The rowdy night grows silent. Streetlights like spotlights stay fixed on empty stages of sidewalk. Two friends, buzzed, pass through the city.
Muffled shouts on a sidestreet. Thuds. A panicked yelp.
The friends turn the corner, see the beating, one kid with hands raised and the other above, fists falling fast.
The first friend halts, searches the scene, alert heart pounding. The other dashes forward, bowls into the brawl, throws the attacker back and turns to the crushed kid. Then the attacker’s on his back, hand to pocket and a knife, an angry shout.
The attacker dashes; the friend collapses.