Sitting behind a small zoo of origami animals, Jacob reached for the rusted pale sitting beside him on the sidewalk. Coins clinked together as the boy tilted his bucket back to look over the day’s profits. That should get me through the next couple days. He pocketed the coins and began to gather up the paper giraffes, elephants, lions, and other animals from his street display into the pale when shouts erupted from the eatery behind him. I bet it’s that drunkard Maurie picking a fight again. This oughta be– As he turned to secure his front row seat at the restaurant’s large bay window… he panicked.

Jacob dived to the ground under the window just as it exploded from the impact of a large oak table. His muscles froze as glass shards rained down on him, and screams flooded out of the now open window. He curled up on the ground, covered his ears and watched the table sail into the middle of the street. The table’s leg shattered as it hit the road, and the rest of the table skipped up into the air and continued its path across the street where it plowed through the wall of the building. Jacob struggled to breathe, and he could feel the pounding of his heart as if it were a battering ram trying to smash through his ribs.

As people peeked out of their doors and windows to find out what happened, Jacob crept his way up to a crouching position and glanced over the edge of the windowsill. Shadows danced inside as the magic that powered the lighting flickered on and off. As the lights flashed on for a moment, Jacob spotted a hand sticking out from a nearby pile of debris. He looked around and saw the other people outside retreating back into their buildings. Jacob cobbled together what little courage remained in his small frame and spied the room cautiously before stepping in through the window. Fear soon took over and pushed his muscles as fast as they could go to get the debris clear. As he removed the final pieces of wood, he reached down to help the person up, and the lights came on to reveal something his young mind wasn’t prepared for.

An arm… freshly pulled from its socket and then horribly mangled. Bone jutted out of the skin in a dozen different areas, the elbow appeared to be bent sideways, and blood pooled along the floor underneath the arm. Sweat formed across Jacob’s brow, and the skin of his face felt cold as if all the blood rushed away from his head and gathered in his stomach where the muscles tightened up. The boy dropped to his knees and grabbed his stomach, and just as his gut started to convulse, creaking floorboards caught his attention. He looked up to see a figure in the shadows dart into the kitchen… almost like it was spooked.

From the street, a voice charged through the shattered window, over the debris, and into Jacob’s ears. "Stay right where you are and put your hands on the floor."