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Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

An Unlikely Hero


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She had a friend.

A journelist captures the Skin-head Culture


Belinda beheld the teenager with contempt as he forced his way through the bewildered pedestrians. This ill-mannered behaviour seemed indicative of the loutish clique he was a part of. What drove these teens to choose to associate with gangs of Neo-Nazi thugs was completely beyond her and had been the recurring theme of her latest articles on urban violence.


He was short and stocky with a shaven head, and wore a black leather jacket, dusty jeans with tattered cuffs and a leather studded belt around the waist. His grimy unshaven face and the backs of his hands were littered with tasteless tattoos. She thought she could see traces of dried blood on his filthy boots, though she could not be one hundred percent sure; but most disturbing of all was the metal baseball bat which he gripped tightly in his left hand.


Some stepped aside in a nick of time, others held their ground and threatened to bring him to justice, whilst one or two fell victim to his malice and were pushed aside without pity. He was a thug on a mission and no obstacle seemed too big or small to thwart him, not even the pile of dog poo which he inadvertently trod on.


Though genuinely horrified and slightly intimidated, Belinda found herself baying for blood, so to speak. She needed something of substance to write about. Something to help animate an otherwise run of the mill article; perhaps even make that hard-nosed sexist editor finally take her writing skills seriously.


“Off to do battle against an equally inane enemy” she quietly narrated then added “Once more into the fray and let those who stayed behind think it curse and hold their shaven head cheap that they did not join us at the Battle of Dingbat Deep.”


Urged forward by curiosity she carefully hastened behind him, keeping a safe distance; lest he become aware that he was being followed and retaliate. Anyone willing to devote his life to such an evil and ruthless ideology was definitely not to be trusted and there was no telling what he may do if irked. She had lost count of the news items detailing vicious assaults in broad daylight with no one coming to the victim’s aid.


The sidewalk was crowded with immodestly dressed people melting beneath the blazing mid-afternoon sun.  Weary woman in summer garb struggling to control their grousing off-spring, young mothers pushing prams with tired and irritable babies, intoxicated students ambling lethargically and here and there she could see sun burnt children without tee-shirts licking rapidly melting ice-cream cones; yet the heavily attired  skin-head seemed impervious to the humidity. She suspected he was perhaps too stoned to tell the difference.


Hate tempered by prejudice, fueled by ignorance, motivating violence and ultimately leading to incarceration. The ruthless culture of the skin-head mobs seemed to her but a one-way ticket to self-destruction.  Loud repetitive music hammering away in a cultist lull, as brainwashed minions pledge allegiance to a  new order of despotic goose-stepping supremacy.


“How could anyone make such skin-deep assumptions about people they hardly know, based purely on outward appearances?” she mused; a quote from one of her recent articles. “People are just people and the only thing that truly separates us is what lies within our hearts.”


Belinda wheezed slightly as humidity and fatigue started to set in. She was noticeably out of shape. Fast-food had replaced her previous healthy diet as her car had demotivated her desire to continue doing her daily bike ride to and from work. She could not remember the last time she had set foot in the local gym and she feared what her former athletics trainer would say if he saw her in such a pitiful state.


Across the road the Skin-head ran, giving the fingers to approaching cars, then further down the road and finally veering left. He hastened up a half dozen steps then quickened his pace even more as he raced toward a car park where four other skin heads had surrounded a silver sedan.


Taking great care to remain undetected, Belinda followed after and found a Toyota 4Runner SR5 SUV to hide behind.  She felt like a cowboy in a western movie; barricading himself with an old stagecoach during a gunfight. Her heart raced while she took out her cell-phone at the ready to take a few photos to add authenticity to her article but to her dismay the battery life was spent.


“Got it, Thumps!” announced the skin-head handing the bat over to his much larger and aggressive looking friend.


“Stand back, Bash, I’m gunna show ya how it’s done!”


The other watched as Thumps swung the bat with considerable force and hit the driver’s window but failed to cause any damage. Enraged at his failure he whacked it again harder. The other egged him on and cheered with the inevitable cracking of glass.


Belinda’s heart chilled as she heard the unmistakable sound of muffled screaming. She strained her eyes and gasped at the sight to two anguished children within the car fretfully pounding on the rear window. The younger of the two was a panic stricken Asian boy of no more than ten years of age, and the other was an African American girl. Neither would stand a chance against the mob of skin-heads that were trying to force entry.


Instincts urged her to ring the police but without the use of her cell-phone  such an idea was out of the question. If any saving was to be done it would have to be by her, despite the fact she had no weapons other than a near empty can of mace in her handbag that had sat in there for a considerable time. She could not be positive if it still worked.


The rational part of Belinda’s mind warned of the perils she would face by confronting such villains unnamed but her heart insisted she should at least try. She knew her conscience would never allow her to forgive herself if something happened to those two innocent kids in the car. It seemed incomprehensible that anyone, no matter how depraved, would ever intentionally seek to hurt such a harmless prey and she was sure that there was a special place in hell reserved for such monsters.


Chaos turned to desperation. The window shattered and Skinhead near ripped the driver’s door off its hinges. Shrills pieced her heart as the children were forcefully removed.  Belinda could no longer contain herself. Out from behind the SUV she ran, charging toward the startled skinheads with her finger the red plunger of the mace. Hate surged and she knew if she had had access to a fire arm she would have surely pulled the trigger by now.


“Get away from them you assholes!” she ranted angrily.


Her attention was once again diverted by the sight of a frizzled haired teenage girl coming towards her from the left. Seconds later the girl tackled her like a rugby league player stopping a runaway try during an important test match. They hit the ground hard and skidded.


“No, stop!” beseeched the out of breath girl “It’s not what it looks like!”


Another scream filled the air and Belinda could now see a robust woman in her early thirties being escorted to the carpark by two more skinheads. One look at the children was enough to cause her extreme panic and she fought valiantly to break away from her abductors.


Belinda, filled with uncharacteristic aggression threw the girl off her and got to her feet again. She continued her beeline to the car and pressed down on hard on the plunger moments before she reached the skinheads, who had now placed the two petrified kids on the bonnet of the car.  


“Don’t!” yelled the girl from behind but it was too late; Belinda had already beginning to spray them in the eyes.


The welcoming sound of sirens now filled the car park. She looked behind her and drew a sign of relief as she saw several police cars approaching yet the thugs remained unmoved. Police piled out and hurried toward the scene and Belinda readied herself to give a full account of what had occurred, but what happened next chilled her to the bone.


“This is unacceptable,” she heard a policeman say to the woman once she had been reunited with her two children “You should have known better than to leave them in a car with the windows shut on a day like this. If it hadn’t been for those skinheads they would have surely suffocated. Those childproof locks would have secured them in a furnace from which there'd literally be no escape.”


Belinda stood dumbfounded, still holding onto the now spent can of mace, thankful that she had not had access to any firearms; her mind haunted by the repetition of that quote from her recent article


“How could anyone make such skin-deep assumptions about people they hardly know, based purely on outward appearances?”


How indeed?


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