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While shivering in the protective arms of the woman I'd attempted to rescue, the last few minutes keep running through my head like a bizarre video stuck in an endless loop.

A tingle of excitement had run through me when I heard the muffled scream. It was why I'd been wandering the darker, less reputable streets tonight. It's why I was dressed all in black and wore a mask. As the Midnight Stalker, I'd be able to give my city the protection its overworked police force wasn't able to provide.

I'd slipped through the shadows of the stinking, trash-strewn alley undetected and had taken the mugger completely by surprise. Unfortunately, the surprise only lasted a moment. Just as my crushing blow connected with his jaw, I noticed something silver flash in the moonlight, and felt a sharp pain in my gut.

The thrill I'd been feeling turned to cold terror when I looked down and saw something dark spurting from my side. I barely even noticed when the mugger slammed into the dumpster behind him and crumpled to the ground.

As I sit in a pool of my own blood, hoping the distant siren I hear is for me, I wonder if it was all worth it.

With what little breath I'm able to draw into my lungs I manage to say, "If they ask who I am, tell 'em I'm the Midnight Stalker."

"I'll tell them that," the woman whispers into my ear. She then kisses my masked face and adds, "Thank you for rescuing me, Midnight Stalker."

The trepidation that's been gnawing at the edges of my fading awareness shifts into a warm sense of pride and satisfaction. Yes, it really was all worth it.

 


 

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