Chapter 5

Jackhammer grunted as the fist connected with his stomach. He doubled over, exposing himself to another fist in the face. He flew back through the air, crashing onto the bonnet of an aged Toyota. He was insulted. He would have preferred a Mercedes.

Shaking his head clear, Jackhammer sprung to his feet just as Crunch flew at him, tackling him back down again. The shattered windscreen collapsed inward under the force of their body weight. Jackhammer grunted while Crunch raised himself and landed another punch to Jackhammer’s face.

Jackhammer saw stars. He wasn’t used to that. Crunch had appeared a few months ago, robbing a bank by ripping the vault door off its hinges. It was the first time Jack had met another who could match his own superior strength. Crunch, it appeared, had the same fighting power, but with the added advantage of being streetwise brawler.

Until now, Crunch had escaped any major conflict by fleeing the scene of his crimes as soon as Jackhammer arrived. One punch from Jack on their first meeting had warned Crunch that he had a nemesis and, since then, he’d managed to vanish before any real fight had ensued. They’d been playing cat-and-mouse since then, and Jackhammer had expected this time to be the same. But instead, Crunch took the offensive, taking him completely by surprise.

The two muscled behemoths had all but destroyed the street, colliding with brick walls, toppling street lampsm and crushing park cars. Even the bitumen was cracked after Jackhammer had slam-dunked Crunch into the road.

That advantage had been short lived though. Now the ripped torso of Crunch was bearing down on Jackhammer, forcing him through the broken windscreen onto the front seat of the car. Lucky it was automatic! Crunch dropped down on top of him and raised another fist.

Jackhammer punched up, loving the cracking sound of his fist hitting Crunch’s chin. The motherfucker flew off him sideways, hitting the back of the seat but Jack was still underneath. He punched up again and this time kicked up as well. The power of the blows sent him spinning upwards in the limited space. He bounced off the roof of the car, fell over the top of the passenger seat, and hit the floor in the back just as the interior light switched on by its own accord.

The raised centre of the car floor cracked against Crunch’s lower back. He snarled with pain. Jackhammer leaped over the front seat and landed on top of him with a vicious knee to the stomach. Jackhammer’s fist landed in Crunch’s face before his foe reached up and incidentally grabbed his Jack's pec.

Instead of pushing Jack off, Crunch realised where his palm had landed and squeezed hard. Jackhammer cried out and Crunch reached his other hand up to squeeze Jack’s other pec.

Jackhammer grabbed at Crunch’s wrists but his full body weight was bearing down on his foe, leaving him pressed into the painful hold. He tried desperately to release the agonising clutch but couldn’t.

Then Crunch suddenly released it for him. Jackhammer fell on top of him, and Crunch quickly tangled his feet around Jack’s ankles. He lifted his legs upward and at the same time grabbed Jackhammer’s wrists and pushed his arms upwards too. Jackhammer's arms and legs splayed out in a hold that left him hanging above his nemesis like a hammock. Every finely sculpted muscle tensed and strained in a demonstration of might that did him no good. He felt like he would snap in half.

Crunch managed a smile, looking up at the man he’d spent the last few months fleeing from. The agony that wracked Jack’s face told him that it had been wasted effort. He was in control. He had nothing to fear. His own power was stronger than this hero’s. He could rule the world, and no one could stop him.

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