife from the 17th century at a store in downtown Chicago. The knife itself was 8 inches long with a 6 inch carved wooden handle. Daren was lucky to have found it at such a good price. He didn't exactly feel safe in the city without some kind of protection.

It was the class trip in the middle of June just before graduation, so the rest of the students were fully enjoying the last few weeks of school before summer. Sarah came up and attacked Daren from behind with a hug.

"Hi, Daren!"

"Hey, Sarah. What are you still doing here?" He put the knife in his pocket quickly to hide it from her. It wasn't really something he would normally buy so she didn't need to see it.

"I came to find you! We don't want to leave you here, right?"

"I suppose that's true. Where's everyone else?"

"Well, they didn't notice you were missing, so they're heading for the bus."

"Alright then, I'm done here. Let's go catch up with them."

She nodded and they started out of the store. But they didn't get far. It wasn't 30 seconds before Daren heard a short squeal from behind him. He turned to see what was going on but there was no one there. He saw the tips of Sarah's feet slide out of sight into the alley they had passed.

Daren slid the knife from his pocket to his sleeve and ran into the alley full speed. The second her turned the corner, he was forced to skid to a stop. There was a man there with Sarah in his arms and a gun to her head. He was dressed in baggy blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt. He turned to Daren.

"You move, she dies. Here's the deal. I don't like killing. But I will if I don't get my way. So, I'm gonna have my way with the girl here, then you can have her back and be on your way. So, while you stay there, the little girl here's gonna start with a strip tease. Let's go girly. Take it off."

Sarah inched away from him toward Daren and looked to him for advice. Daren nodded and Sarah began to dance awkwardly, still watching Daren. She knew he was coming up with a plan. She could see his eyes darting all over the alley looking for ideas. She made sure to keep the thug entertained with her dance so that Daren could have more time.

Finally, Daren nodded to Sarah and motioned to his sleeve where he had hidden the knife. He positioned himself directly in line with Sarah and the thug so that the thug couldn't see him well. Then he motioned for her to duck on his signal. Daren backed up a few more steps and put his plan into action.

He charged directly at Sarah and told her to duck. She did and he launched himself over her directly into the thug, knocking him to the ground. But it didn't last long. Sarah escaped to the entry to the alley while the thug regained his stance and held the gun to Daren's head.

He was stuck in an impossible position. His back against the wall of the alley and a gun on his forehead. He glanced quickly to the entrance where Sarah still stood, mouth agape in disbelief that Daren might actually die. Nervous tears streamed sown her face as she cried out to him.

"No! Daren, don't give up! Whatever you do, don't et this coward win!!"

That did it. Daren's eyes lit up with a fire inside. His fists clenched and teeth gritted, he stood back up in front of the thug and put his hands together and prayed.

"Are you kidding me? You think your god is going to save you? That's so stupid that it's not even funny! You're going to die now and there's no supernatural being who's going to save you."

The man's finger tensed and the trigger was pulled. Blood splattered all over the alley. Daren clutched his leg and fell to one knee. Seconds later, the thug dropped the gun and fell to the ground clutching his stomach. There was a knife wound just below his heart where Daren had stabbed him.

It was like lightning. In the instant Daren knew the man would fire, he reached out his left hand and tapped he gun downward as much as possible while drawing the knife out of his sleeve with the other hand and plunging it into the man's stomach. The gun was deflected enough that the shot flew through Daren's upper thigh, only ripping muscle.

Sarah was still crying. Seeing the blood drip down his leg and form a pool on the gravel of the alley, she ran to him, smothering him with a hug.

"C'mon, Sarah, lets get out of here before he tries to come after us."