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Gabrielle’s mind rose from unconsciousness and immediately sent out klaxons of danger. She did not remember immediately where she was nor why her head hurt so but she had no doubt that she was fighting for her life.

The first sensation that registered was that someone’s hands were in her pants. The fight that she had brought to her assailants and the flight away from them came back to her and from her sprawled position on the ground she grabbed the man’s wrist, twisted his arm around behind him and slammed his head into the sidewalk.

“Ooff!” though not a word, was the sound that her action brought forth. With her assailant now on top of her she wondered if she would have to fight all three of her attackers or if she had managed to break a kneecap, rupture a testicle or dislocate a jaw on any of the thugs that she had hit hard, fast and furiously. Though a powerhouse of a woman the force that her 99 pound body could exert while lying on the ground with a man’s body draped over her was minimal.

Desperate to free herself so that she could fight back with feet and knees rather than fists and elbows she grabbed her attacker’s hair and began to drag him off of her by pulling on it with all her might. “Gabrielle! Stop! It’s me! Duvan!”

Stunned, this fist full of words stopped her in her tracks. “Duvan?! What the hell?”

She felt him clamber off of her and envisioned him cowering out of arms reach. “Duvan? What’s going on!”

“I saw you! I didn’t know it was you but I saw you and those three men! The buses stopped over an hour ago so I have to walk from the METRO station to my brother’s house! I saw them circling you and then I saw you fight them! You are a tornado!”

“Jesus! So you were following me?”

“Only after I saw what happened! I swear, I wasn’t with them! I was only heading home after work and wanted to help! I didn’t even know it was you!”

“Why were your hands in my pants!”

“What!? Oh! Your phone. I called 911 right away from my phone but when I saw you go sprawling I ran over and checked on you. You were out but breathing. The police and ambulance must be on their way but I wanted to call your husband, call Adriel, and let him know what was happening. He was your first ICE number but he didn’t answer. I left a message and then called the second number.”

“No, Adriel wouldn’t answer. He can’t get to the phone from bed anymore. I have to get back to him! He’s awake now and all alone and must be worried sick!”

“But the police! The ambulance!”

“They’ll have to come to my house. I can’t leave him all alone. Wait. Did you
say you called my second emergency contact?”

“Yes. I was shocked! I did not even know that you knew my friend Bill Finger.”