Shadow Warrior by David Kuzminski

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Roger Lemming paused. He knew immediately he was in trouble. A quick glance behind proved retreat wasn't possible. He reached for his back pocket and his wallet. "All right, you want my money?"

The first punch caught him by surprise. He felt the next few and then nothing before blackness settled in as he slumped to the pavement. He watched as his wallet was taken from his back pocket by one man and ripped open to disgorge the money and credit cards before the rest was flipped to the sidewalk. A last kick hit him in the ribs. Then the men walked away counting through the money before some was given to the second man.

"Bastards!" Roger shouted without being heard as his body moaned. Then he realized something that hadn't caught his attention before. He was staring down at himself, yet that was impossible.

Tentatively, he took a step. It hurt. A glance down brought awareness to his state of being. "What the f...? I'm a shadow?" He stared at black arms sliding forward gracefully as he reached toward his body. Fear caught up with him for a moment as unwelcome thoughts rushed to the forefront of his consciousness. Am I dead? Should I remain with my body or search for a light?

However, the pain subsided as his shadowy foot detached and then was followed by his other as he cautiously backed away from himself. Curious about his new ability, he moved about taking in what he could. Some reassurance came upon seeing his body still breathed. However, a nearby window provided no image of himself. Yet he could see things that he hadn't known were present or were they? Would those still be present and visible when his body recovered, if it could?

For a long moment, he hesitated. Then more rational thoughts surged forth as he talked to himself. "Okay, whatever I am now, there's not much I can do other than go with the flow. So, what do I do?" Roger smiled as one stray thought came to mind even though the smile was totally invisible. If I can follow my attackers, I just might learn enough to tell the police later so they can be arrested.

Only seconds had passed. The attackers were in no rush. They ambled away together still in sight talking in low hushes about their plans for the money. Roger walked in their direction. Feeling more confident because there was no longer any pain because of the separation from his body, his shadow glided silently down the street with only the almost muted sound of footsteps giving any indication that he was even there.

It was his footsteps that warned the attackers as they turned to stare in horror at the black apparition that threatened them. Roger's fists lashed out to connect with a solidity that surprised both himself and the attackers. However, he had the element of surprise as he struck out with frenzied blows at the man who kicked him last. The attacker went down causing the other man to falter, show fear in his face, and then turn to run.

Roger kicked out at the man to send him sprawling onto the pavement before he could escape. Provided with an easy target and the desire for revenge, Roger kicked out at the man several times to thoroughly incapacitate him before turning back to the first man.

"No, not any more! Please? You want the money? It's yours! We won't hustle your street anymore! Just no more, please!"

Roger hesitated only a moment before holding out his hand.

With tremors shaking his entire body, the first attacker withdrew the stolen money from his pocket.

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