A Rough Year
Chapter 1: A Bad Night

by AS


“I just got a text from Jessica.”
Sean sent a quick reply and set his phone down on the bar, taking another drink out of his beer. Jessica was one of his regular hookups. Once upon a time she may have been something more, but that all changed for him a few years ago. They had a mutual respect but nothing more would ever come out of their relationship.
Sean was 26, 5'11, 170 pounds. He was in great shape, going to the gym several days a week primarily for weight lifting and boxing. He was no body builder but had well defined muscles. His brown hair was kept short and had a clean shaven face. Tonight he was wearing some dark blue jeans with a leather belt and red t-shirt.
“So it's Jessica tonight. Who was last night? Tara? Amy? His friend Jake, seated next to him at the bar, joked. Indeed Sean had become a bit of a ladies man and had three women who he regularly hooked up with. Sean thought Jake was a bit jealous. Jake was good looking in his own way, but Sean tended to be the one coming home lucky when they were out together. He got looks from some men also, and while he has tried that before, he preferred women. He wouldn't tell his friend Jake, but he liked getting looks from guys.
“Actually it was nobody last night, or the night before, or since last weekend. But it is definitely Jessica now” He laughed, and his phone lit up with a new text. See you soon, it said.
Jake put a twenty on the bar and stood up. “I've got you covered tonight. Call me tomorrow, and don't have too much fun.”
Sean was finishing up his beer. He looked around, there were a couple dozen others in the bar. It was a hole in the wall, a pool table in the back, dimly lit. Still, it was an easy place to get to, and both he and Jessica lived within a mile from here, so it was easy to walk to.
His glance landed on a couple guys down the bar from him, who he noticed were watching him. They had a challenging look on their face that made him uncomfortable. They were roughly his age or a few years older, one with a shaved head, the other with short brown hair. He went back to his beer again and checked his phone – nothing new. He noticed again the two guys as they stood up and walked outside.
Sean finished his beer and stopped in the bathroom. On the way out he smiled at the bartender. “See ya next time”, he said.
He walked outside and started down the sidewalk. Jessica's house was about a half mile from here, so would not take long. He did not get very far when someone called from behind him. “Hey asshole!”
He turned around and saw the two men from the bar. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach. He was not afraid of a fight – he was known to get into them fairly often actually, and generally came out on top. But when he was about to get laid, he preferred to be on his way.
“Sorry guys, in a hurry,” Sean replied. The guys had stepped outside to smoke, and now dropped them and put them out with their boots. He turned to continue on his way but ran right into two more guys. They were about the same size as him but felt like running into a wall. His head had been a little foggy from the beers but he came to his senses now. He turned back to the others. “What's your problem?”

“I was going to ask you the same pretty boy. I saw your staring at me down the bar.” The guy took a couple steps toward him. He was a little bigger that Sean and well built. He knew he was in trouble if he couldn't get out of this. “So I'd thought we'd have a little chat about that.”
“Four on one doesn't seem like such a fair 'chat',” Sean replied.
The guy smiled. “It wouldn't be if this was a fight. But a beatdown...”
The guy swung at him. Sean managed to duck backward and dodge it. It left him wide open and Sean responded with a hard uppercut into his solar plexus. The guy doubled over. His friend started advancing toward him and at the same time, a pair of arms grabbed him from behind. They didn't have a good hold on him though, and Sean was able to break one arm free. He turned and delivered a hook to the guy's jaw who still had his other arm. He was free now. He grabbed the other guy by the shoulders and kneed him squarely in the groin. He dropped to the pavement, coughing.
He turned toward the last guy one second too late. He gave Sean a jab in the gut. He was caught slightly off guard, but returned with a right hook. The guy went reeling backward and tripped over his own feet.
All four of the attackers were jarred, but it wouldn't be for long. Sean knew if he stuck around that this would not end well for him. He began running down the sidewalk away from the four toward Jessica's place. After a hundred feet he turned and saw that they were not chasing him. Three of them were watching him, the fourth who he had hit in the balls still on the ground, coughing and sputtering. He slowed to a walk and continued, turning back every few seconds to make sure they did not follow.
A few minutes later, he arrived at Jessica's house. He knocked on the door. Seconds later she opened it. “Hey there handsome,” she smiled. He went inside and shut the door.

An hour and a half later, Sean dressed and left. He could have stayed the night, but had a busy morning and wanted to get home. He had a couple drinks at her house and was a bit buzzed, so decided to walk home instead of getting his car from the bar. His house was only a half mile from here. He started home, through an older suburb. When he was about a block from his house, he thought he heard a noise off to the side. The neighborhood was dark, some of the overheard lamps burned out. There were several large trees which blocked most of the moonlight. He did not see anything but continued on. He was not thinking straight anyway from the booze.
He looked at his phone as he walked up his driveway. It was almost one in the morning, and he read a text from Jessica: Thanks hon, c u soon.
He put his phone away and unlocked his door. As soon as he opened it, he was grabbed from behind and thrown into his house. He tripped over some shoes by the door and crashed onto the carpeted floor in his living room.
“What the fuck...” He groaned. He looked over toward the door which just closed. His living room was dark except for some moonlight coming through the windows. He saw shadows over by the door but couldn't make it out. Someone stepped forward and his heart sank. It was the attacker from the bar, and he realized there were three other figures behind him.

“You left when we were just getting to know each other,” he said calmly.
“Get the fuck out of my house or I'm calling the police,” Sean threatened and started fishing for his phone. He looked down at it and started to press the numbers, when suddenly the man smacked the phone out of his hand. It landed several feet away.
“Oh we'll get the fuck out, don't worry. But first we're going to have our chat. We were just going to have some fun with you back at the bar, but that changed.” The other three entered the living room. It was a large living room. It had a large leather couch, a love seat, and a long coffee table, and a lot of empty space between there and the kitchen where they stood.
Sean was a good fighter, but he was simply outnumbered, and on top of that he was still buzzed. It wasn't going to stop him from trying though. He took a swing at the leader but it barely missed him. Their leader laughed as the four men encircled him. The leader returned fire and hit Sean on the eye. It turned him toward the right to the second man, who grabbed him by the shoulder and gave him a hard uppercut to the gut. His abs were strong and he was fairly ready for that shot but it still hurt. He nailed him hard a second time and Sean coughed from the pain. The man spun him around to the third guy across from him. Before he could regain focus, the main hit him in the mouth with a backhand, then came back across with a hook to his mouth again. He thought he tasted blood. That punch turned him again toward the fourth guy, who grinned and grabbed him by the neck. He recognized this one as the guy he hit in the balls. “Just returning the favor”, he said, and rammed him knee into Sean' groin hard.
“Ugh!” He dropped to the carpet instantly. Pain and nausea washed over him, but he managed not to puke. Not long ago he was getting laid, and thought he was still a bit sensitive there, but he had never been hit so hard in the nuts before. He was defenseless.
“Come on man, it's too early in this to be on the ground already, we're just getting started!” The leader taunted him. Hands grabbed him by the arms and yanked him up. He was dazed and hurting. He faced two men. In the mostly dark room he had a hard time recognizing who was who anymore. The two men stepped closer to him. The first one landed a left hook to Sean' brow, the second man followed with a right hook and hit him square on the cheek. He started to sag a bit, dazed.
“Hold him up tight!” The leader ordered. He felt himself lifted and arched back a bit. The two men began to punch his gut, taking turns. First a hit to the center, second just below the navel. Solar plexus, left side, right side, center. He was strong but they were starting to break him down. The leader ended with a strong uppercut to his navel.
“Uggh...”. He dropped a bit but was still held strong.
“Our turn!” One of the men behind him said in his ear, as he pushed Sean forward. The leader caught him and couldn't help himself, he kneed Sean in the gut, hard. It lifted him off his feet for a moment. He then turned him around and the other two held him under the arms. The second pair walked toward him, grinning. They again took turns on him, starting with his abs. A hard punch in the solar plexus and he felt some his breath escape. The second man punched a little too low, in his upper groin.
“Agh!” Sean started to double over in pain but was lifted back straight. They each nailed him twice in his navel, hard, and he knew he didn't have much resistance left. Finally, the man on his left delivered a hard uppercut to jaw that sent his head backward. He was dazed and weak, but still awake. The men released him and he slumped to his knees. One of the men kicked him hard in the gut and Sean doubled over and fell on his side, arms around his middle.
The men high-fived each other over top of him and laughed. Sean groaned in pain. He had been in many fights, but of any fight he lost, it wasn't this bad. These men were enjoying his pain, not just trying to win a fight.
“Hey, let's put him over there,” one man said. They agreed and lifted him again by the arms and dragged him across the living room. They pushed him back and he was on the coffee table. It was a long coffee table about two feet off the ground. His knees at the edge of the table hung off and his feet touched the floor. He was helpless, too sore to resist and knew there was no point against the four men.
“Hold his arms for me,” one of them said. Following orders, the men grabbed one arm each. His shirt lifted as they pulled his arms back, revealing the bottom row of well defined abs and a strip of trimmed hair leading down and disappearing under the belt buckle of his jeans. A third stood over him. Sean felt completely helpless. His face was bleeding where they hit his brow and he could taste blood from cuts in his mouth from the hits. His abs were sore and bruised. He just wanted this to end, whether they left or knocked him out.
The man standing over him pulled his shirt the rest of the way up, over his pecs. He admired his body for a moment. Sean was very well defined, not that those muscles helped him tonight. The man began to rain down blows on his gut. One after the other, all over his abs. Sean let out a grunt with each hit that smacked against his skin. He momentarily tried to escape but it was impossible and he was weakening quickly.
“I want some of this too,” the man standing to the side said. The attacker moved off him and to the side. Now one stood on each side, his arms still locked by the other pair of men. Both of them began beating him all over, but not just the abs. A pair of hard punches to the chest, several punches on the obliques. Sean's groans started to fade as his whole body started to feel pain. They punched his quads a few times hard. One of them drove an elbow into his solar plexus. Stretched out along the coffee table his body was open season to these guys.
The second guy slapped his face a bit. “Still with us pretty boy? Good!” With that came another punch to his navel. The leader went for his solar plexus again, knocking some wind out of him. He knew he was about done. They alternated punching his sides a couple of times, then one more hard hit to his navel. “Ugghh...”.
They stopped for a moment and Sean groaned. His arms were released but he was too weakened to move, he laid there across the table, his legs hanging over the edge. His consciousness was waning, he hoped it would just go.
The man on his left suddenly punched him hard in the balls. Sean coughed and rolled off the side of the table onto the floor into the fetal position. The knee to his groin earlier hurt, the punch was worse and just added humiliation to the enormous amount of pain in his body. The men started laughing. “I think he's had enough,” one of the men said.
“Just about,” the leader said. “Stand him up.”
Two men again pulled him up, Sean must have felt like dead weight at this point. “Lights out, pretty boy,” he said. The leader landed a hard uppercut into his defenseless gut. A second, then a third. Sean gasped. A left hook to the jaw hit him next, then a right to his eye, a left again to his mouth, spewing a trail of blood as his head was knocked to the side. He was dazed, seeing stars. Finally, the man hit him with a hard uppercut that sent his head flying back. The men holding him dropped him onto the floor, but Sean wouldn't have known. He was out cold.