So, just to recap: I was kidnapped by a group of creatures best known for being the villain in one of Marvel's least exciting movies, then rescued by one of their own - called Vincent - who turned out to be after my soul.

What a lovely end to my week.

After a single threatening word - or I suppose it was more of a phrase - Vincent sat in silence. Then, suddenly, he lurched forward, as if to attack me, but he was stopped by the most irritating of all road safety rules: the seatbelt.

"Hey, buddy, aren't you forgetting something there?" One of, in my opinion, my best qualities, is my ability to find the humor in every situation. It's also the reason most of my girlfriends left me.

The elf roared in anger. Whatever faux politeness he may have assimilated was long gone, left miles down the road. While he fumbled with his polyester prison, I reached for the glove compartment, trying to find something - anything - that could hurt my now-hostile passenger.

By the time I found what I was looking for, Vincent was at my throat.

"Any last words?" he sneered at me. The quiet, polite demeanor was long gone; he seemed an entirely different person - an entirely different elf, I suppose.

"Actually, I've got a question. You know, since you're about to kill me. Grant a doomed man's last wish?" This is what I call thinking on my feet.

Vincent shrugged. "I suppose so."

"You know how you're planning on eating my soul?"

He nodded slowly, more than a tad confused.

"Eat this!" I swung a pocketknife at Vincent's face, leaving a scrape similar to the one that graced the cheek of Inigo Montoya. He drew back, partially in shock and partially in pain. However,

"A mere child's toy cannot destroy a child of Svartálfaheimr!" Vincent wiped the blood off his face with the back of his hand. It was jet black.

"Maybe not, but I can try." I sprang out of the car, opening the door in a smooth, fluid motion, the elf soon following.

We were at the edge of a seemingly infinite stretch of road, with nothing but cornfields and the occasionally abandoned house for miles around. Not a single living human was, presumably, present in a ten-mile radius.

It was Swiss Army knife against pure, slightly magical, brute force. Neither of us knew who had the upper hand, and I wasn't sure I wanted to know.

Vincent swung towards me, hands open, with fingernails sharp as eagles' talons. I ducked away from his every blow.

"Having fun?" he snarled.

"Please," I bluffed. "I risk my life more than this every other Friday night."

He smirked, as if to say, 'Sure you do.'. "Then I assume you're an expert at hand-to-hand combat."

Now, I wasn't completely clueless. I'd gotten into my fair share of bar fights over the years, but never something like this. I doubted that any living human (key word: living) had ever experienced something like this.

I was testing my luck at this point, trying desperately to buy myself some time.

"Let me put it this way: have you heard of Bruce Lee? Chuck Norris?"


Well, that backfired.

We were a fury of hands and blades, swiping left and dodging right, trying with all our might not just to survive, but to win.

Vincent's nails - no, they were claws now - were infinitely sharper than even the largest blade on my dad's ancient multitool. In a flash of grey, he slashed them across the right sleeve of my jacket, shredding the leather. Blood lept to the surface of my arm, and I winced, nearly dropping the knife. The injury wasn't exactly life-threatening, but even that small laceration to my now-throbbing dominant arm was a serious disadvantage. I decided that it was time to stop playing games.

I jumped back. Vincent followed almost immediately, hands bared like teeth. My knife was in a very stabby position, aimed at where I made an educated guess that his jugular was. This was assuming that elves and humans had similar cardiovascular systems.

My knife swiped right, catching Vincent in the left tricep. Caught off-guard, he gasped, his head turned sharply, his hand flying to the gash in his arm, now dripping black.

This left me - well, not easy, but reasonable - access to his neck. I only had one shot, and my time was shrinking fast. If I could just…

The events of the next few seconds seemed to happen in slow motion.

I drew my arm back, feeling like a cobra about to strike.

My blade was three - two - an inch away from his bare grey skin.

The tip nicked his exposed neck and dragged across it. However, a fraction of a second later, Vincent's elbow slammed into my forearm, knocking the knife out of my hand and sending it skittering across the road.

The elf was furious. Pitch-black blood was dripping from his arm, his hands, his neck.

"How- dare - you." Vincent spat at me, his voice thick with blood and pain. "I - saved - your - life." His voice cracked, again and again and again.

"Yeah. Yeah, you saved my life. And then you tried to kill me. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think we're even." Man, even under threat of death, I was cool.

Vincent stumbled towards me, one arm outstretched, the other clutching his throat. "I'll - kill - you. And… I'll enjoy… it. And then… I'll…" His list of exactly what he was planning to do to my corpse was cut off my a coughing fit, sending dark black liquid spattering over the flawless polish of my car. As he fell to his knees, I caught him by the shirtsleeve, spinning him so that he drooped in front of me, my knife to his throat.

"I'll tell you what. If you apologize, I'll kill you, right here and now. But if you keep being such a-" I clicked my tongue against my teeth. "curmudgeon, I might just leave you here. By the side of the road. Forever. Where no one will ever find you. But, hey, it's your call." I flashed him a humorless, red-stained smile.

"I shall never…" He jerked forward, spitting out blood. "never surrender to a man like you."

"Have it your way." I threw Vincent aside. He landed by the side of the road, halfway in a cornfield.

Climbing into my car, I drove away, in search of a hospital, or, at the very least, a well-stocked first aid kit.

Rest in pieces, Vilhelmi the Protector.