Chapter 9

Losing was beyond Jackhammer's comprehension. Yet here he was, staring up at the sun but the light was fast fading to darkness. On the ground underneath him, Crunch held him in both in a full nelson and a crushing leg lock around his ribcage, stretching him out in both directions in a tight torture rack.

Jackhammer’s lungs burned from lack of oxygen. His head was already hazy from the being thrown head first against the wall several times. He could barely think. He banged his head back, making contact with Crunch’s torso just below the sternum but it had no effect.

Above his head, Jackhammer wiggled his fingers and hands until he made contact with Crunch’s chin. Damn! he thought. I can’t reach his face!

The fight had gone on for hours it seemed. No mortal man could have lasted this long without the fast healng powers that he – and Crunch – possessed.

In a way, it had been like a boys own adventure for him, but Jackhammer didn’t want it to end like this. It was a rush finally having a worthy opponent, but letting him win would be a disaster. Who else could stop him if Jackhammer lost the battle?

His feet tried finding their footing on the ground but he was too weak to kick up. Then his fingers above made contact with Crush’s bottom lip. He pinched hard and pulled down on the lip. Crush yelped and let go of the nelson.

With the leg lock still around him, but loosened, Jackhammer twisted around and landed a punch squarely in Crush’s face. Crush swung up, pulling Jackhammer into him and locking on a bear hug. Jackhammer cried out as the air was squeezed from him one again. The leg lock tightened once more, holding him against Crush, who now lived up to his name.

Jackhammer reached up and locked a hand over Crush’s mouth and nose, cutting off his oxygen, while his other hand grasped Crush’s hair and began pounding the man’s head against the pavement. Crush was forced to let go. They rolled apart and staggered to their knees. Jackhammer braced and swung his legs up, kicking Crush in the face.

As Crush hit the ground, Jackhammer pounced onto his back and laid a few fast blows to the base of the neck. He crossed Crush’s arms under the neck and pulled back, neutralising the villain in a Japanese strangle hold. Crush choked as his own biceps choked him, his back arching up dangerously close to breaking point.

Jackhammer could feel his own strength returning. He held tight, confident that Crush could not escape. He looked around. He needed to find cabling that would be thick and strong enough to bind Crush until he could move him to The Hold.

As if on cue, a black van screeched to a holt and his colleagues jumped out, carrying a lasso of industrial cables. He called out to them and the raced over, throwing the cable over Jackhammer’s head.

“What the…?!” he said as Jolt and Quake pulled the lasso tight, pinning his arms to his side. They hauled Jackhammer off Crush and pulled him to his feet, just as Seduction stepped out of the van, flanked by Fever and Bounce.

“Oh my God!” Jackhammer gasped. “It can’t be!”. He’d read the file on Seduction. Who hadn’t?! But he’s here? In this city? No way!

At his feet, Crush moaned and climbed to all fours. Seduction crouched down in front of Crush and looked him in the eyes. A moment later, he stood and turned his attention to Jackhammer.

“Take him to the van,” Seduction ordered over his shoulder. Fever and Bounce sprang to action.

“No no no no no no no no!” Jackhammer moaned, keeping his gaze low. He thrashed against the cabling as his wranglers kept their distance.

Seduction stepped up to Jackhammer and gently took hold of his chin. He lifted Jack’s head.

“Open your eyes,” Seduction crooned. “It won’t hurt.” He pressed his lips softly against Jackhammers, wooing him to obey. Jack squeezed his eyes shut tighter and slammed his head forward.

The head butt sent Seduction staggering backwards, and onto his arse. Jackhammer spun in a circle, pulling his wranglers off their feet. They staggered away, releasing the cable, which immediately unsprung itself, falling at Jackhammer’s feet.

There were five of them, all with powers of the own. Six if you counted Crush, sitting mesmerised in the van. There was only one of him. Jackhammer knew it would be hopeless to take them all on. He dove between his former colleagues and legged it. He was the last one standing. Headquarters would no longer be safe, and they’d be looking for him on the streets. There was CCTV everywhere. He had no where to go, except in hiding.

With a last glance over his shoulder, Jackhammer fled as fast as he could.

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