Six seconds later and I was flying out the third story window, surrounded on all sides by the shattered remnants of the stained glass Presley.
The Once-and-Future-King of Rock and Roll's broken smile melted into the shadows of my costume as I slammed spine-first into the top of one of the trailer homes like the fist of an angry, righteous God.
Metal and plywood crumpled. A window beneath me bursted. Somewhere, a car alarm screeched with impotent indignation.
Spears of pain penetrated through my skin, lodging deep into my bone. I was pretty sure my shoulder was dislocated. Probably cracked a rib or two.
I tried to sit up; my brain calmly explained that this was a bad idea by forcing me to black out for several seconds. When I came to, I found myself face-to-face with the man who threw me out of the window. Crouched over me, with his mouth split open wide.
"Evening, sweetie," he hissed.
His head descended, those razor sharp teeth going straight for my throat. Instead of fighting him, I reached for my backpack with my one good hand, removing the shrieker and hitting play in one smooth motion.
The first thing I noticed was that the helmet deafened the sound until it became almost unnoticeable. The second thing I noticed was that 'Sharkface' had given up on ripping my throat out and now seemed much more concerned with clawing at his ears as he thrashed and snarled.
Then I kneed him in the crotch.
He was slow to react--as if his whole nervous system was wired on dial up. Then, as if suddenly getting the joke, his face cracked open and he shrieked with anguish.
Next up was a headbutt. My teeth rattled in my jaw like a pair of dice; he stumbled back and off of me, hitting the driveway beneath the trailer. For a moment, everything got grayish and dizzy; then I felt that night's dinner surging up in my throat. I sat up fast enough to pull my mask up over my mouth; then I vomitted with a hard, violent heave.
'Get up,' my brain seemed to tell me. 'Now.'
I obeyed. It was agony, but I still obeyed. The guy was laid flat on the driveway--he started to sit up. It was pretty clear he wasn't in great shape, but I was in worse. Unless I struck immediately--and struck hard--this was going to be one short night.
The first step was anguish, but the next one made it feel like a mosquito bite. By the time I got off the trailer and reached him, I thought I was going to vomit again. My shoulder--my good shoulder, thank God--rammed straight into his face, cracking his skull back down to the ground. I straddled his chest and start bringing my fist down--my left one just dangled like a dead weight--delivering blow after devastating blow to his face.
I held back as much as I dared, stopping just short of turning his features into hamburger. He slumped to the ground, down for the count--his breath ragged, but present.
I felt the distant buzz of adrenaline and endorphins starting to wear off; the pain was bleeding into the corner of my vision. I didn't have much time before I passed out again.
His two friends were still around, assuming the shrieker hadn't driven them off. Waking up to their smiling faces--or Sharkface's, assuming he managed to recover sooner than I did--was not a thought that brought me joy.
I tried to leave, but it was a hopeless cause. I knew that I had five or six steps before I crumpled into an unconscious lump on the ground. I managed to peel myself off of Sharkface, then used whatever I had left to pull the cellphone out of my pocket.
I flipped it open. Somehow, it didn't get destroyed in the fall. Smearing it with bloody thumb prints, I searched for a contact number.
I pressed call.
Three rings before I heard a click. Then her voice on the other end:
"Anna," I said, my voice a ragged wheeze. "I need your help."
"...Sue? Is that you? It's, like, 1 am--"
"Sullivan Drive. Three trailer homes behind the house. Beat up bad." I paused, then, and added the magic words that I hoped and prayed would make her come.
"I'm the Skull."
And then I fell to the ground like a sack of bricks.