Ah, America. The land of the free, where everyone could be who they wanted to be. Even if that meant being a piece of neo-nazi scum. Uphold the principle of free speech, even if it meant that the speech in question was one centering about the inherent supremacy of the so-called Aryan race. Glorifying Hitler. Denying the Holocaust.
Erik ground his teeth, his thumb running over the faded tattoo on the inside of his left wrist. They could deny it all they wanted. He had been there. He had watched his people die, his mother being shot in front of his eyes. He had survived everything, even the parts he had subsequently locked up inside the deepest, darkest parts of his memory, never to be touched again by anyone, not even himself.
Little bastards. Most of them hadn't even been a glint in they undoubtedly just as idiotic father's eyes when the Third Reich had collapsed.
“...is destined to rule over the lesser races” the head idiot was proclaiming, his shaved head gleaming in the afternoon sun. For a moment, Erik wondered if he had polished it in preparation for today's rally of ignorance. The thought made him smirk.
He let his eyes wander over the assembled crowd. There were lots of other shaved heads, but also some normal-looking people. Upstanding citizens all of them. Erik snorted and shook his head. On the fringes of the cluster of supporters stood the onlookers, the curious. Like himself. Some had an obvious distaste etched into their features, others seemed intrigued by the bile spewing from the podium up front.
Erik's eyes narrowed. A middle-aged black woman was trying to make her way down the sidewalk, sidling from behind one onlooker to the next, trying desperately not to be seen.
...and failing. One of the shaved heads turned, then another. Grinning like wolves, the two made their way to the edge of the crowd. The woman had noticed them, too, and was speeding up her steps.
“Where do you think you're going, coon?”
The woman froze, her eyes widening with fear. She was almost at the corner where Erik was standing. More heads turned, looking on at the scene unfolding in front of them.
“Leave her alone!” A young woman with a blue-and-purple mohawk stepped forward, putting herself in the way of the would-be assailants. She was the only one, Erik noted.
“Oh, look who's protecting the darkie. Fuck off, you freak.”
“No, you fuck off,” the young woman growled, her hands clenching into fists.
Erik caught the eye of the old woman, and nodded down the street. Get away. She didn't need to be prompted twice. Then, he calmly stepped up next to the woman with the bright hair.
“You heard the lady. You best slink back to your pack like the mangy, rabid dogs you are.”
“Get lost, old man,” one of the jack-booted thugs sneered.
“And where do you think you're going?” One of the bald idiots had noticed that their prey was on the move again, and they both started after her.
Or rather, tried to. One of them caught the fist of the young woman with his stomach, the other one suddenly found himself dangling in the air, the chain he had wrapped around his neck digging into his throat.
“So you think you're the master race, hm?” Erik grinned up at the neo-nazi, whose face was turning first red, then purple. “Missed the memo on the new branch of the evolutionary tree, did we? Then again, you probably can't read.”
The man's hands clawed at his throat, desperately trying to dig his fingers underneath the chain around his neck. He was wheezing, the kicking of his feet slowing down. For a moment, Erik considered just leaving him there. It wasn't as if scum like him deserved to live.
Then again, he had never been a friend of senseless killing, no matter what others might say. With a flick of his hand, he sent the man flying, right into the group in front of the podium. Heads turned, and the top dog's speech came to a halt.
Erik gave a turn of the wrist, and the microphone smacked Mr. Superior Aryan right in the face.
“I hate Illinois Nazis,” Erik grumbled, then turned around and strode off down the street.
“Me too,” a female voice said, and when he turned his head, he saw the young woman smiling at him. The, she chuckled: “But I guess we're in trouble now.”
Erik gave his surroundings a cursory glance. Lamp posts, manhole covers, nuts, bolts, nails everywhere. “What's that phrase? Bring it on.”