A Rough Year
Chapter 2: Misplaced Vengeance
by AS

When he arrived to the gym, Sean was unsurprised that it was mostly empty. It was 1am after all. He hadn't been able to sleep and thought he would tire himself out then try again. He was just starting to get back into his workout routing after being attacked in his home three weeks ago.
Sean had woken up later that night a complete mess. His face was bloody from a cut lip and brow. He had a nasty shiner on his left eye. Besides that his entire body was sore from being punched or kicked, especially his abs. He took a few days off of work, and nearly two full weeks off from the gym. His friend Jake suggested he contact the police. He didn't know how they would help, and he had other ideas. If he ever ran into any of those smug assholes again, he would destroy them, especially their ringleader who did most of the damage. He hadn't seen them though, even at the bar he frequented where he first saw them, so Sean figured they were out of town visitors. What a shame.
He left the locker room and went toward the heavy bags and boxing ring near the back of the gym. He wore of black Under Armour gym shorts and a lightweight gray sweatshirt cut off at the shoulders, revealing his well defined arms.
This area of the gym was empty, which was just as well for him. He put in his earphones, applied his hand wraps and boxing gloves, and went to work on one of the heavy bags. This was his third boxing workout since the attack, and his motivation was the same. He imagined the bag was one of the attackers, usually the leader, and he spent twenty to thirty minutes beating the shit out of him.
Ten minutes into his workout someone tapped his shoulder. He quickly spun and nearly punched the man. “Sorry, didn't mean to startle you, guess you didn't hear me with the ear buds,” he said. He was a bit taller than Sean, and looked a similar build. He had dark skin, and wore a black gym shirt with black shorts, and Sean noticed he had his hands wrapped.

“No problem... What do you need?” Sean replied, a bit frustrated to be interrupted.
“My sparring partner canceled on me, wondered if you wanted to go a round,” he nodded to the ring.
Sean mostly wanted to get back to his workout, but on second thought, maybe a spar with another person will help him get back to his technique better, and the man was in the same class as him physically. “Sure,” he said.
He took a swig of his water, threw on his head gear, and jumped into the ring, the other man joined him. “I'm Darren,” he said.
“Sean,” he replied simply. They both pulled off their shirts. Sean revealed his nearly perfect torso, sculpted smooth chest and a perfect six pack. Darren was quite well defined as well. Almost as strong as me, Sean thought, but not quite.
“You always here this late?” Darren asked.
“Just lately, can't sleep. Usually ever other night,” Sean replied. He didn't see the point in continuing the conversation, smacking his gloves together to signal he wanted to start.
They squared off in the center of the ring and hit gloves. Immediately Sean threw a punch and caught him in the mouth. Darren was obviously unprepared a looked a little annoyed. He came back and threw a body punch that Sean easily blocked. Darren then went for a right hook that was dodged, and a left that was blocked. Sean returned that one with a punch to his left oblique.
Darren stepped back. Sean followed, knowing this would be over soon. Just as the thought left his mind, Darren threw a quick jab that hit Sean on his right eye. It knocked his head back and then he was hit squarely in the center of his gut, and a third hit to the right side of his head. His head was padded, but only a bit and still knocked his head hard. He quickly jumped back and shook it out. Darren was on him though and threw another right hook, which Sean was able to block.
Sean was getting frustrated. He shouldn't have let those hits through, he was letting his frustrations get to him and wasn't thinking clearly.
He blocked the next gut shot Darren through, and then Sean threw a hard right hook that connected. Darren stepped back and Sean saw his opportunity. He threw another right, and a left body shot, both hitting their targets. Darren was stepping back, and was almost to his corner. Sean did not relent, hitting him in the mouth, then the side of the head, then four consecutive shots to his navel. As he continued and gained an obvious upper hand, he let his emotions ignite him.
He threw another hook to his head and Darren hit the corner, using it to support his body. Darren tried a body shot, and connected, but it was weak and did not slow Sean down.
Sean threw one more shot to his face and Darren slumped a bit. “Done so soon, man? Nah, not yet,” Sean taunted. He grabbed his arms and threw them over the ropes. Sean surprised himself a bit. He has always been a bit cocky but combined with his need for revenge he was taking that to a new level.
Darren stood now wide open, his arms to the side. Sean did not wait, he began punching him immediately in his gut. Left, right, left, over and over. Darren groaned with each hit. Sean hit every part of his abs, multiple times. Darren's body shook with each blow.
Sean was not surprised that he felt himself getting a little aroused, his boxer briefs feeling a bit tighter. It's not because Darren was good looking, which he was. It was his total domination of this guy, who was obviously built well, but apparently not near Sean's skill level.
“Stop,” Darren pleaded. “I give.”
Sean almost did stop, but his emotions exploded. His attackers sure as hell didn't stop when he was not merely beaten, but they had practically tortured him, and only stopped when he was unconscious. Sean went into a rage, and suddenly it wasn't this stranger, Darren, in front of him. It was the man from that night, smirking at him.
Sean continued with the body blows, much harder now. One, two, three, four. Darren slumped, nearly falling. Sean caught him by the neck and straightened him up against the post. He punched him hard in the solar plexus, making Darren gasp. He then threw three hard hooks – right, left right, to his face. As Darren fell to the mat, Sean turned and walked away, hopped out of the ring, and left the gym without looking back.

Later, Sean regretted what happened in the ring with Darren. He wanted badly to get his revenge on the man who attacked him, and instead beat someone who was looking for a friendly spar. If he saw him again, he would apologize.
Sean was still not sleeping well, and hitting the gym late at night was becoming his new normal. It had been four days since the incident with Darren. He felt like he was fully back into his workout routine now.
He visited his friend Jake earlier that evening and told him what happened in the ring. “Maybe you should talk to someone, get some counceling, stop pissing people off” Jake had advised. Sean had laughed, but he knew Jake was probably right. Jake was his best friend (and his best wing man), and he probably knew Sean better than Sean knew himself. They usually worked out together until Sean changed his schedule. “Get your ass back on a day schedule, I need my spotter,” Jake had laughed.
Sean walked out of the locker room wearing the same outfit, black shorts and lightweight cutoff hoodie. As he walked toward the heavy bags he realized that behind him, near the entrance, the lights in the gym were all off. Only the lights by the heavy bags and the ring were on. This was a 24/7 gym so he found that odd, but figured it was maintenance. As he neared the ring, two men walked out from behind the bags. One of them he didn't recognize at first, the other one was Darren.
“Hey there Sean,” Darren said, although there was no sign of friendliness in the greeting. Sean noticed his face still looked slightly bruised. He then noticed he had his boxing gloves on. Sean's eyes moved to the second man, and his stomach sank a bit. He recognized him as one of the gym managers. The man was huge, standing at 6'2, and he must have weight at least 220. He had long black hair pulled back, thick arms and a barrel of a chest. His arms were folded in front of him, his eyes sizing Sean up.

“You locked the doors,” Sean said, not a question, he knew it.
“Yup,” the manager said, his face expressionless.
Sean looked at Darren. “Look, about last time, I'm -”
“I don't want to hear it,” Darren interrupted. “I don't want an apology, I want a rematch, and you're not going anywhere until that happens.” Darren looked to the giant man standing next to him. “Maybe you recognize Marcus, I don't care. He'll help make sure you don't leave.” He pointed his gloved hand to the ring, indicating Sean to get in.
“I'm sorry,” Sean insisted. “I had been attacked a few weeks ago, and haven't been right about it since.”
“Get in the ring,” Darren ordered.
Sean was starting to get pissed. He was trying to make things right and he would hear nothing of it. “Fine,” Sean started toward the ring. “I beat your ass last time, if you really want that again, fine.”
They jumped in the ring after getting on their head gear and quickly squared off. Sean tried to calm himself but had a difficult time doing so. He glanced at Marcus. It felt like Marcus' gaze never left him since he arrived. Sean had a bad feeling about this, but Darren was an easy opponent. If he won, would Marcus let him leave?
Sean returned his focus to Darren. Time to get this over with and get the hell out of there. He approached his opponent and took a swing, Darren blocked. He went for a right hook, dodged. He shot at Darren's gut, blocked again.
Sean noticed a strange expression on the man's face, he couldn't put his finger on it, but knew it wasn't good.
Sean took a few more swings, all were blocked. He's not throwing any punches, Sean thought. If he thinks I'm going to tire, he's got a long wait.
Then it happened, and everything came together for Sean. He threw a hard right. Darren dodged it, and suddenly pain exploded in Sean. As he dodged, Darren returned with a hard uppercut to Sean's abs. He was unprepared for it, but still, the pain was worse than it should be. It felt like someone took a baseball bat to him.
Sean backed up several feet, slightly hunched from the blow. His eyes met Darren's, who was now smirking at him. He tampered with his gloves. There was something in them. It was rare, practically unheard of these days, but cheaters sometimes replaced some padding with something harder to do some damage.
Sean jumped over the ropes and onto the floor. “Fuck this,” he said, throwing his head gear and gloves to the floor. “You're so pissed you lost a fair fight you have to fill your gloves and bring Goliath here with you to even things out?” Sean was angry, but also a little afraid of what could happen here.
Darren jumped out of the ring toward him, Marcus joining him at his side. “I didn't come looking for a fight, I came to teach you a lesson. I don't want the next guy to get his ass beat or killed because you had a 'bad night'”, Darren said.
Sean looked for exits. The main exit at the other end of the gym was straight through the two guys. He noticed an emergency exit to the side. He thought he could get there before they could catch him. He didn't want to find out how much damage those gloves could do, and Marcus was way too large for him to take on.
He wasted no time, and ran toward the door. He saw the men start moving as well, but Sean focused his attention in front of him. There were three rows of heavy bags on the other side of the ring before the door. He ran between them, sure that he would make it.
As he came out the other side, Darren jumped in front of him and threw his loaded glove into Sean's gut. “Ugh!” He groaned and stumbled backward. He held his gut. The pain was explosive and shook his body to the core. He had to get out of here.
He meant to go to the side and move around Darren, but stumbled instead, right into Marcus. He felt like a brick wall. Marcus, not speaking a word, turned Sean around and shoved him back toward Darren like a rag doll. Darren caught him by the shoulders with his gloved hands and threw him back hard into one of the heavy bags, stopping him. Immediately Darren stepped forward and threw a hard strike into his lower gut. “Oh fuck,” Sean gasped as the pain hit him hard. He dropped to his knees and hunched over his stomach, coughing.
“Consider this your lesson,” Darren said, standing over him. “You come to this gym, you treat people with respect.”
Sean, still pissed that the guy had to cheat to win, spit on his shoe.
“Alright asshole, I guess you're not done.” Darren said. He felt himself lifted. Darren had removed his gloves, a small blessing. Another heavy hit from those felt like it could punch through him. “Hold him please,” Darren said as he pressed Sean body, still shocked with pain, against the heavy bag. From behind the bag, Marcus grabbed each arm and pulled them backward. Darren lifted Sean's gray sweatshirt, now half soaked with sweat, above his abs. “I want you to feel this,” he said. Sean was locked with his back against the bag, his arms pulled back uncomfortably. His bare abs glistening with sweat.
Darren stepped back, cocked his fist, and struck his upper abs hard, making a smacking sound against his skin. Sean grimaced in pain. He arms were completely locked by the giant man, he couldn't move. Darren hit again, and again, and again, his bare knuckles smacking against Sean's defenseless abs, who was grunting through clenched teeth. The punches hurt, but they were not breaking entirely through his abs. He was going to be bruised again though, that was for sure.
After the tenth blow, Darren instructed Marcus to let him go. He did, and as he began to fall, Darren gave him a hard knee to his navel. Sean dropped to his hands and knees, coughing. The knee nearly broke through his abs.
Finally, Marcus spoke. “I only give these warnings once in my gym, unprovoked attacks from punks like you will not stand. I'm sure you'll remember after tonight.”
Marcus grabbed him by the shirt and lifted him. The other arm around Sean's waist, he half helped him stand, half dragged him to the emergency exit. He opened the door, and shoved Sean out. “He's all yours,” Marcus called out, and shut the door.
“All who's?” Darren asked, confused.
“I brought some other punk kids to stand out there in case he got away. You made your point, now I'm making mine.”

Sean couldn't catch his footing as Marcus threw him out the back gym door. He fell to the pavement and rolled a couple times, landing on his back. “Agh,” he let out a hoarse breath as he felt the pain his body was in. His knee scraped hard, drawing a bit of blood. He laid there for a second. His abs were sore from the beating, but was glad it wasn't worse. He stood up slowly. He was behind the gym, in a large square paved area, a drive on one side heading to the main parking lot. A loading dock was on the back of the gym. Trucks would use this to load new equipment. An overhead light illuminated the area and he saw a couple dumpsters and a chain link fence along the opposite edge marking the end of the property. Sean's cutoff sweatshirt had a large V-shaped area where he was soaked with sweat, and was relieved that it was cooler out here.
He thought he was alone but quickly realized he was wrong. A person jumped down from the loading dock and stepped into the lit area. He was wearing some heavy duty jeans and a white tank. He looked young, Sean noticed. Maybe eighteen. He had a nose ring that glinted under the light.

He heard a scuff behind him and turned to see another one emerge from behind the dumpsters. A third came from the drive on the building's side. They seem to come from everywhere.
He heard a noise behind him, and turned to see a fourth, now directly in front of him. Tall, blonde, short trimmed facial hair with some red, wearing a baseball cap. Another young guy – although possibly older than the other three - a bit rough looking, but Sean thought he was rather attractive.
“What, you like what you see?” The man spoke. Sean looked to the side. One of the men was cracking his knuckles. Shit, he thought. He could take any of these guys one on one. Maybe even all four at once, if he hadn't already been beat up a bit, but this could be trouble. “Well, unfortunately I'm in a bit of a hurry...” He continued smoothly.

The man swung and Sean felt knuckles crack against his jaw. His head snapped to the side and he stepped back. He couldn't believe he was in another four on one situation. He had to get out of here. The other three were closing in. He turned toward his back, toward the fence, where one guy was closing in. He had sweatpants and a hoodie, all in black. Sean charged him, grabbing him by the front of his shirt, and slammed him into the fence. He continued to hold him with one hand and punched him hard in the face, and a second time, and a third time. He let him drop and turned toward the others, who were approaching faster than he anticipated. The guy on his left made it to him first. Sean blocked his punch with his forearm and returned with a right and hit him over the eye.
Now the other two approached together. The first one threw a punch, Sean ducked back and it missed. The second one threw next, again missing. Sean returned with an uppercut to the first guy, knocking him back. To the second guy he hit hard in the stomach, doubling him up.
Sean breathed in an out hard and grunted loudly in frustration. Just as he felt like he was going to escape, the guy he left by the fence had recovered, and wrapped his arms around Sean's body, locking his wrists in front of him, over Sean's stomach. Sean was surprised, and couldn't immediately break the hold. The other three were recovered and back in front of him. Sean couldn't do anything as he was on display for the three guys.
The blonde guy hit first. A right hook hit him on the eye and his head snapped to the right. The second guy returned with a left, and his snapped back left. Again a left hook hit him. His head felt like a ping pong ball being knocked back and forth. They stopped, Sean's head dazed, and the third guy stepped between them, and kicked hard into Sean's groin. He lurched forward, breaking the hold on him and dropped to his hands and knees, coughing.
“Fucking punks,” he breathed, trying to recover., his head pounding.
“Get up, bitch,” one of them said. Sean waited a moment, recovering. They were all around him. He had to fight.
He got to his knees, the blonde guy in front of him. He immediately punched him in the balls and stood, as his attacker dropped onto the ground. He threw a swing at the next guy he saw, with the nose piercing, and connected, knocking him away.
Again he was grabbed, this time by the other two, holding each of his arms, and the other two already recovered. The two holding Sean's arms hurled him back hard and his back hit the chain link fence which rattled loudly from the impact. They held his arms outward. Sean began to loosen out of their grip but not soon enough. The blonde threw a hard kick, the toe of his boot connecting with Sean's bruised gut. “Ugh,” he groaned. The kid with the pierced nose walked up and kneed him hard in the lower gut. He then grabbed Sean's shirt from the back and pulled it up and over his head, effectively blindfolding him. Sean pulled hard against the kids holding him but they held tight. Sean's chiseled abs and chest were now exposed.
“Too bad now you can't see me.” He recognized the voice, the good looking blonde. “I know you liked the view.” He felt a hand press onto his abs and it surprised him. He moved his hand down and over the bulge of Sean's gym shorts. Sean pulled again, but was stuck in place. “I bet you like this too,” the guy said as he rubbed him. As he did, Sean felt himself become aroused.
Indeed, a part of Sean did enjoy it, but he needed to get out of this. Suddenly the guy squeezed hard. “Aggghh!” Sean screamed and bent over. The man let go. This is humiliating, he thought, feeling the slight erection he had fade. He hung there for a moment before his captors used their free hands to pin his shoulders back against the fence.
With Sean held fully back against the fence, blindfolded with his own shirt and helpless, the two guys started on him. They beat his bare abs, fists smacking against his weakened wall. They were breaking him down, and Sean didn't have fight left. He grunted each time a fist sank into his gut. Each punch pushed him back into the fence, causing it to rattle. It became a rhythmic rattling noise as the two guys punched him over and over.
One of the guys started to punch his chest instead. He beat on his pecs, hard punches that would later leave bruising. The other kept on his abs, hitting him repeatedly, enjoying the grunt each hit elicited from Sean. It seemed to go on forever. It ended with one of the kids kneeing him hard in the navel.
Sean sagged, and looked wasted. He stood there, his feet in front of him a bit, back against the fence, his arms held by the two guys, his sweatshirt twisted over his head. “Drop his ass,” the blonde said. They let go and Sean sank to the pavement, sitting up against the fence with his head down, breathing hard. His legs splayed out in front of him.
There was some muffled talk and laughter, he couldn't make it out, and didn't have the energy to care, his abs were pulsing in pain. The kid with the piercing walked in front of him. He took a step back, and kicked Sean hard between his open legs.
“Uhhg,” Sean gasped. As he began to lurch forward, the kid in the black sweats kicked him in the face, connecting with his chin. Sean's head knocked hard back to the fence, and started to sag to the side.
Before Sean hit the pavement, the blonde grabbed Sean's sweatshirt and pulled it off of him. Sean's eyes were slits, he was in intense pain. The kick to his groin radiated intensely through him. The blonde slapped his face. Sean, though nearly passed out from pain, managed to roughly backhand him in return. It was weak, but it pissed him off.
“Stand him up again,” he said. The kids with the black sweats and nose piercing grabbed him under the arms and hoisted him. Sean momentarily found a second wind and elbowed one in the face and broke loose from the other. He grabbed the blonde's shirt, meaning to throw a punch, but couldn't get one in. The blonde threw a left that hit him in the jaw. He dropped the guy's shirt and stepped back.
Sean stood now between the four, feeling hopeless. A punch came from his right on his oblique. Sean grimaced. A punch from behind into his kidney and he arched his back, pain flaring through his lower back. An uppercut to his mid section came from in front, going right through his beaten abs. A fist hit his cheek from the left and spun him to the right. Immediately the kid punched him in the solar plexus, causing Sean to lose his breath. Then a kick from the side to the back of his leg sent him down to his knees. Little by little, they were picking apart their older, tougher opponent.
“Good call, I think he likes this position,” the blonde laughed. He was behind him. He grabbed Sean's hair and put his arm around his neck in a choke hold. “Don't you, buddy?” He said in his ear.
The kid with the white tank stepped in front of him, and kicked him hard in the gut. He bent forward but the blonde held him tight, choking him. The next kick was into his left quad, which hurt like hell. The kid in the sweats kicked him hard in the side, hitting his ribs and cracking one. Sean coughed and sputtered against the choke hold.
Finally the blonde released the hold and Sean fell back onto his heels, still kneeling. The guy walked around in front of him. “It's been fun,” he said. After a moment of looking over the damage they did to Sean, he spun around quickly, his foot connecting to the side of Sean's head. Sean hit the pavement, sprawled on his back. He looked to the side, his eyes blurry. The last thing he saw before passing out was the four kids walking around the corner of the gym and out of sight.