I glanced from Jake to Petra and back. Jake wasn’t even looking at me. He was locked in a murderous stare with Petra. It was clear who he was targeting first. I wondered if I should go for Jake, take advantage of his being distracted, or go after Petra, who would be outnumbered.
As usual, my indecision decided for me. Petra lunged at Jake, slicing skillfully with a backhanded stroke that brushed Jake’s lower lip and chin. Jake dropped to the ground and swung his leg at Petra, who jumped and did this sort of barrel roll move. It was pretty sweet, actually. But as soon as he landed, I kicked him hard, right in the ankle.
He fell toward me, swinging his knife-hand in my general direction. His wrist slammed on the rim of the dumpster, sending the blade flying from his grip. He screamed. The knife clunked against the inside wall of the dumpster.
I tried to jump over him, thinking that it would be better not to have my back to Jake. But Petra caught my foot mid-air, and I fell on top of him. He flipped me onto my back, straddled me, and squeezed the tendons in my wrist, causing my grip on the switchblade to falter. I couldn’t hold on. So I kneed him in the crotch.
He gasped. I saw Jake stand up and raise his knife in the air. I kneed Petra again, pushed him off me, and scrambled to get out of the path of Jake’s knife, which met with Petra’s shoulder.
Now Jake was on top of Petra, who was madly swinging his limbs in the air. Jake got a hold of Petra’s right arm; I grabbed the other and held it to the ground.
Jake plunged the knife into Petra’s neck. With flecks of blood flying through the air, Jake and I locked eyes. “Thanks,” he said.
Petra began screaming – a gargled, dying scream that’s never pleasant to hear, so I covered his mouth. Didn’t want some vegan hippie coming out from the co-op’s back door to find us.
“I always forget how good that feels,” Jake said. We stood and faced each other. Round two.
“Do we really have to do this?” I asked.