Two days after they started their search Tad and Roy found Daws, or more to the point he found them late that evening as they huddled in an alley doorway to get out of the wind.
“Well, well, look what we have here boys. New blood in town.”
Roy shivered at the sound of a voice he knew too well and had hoped never to hear again. Well unless the owner was behind bars of course. He lifted his head just enough to peer up past the heavy construction boots and tight jeans to the hand that held a busted baseball bat, and wondered momentarily whose head had broken it.
“Stand up, punks,” Daws drawled seconds later. “Let me get a good look at you.”
Tad stood slowly, keeping his head bowed. “What do you want with us?” he asked in a fear-laced voice.
“Depends what you have to offer.” The filthy chuckle that came from Daws added unwanted emphasis to his words. He rapped the bat hard on Roy’s shoulder. “You too, up.”
“He’s sick, leave him alone,” Tad said with more fearlessness than he felt.
“He’ll be more than sick if he doesn’t get his ass up now.”
Tad’s hands fisted behind his back as he raised his eyes just enough to see that Daws only had one other punk with him. He stood a few feet away, apparently to keep an eye on the entrance to the alley.
Roy crawled to his knees and put the palms of his hands on the ground as if to help leverage himself up. Then he slid one foot forward like a runner ready to start a race and pushed off. His head connected with Daws groin hard enough that he had to roll out of the way when Daws doubled over, screaming in agony.
Tad moved fast, grabbing the broken bat as it hit the alley pavement. The punk who had accompanied Daws was beside him seconds later, the pipe he was holding descending towards Tad’s head. Tad lifted the bat, gripping it in both hands so that it took the brunt of the blow. Even though it did he felt his wrists snap backwards and cried out, wondering if they’d broken.
Roy was on his feet now and tackled the punk, knocking him to the ground. He pummeled his face and head with both fists, taking out all his fear and rage on his enemy. Despite the pain in his wrists, Tad joined the fray, kicking the punk hard in the ribs. Then he turned to do the same to Daws who was still writhing on the ground.
“Can anyone join in?” someone asked.