This is a work of fiction.
Please do not attempt to replicate any of the stunts

…………………………………………………….
A time will come when we cannot tell friend from foe.

………………………………….

 

 

 

Completed 7/5/19

 

 

 

 

The earliest memory I could recall of my childhood was me standing at the side of the pavement and watching a platoon of army boys marching by.
I remembered seeing them covered in mud and grime as they walked past me.

They looked weary, tired and miserable. I remembered clearly a couple of them winking at me, some waved, someone made a face at me, and another waving for me to go back to wherever I popped out from.
I ran back to my dad’s drinks stall after that, happy to be back within my comfort zone.

Most boys my age would have never got a chance to enter a military camp, especially not on a daily basis.

My dad operates a drink stall in a canteen in a military camp. The money isn’t fantastic but it puts food on the table.
He pulls a mean cup of traditional Nanyang coffee and it’s aroma would fill the whole canteen when he makes a fresh brew.
I would run about the stall, monkeying around with the used cups and saucers.

Sometimes I would run to the soldiers that bought snacks and biscuits from my dad, hoping they would throw me a piece.
Sometimes they did. In case you are wondering, the answer is no. My dad may own the stall, but I never get any free snacks from the store. If I wanted anything, I had to pay for it.
I remember being bored most of the time.
I was the only kid around. My dad had gotten some special permission from the camp for me to be in there with him. There’s no other place I could be anyway. I only have him, and he only has me.

Behind the canteen is a small clearing with a cluster of old trees. An old hammock was tied there together with some discarded chairs. This is where the stall owners of the canteen would gather for a smoke or a chat when the day is slow.

The western food uncle, the bee hoon auntie, or the nasi lemak abang.
Everyone smoked.
Thankfully it was a habit I did not pick up. An old beach umbrella further complemented the foliage that the clearing had.

With the gentle breeze coming from the sea just beyond the clearing of the trees, it is a really peaceful and serene place to zone out.

That spot is also my unofficial play area.
I kept a bag of marbles, some old toys and even broken pieces of chalks. I knew where all the potholes are, which trees had cavities big enough for me to hide my toys and pretend they are treasure.
Everyday was an adventure for me as I played on my own. It did not bother me at all that I have no kids my age to play with in there. I just felt really comfortable alone.

As I grew older, I would venture and explore deeper into the forest. The idea of getting lost never occurred to me. Somehow I just knew the place like the back of my hand.
I knew which shortcuts to take to the training and deployment area where the trainees are.

I was spotted once by an officer. He was having a smoke and he gestured me over.

Officer : Ah boy…. 2 cans of 100 plus… how long you need to bring here ??
He gave me 2 $1 bill and I told him as soon as I can.

I ran back to my dad, pass him the money and off I went back into the jungle.
I delivered the ice cold drink to the officer and he shared a piece of his ration biscuit with me.
There, I just developed a new market for my dad.

Delivery on demand even before the concept took hold in the country.
Things like this don’t happen often, most of the time I’m alone, hitting spider webs with my stick or throwing grasshoppers I caught onto the giant web that spans across 2 trees. Then there is the treasure hunt that I play with myself.

You see, when the troops are gone after training, I would scout the area for items that I can pick up and play. Buckles, water bottles, sometimes a belt, pouches, half empty tubes of camouflage cream.

People leave all sorts of shit behind.

I picked up a magazine once. It was half buried in the dirt. Probably dropped off a trainee’s pouch during their exercise.

I ran back and gave it to my dad who was shocked. He immediately handed it to one of the regular officers that frequent our stall.
I don’t remember the officer’s name but I know him to be always wearing his signature smile. His slightly pudgy figure reminds me of a penguin but it’s his friendly demeanour and character that makes him so approachable. He’s like a Santa Claus albeit in green.
He saw the magazine, he turned behind his back and made sure no one is in the canteen before asking my dad to dispose of it.

I heard him say the matter is already closed. Let’s not complicate things by making it appear again.

My dad understood his meaning immediately and I walked with my dad to the same clearing he would have his smoke. We dug a hole and we buried it.

Dad : Never say a word… you understand….
I nodded.

He taught me that a honourable man’s word is worth its weight in gold.

I was too young to understand what it means but I knew I will take that secret to my grave.
Every time after that when I see this officer, he would give me a knowing look and a playful wink, as if trying to tell me there’s a little secret between us. I would smile cheekily, feeling happy to be part of something that is bigger than the usual responsibilities given to me.

Exploring and picking up items will always be an important part of my childhood. It’s my alone time, my precious memories.
Sometimes I will just lie down on the grass patch and look up into the cloudy sky.

I would look up into the clouds and try to imagine how my mother look like.

My dad never said anything about my mother before.

There are no pictures, no memories and no stories of her from him.

He never shared an ounce of information about her with me. He did not even show me their wedding photos.

When I asked him about it, he did not lose his temper, he was always patient with his reply.

And his answer is always the same.
Dad : Mummy…. Is gone… she is no longer around….

Jeff : why are there no pictures or her ??

Dad : they are too painful a reminder for me…..i love her… and she love you… with all her heart…. That’s all you need to know…

That was it.
I think every year during my birthday, I would ask him the same question, and without fail, my dad would give me the same answer.

That was pretty much what I remembered for my early childhood.
By the time I was in secondary school, I came to realise that my birthday, is also my mum’s anniversary. She died during childbirth. She died while giving birth to me.

It hit me hard.

Really hard.

It dawned on me that I’m a murderer. I take away a life when I was born.

Even before I learnt how to walk, I killed someone.
I killed my mother.
My dad accidentally blurted that out during one of our quarrels.
Come on. As a teenager, we’re bound to have conflict with out parents, I’m just like any other rebellious teen wannabe.
I never expected that war of words about me hanging out in the arcade to turn out in such a manner.

A manner which left my dad in tears.

At 14 years old, I understood what heartache meant. I really did.
When I saw the tears in my father’s eyes, it dawned on me how hard things had been for him. For 14 years, he had to raise the child that killed his wife.
Me.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and my heart ached in a way I cannot describe.
The pain must be unbearable. I cannot imagine looking at the very life that takes away someone I love.
Something snapped in me that day.
I don’t know what snapped but something broke. It broke me.

Perhaps it was one of the reason I do what I do for a living today.

My dad apologised for the outburst that day, something he has never done before throughout the years of bickering as father and son.

I sat down opposite my father that day and we just looked at each other. I grew up more within that 30 minutes than I ever did the past 14 years.
Not only did I grow up, I started to shut myself down. I stopped hanging out with friends after school and chose to help my dad out at his drinks stall. I became a lot more quieter, choosing to keep to myself.

Holidays, weekends, whenever I had free time, I would be at his stall. Sometimes even right after school, I will head straight to the canteen and do my homework at an empty table.
After I’m done, I would be by his side, tending to the sporadic flow of customers.
It’s not as if we grew close because of this. We’re close as father and son but there is always this invisible barrier between us.
A barrier between 2 men.

I learnt how to pull a good pot of coffee and tea. I knew the prices of the items we sold by heart.
I knew all the officers and who the powers to be are in the camp.

I knew how each of them liked their coffee, who has a feud with who. Office politics and what naught, I see them up close and personal when I was a teenager.
From the trainees’ gossip, I knew which are the officers that they respect and which are the ones they hated.

The curses they threw in the canteen gave a pretty good picture of their lives in the camp.

I watched many of those trainees pass out from a recruit to NS men. Some of them coming back years later for their reservist.
They would call out to me ‘ Ah boy’ and place their order.

For the regular officers, I watched many climb the ranks, getting promoted and taking on more responsibilities over the years. I grew old with everyone of them. From a scrawny little kid, to a teenager waiting for my O level results.
As a young adult, the soldiers and trainees no longer call me ‘ ah boy’ . They call me ‘Kopi kia’ , also known as coffee boy in dialect.

Yes, a 17 year old kopi kia.
It was during this period where the foundation for the rest of my fuck up life was laid.

I remembered clearly it was during the peak of the training season.

The current batch of trainee hated a officer to the core. I’ve heard complaints and curses over the years but never like this.

This officer is a sadist from the gossips I’ve heard. He takes pleasure in torturing the trainees. Injuries happen almost every day and he would have others shoulder the blame.
Many of the soldiers have their weekends burnt for no reasons at all. He fucked up the shared public phone that operated with phonecards back then, depriving many of the chance to talk to their loved ones.

It’s easy to pass this off as the typical complaints new recruits have but I am hearing the same things from regular officers and specialist alike.
They would huddle at their own table, lowering their volume and looking over their shoulders as they talked about this captain.

Captain Kenneth. From the pictures the gossips painted of this man, he sounded exactly like how a villain should be in the modern age.
His behaviour is very much dependent on his mood. The things he made the trainees do has nothing to do with training them to be soldiers, they were just meant as an amusement of sort to him. Kenneth is one of those scholarly type, elitist mentality who thinks everyone is beneath him.
He would pick on trainees, finding fault when there is none. Kenneth would deliberately drag the timing of the trainees during book out days. Sometimes releasing them only when the sun has set while the rest of the camp has left by lunch.

Insults and curses are never far from his mouth, he even cursed loudly when he is in the canteen. He cuts the queue and demands a fresh pot of coffee to be brewed when he is here.
It didn’t matter if the pot was brewed less than 5 minutes ago. He would demand my dad make a new one, if not, when the canteen stall comes up for review, he says there’s a chance someone else might get the spot.

I still remember the exact words he used till this day.
Kenneth : Everyone wants a stall in the camp you know…. If you don’t want to operate…. Plenty more in the queue….

My dad just smiled and nod as he served him his drink.
Deep inside I knew he was boiling.

I wanted to throw him punch. Do you remember back when you are 17 ?
Do you remember how hot blooded you are when it comes to seemingly meaningless confrontations?

It’s the fucking hormones, we get riled up just from a stare. Seeing how he put down my dad was really a test of my will.
I realised then it took a lot more control to hold back a punch then to throw one.

I also noticed that Kenneth is a penny-pinching bitch. He likes to chalk up his bill to be non- whole numbers. As in, $1.70, $3.10 , $ 2.30. Then he would only pay the dollar value, saying that he would make up for the rest the next time.
He never did.
A fucker to the max.

There is a couple of occasions he came in with a 50 dollar bill to get a cup of coffee.

My dad had no change and that was it. He got the drink for free.

He would judge people by their education level. If you are not up there with him, you are beneath him.

The bitching and complaints by the trainees went on for a while until one day there were rumours that something happened.

Something big.
Kenneth flew into a rage, coming into the canteen and verbally abusing his subordinates.

It seems that there was a near miss accident and he blamed his colleagues for it.

It appears as if one of the trainees attempted to turn his weapon towards Kenneth during a life fire exercise.
Thankfully he was stopped in time.
Kenneth cursed and scolded the junior officers and specialist alike at the canteen. I was shocked when I saw him slap one of them across the face when he said something in reply.

The man being slapped is Owen.
I like Owen.

He is the opposite of Kenneth in terms of character.

Owen is a young lieutenant that just started his career in the military a few years ago. He’s a tall and striking man. When he speaks, there is charisma in his voice and with his 1.85m tall height and well-built body, he looked exactly like the kind of man you would follow into war with.

A stark contrast with the thin and almost scrawny Captain Kenneth.
Owen is a reasonable man and he is well liked by his subordinates. He’s fucking fit as hell too.

I could not hear what he was saying to Kenneth but he looked like he was trying to reason with him over some issues.
Kenneth : FUCK YOU UNDERSTAND !!! I don’t give a fuck… this is on you !

Kenneth went on with his burst of curses while Owen and his men looked on without a word. Then without warning, Kenneth started hitting Owen for no reason at all, taking his anger out on him.

The rest of the men immediately went on to hold Kenneth back. Despite his threats, they dragged him away from the canteen and the eyes of common folks like us.
That very evening while I was packing up the stall with my dad, I saw Owen talking to another 2 of the specialists. They talked softly, looking around every now and then.

When I served them the last orders of the day, they went quiet.
Something that has never happened before. I knew something was up especially when they had to wait for me to leave before going on. I quickly served them their drinks and collected the money before walking away.

I barely got halfway back to the stall when Owen called out to me.

Owen : Jeff….. I need your help….
I looked at him and I did not know what to say.

Owen is a nice person. He is friendly with my dad and he always helps us out by buying up whatever is left on the kueh and currypuff tray at the end of the day when he drops by.

Now that he is asking me for help, I can’t possibly say no can I ?

Jeff : my help ? what you need me to do ?
I don’t know what he is thinking but what can I possibly do to help him ?

They are adults, they should have all the answers and have everything figures out no ?
Owen smiled and he gestured for his men to leave the table. They hesitated before getting up. They planned this together but it’s obvious Owen wanted it to be on him if anything goes wrong.

If it did, he’s going to shoulder it all on himself.
Owen : I need you hide something for me…

Jeff : oh…
Owen : you know the back of the camp like your backyard right… the clearing… the training areas….

Jeff : kind of… why ?

Owen was nice. He put it upfront that he’s not forcing me to do it. He gave me the chance to say no.

Owen : You can say no Jeff… it’s your choice…. But if you agree… you need to go through with it…. Till the end…. A lot of men…. And I meant a lot…. Will be forever grateful to you…
I turned to look behind my back, my dad was nowhere to be seen, probably headed back to the car to grab some stuff.

Jeff: ok… I’ll do it…
Owen smiled and gave my shoulder a squeeze.
Owen : We’re heading out to the field tomorrow night… campsite 2… you know where is it ??

Campsite 2 is pretty close to the canteen. Within a 5 minutes walk through a shortcut from the back of the stall. The same place I delivered the can drinks to the officer when I was young. The trainees however do not have the luxury of taking that shortcut. It would be a good 5km walk for them round the edge of the camp.

Jeff : yes…
Owen : the jungle trail… at the back… it leads straight there…

Jeff : I know… I take it quite often when I was younger….
Owen : I’ll let you know again when to meet after we deploy…tell no one… ok ?

I nodded and he gave me a brotherly tap on my shoulder.
I honestly did not know what to expect when a couple of days later Owen showed up with Kenneth in the middle of the day.

The trainees were deployed for training and Kenneth wanted to come in for a cup of coffee.
Owen placed the order and he told me to take the jungle path to the camp site immediately.

Owen : go all the way to the edge of the campsite…. There’s that old well, sealed up….
Jeff : ok… I know where is it…

Owen : my man left something there for you…

Jeff : what is it ??
Owen : Don’t ask.. take it… hide it…. Don’t say a word… go… now…

I nodded.

I told my dad I needed to go to the toilet and I went back out to the clearing behind the canteen.

Immediately I half jogged and ran up the dry forest path. It’s a well-used route by the regulars to get back to camp. There were hardly any trees and shrubs on the well trotted path.
I heard the scurry of some small animals as I went into the thick secondary forest where the campsite is.

The well is right in front of me, barely 20m away.
I went right up and I cursed under my breath.

Jeff : fuck …..
It’s a weapon. A fucking M16 rifle.

I looked around the area, it was totally empty.

Someone left it there for me.
I was honestly freaked out as I thought about the repercussions for this but I already promised Owen.

Fuck it, I tore a large leaf from a banana tree and I used it to wrap the weapon. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to leave my fingerprints on that shit.
Carrying that rifle, I half ran and jogged back close to the clearing that I played when I was younger. My heart was racing, I checked to make sure the place is clear before heading out.

I went to my favourite hiding spot, a hollowed out section of a dead tree and i put it inside there. I pulled some leaves and covered up the stump.

Then I ran as fast as I could back to the canteen toilet.

I washed my face with water and I went back to the stall.
I was trying hard not to tremble as I watch Kenneth cursing while Owen filled out a stack of documents.

They were well into their 2nd cup of drink.
I was drenched in perspiration.

Dad : Oei… you ok ??

Jeff : Yes… ok.. stomach ache…
Owen did not even look at me. Not even an eye contact.

10 minutes later, Kenneth and him got up and they’re gone.

Just like that.

I was really afraid as the thought of going to jail hit me. This must be the most fucked up shit I’ve done in my teenage years.

As I collected the used cups from the table I was hit with the realisation of what just happened.

Jeff: fuck….

It dawned on me. It finally did.
Owen made me hide Kenneth’s weapon.

Losing that shit is going to unleash chaos upon the whole camp.
It’s going fuck Kenneth’s career up good as well.

I did not have to wait long to witness the mayhem my act plunged the entire camp into.

Everyone, and I meant every fucking person in that camp has been activated to find that weapon.

From clerks to storemen , even drivers , everyone is now out and about searching the camp for the missing weapon.

The canteen operators gathered and watched.
Everyone knew something was up.

Dad : must be something big going on….jia lat…

I kept quiet and said nothing.

The search never stopped.
I kept looking at the time.

The initial nervousness was gone. I don’t know why.

I was calm when I thought about what Owen said.
That a lot of men will be grateful for what I did. This will fuck up Kenneth’s career, he will be gone.

My dad and I were just done cleaning up the stall that day when a group of men entered the canteen.

Kenneth and Owen among them.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw them pause at the entrance talking and gesturing about.

Something is wrong. I could feel it.

There was that tingling sensation in my stomach. I knew it, I knew the cat is about to be let out of the bag.

I excused myself through the back of the stall. I knew I had to protect myself.

I wasn’t really thinking when I went right out to the smoking area in the clearing and I picked up the packet of cigarette left there by the Nasi Lemak Abang. I grabbed one, lit it up with the lighter and took a puff before I choked and coughed out the smoke.

I took a few more puffs before I threw it away.
I walked calmly back to the stall and continued my cleanup.

By then Kenneth and Owen were right at the front of our drinks stall.

Someone was talking to them. A trainee.
He was pointing in my direction.

I expected myself to panic, to freak out, to get down on my knees and cry but no. I was surprisingly calm. I thought of all the times Kenneth took advantage of my dad, the anger and resentment took hold.

I was afraid of course, but I was aroused as well.
Yes, I was aroused. I could feel blood rushing to my groin as I relished that sick feeling.

That excitement. The anticipation.

Someone saw something. Someone saw me do something.
Someone saw me entering the forest and coming out.
If this were any other day, I doubt anyone would say shit about a kid heading into the forest at the back of the camp, but this is not any other day.

It’s a day where everyone’s day is fucked.
When you fucked up everyone’s day, when you messed up their schedule, when you do something that causes inconvenience and pain to others, people will talk. Everyone just wants their life to go back to normal.

Kenneth spoke first. His eyes bearing down on me as if he already passed his judgement.

It was me. I was the one.
Kenneth : WE found something…. Behind…. Near the clearing… where you all smoke…

The other stall holders came out, puzzled and unsure of what’s going on.
Kenneth started scolding and cursing everyone present, saying that whoever did this is going to face the full brunt of the law.

Kenneth : I will personally make sure you never see the light of day….! Fucking Chee bye… you want to play right… you all want to play with me !!
Kenneth went on to say that there is no way the trainees did this, they never left the camp site. The hiding spot is well out of their area of operations.

Kenneth held up a finger and shook it in a threatening manner.
Kenneth : I know people are unhappy with me… want to fuck with me right….right ??!!

He turned to look at Owen.

Kenneth : no one in company will have the balls to do this Owen…. Unless they have …

Owen : what are you trying to say ??
Kenneth : I never said it was you…. Why are you so defensive??

Kenneth and Owen had a good 5 seconds of stare down before he turned to my dad.
Kenneth : Uncle… someone told me…. He saw your son…. Running into the clearing…

My dad turned to look at me and I said nothing.

Dad : JEFF!! Is it you !!…. is it you !!!?
I kept quiet and said nothing. I directed my eyes from my dad to Kenneth and I said nothing.

I may be quiet but the endorphins fired up in my head like national day fireworks. It felt like I was high on drugs.
Staring Kenneth in his eye and remaining calm. It was a feeling that beats me masturbating as a teenager.

Defiant to the core in front of someone I hated.
Kenneth : see… guilty right !!.. I’ll fucking make sure he go to jail I tell you !!! ..

Dad : JEFF!!! JEFF!!! …. Answer me…. Why did you go behind today !!! WHY!!!

I looked up at my father and realised everyone’s eyes were on me including Owen.
It would be useless to deny. Someone saw me.

Jeff : Yes… I went behind today… but I did not have anything to do this this…

Kenneth : WHY… why did you go behind the clearing then !!!
Everyone waited for my answer and I calmly gave one.

Jeff : I smoked…

Dad : what !….
Jeff : I went behind to smoke…

SMACK! …

I felt my dad’s hand slam home across my cheek as he shouted at me.
Dad : you did what !!
Kenneth : don’t fucking lie to me Jeff….!… WHY did you go behind today … I know someone put you up to this… you won’t do this on your own….tell me who… tell me who… and I’ll let it all slide !!

Dad : JEFF !!!.. it’s you isn’t it… it’s you ????
I sniffed and held back my tears.

Jeff : No… It’s not me…

SMACK !!
The blow hit harder this time round and I could taste blood in my gums. I could see my father shaking as he pointed his trembling finger at my face.

Dad : Jeff…. Jeff….. say properly…. Say properly….
I could see the tears in his eyes, tears of desperation. Desperate for answers.

Kenneth : Jeff… tell me… you can be honest with me… tell me… who put you up to it…

Jeff : it’s not me…I really went behind to….
SMACK!! SMACK!!

It was a really hard hit. The first time I felt disoriented in my life.
When I looked at my dad, he was close to breaking down in tears.
He kept apologising to Kenneth, saying that I’m still young. That I don’t know what is going on.

Dad : sorry… sorry …. Sorry Sir…. My son…. He’s still young… he don’t know what is happening….
Jeff : It’s not me…

Before I could finish, my dad started hammering. He punched me.
He fucking punched me so that I would shut up.

I spit out blood onto the floor as I looked up defiantly at him.
Dad : You fucking keep your mouth shut NOW!!!!
My dad broke down completely as he alternated between begging Kenneth to forgive me while raining blows on me as the other people in the canteen looked on.

It went on for about 2 minutes before I collapsed onto the ground, sitting down as I took each blow without even a hint of pain.
There were tears in my eyes, they blurred my vision.

The blood tasted like raw iron and I could feel a long cut in the inside of my cheek caused by my own teeth.
Kenneth : tell me Jeff… who….who put you up to it !!!

Dad : JEFF!! …JEFF!!!! Tell him… for fuck sake just fucking tell him !!!

I sucked in a breath of air and I looked up at the gathering of men.
Jeff : I didn’t do it…

Dad : aRHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
My dad lost it and he picked up a mug from a nearby table and hit me across the head as he cried. He broke down.

He completely broke down.
I touched the top right side of my head and I saw blood on my fingers as my dad got on his knees. He begged.

He begged Kenneth to give me a chance.
Jeff : Why are you begging him for….….

Dad : shut up… you just fucking SHUT UP !!!!
Kenneth grabbed me by my shirt and he glared at me. He put his nose close to my mouth and he took a sniff, then he grabbed my fingers and he sniffed them too.

The smell of the cigarette I took.
Another officer I have never seen came up to me. He did the same, smelling my breathe before nodding to the rest of the entourage behind him.

Kenneth took a deep breath before looking at me. The look in his eyes.

The judgement has been passed.
He knows I’m guilty.

Kenneth : it’s you…. I know it’s you…..Tell me who the fuck he is right now….!!! Or I’ll fucking make sure you spend the rest of your life…..
Before he could finish his threat, another group of men entered the canteen.

I saw a familiar smiling figure that I have not seen in years.

That same officer that told my dad to get rid of the magazine. Santa Claus in green.

He appeared with a few aides by his side and it was obvious he’s some kind of big shot even though he was dressed in civilian clothes.

Everyone backed off and made way for him.
He said something to Kenneth then to Owen. Both men walked away after that.

That same officer smiled at me and he pulled me aside.

Santa Claus in green : Ah boy…. I’ll only ask you once….
He flashed me his million dollar smile and told me it’s ok to tell the truth.
Santa Claus in green : Is it you …..? if it is…. Who put you up to it ? haha… is ok… just be honest…. I guarantee nothing will happen to you….

Jeff : It’s not me….. no one asked me to do anything…
Santa Claus in green : ok !… then it’s over… we’ll close this… ok ?

A medic arrived, he gave me the once over and said I should be fine. Just some minor cuts on my head and inside my lips.

I saw the Santa Claus in green talk to Owen before putting his arm around Kenneth and pulling him to a corner of the canteen.
Whoever he is, he is capable of turning Kenneth into a mouse.

My dad refused to talk to me as he finished up clearing the floor of the stall.
I could still feel many pairs of eyes on me and Owen is not one of them.

10 minutes later, it was over.

The Santa Claus in green came over to me and told me everything is fine.
He tells me not to say a word to anyone about what happened inside the camp.

Santa Claus in green : Ah Boy…. Very simple…. Ok… nothing happened…don’t say anything to anyone… don’t tell your friends…. Don’t tell your girlfriend…. No one… can ? …. Can you promise me that ??
I hesitated for a few seconds before I nodded.

Santa Claus in green : I’m Ron… ok… can this be our secret ? like back then ?

I nodded, a smile finally broke on my face as I found myself lowering my guard against this man.
Ron nodded his head and I saw him wave to my dad from where he sat, legs spread and palms resting on his knees like a boss.
Ron : alright then…. Ah Boy…. Sure you never take anything right ??

I nodded and replied.
Jeff : I never took his rifle. ….

Ron smiled and nodded.

He got up, tapped me twice on my shoulder before giving me a wink.

Ron : No one said it was a rifle….

The looked on my face betrayed me immediately and I could not believe how stupid I was.

My throat felt dry and I knew the game is over.

I can try to explain myself, I can think of reasons, but it was no use.

The look on Ron’s face told me everything.
He knew.

That knowing smirk.
He knew if right from the start.

Still, he said nothing.
Turning away, he walked casually out of the canteen with a swagger.

I went out to my dad’s car. He was sitting in it waiting for me.

I got in and he did not say a word.

It was a good 45 minutes after the mess was sorted out before anyone could leave the camp.

Even upon reaching home, my father did not say anything to me.
I washed up and went to bed.

There is nothing more to say.
What I did not expect though was for Owen to show up at our place.

At 11.30pm at night.
I remembered clearly that Owen knocked on the door for a while before it jolted me awake.

When I came out of my room, my dad was up as well.

He opened the door and came face to face with Owen.

They exchanged a look for 2 seconds before my dad turned and look at me.
Then without a word, my father went back to his room.
I walked to the door where Owen was and no words were exchanged.

What can I say ?
What can he say ?
He nodded at me, and extended his hand.
I took it and we shook hands as if we concluded some business deal.

It felt good.
Like I close some big sale as a salesmen.

If only I knew at my tender age back then I did seal a deal.
I did sell something that night.

I sold my soul, my conscience, and my life.
All to the devil.
……………………………………………………………………………
A few weeks after the incident, Kenneth is gone.

Vanished. Reassigned or whatever fancy word people can come up with.
He is no longer around. The word is he has been transferred away to another camp.
Some say he is being put on administrative duties.

No one really cares.
Peace finally returned to the camp.

The breezy peaceful clearing still stands and is still one of my favourite spot to hang out.
I’m old enough to drink in the blink of an eye and my favourite part of the day would be to open up a beer and just sit at the hammock after closing up the stall.

I completed my tertiary education in a polytechnic while continuing to help out at my dad’s stall whenever I could. I was pretty much the loner in school, someone who is there but pretty much invisible.
People know I’m part of the class of course but I’m not within the hip and happening group.
I’m not in the group of rejects either. I just floated around and got my diploma with mediocre grades.

I enlisted at the age of 19 a few months after graduation. I may have grown up in a military camp but I always knew it was not the kind of life for me. I’m all about the get it over and done with attitude.

It’s only 2.5 years. Just serve and fuck off.

Unlike my peers though, I never made it pass the basic military training in Pulau Tekong.

2 weeks in, my father passed away. He suffered a heart attack in the same hammock he loved so much in the clearing behind his stall. He passed away in his sleep.

I was given 2 weeks off to attend to the wake and other necessary matters. I don’t even remember what the fuck I did during that 2 weeks. Clearing out the stall, handing over to another operator who is the cousin of the Nasi Lemak Abang.
Less than 10 people attend my father’s wake. We kept to ourselves mostly and most of the visitors are people from the canteen.

Owen was there too, a couple of our neighbours who stayed in the same block in Bedok.

That was it.
I was all alone.
Life sure is full of surprises.
By the time I was back to camp, it was too late for me to join in the training. My friends had moved on ahead. I was considered a drop out and it was going to be a few months before I could rejoin another batch of trainees.

I was transferred out to be a storeman for a couple of weeks before someone paid me a visit.

Owen.
He appeared out of the blue dressed in jeans and a Polo T in front of my company line with my commanding officer by his side.

He asked to speak with me alone.
And he made me an offer.
Owen : Jeff…. Would you like to work with me ? ….

Jeff : what do you mean ?

Owen : A job …. I’m offering you a stable job… good pay…. Benefits…

I shook my head and told him I don’t understand.
Jeff : You want me to what….? Pursue a career with the military ?? sorry … I’m… I’m really not a military kind of guy…
Owen laughed and shook his head.

Owen : No…of course not…. I’m no longer with the military by the way… I’m…working directly with the …. Defence ministry…

Jeff : what’s the difference ?
Owen laughed and asked me to think about it.
Owen : It’s not going to be a walk in the park…… but what have you got to lose ? or is there someplace else you rather be ?? The storeroom ? …. Taking stock of inventory??

There was a brief pause as I looked at the blank wall behind Owen.
Jeff : Is it going to be better than what I’m doing now ??

Owen : You mean as a storeman ?? hahah.. of course…

I nodded and I agreed right away.
Jeff : Alright…. I’ll do it…

Owen smiled and extended his hand again to me.

The handshake from hell.
I fucked my life up bad that day.
I fucked it up so bad that it was hard to even put it in words. I was young, naïve and ignorant. If that same offer was made to me today, I would have told Owen to fuck off.

Anyway, I was pulled out of the military and the next thing I knew, I was in another country, Malaysia.

There was a plane ride. A long car ride.

Another car ride before I arrived in the middle of nowhere.

Then there was the jungle.
There is the training.
Physical, mental, educational.
There is no Rambo style kind of Hollywood shit by the way. A routine, yes, learning, yes, knowledge transfer, yes. Music blasting in the background while I crawl through mud while it rained, no.

Lifting logs and doing butterfly kicks on the beach, no.

It was like school. Secondary school.

There’s a classroom but there is only me.
Me and the lecturer.
There is a timetable, there are classes I needed to attend. I get to rest, to sleep, then I wake up and the day repeats.

I was cut out from the rest of the world for an entire year.
I could not even make a phone call, not that I have anyone I needed to call.
There were no indication of when I would graduate or finish whatever fuck Owen wanted me to do.

I lived and slept in fear everyday.
I was honestly scared. It’s like being dumped in the middle of nowhere and having to figure out this shit on my own.
I may not have much experience in life but I have common sense.
Something that many lacked these days.

It’s the things that were taught to me that scares me.

I learnt the human anatomy the same time I was taught how to use a knife. I learnt how to sever muscles and arteries from flesh and bones.

I was taught how to perforate a stomach if I ever need to dispose of something that has one.

What the fuck.

Why would I need to dispose of anything with a stomach ?
I remembered the lady with gold rim glasses saying gas in the stomach builds up during decomposition. Gas fills up, it rises. Perforate all organs that gases can build up, no gas build up, it won’t float.
I was taught what is the best way to deprive someone of oxygen. I shit you not, that is the title on the manual given to me.

The fucking titles they come up with on my training manual. The person writing it sure has a sense of humour.
I learnt how to shoot of course, with a variety of weapons.

I learnt how to drive, to ride a bike, to start a boat.
Then the Orang Asli came. The indigenous people and oldest inhabitants of Peninsular Malaysia.

Jeff : are we going to like hunt…. ? survive in the jungle or some shit ?
The trainer introduced himself as Shukri.

He gave me an raised eyebrow and shook his head.
Shukri : yo brother…. Come on…. Singapore got how much jungle for you to hunt and survive ? … you hungry go supermarket buy food la…haha

Jeff : oh… hahah…
Shukri was there to teach me how to take a life.

That of an animal.
He taught me how to do it quickly, cleanly with respect.

Everytime I took a live, I looked into the eyes of my subject.
I could feel the heartbeat of the small quail in my palm increase when it saw Shukri demonstrated what I needed to do to it’s friend.

Things like these messes with your head. It fucks with your mind.
The fear that helpless quail had while sitting in my palm.
Shukri waited for me to follow suit and I did it swiftly, ending the life of that bird in a snap.

I’m not proud at all of what I did but there was no point in prolonging the suffering.

I was taught to kill all manners of livestock, from a cuddly rabbit to a full grown cattle.
Each time I ended the life of a living thing, I knew at the back of my head it was a matter of time before I graduate to something else.

This was what Owen wanted me for.
A nobody. Someone who had nothing left to lose.
I was taught how to deal with explosives by a Hungarian man call Yusuf.
I learnt how to rig up someone simple with everyday household items. I learnt how to handle military grade explosives.

I was kept on a strict diet and workout regime.
My body is not mine to control.

I cannot have 6 packs that are too defined as if I’m some manhunt model.

I can’t have bulging biceps that looked like I overdosed on steroids.
I’m just supposed to be 64Kg and to look slim. I am strong, but I can’t look the part.
I’m supposed to look normal. It doesn’t matter I can run 2.4km in 8 minutes flat. I can’t run at that speed, I’m not supposed to run at that speed.
I had to attend chemistry classes taught by a Israeli.
Everyday I get wacked like a sandbag by a North Korean instructor who teaches me offensive moves.

Every evening I get wacked again by a Indian guru teaching me defensive moves.
Some afternoons a thai instructor will pop by and by the end of the session, it would be a struggle just to stand upright.
I was taught how to read people’s expressions and reactions by a Chinese man who turned out to be a professor in some university.

I was cramped with information but there were no test. Nothing.
No one came to make sure I remembered everything that was taught.

There was no need for that.

9 months in and I could easily work up a sweat while sparring with my instructors.

When Owen finally showed up after about a year later, you could probably guessed the first words that came out of my mouth.

Jeff : Fuck you Owen… fuck you !…

Owen : hahahaha…. Ouch…. Well…. Congrats on completing your basic training.

He offered me a hug and I gave him the finger which he laughed it off.
I stepped foot back into Singapore after a full year.
I felt disorientated and displaced.
It was then I realised I was so comfortable being alone with the trainers that I started to feel uncomfortable around other people.

I find it hard to believe I had to learn how to integrate and blend in with people.

The flat my dad left behind was kept in a immaculate condition. Everything was left exactly the way it was. Owen made sure of that.

What about money ? I had plenty of it.
Owen paid me and he paid me well. There was no need for me to spend a single cent.

Back in Singapore, I was given a range of roles to play and companies to work at. From logistics firm to a driver to a hawker. I did it all, hopping from role to role, job to job in the industry itself.
By the time I turned 23, I could act like a fool. I can joke like a seasoned joker, I can even play the role of a studious college kid.

I can even write erotic literature on a sex forum.
I can be the young adult you see going for an interview, or I can be the random guy walking pass you at the train station.
I can be anyone. A student, a boyfriend, a geek. Anyone.
I knew it was a matter of time before I got my first project as they call it.

Project.

Fancy name for a fancy job.
You will always remember your first time.
Unlike the fanfare of a Hollywood style execution, What we do is actually more subtle.

Unnoticeable.
Why ?
Well, because this city thrives on order.

Order maintained by the rule of law.
The challenge is not to take a life, but to do it without anyone knowing about it.

Who gives me the right to take a life ?
Who gives Owen the right to decide whose to take ?
A chicken and egg question that is really hard to answer and I gave up trying to figure it out.
My first project was a man call Malcom. Malcom Khoo.

So what exactly did Malcom Khoo do ?

This is how the process goes.

Owen runs the company.
No one knows how many staff like me exists except him.
He reports directly to the powers to be, whoever the fuck that is.

When a target is identified, Owen does not make the call alone to proceed.
A standalone audit department goes through the materials and information gathered, gives the green light, and a call comes to me. There, independent verification from a neutral party.
Once the audit department gives the green light, it will be pushed over to me.
Malcom is a hot shot banking executive working in town. At 30 years old, he has everything a guy would dream off at that age.
A career, money, a convertible and even a nice condominium in Marina Bay. He is the furniture in the most happening clubs, popping champagne like no tomorrow.

His money is clean.
His character though, is not.
May 2007

Malcom has a penchant for girls that are old. Real old. He was the suspect in a rape case but was never convicted. The victim was 68. She later committed suicide.

Another incident was a near miss of a 51 year old. The woman was traumatised, but Malcom paid his way out.
Owen has people on Malcom ever since. News like this would be hard to swallow even if published.
Not only does Malcom prey on the random stranger on the street, he bought his way into a nursing home. Owen has a collection of photos documenting Malcom paying off the nursing staff in the nursing home late in the evening.
He would enter the home and appear an hour later in the same manner an adult would pay for a hooker. He preys on the helpless elderly. People who had difficulty even expressing themselves.

From the document dossier given to me, I could see that Malcom’s computer is full of nude photos of prominent models and bloggers as well. He does some freelance photography as a hobby and he blackmailed several of his models after they agreed to a nude shoot.
All of them kept quiet for fear of their photos being exposed on the net. So, he ends up fucking them for free whenever he wants to.

The final nail in the coffin for Malcom came in the form of a video.
It was a video of him forcing himself while drunk on a 65 year old auntie collecting cardboards for a living.
The lady ran but Malcom went after her.

All these are captured in graphic detail via a camera phone. It’s shaky and blur but clear enough for anyone who sees it to know what is going on. The person taking it laughing and spurring Malcom on.

Malcom went to the house of the Auntie and came into contact with her granddaughter who is only 12.

The rest is no longer important.
So with these information on hand, it’s easy isn’t it. Pass it to the authorities, viola. They arrest him, splash his face across the paper, spend shitload of tax payers money to convict him, then spend more of our money to keep him fed, clothed and safe behind bars for the next 2 decades.
Just lock him away and forget about him while the rest of the victims live the rest of their life with the trauma of Malcom’s deeds.

No , of course not. It’s not that simple, it’s rarely that simple.

First, the person taking the video is politically connected to someone in a neighbouring country. We can’t touch him for geo political reasons. The big picture as they call it. The video cannot see the light of day because that person is never on the scene if you get my drift.

Second, people like Malcom, he will never stop.
Malcom needs to go.

He needs to go quietly and cleanly, like he never existed.
Owen : All the information is all there…. Can you do it ?
Jeff : yes….

Owen : First time is always the most memorable…. Do you need me to be there ?

Jeff : No…

Owen : How are you going to do it ?
Jeff : Do I need to tell you that ?

Owen : hahaha… as long as the job gets done…. And don’t get caught… draw what you need from the storeroom. You have 2 months.
I followed Malcom for a month before making up my mind.

I didn’t even need anything from the storeroom.
I simply waited for him to go for his run. He likes to run at MacRitchie reservoir along the jungle trail on Wednesday before his workday.
It was 6am on a weekday.
I watch his convertible pull into the carpark and I did my own stretching. Time to loosen up the muscles.

I let him get a 3 minute headstart before I started on the trail behind him.
I caught up with him in no time and I could see him about 20 paces in front of me.
There was no one behind me, I felt the rush of adrenaline as I opened up my steps and caught up to Malcom.

He did not even have time to react. Using my shoulder I bump him to the left, causing him to tumble down the side of the slope and into the edge of the water.
Malcom : hey !! arghhh!!! argHHH!!!…

He tumbled and rolled for a few seconds, cursing out in the dark at me.
I paused and waited. That would surely attract the attention of passer bys if anyone was there.

Malcom : hey !! fucker…. You … fuck you !…
I checked the path to make sure it’s clear before jumping off the track and made my way towards Malcom.
He was covered in dirt and he was panting hard. Imagine running flat out and having to take a tumble.

He looked like he was about to throw a punch at me but he never expected me to do what I did.

I ran at him and literally lifted him up and before I tumbled with him together into the reservoir.
Malcom :earehghh !

I took a deep breath as I clung onto Malcom like a koala from behind him and I relax my body, letting my body weight drag him under water.
He struggled, slapping the surface of the water as he tried to swim upwards for air, expanding what little oxygen he had in his lungs.

Malcom wasted a good 5-6 seconds trying to swim with me attached to him like a leech. By the time he realised his mistake, he tried to untangle himself from me but it was too late.

Panic set in. It was dark.
The water is cold. My legs were wrapped around his waist while my hands held onto his head.

I closed my eyes and I could feel the life in him slipping away.

His struggle got weaker. His instinct made him grab at my legs around his body but it was no use. I was wearing long running tights.
I could feel him going into spasm as his lungs filled with water. His hands reached wildly behind his head trying to get me and I just held on.

I could hold my breathe steady for 120 to 130 seconds. The max I did was 148.
It was coming to a minute by my count and Malcom was hardly moving by then.

I held my hold on him and relaxed my body further, letting the current carry us out into the middle of the reservoir.
At the 2 minute mark, I gently let go of Malcom and I surfaced for a breath of fresh air.

I looked at Malcom’s lifeless body a few metres away from me before I swam towards the shore.

I checked to make sure the coast was clear before I continued my run back to the car.

I got to my car, towelled myself dry and drove back home.

I gave Owen a text to tell him it’s done and the location.
He will handle the clean up and the administrative work that follows.
In a couple of days, there will be a small column in the papers about a jogger that lost his footing and fell during his jog and drowned.
Public are reminded to be vigilant when jogging along the dark paths of the park.
Autopsy, post mortem, paper work, all these will be taken care of by Owen and his team behind the scenes.

Owen came to look for me after my 1st project, offering me time off, a holiday. A time out session. I was sent to talk to a shrink who work for the same company. I had to go through evaluation by 2 separate doctors before I was certified fit to continue my work.
Honestly, I was afraid. I felt the fear like any others but I knew what kept me going. If I don’t do this, more innocent people will get harm.
That is what I tell myself every night before I go to sleep ever since I did my first project.

6 years on by 2013, I did 27 projects in all.
27.
I was the best performing employee in the company.
Top in terms of KPI.
I took the lives of 22 men and 5 women.

I remember all their faces.
Every night before I sleep, I would see those faces.
That look in their eyes. That look of realisation of what is happening.
I know when my time is up, I would see those faces again.

I can’t expect myself to go to heaven having done the things I did right ?

Well, I still sleep at night, in the same bedroom, on the same bed, in the same house my dad left me.

I have money, more than I can ever spend stashed in different countries in the region.
I’m being paid 9k a month, and this does not include the bonus for each project.

Bonus for project differs by quite a bit. Criminals like Malcom are pretty low, terrorist pays pretty well, overseas jobs goes for double the rate. You get the drift.
The arrangement with Owen has worked well for me all these years. In fact I was thinking of retirement in a few years.

Then the consolidation came.
Instructions came from the top that Owen need to consolidate his operation. We can no longer operate the way we do. Someone is crying for accountability, documentations, paperwork.

Long story short, Owen needed to shift his operations from various locations around the island into 1 building.

Reorganisation.

A 12 storey building located in little india.
A building with a story of it’s own.
That is where my story begins.
It all starts with the number 6.

Why 6 ?

In the centre of the lobby lies a sculpture of that looked like the universal studio globe but it’s a lot smaller with digital screen running across the axis of the globe. Text runs from bottom up like the ticker tape of news channel.
The metal globe spins and I could see my call-sign appearing on the digital screen.

Hibiki 6 2 7

Owen : Want to know what it means ?

Jeff : Let me guess, 27 projects….?

Owen nodded.
Jeff : What does the 6 mean ?

Owen : You’re number 6.

Jeff : What ?
Owen : yes…

Jeff : I thought I was the top ?? … didn’t you say I was the top ??

Owen gave me a raised eyebrow and added.
Owen :I didn’t know you have such a big ego …. Haha

Jeff : fuck you…

Owen : 1 to 5 retired.

I turned to look at Owen and he immediately added.

Owen : It’s not what you think…. They decided their time is up, they vanished…. In time to come…. I guess you might do the same as well…
Owen gestured to the screen as it changed to feature other call signs before changing to a stationary screen.

E 2 45

W 3 41

S 4 40

N 5 39

Jeff : what is this…. EWNS ? The direction of a compass ?

Owen nodded.

Then the screen flashed again.
Jane 1 97
I blinked twice at the sign and turned to look at Owen
Jeff : You got to be fucking kidding me.
Owen shrugged his shoulders.

Owen : I don’t know man…. These are before my time…. my predecessors…

Jeff : What do you know about them ?

Owen smiled.

Owen : You interested ?

Jeff : Of course… tell me…. Tell me everything…

Owen took a deep breath as he gestured to the building still under renovation.

Owen : It all starts here…. When this was a old 2 storey shophouse… when Singapore first gain independence.
Jeff : They were pioneers ?… of the company.

Owen nodded.
Owen : In a time when chaos reign , we need people who dare to do what needs to be done…

In the same manner which the expressways are currently laid out, the country was divided into 4 sections.
The CTE, central expressway splits Singapore down the middle, separating the east and west the PIE, Pan Island expressway separates the north and south.

Owen : the 4 pillars each took a corner of the island. They did what needs to be done in a manner not too different from what you are doing now.
Jeff : wow…. Fuck… and who the fuck is Jane…. ??
Owen : Oh Jane…. Jane….. haha..

Owen took a deep breathe and told me what he is about to tell me is what he heard from his predecessor.
Owen : Jane…. Is a woman of focus, of extreme dedication …. She is the best the company ever had… she is trained by the 4 pillars themselves.
Jeff : where is she now ??
Owen : How would I know, probably a old woman by now maybe…. I took over this shit just after the Kenneth fiasco. You’re my first recruit man…. Why ? … ahha.. you want to meet her ?? hahahah
Jeff : Well… if she’s real… I would love to…
Owen laughed.

He tapped me on my shoulder and added.

Owen : She’s a black widow…. No one knows how she looks like, she kills everyone that comes into contact with her…. That 97 ? ….. I bet mostly are men… haha…. I’m glad she’s gone though…. Don’t worry… you are still the best performing employee in the company in my eyes…

I watched as Owen walk away to talk to a contractor.
Jane.

Well, sounds like a myth to me after thinking about it.

Probably made up to smoke newbies.
Jane cannot be real.

……………………………………………………………………….
The 12 storey building I work in consists of a lot of other tenants other than us. It’s practically a normal office tower with people in various trades.
Logistics, trading, law firms and even a couple of office suites.

It’s not hard to see that Owen is doing this to pacify the people funding the company. It’s some that needs to be done if we want to continue to operate. He’s not happy but he doesn’t have a choice.

The auditing and research department were housed together on the same floor together with admin and finance.
There’s a separate floor meant for meeting rooms, and discussion areas and a pretty luxurious pantry. That floor is not only open to employees like me, it consists of a virtual office setup and office suites too.

With something like this set up, the number of people coming in and going out of the shared space is pretty big. People of all kinds.

Gig workers, small business owners , the freelancers, you get the drift.

All these people provided the perfect cover for men and women like me to blend in.

I have my own office in a office suite complete with 2 desk for future assistants.
I was the first to move in according to Owen.

A kind gesture for the best performing employee.

After he brought me about, we took the lift down to the ground floor from the 8th.

Jeff : Why would I need assistants ?

Owen : You don’t want a hot secretary ?

Jeff : what the fuck for ?

Owen : we’re considering opening up internship positions….

I gave Owen a look which told him I did not find that funny at all.

Owen : well… I’ll be honest with you….. I have jobs lined up for you… they need you to go in deep for…. Extended periods…. You would need support staff…

Jeff : No I don’t…

Owen : I say you do….

Jeff : I work alone…

Owen : not for the projects I lined up for you… you need help…don’t worry…. I trained him myself….

Jeff : Oh… that pretty much meant you already decided….. and this is just to inform me ?

Owen : Of course… I’m the boss remember ? …. Chill man… he’s a nice chap…. A geek though….and he stays in the office…. No field work… he’s not trained for it…

Jeff : Great… when do I get to meet him ?

Owen : In due time… get yourself familiarised with the office… enjoy the space man… by the way… the food here is not bad…. Come… I buy you lunch…

It’s not often that I see Owen get so excited about something so mundane.

Food. He is never a fan of food. To him, he eat to live.

For me personally, I would say I live to eat.

I enjoy a good meal as much as I enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Owen was literally dragging me along as he checked his watch.

Jeff: what the hell man ? got lunch time promo is it ??

Owen : quick… quick… you won’t regret it…
I followed Owen into the small canteen that took up the east side of the building on the ground floor. A small eatery with 3 stalls selling drinks, Chicken rice and fishball noodles.

We took a seat and Owen gave me a quick orientation. As he rattled off the details, I committed those into my memory. If this is where I’m going to be most of the time, I want to know as much as I can about the people here.

You never know when those information will come in handy.

Owen : Drink stall owner… Freddy….. his son Lala.

Jeff: what ? Lala ?

I took a look at the 2 chaps behind the stall. Freddy is a old man in his late 60s while his son is probably about the same age as me. He’s big , but he’s not normal.

He smiles funny and his eyes darted and shift but his motor skills are normal. I watch him pull a nice cup of coffee as Owen went on.

Owen : Lala is what he respond to… his name is Larry…. Special needs boy… he’s ok…. just don’t get him too excited…. He gets a little violent when he’s excited or when he gets too happy…

Owen went on to say at Lala has had a couple of brushes with the law because he could not control his emotions properly sometimes.

Owen : He has hit people before…. For being rude…. So be nice…

Jeff : what would I ever be not nice to him ??

Owen shrugged his shoudlers.

Owen : Relax…it’s just a remark…. I know you can be nice if you want to.
Jeff : I’m always fucking nice…… even when I’m working…

Owen : Whatever… hahaa…. Lala may be… ermm.. slow in many ways but he takes care of his father…. Freddy will sometimes cheat you on your change…

Jeff : oh… ?

Owen : It’s not a lot…. 10 cents here… 20 cents there… just close one eye la….. he’s paranoid about saving up for Lala…. You know…. As a father… he’s always worried about the day when he’s no longer around….
Jeff : they’ve been here long ?

Owen laughed and said yes. All the stall operators have been here for at least 10 years. There’s nothing suspicious about any of them from what he could gather.

Owen : noodle stall…. Ah Kim… his wife Ah Kiao…. Retired couple…. Selling to pass time…. 1 son…. Doctor… practising in Australia…. Food is not bad… Laksas on Friday is nice… ask for extra hum ( cockles )

Jeff : ok… I’ll try that later I think.

Owen looked at his watch again and I could see he was waiting for something. Or rather, someone.

He was looking at the chicken rice stall but he did not start talking.

I turned to look at the same direction as he is and all I could see was a fucking grumpy man with a large cleaver dismembering chicken.

He had a permanent frown on his face. Each time his cleaver came down, I could hear the loud chop of the blade hitting the large wooden board. Faded tattoos covered both his arms and beneath that white cotton top with holes, I know there is a body that has more muscles than fats.

He knows his way with a knife the way a chicken rice seller would.

I was about to ask Owen about the chicken rice seller when I froze as well. My attention immediately diverted away from the chicken rice seller.

My eyes saw and immediately recognised what Owen wanted me to see.
I would hardly hear myself as I blurted out what I wanted to say.

Jeff : wow…. Fuck…. Is that who you are waiting for??

Owen : ohhhh…………. this is the favourite part of my lunch.
With skin fair as fresh snow, I watched as that girl walked into the café with her bag and a large drawing board.

Her shoulder length hair danced like silk curtains in a gentle breeze. Her eyes sparkled as she looked past our table into the distance. Her lips are pursed together before breaking into the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen on a woman.

There was this depth to her smile that I could not describe. Her eyes smiled the same time as her lips and all the muscles on her facial features just reacted at the same time, painting the perfect picture of a beautiful woman.

She removed her denim jacket in the café and time slowed down by 80% as I watch her smooth and toned arms emerge from the jacket.

Even the way she folded her jacket seemed to attract me.
Lala, obviously know her well and he literally bounced out from behind his stall. He gawked and smile at the girl, grinning cheekily at her.

The girl smiled and gave Lala a pat on his head like a elder sister acknowledging the attention of a younger brother.

My eyes ventured lower, beyond the firm full breast of the girl to her legs.

God those legs, that full and delicious thighs. They were a healthy shade of white like freshly whipped cream.

She works out, I can tell.

Lala reached behind his counter and took out a bottle of water for the lady. She thanked him and I heard her voice for the first time.

It was like a melody. That level of sweetness in that short thank you could give me diabetes.

She’s beautiful.

I found myself asking the question inside my head.

How do you define beauty in a woman ?

Is it the amount of makeup she wears ? The way she dresses herself ?

The amount of cleavage she is showing ?

Or perhaps is the curated pictures you see of them online ?

This woman in front of me has none of those.

She did not wear any makeup, and if she did, I’m sure she would look like royalty.
Her modest dressing is the classic example of the local girl next door.

Nothing too loud, yet the pieces she chose to wear suited her.
I saw her say something to the noodle seller Ah Kiao and when she turned to her side and smiled, I saw a dimple.
A small dimple that appears only on the right of her face.

Her teeth, straight and white as the commercial you see online trying to sell you a upscale version of toothpaste.

I did not realised that my mouth was half open until Owen asked me to shut it because I was being too obvious.
Owen : she’s hot right… my god… she is like the goddess in this building…. Hahaha

Owen had to stress the word ‘goddess’ as he grinned.

I licked my dry lips as I looked around us.

We were not the only people here for lunch or rather, we were not the only one looking at the girl.

There are single men with spoon paused in mid air, rice dropping onto their plates.

There was even a guy with his coffee cup lifted 3cm off the table but he froze as well as he looked at the girl.

She’s that attractive.

Yes. She attracts attention, in a classy way.

I watch her pay Lala for the bottle of water and she took a look around the small café trying to see how many customers are in that day. Her line of sight sliced across her field of view, cutting right past us.

That look plus her smile.
She literally looked around and gave everyone a brief smile, like a greeting.

Something that says she knows we are looking at her and that we should probably stop because it is making her blush.

Jeff : wow….

Owen : yeah… wow….

Jeff : what’s her name ?

Owen : Xuehua… ( smooth snow )

Jeff : god… that’s so true… her skin….

Owen : yeah… she’s…. out of our league…. Hahaha…and even if she’s not….

There was a loud commotion followed by the sound of metal meeting the chopping board.
CHOP! CHOP!! Chop !

The sound of the chicken rice seller’s cleaver smashed onto the timber chopping board.

Eddy : ORDER LA !!! STAND THERE for FUCK ! want to eat or not !!

The chicken rice seller erupted at a customer who was slow in his order because he spent his time looking at Xuehua.

Xuehua giggled as she helps to take a dish of chilli and utensils for the stammering customer who was trying to step further away from the swinging cleaver that is separating the pieces of chicken.

Jeff : let me guess…. That’s her father ?

Owen : hahah. No….Chicken rice seller…. Eddy…… Xuehua’s uncle…. He’s known for his bad temper and lack of patience.….other than that he’s ok….. The food is good though….

I waited for Owen to go on as he stole another look at Xuehua.

Owen : Xuehua…. Art student… fuck….. how romantic is that…art student ….. haha…. She’s same age as you…

Jeff : oh ?

Owen : She’s an orphan…parents died in a car accident… raised by Eddy… she studied medicine….

Jeff : A doctor ?

Owen shook his head.

Owen : dropped out at her final year….took a break to travel… then decides to take up art…. Pottery at first… then now painting…… she sells some of her works at small studios around the island….some are pretty nice….

Jeff : why does it seem like you dig deeper than you usually do ? … haha

Owen : hahaha…. Wouldn’t you have done that if you were me ??

I laughed and I offered to go get lunch for the both of us.

Jeff : Chicken rice can or not ?

Owen : what the fuck man… hahaha… can’t you tell I’m only here for the chicken rice ?? haha

I laughed and I got up.

Then I got nervous.

I don’t know why.

Every step I put in front of myself towards the stall, my heartbeat got faster.

This is wrong.

I don’t get nervous.

I get excited before I kill, I get angry, I get upset.

I don’t get nervous.
This feeling is new.

Before I knew it, I was right in front of the stall.

My lips felt dry. I think I started to hyperventilate.

The customer in front of me walked away.

Xuehua locked eyes at me the same time I saw Eddy’s cleaver pause as he waited for me to place my order.

I froze in front of Xuehua.

Xuehua : yes ?

I fucking froze.

I could see Owen laughing at our table. It must please him to see his employee fuck something up especially when it’s non work related.

Looking at her straight on felt like I was meeting some royalty for the first time and not knowing how to react. Like she’s a princess and I’m the lowly peasant.

Jeff : i… i..

Xuehua raised an eyebrow as she tried to stifle a laugh.

Xuehua : chicken rice ?? for 2 ??

Before I could place my order, I literally jumped out of my skin as Eddy’s voice rang out again.

Eddy : WHAT YOU WANT!!! EAT or PACKET !!!??

I immediately ratted off my order so fast that I don’t even know what I was saying.

Jeff : Chicken rice for 2, add gizzards, 2 braised egg, 1 additional plate of rice, remove bone please and no breast meat, give me some chicken backside. !!

Owen was clutching his stomach as he laughed out loud at how stupid I looked.

It like I’m trying to do a tongue twister.

Xuehua smiled and she looked away. I watched her arrange the utensils on the tray before telling me the cost.

Xuehua : $10 please…

As if her sweetness is not enough, I saw something that sent blood right into my manhood, inflating it rapidly.

It’s inside her mouth.

On the tongue.

She has a tongue stud. That shiny glint of meatal.

The way she looked, this level of sweetness, you can never imagine she has something like that.

If wonder what it would be like to kiss her.

She arranged the food on my tray and thanked me.

I hesitated for a second too long that she had to give me a look before raising an eyebrow and directing her head slightly towards the tray to get me moving along.

When I set the food back down at our table, Owen was chuckling as he helped removed the dishes from the tray.

Owen : Well…. At least now I’m sure you’re not gay….

Jeff : fuck you…. You thought I’m gay ??

Owen : it’s a stressful job Jeff….. everyone has their way of dealing with it…

I shook my head and ignored Owen.
Half way through our meal Owen asked me a serious question.

Owen : So…..can I expect you to be in office… when you have no projects on hand ? haha ….

I dipped a chuck of chicken into the blended chilli sauce before putting it into my mouth.

Jeff : yes ..

Owen : good…..

I turned to catch another glimpse of Xuehua.

I saw her turn her head slightly towards my direction but turned away when she realised I was looking at her.

She’s hot, pretty and no doubt smart.

I watched as she tried to open the bottle of water Lala gave her earlier.

She scrunched up her face as she tried to twist the bottle cap. It was then I realised Lala was constantly looking at Xuehua too. He bounced out from behind his stall, left the line of customers waiting for their drink and went over to Xuehua and helped her with the bottle cap.

Xuehua : hahha. Thank you Lala…

She took a sipped of the water and our eyes met again for a brief second.

I looked away first.

Owen scooped rice into his mouth and his tone took on a more serious note.

Owen : Jeff… I know what you are thinking….don’t.

I scooped another mouthful of rice into my mouth.

I did not need Owen to tell me that I don’t have a future with her.

It’s ok to fantasised about it, maybe wank it off but people like us.

People like me doing the things I do.

We die alone. In a place no one know, and when we do, probably no one cares.

A relationship has no place in the life I lead. I changed the topic and asked Owen about my next job.

Jeff : What’s my next project ?

Owen : Get acquainted with your new assistant … he’ll come in next month….

Jeff : If it doesn’t work out ?

Owen : it will….

Jeff : I meant what if ….

Owen : then it’s 28 for you….

Jeff : wow… you can be really cold sometimes you know…

Owen : I’m fucking kidding… don’t even think… I spent a lot of money and resources on him….

Jeff : Send me his files…

Owen : will do… anything else you want to know about him ??

Jeff : Yes….
Owen : What ?
I finished the last mouth of my lunch and I added.

Jeff : does he like chicken rice ?

Owen : hahhaha…

…………………………………………..

 

 

I found out from the files that Owen sent me that my assistant’s name is Billy.

He’s an orphan, no living relatives. Owen plucked him out of a police station when he was caught hacking into one of the telco company that he was part timing for.

Owen saw his potential and he made the whole incident go away.
In return, Billy was to go to school, complete his studies while working for Owen. The files contained mostly observations and a list of stuff Billy did. There was nothing in it that I can use to really evaluate him as a person.

I don’t trust him. It’s nothing personal.

It’s just the line of work we do.
3rd June 2013
Monday.

It was my first day with Billy and officially the 1st work day in the new office. Part of me was looking forward to heading back to the place for chicken rice even though I only had it barely 2 weeks ago.

Xuehua’s smile never left my head.

Her expression. Just thinking of her makes me want to break out in a smile. It was that infectious.

I woke up early and practised my smile in the mirror. I check my facial expressions and relaxed my facial muscles. I have no plans to show the real me in that building.

I knew I needed a mask to protect myself. I’m not the only one that does my line of work that is going to be entering and leaving that space. There are many more like me.

There’s a high chance that we might be taking the same lift, eating at the same place or even bumping into each other. We don’t know each other by face, but I know for sure everyone will be on the lookout.

Tell tale signs that is a dead giveaway is a strict no no.

Blend in, keep your head down and pretend I’m your everyday office paper pusher.

I have to also make sure I don’t reveal too much of my cards to Billy too. He may be my assistant but he still needs to earn my trust.

I got to the office tower in Little india at 7.30 am. I settled myself into a spot at the café and waited. It was then I noticed Lala and his father staring at me.

Fuck. It’s as if I’m taking up space when I did not order a drink.

I cleared my throat and went over to place my order.

Jeff : kopi O Kosong…..

Lala : 1 kopi kosong coming up…… kopi o… kopi o….. no sugar no milk… cheapest drink on the menu… kopi o kopi o….. 80 cents..

I think my jaw dropped an inch as I blinked a couple of times as Lala continued singing and announcing to everyone in the queue behind me that I placed an order for the cheapest drink.

I paid up and took the drink back to my seat. Right before I step away, I heard Lala singing the order of the person behind me and I felt a wave of relieve instantly.

For a moment I thought he was unhappy with me ordering the cheapest drink.

I enjoyed my coffee as I slowly took in the people coming in.

Many of the people working in that building know each other. I could see people greeting Lala and his father as they passed by the café. Some did no even need to place their orders, all the had to do was give a friendly wave and drop off their coins.

Lala knew what they wanted.

I stole a glance at Eddy behind the chicken rice stall. He hummed as he worked, opening the cover of the rice cooker as a column of steam rose up into the air.
Ah Kim and Ah Kiao are busy fulfilling the breakfast orders. Bowls of noodles served one after another. The sound of the porcelain bowls grinding against each other when being removed from the stacks and the light slam of the stainless steel cover of the boiler where the noodles are being cooked made the place feel so homely and warmth.

Lala and his father Freddy made sure there’s a steady clink of sound from the glass mugs they were using for the drinks.
The drag of the wooden chairs along the floor by customers, the occasional shout of orders.

If I closed my eyes it would feel as if I stepped back briefly in time when Singapore has yet to become such a fast pace concrete jungle.

The rattle of a trolley caught my attention and I saw a old lady pushing the cleaning cart towards the café. Her trolley has been heavily modified. It looked pretty amusing in fact.
Aside from the usually mops, brooms and bin, I could see a variety of hooks and makeshift shelves she attached on her own.

On closer look, her trolley had everything you can possibly need to keep the lobby clean.

Cleaning detergent, sprays, jumbo toilet rolls. There’s even a old radio antenna with rubber bands looped 2 inches high. The handles in which she is pushing the trolley is unique as well.

Instead of the usual horizontal handle bar , the lady gripped onto the what looked like the grip of a motorcycle handle. It’s damm cool I tell you. It’s a modified push bar complete with brake levers.

The stance in which she pushed her trolley, her arms spread shoulder width apart, she could well be riding a Harley Davidson. There is vigour in her step. She’s got to be in her sixties I think but there is still a bounce in her step.

The whole scene reminds me of a hip grandmother on the road.

The trolley jingled and rattled as it got closer to me, revealing more details of this interesting cart. A small radio sent streams of classic oldies to my ears. Songs that my dad use to play at his stall as well.

Lala saw the lady approach and called out to her.

Lala : Auntie Annie.~~~ Kopi O !!

I watched as Annie gave Lala a thumbs up as she parked her cart at the edge of the café like a boss. She walked like someone who just finish her Taichi class with a smile towards the noodle stall and place her order.

She chatted with the hawkers as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
Come to think of it, Singapore must be one of the few places in the world where our elderly still have to continue working.

We are one of the most expensive city in the world to live in. The popular saying among the old folks is that it’s probably cheaper for you to just die than to fall sick.

I checked the timing on my watch.

I was scheduled to meet Billy at 8am at the café for breakfast. I know his face from the files Owen gave me. I dropped him a text the night before and he replied immediately.
He asked how will he know it’s me when we meet.

I reassured him that I will call out to him, besides, the café is pretty empty.

Most of the customers are getting takeaways.
I wiped my mouth and looked towards the main entrance to see if Billy has arrived. Surely he’s not going to be late for our first meeting.

Sipping my coffee, I leaned back on the chair and I could feel myself relaxing. It’s nice to be able to people watch in the morning with a cup of coffee. Perhaps it was because I have no projects on hand at the moment.

I spotted quite a few hot office babes entering the building and heading towards the lift.

I saw the entrance of a trio of classic character that looked like they came out of a movie.

3 large men, hair dyed blond with tattoos on their arms.
All of them wore black polo T with the name of their debt collection company printed in bold yellow font.

A 4th man caught up from behind, a thick gold chain around his neck almost blinded me as they hurried to enter a lift that was closing.

I saw the security uncle swagger over to the café as well. With a button undone on his shirt, he looked unkempt. His little booth by the side of the lift lobby serves more as a decoration than anything.

There is hardly any semblance of security in that building. No need to sign in or register yourself, and the security guard works from 8am to 6pm.

Quite unusual but it has always been this way.

I caught a glimpse of the name tag on the security guard. Just 1 word.

‘Leng’

I pretended to sip my coffee as he waved to Lala who immediately started to prepare his drink.

He acknowledged the rest of the café staff, says hi to Eddy before taking a seat at the corner of the café.

He shook his leg as he sipped his drink, singing a hokkien song softly. Retrieving some lottery ticket from his pocket, I watch him try to match the numbers to the ones on his mobile phone before silently cursing and crushing it.

My attention was suddenly drawn to the entrance of a well built man walking into the building.

He’s tall, at least 1.9m and even though he was wearing loose fitting clothes, I could tell he’s in top shape.

He’s well groomed, even his eyebrow is sculpted and trimmed. The veins on his forearms left little to imagination what he can do to a man’s neck if he put his mind to it.

He came to the café and several pairs of eyes went to him. His voice boomed deep and low, asking for a glass of hot water and a cup of tea.

Sitting down 2 seats away from me, his chiselled features looked grim and menacing. He looked at his phone and frowned, shaking his head as if he was disappointed with something he read.

What happened next came so fast that I had no time to react.

Billy entered the building.

Cradling a tablet in his hands with a set of headphones on his head, he half skipped and hopped into the café.

Billy carried a bag that looked a bit too small for him, it’s like he was still using the bag meant for his primary school. His jeans is ill fitting and baggy, like he was stuck in the era where baggy jeans are still the thing.

His t-shirt is definitely old school. A giant Alien head with the text Alien workshop printed at the bottom.

I was about to signal to him when he immediately jumped and took a seat in front of the large guy.

I almost wanted to vomit out my coffee as Billy sat down in front of the guy who stared at him in surprise.

Removing his headphone and keeping his tablet, I could see Billy nodding at the guy who had 1 eye brow raised.

My mouth opened an inch wider when I saw Billy jerk his head upwards at the large man, it’s as if he was waiting for him to do something.

Large man : What the fuck do you want ??

Billy was calm. He pulled his head backwards in a dramatic manner and regarded the guy from the corner of his eye.

Billy : whhhhhhaaattttttts uppppppp!!! Brother !!! ssssupppppp!!

I massaged my forehead and looked to the ceiling. Oh god. What kind of powerful creature did Owen send me.

It was at this moment when it finally became clear who the large man was waiting for. A woman with 2 kids came along. The 2 kids bounced up happily to their father who carried them up effortlessly.

Billy immediately realised his mistake and he apologised profusely, saying he made a mistake.

He got up, swung around and saw me looking at him.

He blinked twice, looking around the café once more just to be sure before he looked at me again.

I nod my head towards the seat in front of me and he immediately caught my que.

Billy : oh my god I’m so sorry…..paiseh paiseh….what’s up brother….. sorry sorry…

I extended my hand and I could tell Billy was nervous.
His palms were sweating.

I would be too if I was him.

I’m sure Owen told him who I am at the very least.

Jeff : Do you want a drink ?

Billy shook his head. His eyes never left me.
He kept looking at me and I did not stop him.

2 minutes later, I could tell he calmed down a little when he finally opened his mouth.

Billy : I.. erm… i… Jeff.. Jeff right….

Jeff : yes… call me Jeff…

Billy : It’s an honour to finally meet you…

Jeff : don’t be crazy…please don’t do or say anything that will suggest we are anything more than normal office employees…

Billy nodded with a grin.

Billy : ok… ok… sorry… I’m just nervous… I erermmmm.. I thought…. I thought…. All the things I’ve heard about you… I just … you know sort of form my own impression of how you look like….am I blabbering…. I think I am blabbering….. sorry I’m just nervous…

Jeff : don’t be… we’re colleagues… come… let’s head up to the office… we have a lot to talk about…

I got up to the 8th floor with Billy and we entered the main lobby of a large serviced office. Regular employees went about their day to day work and we continued walking towards the end of the hall.

Opening our own private office suite, I asked Billy to chose his seat.

Jeff : There’s the table on the left and the table on the right…. Take your pick…

Billy : Right side… window view….nice….

It’s a nice view alright. We’re located in one of the tallest building within little India. The orange tiled roofs of the conservation shophouses on the streets below us stretched throughout the neighbourhood.

From up here, you get a vantage view of all the small alleyways. Traffic is terrible in this neighbourhood and most often than not, it is faster to walk to where you want to be than drive around here.

Billy dropped his bag and immediately got to work, if that’s what you call it.

The office is literally barebone. There’s nothing in it except the desk and chairs.

Billy was already on his knees checking for power points and location of lan cables.

Billy : Jeff… we need to go get stuff for the office man…. We don’t even have waste paper baskets ….. and my chair got no cushion…. I need cushion….
He started going on about a list of stuff we will need to get and I could feel a headache building up.

Jeff: ok.. ok slow down… Sim Lim square is just around the corner….let’s go there and grab what you need…..

Billy : ok… swee… let’s go…

Billy is a talker. He never stops talking. I would have thought it would be irritating but on the contrary, I find him quite entertaining. He’s definitely funny too

He asked a lot of questions. How often do I work out ? How fast can I run ?

Then the genre of questions changes suddenly to what games do I play ?

Do I know about Diablo ?

Jeff : what the fuck man… I grew up in the 90s, who hasn’t heard of diablo… of course I play…. 1,2,3, all I play…. I am a starcraft pioneer man…

Billy : Zhun bo ? …. Ok.. ok… I’ll set up the stations and we can par game in the office.

I gave him a look of disbelief as I started the car engine.

Ok, I admit. If there’s no project, I literally have fuck none to do but playing game in the office isn’t really my cup of tea.

As I turned onto the main road, Billi’s question took a drastic turn.

Billy : You like… porn or not..

I almost slammed on the car brakes as I looked at Billy.

Jeff: What the fuck man…

Billy : relax man… I’m just asking…. Owen tells me many of his staff are gay…. I just wna tot be upfront I like girls… and I like pussies…

Jeff : This conversation is over…. I think we’re not close enough to go to that topic.

Although Billy’s choice of conversation is weird, I still enjoyed talking to him on a whole range of issues.

If I were to be honest, I felt quite at ease with him.

He’s direct and straightforward. If he don’t like something, he says it immediately.

Like the colour of my fucking mouse and keyboard.

Billy : That colour is disgusting…. Who the hell chose teal for mouse and keyboard.

Jeff :what the fuck do you care about what colour I want for my keyboard…. ?

Billy : I’m just saying…. That colour is very girly…

I would have wanted to have my work stations fixed at the shops but Billy would not have it that way.

Billy : No… no… no… DIY…. DIY means I do it myself… bring everything back… I will settle… don’t worry…

I ended up as a shopping slave as Billy went on a shopping spree.

Billy : Owen paying…. Everything just go high end… hahah…

We got back to the office by lunch and I wanted to ask Billy to head down for chicken rice but he’s already lost in his zone.

Spreading the stuff he buys out on the table, he told me to grab a packet of food for him if I’m heading down to get any.

I decided to save the chicken rice for later and we order pizza.

I wasn’t much help with the setting up but it was a good time to talk to Billy.
We chatted as he worked, he is focused, organised and he is a perfectionist.

I cable tied a wire a little crooked and he made me redo it.

Billy : No… cannot…. Cannot… take out take out… redo…you know how to use cable tie or not !!..

Jeff: I do… when I use it… usually people die….

Billy dropped his screw driver as he stared wide mouth at me before I broke into a smile.

Jeff : just kidding…. Hahaha…

Billy : err…. That’s funny.. haha… that’s funny…
It took us several hours but by 5.45pm, we’re done.

I passed Billy a drink and I asked him if he had a choice when Owen told him to come work with me.

Jeff : He just ordered you to ?

Billy : Nah… he asked me first… he wanted to know if I would be comfortable….

Jeff : Working with me ?

Billy shook his head.

Billy : he gave me 3 choices….. HIbiki, Lunch or Match ….

Damm that Owen. He offered Billy the top 3 performers.

Jeff : Why me then ?

Billy looked at me and when he answered, I could tell he was being really honest. I burst out laughing .

Billy : Owen was sure Lunch and Match likes men…..but for you… he says it’s 50/50…I’ll take my chances….

Jeff: hahahah… fuck you…. Hahha…

Billy : No thanks…

We finished our drink and I told Billy we should head for an early dinner.

Jeff : I’ll leave you in no doubt which gender I prefer after dinner….

Billy :hahha…. No need la…. 1 look I can tell you are a Jap porn lover…

Jeff : Fuck off la… haha..

We walked out of the office and went towards the lift. Billy lowered his volume and on a more serious tone, he told me that he like the way I work.

Billy: Clean…. Emotionless and professional …..very nice work…. You’re really someone I look up to….

I shook my head and told him things like these messes with our heads.

Jeff : don’t think about them when you don’t have to…

Billy : What are we going to have ?? Little india have a lot of nice food right….

Jeff : Oh… we’re having chicken rice…

Billy : whattttttt……

As we approached the café, I slowed down my footsteps.

I could see Xuehua. Her side profile.

She was smiling as she spoke to another lady.
That smile could melt anything.

Billy : woah….brother….. fuck me man…..she is the hottest chicken rice seller in the country…

Jeff : yeah… I think so too… she’s… just wow…

Billy : come on brother… go hit on her….

Jeff : what ? what makes you think I haven’t done it yet….

Billy nudge me along and I could feel him dragging me into the café.

Billy : I can tell la….You don’t know her yet right…

Jeff : What the fuck…

Billy : If you knew, you won’t be standing here… come come… I support you…. Go talk to her….

I freed myself from Billy and gestured to him to take a seat in an animated manner. The large actions caught the attention of the stall owners and I could see Lala and his dad looking at me.

Even Xuehua turned towards me for a second before turning away.

I immediately went to the drinks stall and ordered drinks.

Lala : Kopi O kosong ….. cheapest drink right ?

Jeff : wow… that’s amazing man…

Lala : yes. Yes… i know you… cheap drink Kopi O kosong…

Billy : Get me a coke bro !

Billy shouted from across the café a little too loudly, drawing more attention to us.

Lala : coke for your friend…. Cheap drink Kopi O Kosong for you…

Jeff : Please… call me Jeff…

Lala : Jeff… jeff…. Call me Lala…. Lala…. Kopi O Kosong for Jeff….

Jeff : nice to meet you Lala….

I brought the drink over to Billy and told him I’m going to order chicken rice.

Billy : ok.. ok… I eat everything….

Billy stole a glance behind me and he gestured that the girl I was eyeing is waiting for me.

Billy : she is ready for you… she’s hot… I think you will look good as a couple.

I did a mock hammering action at Billy and he chuckled as he ducked my attempted blow.

Billy : Chill la brother…. You going to order chicken rice.. you look like you going for interview…

Jeff : that’s not true… !

Billy : You can one… you are the ‘Zai’ ( Steady ) one… go !… talk to her…! Get her number…..!! get her facebook…. I can do magic…

Lowering his voice a notch Billy offered to photoshop the girl’s face onto the body of a nude JAV actress if I could get her social media account profile.

I sighed and walked towards the stall.

Xuehua’s hair was tied up into a short ponytail that day. She wore a long sleeve top in red with sleeves that reached only to her elbows. A pair of black hip hugging jeans and black canvas shoes completed her look.

I think it would be considered very good progress if I can at least say hi besides placing my order of chicken rice.

Standing across the café, I saw her smile.

I’m going to go talk to her, even if its for a little while.

But before I could make my move, I felt my emotions going wild.

My tongue gets tied.

I was right at the stall and Xuehua as turned around to face me.

Right at the moment when I look into her big brown eyes, I felt myself freezing up again.

Xuehua spoke first and at that moment, I suddenly felt that everyone at the café has some sort of super human power with photographic memory.

Xuehua : Chicken rice for 2, add gizzards, 2 braised egg, 1 additional plate of rice, remove bone please and no breast meat and some chicken backside ? hahah

My mouth could hardly move as I just nod at her, I could feel hot flushes on my cheeks.

Jeff : wow… yes….

Xuehua looked away with a smile and I felt like the dimple on her cheek sucking me in like a vortex.
She started to arrange the utensils and food Eddy has prepared onto the tray for me.

Then the most fuck up thing happen.

Fuck up to the core.

Picture this.

Xuehua , out of pure goodwill , helped me remove the tray of food from the stack on the stall. Lifting it up, she made it easier for me to carry the tray of food.

During the Passover, the moment my hands gripped onto the side of the tray, the bowl of soup moved and I could see it happen before I felt the pain.

The hot soup scalded my hand and I accidentally jerked the tray forward towards Xuehua.

The tray of chicken slid right off the tray and smack right into her chest, drenching her body in a mess of chicken and gravy.

Jeff : Oh fuck….

Before my curse could be completed, the dish of chicken fell to the floor, the echo of the melamine crockery filled the whole café, causing everyone to turn over.

Now, an apology would be in order and some prompt cleanup is needed but no.

There was no time for those.

I heard a loud defending shout from Lala.

The loud noise and seeing Xuehua in distress must have triggered him.

Freddy tried to calm him down but Lala was shouting and running towards me from the drinks stall.

His arms were raised and his fist clenched.

I could feel my muscles tensing up and my footing was about to change to a defensive position when I realised in a split second I can’t do anything.

I could have easily trip Lala and twist his arms into submission but I can’t.

Not in front of the whole fucking world.

Before I realised it, the café descended into utter chaos as Lala started raining blows on me.

Jeff: ahhh.. ahhh….

I blocked off his blows clumsily, and I could see all the hawkers rushing out to help calm Lala down.

Xuehua : Lala… calm down … Lala !!

Lala’s blows are hard but they were slow. As he screamed and hammered me, I could block them easily but it only served to anger him more.
Lala : aHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why you bully Xuehua !!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Xuehua tried to come closer and I could see one of Lala’s hammering blow about to hit her.

Immediately I reached over to help her shoulder that blow.

It was a mistake.

Lala changed tack.

Instead of hammering me, Lala’s hands reached straight for my nipples.

Jeff : AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Lala : AHHHHHHHH!!!

Xuehua : !!! AHHHH!!

I was tethering on the verge of twisting Lala’s fingers and dislocating them when Xuehua shouted for everyone to back off and keep quiet.

The commotion is only making Lala more stress.

Xuehua : Everyone back off !!… shut up !!!

Everyone froze, me included as I gritted my teeth with my eyes widened to the max my eyelids could manage.

Billy too was right there as he looked on in amazement at me.

With my nipples twisted in Lala’s massive arms, Billy gave me a thumbs up that I could manage to hold in my scream.

Xuehua : don’t cry out…. No matter what you do…. Don’t cry out…hold it in while I calm him down.

My whole body was trembling as I strained every muscle in my body. This was worse than the time I was slashed on my thigh doing a project.

I looked at Xuehua who was trying to speak to a crying Lala. God , she is so beautiful that it’s painful just to look at her.

Xuehua stroked Lala gently on his hair and spoke to him softly, calming him down.

She whispered to him and I could see Lala nodding his head even though he is still crying.

After a few short seconds which felt like eternity to me, Xuehua told me to just tall Lala to let go gently.

Xuehua : no sudden movements…. No crying out…. No sudden change in volume…. !!

I nodded and I could feel the veins in my neck about to burst open.

Billy had to come in and ask a dumb question at the critical moment.
Billy : What happens if he cry ?

Xuehua gestured to Lala and replied almost instantly.

Xuehua : He’s gonna pinch it…. Pinch it…. Pinch it somemore….
I could not hold it in any longer. If I did, my muscle memory and reflexes would end Lala’s life right there and then. It was up to me to end this.
I wanted to speak but I can’t

I really can’t
I spoke and the only words that came out were ;

Jeff : Ahh… La la la la no……ahhh la la la la… no no…. no no…. no… nooooo…

Billy dropped his coke can as he stared at me in amazement. I see the dramatic rise of his thumb as he added.

Billy : Brother…, you si bei good leh…. At this time still can sing….
……………………………………………………….

 

I felt the flush of instant relieve as Lala let go before breaking down in Xuehua’s arms.

He didn’t mean it. Lala kept shouting he’s sorry in my direction as I staggered backwards and caught my breath. Lala was caught between trying to look and me and hiding in Xuehua’s breast.

His eyes were filled with tears and guilt and there is no way to fake that level of genuine regret. Lala’s voice is out of control.

Lala: sorry…, SORRY !!! SORRY JEFF… sorry… sorry… aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

He was trashing about as the other hawkers tried to hold him down so he doesn’t end up hurting another else.

Jeff : it’s ok… it’s ok…. I’m ok…

Lala : sorry … SORRY!!! SORRY JEFF… !!! JEFFF!!!!

I massaged my damaged nipples and I told Lala it’s ok but it’s not getting into him. He’s too emotional to listen.

He’s still very agitated.
Suddenly he started hitting himself, apologising as he hammered himself on his mouth with his fist.

It was a hard knock and I could hear the crunch of his knuckles hitting his teeth.

Before anyone could stop the 2nd punch, Lala brought his fist to his mouth and he began bleeding at the mouth.

Everyone panicked, some wanted to call for an ambulance but Freddy said no.

Xuehua’s petite voice was being drowned out by the shouting with everyone trying to give their suggestions and input.

Even Auntie Annie came over with her Harley Davidson cleaning trolley to see what is happening.

By then the commotion had drawn a small crowd of curious onlookers.

Lala: I’m sorry… Jeff.. I’m sorry !!

Jeff : Its ok…. it’s ok…. Lala… Look at me… look at me…. I’m ok… !!

Lala’s voice built up to an explosive scream as he pushed everyone away from him.

His father fell behind onto Eddy. Xuehua was shoved backwards and she fell onto her buttocks before landing on her back. Ah Kim held onto his wife Ah Kiao as she stumbled, nearly hitting the edge of a table.

I was really contemplating putting Lala down. A quick twist of his hands behind his back would be enough to put him into submission. Nothing works as well as pain but he seemed so helpless and lost.

I walked towards Lala and I held both his shoulders in my grip. I moved so fast he had no time to react. All that’s left for me to do would be to trip his balance, throw him onto the floor before I go all over him but I did not do that.

I too did not know what was going through my head.

Instead of putting him down. I hugged myself onto Lala.

Jeff : It’s ok…. it’s ok bro… I’m ok… I’m ok…I’m really ok…

Lala was taken aback for a couple of seconds and I could feel his entire body shaking.
Trembling in fact.

2 seconds later he went quiet. Then I felt his massive hands came up behind me and he held onto me.

Sobbing and apologising again, Lala told me he was really sorry.

Lala : Sorry… sorry… I could not control myself…. Sorry…

Jeff : It’s ok… shshhhhh.. its ok… I’m ok…. I’m really ok …shhhh..

I could feel Lala breathing hard in my arms. He panted and sucked in air but he was no longer shaking.

He’s calming down slowly but surely.

All eyes were on me as I slowly coaxed Lala out of my embrace.

It didn’t take long.

Probably a minute or 2 max and I was free of Lala.

He touched his bleeding gums and Xuehua gave him some napkins to clean up while his father gave him water to drink.

Eddy : nothing to see….. nothing to see…. Everybody go back work… no need work ah…

Eddy’s sudden outburst dispersed the busybodies gathering at the edge of the café. Auntie Annie went over to offer a few words of comfort to Lala before setting to clean up the mess I made on the floor.

I sank into a nearby seat and realised my shirt was drenched in perspiration.

Looking across at Billy, his jaws were just opened wide as he took everything in.

Billy : Wow…. Damm…..

Freddy brought Lala over and I stood up.

Jeff : It’s ok Lala…. I’m really ok… it was an accident….

Lala : I’m sorry…. I’ll … I won’t do it again…. I’ll make you the best kopi O kosong in the world to make up….
Jeff: It’s ok.. I’m fine… don’t worry about it…

I added with a smile as Freddy too apologised for his son’s outburst. He added that he is a little over protective of Xuehua because he likes her.

Eddy appeared just as Lala was walking away with another tray of food for me.

Eddy : nah… nah… nah…. Uncle treat you eat la…

Jeff : thank you… thank you…

Billy immediately came over and took over the tray from me. As he was facing me, I saw him mumble quickly in front of me before going away. His lips tried his best not to move as he rattled of his final word before making way for Xuehua.

Billy : bro… your brownie point…. Gao gao….kopi O extra gao ( thick ) already….

I wanted to smack him but he chuckled and got out of range and I saw Xuehua coming towards me.

She held 2 ice bags with her palms facing up was she got right up to me.

Xuehua : Jeff…. Right ?

Jeff : Yes…

Xuehua : here… take these…

Jeff : no need … it’s ok…

Xuehua : it’s not fine…. I was pinched before by Lala too….

I really don’t know what the fuck was going on in my head and I instantly looked at Xuehua’s breast when I should have been looking at her eyes.

It’s not my fault. I just had my nipples pinched.

Then you tell me you were pinched as well. Naturally the link just happened. I would have also thought she had her nipples pinched by Lala as well.

It was a fast look. Barely 1 second as I looked at Xuehua’s breast before looking back up at her with my eyes wide open.

Before I could speak, Xuehua laughed and shake the ice bags at me, spraying me with the condensed water that had accumulated.

Xuehua : NOT THERE LA !!! hahah

Jeff : Sorry… sorry… it was just…. I just….

Xuehua : Here…. Take it…it will make you feel better….

Seeing my hands were not up to receive the ice bags, Xuehua plastered the ice bags onto my shirt where my injury was. From a bystander point of view, she would have looked like she was touching my breast.

Jeff : ergnhhhh….orghhhhhergnnhh… ahhh… enghh…

Xuehua’s eyes widened before breaking into a chuckle as I moaned in front of everyone in the café.

You think it’s funny ? Go to your fridge right now and rub 2 ice cubes on your nipples and see if you moan out loud.

Instinctively, my hands came up and took over the ice bags as Xuehua’s hands moved away.

Jeff : thank…. Thank you…

Xuehua : haha… enjoy your dinner Jeff…

Jeff : wait wait…

Xuehua turned around and if I weren’t gritting my teeth not to moan again from the ice cold bags rubbing on my nipples, I would have let loose another sensual call.

Her big round eyes lined up with mine as she waited for me to finish my sentence.

Jeff : I…. ermm.. haven got your name…

It was a blatant lie but this was the perfect opportunity for me to ask for it. If not now then when ?

Xuehua broke into a smile half a second later and I could tell she was considering whether or not to tell me her name. I could almost detect a hint of mischief as she asked me why should she tell me her name.

Xuehua : why should I tell you my name ?? … I didn’t ask for yours…hahah…

I could not bring myself to tear my eyes away from Xuehua’s as I answered as honest as I could.

Jeff : how can you not give your name….. to a man who has 2 hands on his own nipples when he asked you for it….

Xuehua burst out laughing the same time I saw Billy choke on his chicken rice, spraying his own plate with a smattering of chewed up rice grains and chicken meat.

Xuehua : hahaha… hahaha…

I saw Xuehua bite her lips for a split second as she considered my request.

I saw her inhale before breathing out as her mouth opened slightly. Her eyes checked me out right before she replied me softly.

Xuehua : Xuehua…. My name is Xuehua ….haha… see you around Jeff….

With that she turned around and made her way to the washroom.

I could not contain my smile as I walked back to my table with Billy.

Billy chewed on his dinner and looked at me smiling away. I must have a dreamy look on my face paired with a silly smile. That expression was etched onto my face for a good 30 seconds as I sat down in front of Billy. With my hands still on nipples massaging them, you could probably draw up a picture of what Billy is looking at while he ate.

Billy : Li erh………. Biao qing……….si bei bian tai ….( you have……. a perverted look……. on your face )

I ignored Billy’s comment as I slowly remove the melting ice cubes and put them on the tray.

Xuehua. The name sounded extra nice when she says it.

Billy : eat la… eat la…

Billy scooped chicken onto my plate and gestured for me to stop dreaming.

Billy : Owen is coming.

The mere mention of my boss’s name snapped me out of the daze I was caught in.

Jeff : Oh… he called ?

Billy showed me a message on his phone.

It was from Owen.
He asked if everything is ok on his first day and that he will be dropping by the office later.

Jeff : Are you going to reply that ?

Billy : no need….if it’s not ok… I would have called him by lunch….

We finished up our dinner and went back up to office. I did not have any spare clothes so I removed my shirt and hung it up by the window.

Billy sat back on his chair with his legs up on his desk as he streamed youtube videos of English hit songs as we waited for Owen to arrive.

I went to my desk and logged in remotely to the cameras I set up at home.

It was a habit in a way. If I was not doing it on the computer, I would be checking it on my phone.

You can never take security too lightly. I could see the common corridor outside my flat. The main door to my house and the respective rooms.

I switched sites and another series of screens appeared.

I had rented a unit opposite my current flat as well using different names and identifications. Documents of which were authentic provided for my different projects. I was suppose to return them once my work is done but hey, anyone with half a brain would know to keep some of these for future use.

I kept half of the documents Owen provided and told him I lost them during work. He would roll his eyes and say it would spell trouble for a lot of people if these documents are round floating around.

I reassured him that if he finds them, it would mean I’m dead. Just blame it all on me.

The unit I rented gave me a direct view of my place from the outside. I have cameras pointed at my door, the windows and the corridor leading up to the door.

Only Owen knows where I live but doing what I do for a living, you can’t help being a little more cautious.

I asked Billy where he lived and his head popped out from the side of his screen for a brief moment before asking me why am I interested in that.

Billy : Why do you want to know that ?

Jeff : hahahah…. Good… good answer…

Billy : ask me something else….. I have access to Owen’s archive of the company’s history…. Most of them are in hard copy… he never bothers to read them…. I went though most of it….

I came out of my office and pulled a chair up beside Billy.

Jeff : The history ?…

Billy : Yeah…. From the day this started….

Jeff : Tell me about the 4 pillars….

Billy laughed.

Billy : They’re all in 1 way or another…. Related to some of the street gangs back then…. , trouble makers….fierce fighters…. Murderers…. All of them have been arrested before… it’s not long before someone came up with the brilliant idea that rather than train people up from scratch… why not make use of these talents you already have….

Jeff: Talents… what a way to describe them…

Billy : hahah….there was not much documentation about the recruitment process….i read from some of the reports that it’s not easy…. No one came onboard willingly…..everyone had their own deal…. Money…. Family… whatever… things like that…

Jeff : Ok…. what else…

Billy : Audits and justifications back then were sketchy, you can never be sure if the projects you are doing are what it says it is… but they still do it…. They’re paid for each job instead of a monthly pay… no bonus or any kind…Kills back then were sloppy…. But easier to cover up compare to this day and age.

Jeff : example ?

Billy : Most common documented way of cleaning up would be to ship the carcass out to a kelong….. it would then be processed and re-introduced into the food chain….

Jeff : That is some sick shit…

Billy : There are camera everywhere now….it’s not as easy as before…

Billy sat up and started typing into his computer before logging into his email.

He turned the screen around and showed me some pictures.

Jeff : What are those… ?

Billy : Hu Die Dao. Butterfly sword…. Exclusively used by the 4 pillars…

Jeff: They used these ??

Billy : It started off symbolic … something the company presented to them, but with limited resources back then, all 4 pillars made good use of them. … the blades are forged in Japan… using the best iron sands from Chugoku mountain range in Japan…. They’re compact and easy to wield…. Half of their kills are with these…

Jeff : wow…..

Billy : what do you use Jeff ?

Jeff : butter knife….. bought from a $2 shop located in the outskirts of Jurong. Cheap and easy to dispose… but you need to sharpen them on your own….

Billy : That’s a joke right… anyway….here’s more..

Billy showed me more pictures he scanned in from the archives.

Billy : there are 4 butterfly sword…… 1 is in the national museum…. You can see it on display at the triad section….

Jeff : what about the other 3 ?

Billy : Owen has one of them, but the blade is already broken….it’s encased in his office…given to him by his predecessor…. The other 2 is missing… which brings me to this…

Billy switches window and showed me a scanned grainy picture of 2 black spear. About 1.4m long each, the entire spear is in black from the shaft to the spear tip.
The shaft is made of impact grade Hickory and the spear itself is from the same iron sand in Chugoku.

Jeff : The only time I hear hickory is when I order BBQ….

Billy ignored my comment and went on.

Billy : There are only 2 of these… presented to the North and South Pillar…

Jeff : Why ?

Billy : North is always busy… near the causeway…. And South need to include Sentosa…. And other island…. So more work..

I gave Billy a look and he gave me a smile.

Billy : you talk cock I also talk cock what….. hahha…..I don’t know… It was not recorded….the spears are missing as well…

Jeff : probably kept as souvenirs when they retire….

3 of the Pillars served national service. There were no records of where they served or what they did. 1 of them did not serve at all.

Jeff : awol or run ?

Billy : no idea… no records…. Their reign is long and eventful…. The 1st generation of our company…. We are technically the 3rd….

Jeff : where’s the 2nd…. ?

Billy : 2nd is a bit blurry…. Neither here nor there…. Most are in the midst of transition….Owen and his predecessor really built up the 3rd gen of operators.

Jeff : Hmmm…. Ok….

Billy : The 4 pillars were given a task to train up someone….

Jeff : Yes… I’ve heard… a Girl….
Billy : Yeap… you must know that the 4 pillars could hardly get along….yet somehow they managed to train up this girl…amazing right…

Jeff : Well… with the right motivation…anyone can do anything….

Billy : True…. True….

Jeff : what do you know about Jane ? does the archive say anything ?

Billy : Nothing in depth….. just enough to know she is there yet not there at the same time…. The company started training it’s first recruit the same time the 4 pillars started with Jane….they wanted to compare the methodology or something….turns out the company went for theirs…. So the 4 pillars only trained 1 girl… not much information is available…

Jeff : Then how do we know if she is real ? maybe it’s just a myth…

Billy shrugged his shoulders.

Billy : Maybe just a story made up to scare people ? hahah …. Jane has a birth mark…about 3cm long on the back of her left shoulder blade…. She might have it removed by surgery, no one knows….. the archives says she started her training when she was 11, had her first project by 13.

Jeff : Bull shit…. Mai lai la…..it’s fake… no way….

Billy : I know… at 13 i don’t even know how to cut a potato.

There was a knock on our office door suite and Owen came in.
10.20pm

Owen : I heard you injured your nipples Jeff…

Jeff : from who ?

I turned to look at Billy who held up both his hands to indicate it was not him.

Owen : There are eyes and ears everything Jeff….. people talk… just know that I am aware of everything that is happening in this building… It’s my job to…. It keeps us safe…

Jeff : I’m glad your voyeuristic nature is keeping all of us safe.

Owen : You’re welcome…

Owen locked the door and gestured to the window.

Billy hit the automatic blinds and the rollers whirled slowly, blocking out the night view we have of little India.

Owen opened his bag and brought out a bottle of whisky. A Hibiki 17 by Suntory.
He set the bottle on the table without a word and pulled out 3 glasses.

Owen : Let me go wash these first..

I looked at the bottle without a word and I could see Billy staring at it as well.

Whenever there is a new project, Owen would bring me 1 of these. Something of an initiation of sort to get things going.

The age of the whisky offered a glimpse into the difficulty of the said project.

Most of the bottles I’ve received are 12 year olds.

This is a 17.

Seeing Billy looking at the bottle, I asked if he knew what this means.
Jeff : You know what this means right ??

Billy : yes…. Owen told me about it…. He gets you 1 everytime there’s a new project….

Well. I’ve had a good break.

It’s time to start working.

Billy : Can I ask you something Jeff…. ?

Jeff : Go ahead….

Billy : You get to choose your own callsign ?

Jeff : Yeah…. Why… you want one ?

Billy looked at me in a serious manner and asked.

Billy : why didn’t you use Porche or Ferrari instead ?

It took half a second to sink in before I laughed.

Owen came back then and he heard what Billy asked. He set down the glasses and opened the bottle before pouring each of us a good 2 finger of the drink.

Owen : how are you going to tell the tax agency where you get all your cars ?

Billy : You mean you will really get it…?

Owen : Yeah… 1:10 scale model…. Don’t be a cock la…
Owen raised his glass and we met his with a soft clink in the quiet office.

As we took a sip, he took out his reading glasses and perched it low on his nose.
The streaks of grey in his hair is beginning to show. I guess this is a kind of work that makes you age faster than others. The wrinkles around his eyes got deeper and I could see the heavy eyebags.

He looked tired, as if he always have a lot of things on his mind.

He opened up a folder on the table and laid out some documents and photographs on the table.
I sat forward and looked at the photographs he laid out while Billy leafed through one stack of information Owen brought. Pictures of a hot looking lady.

Clasping his fingers together, he looked at me before turning to Billy.

Owen : I wished there were more time for you guys to get to know each other before your first project but this came in last minute….

Billy : who’s this hot babe ?

Billy held up a picture of this good looking women who cannot be more than 35 of age. Dressed in a classy gown and full makeup, she oozes charm and sexuality.
Her smile and those foxy eyes screams milf no matter which angle you look at it from.

Owen : Yvonne….Former pageant winner….. hot right ?… married… stay at home wife… socialite…. Attends parties and charities….spends husband’s money…. Head of a few charitable organisation as well…recently became a mother…

Jeff : She the target ?

Owen : No… her husband…….. Benson…. businessman in the day… drug dealer at night…

Owen pushed another photo across to me.

Owen : He’s well guarded by his personal guards… seldom show his face and very paranoid…… I sent in a colleague of ours….. he failed….

Jeff : What happened.

Owen : He went in as a contractor…. Benson is renovating his place now….last communication with him was that he will be making an attempt when Benson comes over to check on the work progress….. I’ve not heard from him since… its been 6 days….. I presume he’s dead

Jeff : that would have put Benson on his guard won’t it… ?

Owen : I don’t know…this is why I need you to find out…

Jeff : What’s my cover… ?

Owen took a deep breath and said I’m not going to like this.

Jeff : When have I liked anything you planned for me.

Owen : Oh ho ho ho…. This is different…. This is very different….

Jeff : How so… ?

Owen went on to say that the only way I would be able to gain access to Benson would be through Yvonne, and while it would have been easy in the past, things got complicated recently.

Owen : Yvonne caught Benson cheating on her when she was pregnant…. Things got ugly… and Benson has sort of kept Yvonne locked up in the house….

Billy : woah…

Owen : Businessman…. All want face…. Anyway, Benson’s a fucking flirt…. He sleeps around as if he’s changing underwear…. Prostitutes, actresses, with money… you can get anyone…. You get the drift….

Benson kept his wife under lock and key for the last few months of pregnancy, even after delivering in a private hospital suite, she was promptly sent back home for her confinement. Access to her is near impossible for now.

He took out a black travel organiser which usually contains my documents that correspondence with my cover.

He unzipped it and handed me the docket of information with the background he set up for me. Billy was handed a copy as well and barely 5 seconds in he looked up at Owen and exclaimed.

Billy : This is a joke right ?

Owen replied quietly as he adjusted his glasses.

Owen : It’s not…. We have to be subtle about this… it’s in the middle of a residential district and there’s a baby and her mother in the picture….we can’t put them in harm’s way.

I finished reading the summary and I looked up at Owen.

Jeff : you’re fucking kidding me are you not ?

Owen shook his head.

Owen : I wish I was…. Takes more than just balls to pull this off…… I’m sure you can do it… I will reveal the rest of the documents after acceptance of this project.

Owen gestured for all the documents and the photographs before saying the usual statement before each project.

Owen : You have a choice. You can choose to walk away and not speak of this again. Or, should you choose to accept this project, it is my duty to remind you that should you get caught, the company will not acknowledge any of your actions…. This is your first project together… I’ll give you guys some time to discuss….

Billy : No need…. I’m in if Jeff is…… he’s good with a butter knife…

Owen raised an eyebrow

Owen : What the fuck ?

I shook my head and drained the whisky in my glass, Owen went on to pour me another serving.

Jeff : I accept.

Owen : Good..

Owen handed over the documents he showed us initially before pulling out another document folder. With it, he pulled out another photograph.

Owen : Employee ranked 41 on the list…..

Billy : woah….. this is sick man….

I looked at the photograph Owen was holding and I stared at it for a good 3 seconds before looking at Owen.
Jeff : They’re twins ?

Owen : Yeap…. Yvonne’s sister….. Yiling….
Employee ranked 41 under Owen’s employment with one confirmed project under her belt. Callsign pillbox.
Owen told us it as his last resort. He didn’t want to go ahead with it but it seems he had run out of options.

Yiling is aware of what is happening to her sister and her brother in law’s recent indiscretion. The family recently argued about not being able to see Yvonne and her child as often as they wanted.

Benson is stonewalling them with excuses that Yvonne and the baby is sick and having so many strangers around them will increase the chances of the child getting an infection. Yiling was allowed to visit her sister a couple of times because her brother in law has the hots for her.

He has attempted to be funny and touchy with Yiling when he has a bit to drink on occasions before.

Owen : details are in the 2nd folder… read it…… I just spoke with Yiling before I came over…. She accepted the project and the cover I arranged….. you are to meet up with her…. And get introduced to the family as her boyfriend. ….

My role, as explained to Yiling by Owen is nothing more than an officer with the drug agency. I was to play the role of her boyfriend and I’m the official liaisons when it comes to matters about the drug trade Benson is running. My job would be to collect information, that’s all. As someone with no usable experience when it comes to operations like this, I was a total newbie to the game.

I was to have no knowledge of what Yiling’s actual role and task is. I’m operating on the basis that Yiling is volunteering for this because she cares for her sister and wants to help her out of her predicament. This explains her role in cooperating with me.

Owen did not want to use Yiling initially because of her lack of experience but her status as the sister in law of the target is too precious a card not to use in these circumstances.

Compounded with the fact that she hated her brother in law, this should not be too hard for her to decide.
Owen : Benson is well guarded….if it comes to an all out brawl….. Yiling might not be able to do it…… Do not reveal who you are unless absolutely necessary….The project…. When successful, will be credited to both of you without Yiling ever knowing what happened….

Owen scribbled a number on a piece of paper. The number to call for the clean up crew who will take care of the forensics and stuff. It changes with each project and it’s also the official communication channel I will have with Owen once we start the party.

I nodded and Billy took over the piece of paper after I’m done.

Billy : This paper will self-destruct in 5 seconds….

With that Billy started tearing up the piece of paper vigorously with exaggerated actions.

Owen shook his head and poured me another drink while pushing Billy’s glass aside.

Owen : No more drinks for you.

Billy : hahah… twins man….. Jeff… twin sister leh… hahaha…lucky you….

Billy took the bottle from Owen and poured himself a glass.
Our glasses met again and we all knew Owen is already in his working mood when he finished our last toast with a statement as cold as this.

Owen : If shit hits the fan…. i can afford to lose the pillbox…. But you damm well bring me back Hibiki….

Owen finished his drink and gave us a nod before leaving the room.

Billy : well….. have fun with the twins Jeff….

Billy drained his drink and flipped to the back of the folder where a disc is attached. He will make do with the soft copy of the documents.

Looking at the photo of Yiling, I thought to myself.

Well, this could be interesting.

At least I get to meet my first colleague……. In the same department that is…

……………………………………………………

 

5th June 2013

Wednesday

9.30am

I spent a day digesting the information at home after that evening.

Benson seldom leaves his home and if he does, he is surrounded by his band of merry making men all of whom had served time with him before. A group of 12 men rotates between 2 shifts, accompanying him everywhere he goes.

They’re not professionals, more of thugs and assistants who does everything Benson asks of them.

Benson did time before for white collar crimes. Nothing major, just a year or so but with his friendly disposition, he made a lot of friends while in jail.

Now these friends, knowing that Benson could launder money easily for them, all hooked up with him after release. Benson went back to his old ways but it was always something small. Nothing that attract too much attention.

As his reputation grew, he was approached by a former inmate that wanted him to launder the proceeds of his drug business.

Benson refused but he was afraid of offending him. Initial reluctance was met with threats on his family. So he did what a good citizen would do.

Benson actually went to the authorities and came clean expecting help to come his way, but that was not the case.

Fate has a funny way of playing people.

Instead of removing Benson from the picture and going after the dealer, the authorities convinced Benson to go along with the deal.

Yes. They wanted him to take the deal because it would enable them to uncover something bigger.

How do you control a trade that will surely find it’s way into your island no matter what you do ?

You can go around arresting the small players and run around in circles most of the time or you can control the big player. Cast your net wider and look further.

Before you know it, Benson’s little empire began to grow.

It grew on the basis of him taking out other dealers and competitors with the help of enforcement agencies.

By edging out the competition, it only took Benson 2 years to become the biggest dealer in the country. In a place with strict drug laws, you wonder how something like this is possible.

It’s all about balance. Smoke and mirrors. Which would you rather have ?

A drug trade where you are constantly playing cat and mouse, or one where you know the biggest mouse works for you ?

Benson regularly fed the authorities information, giving them the heads up they need. No one can hope to set up shop in the country without first going through Benson. The theory is simple. With a vast network of runners and no lack of addicts, Benson made sure there are arrests every week.

Along with the arrest comes the information. You take out those who matter while trying to keep the numbers in checkl.

He has numbers that would be near impossible for agencies to gather. Which district in the country drugs moved the fastest ?

Which schools and institutions has growing number of addicts ?

Who are the wannabe dealers coming up ?

Every couple of week there would be a bust. Every couple of days someone would be caught bringing shit in via the land checkpoints. These are on top of the cases the authorities work on.

Not only did Benson feed information, the inventory and distribution of the drugs he brought in are carefully controlled.  He was required to give a detail account of shipment and inventory to a middle man.

The middle man in return, would report back to the powers to be. Thus, an unlikely alliance of sort is formed. There’s no way to keep in check every single joker who wants to bring shit in and try to start a business, but if you can keep a lid on the 90%, you will still do a deal with a devil as long as you can keep your distance.

Profits are carefully documented and used to fund shadow companies such as ours.

Not much details are given in this portion.

With multiple legitimate companies on top of his discreet business, Benson is more than comfortable when it comes to money. We know that Benson is making more than what he declares on paper when it comes to the drug trade but the authorities chose to close an eye because Benson play by the rules.

He’s obedient, initially that is.

However the paper pushers that worked the deal with Benson failed to see they are feeding a monster. One with it’s body submerged beneath water.

They failed to see how big it has grown and how dangerous he has become.

They finally woke up when Benson’s cooperation seemed a bit lacklustre of late before he stopped.

Now the people that made the deal are shitting in their pants because they are worried what will happen if Benson decides to blow this whole thing wide open.

He surely would have documented correspondence and collected evidence over the years.

This situation eventually worked it’s way up the hierarchy and gets passed to Owen to take care of.

Benson’s wife has knowledge of his dealings but chooses to not partake in them. On the surface they are the model power couple but cracks in their relationships start to appear after Benson started to get richer.

Yvonne had her own flings as well. Benson chose to close an eye to them even though he is aware of it. It seemed it’s fine with him as long as Yvonne keeps her indiscretion private and not bring it home, afterall, he himself is fucking around.

However, he did not expect Yvonne to throw a fit when he was careless with a upcoming starlet and got caught redhanded.

Things went downhill from then on between them.

Opening Yiling’s folder, I read through her personal information.

She was born 2 minutes after Yvonne.

They are identical twins, not exactly a carbon copy but you can tell they are sisters. There are slight differences in their facial features but they are equally hot and pretty.

Yiling was recruited when she was in school by Owen. It was pure coincidence that her sister ended up with Benson.

Yiling went through a condensed version of the training I went through lasting only 5 months. She’s not meant to do the heavy hitting work all the time.

She is currently working in a logistics company as arranged by Owen. No details on what she does is provided. I looked at the other document Owen provided, it contained details about Yiling that I’m supposed to know base on the cover.

I did a final run through and made sure I remember it all.

Looking at the time, I got up and head to the shower.

I was to meet up with Yiling before heading over to her sister’s place later that evening for dinner.

The initial meetup is critical for us to get to know each other a little.

11.30am

I arrived at Bukit Timah plaza dressed a polo shirt with the bottom tucked into my pants.

Carrying a laptop bag and a pair of purely decorative glasses, I looked every part the prim and proper boyfriend without looking like a geek.

I stood near the entrance and waited for Yiling to arrive. Billy by now would be in position 3 units down from Benson’s place. Owen has rented an empty unit for the past 3 months to facilitate the 1st attempt preparation.

Owen wanted a copy of the files and information Benson had before the authorities get their hands on them. There are multiple cameras on the grounds as well.

We will need Billy’s help to sterilise the video tapes on site as well. Should the situation allow us to evacuate Yvonne and her son, Billy has a van ready with a trolley at the back.

We were due to meet at 12pm and I pretended to play with my phone while walking around as I checked out the shops in the old shopping mall.

I caught sight of Yiling looking down at me from the 3rd floor as I pretended to check out the directory. I carried on the act of wandering around as I kept checking my phone and peering towards the entrance.

It seems she is not willing to show herself until the appointed time.

12pm

I saw from the reflection of a mirror from the salon I was passing by that Yiling is approaching me from behind.

I felt the tap on my shoulder and I turned around.

Yiling : Hi…. Are you Jeff ?

Yiling brushed her fringe behind her ears together with a good bunch of her shoulder length hair. I could smell the fragrance of her body lotion as she extended her hand.

Jeff : Hi… hi…. Ermm… nice to meet you…. Nice to meet you…. Yiling…

She smiled and suggested we grab a drink at a café.

Jeff : Sure… sure…

Yiling : So…. you’re an … officer… ? from the narcotics bureau ??..

Jeff : Yeah…yeah… I am… I’m a data analyst….. I’ve been following this case since the beginning….

I could see YIling checking me out as I carried on talking. Owen had reassured her that the partner he is sending her is just a simple paper pusher who has not done any field work at all.

As much as possible, she is to take the lead behind the scenes and assist me to get the information I supposedly required. However, her priority is still to get Benson.

I thanked her for agreeing to serve as an intermediary to introduce me to the family.

Jeff : Thank you for agreeing to do this….

Yiling : It’s ok…. I’m just concerned about my sister….

She immediately asked if I had done something like this before.

Jeff : oh  no .. no… this is my first time… so…. I’m a little nervous actually… haha..haha…

Yiling : You’re kidding right…

Jeff : No I’m not… but don’t worry… we’re just purely gathering information…just relax…. I will do all the work…i’ll keep an eye out for your safety as well.

Yiling : right…..hmmm… thank you…

We ordered our drink at the café and I could see Yiling have a lot of reservations about doing this with me. She asked me if I could remember the story of how we met.

Jeff : Yes… yes…. We met while we were in school….. when we were in the final year… we did the project together… and we got closer because of that… after graduation… we worked in the same company and we got together after 3 months…. Our anniversary date is….

I rattled off the information and I could see Yiling taking a deep breath before exhaling slowly.

Yiling : Jeff… jeff.. ok… stop…

Jeff : why ?

Yiling : I .. ermm.. I think you are a little bit nervous…

Jeff : Yes…. Yes I am…. i… I’ve never played the boyfriend role before…and…sorry… I’m having my verbal diarrhoea already… hahah….

Yiling : It’s ok….just act normally as friends will do..

Yiling looked out of the café for a brief moment before asking me what is my task for getting access to the family.

Jeff : i.. ermmm..

YIling : It’s ok… we’re in this together… you can tell me… I want to get my sister out and away from my brother in law ….

Jeff : I’m suppose to access the computer terminals….and collect all the relevant information I can get… photos too if possible…. That’s all I can tell you… the rest you won’t know one… I cannot say also… it’s errr…. Classified…haha…

Yiling nodded as she thought about what I just told her.

YIling : Well… I can say for sure our access in the house will be closely monitored… I don’t think we can get to explore as if we own the place… but still… I’ll do my best to help you… I know my way around….

Jeff : yes… yes… thank you… don’t worry… once we get all the information we need, we can definitely put your brother in law away for a long time….

I took a sip of the hot coffee that was just served to us and I burned my lips on purpose and almost spilled the hot coffee on the table.

Jeff : ouch.. ouch… sorry… sorry… haha…

I looked at Yiling who was trying hard to give me a forced smile. She must be screaming ‘idiot’ in her head by then.

We finished up our drink and got up from the café.

As we stepped out, Yiling adjusted the strap on her purse and her soft hands took mine.

I felt her fingers interlink with mine and I bit my lips, avoiding her eyes as I tried to act naturally.

Yiling : Jeff..

Jeff : err… yes ?

Yiling : Look at me…

I turned to look at YIling. Her eyes is naturally big and round. She has a bit of baby fats on her cheeks and she looks cute despite her age. I would date her for sure given a different set of circumstances, then again, I have a no dating colleague rule that I intend to abide.

Especially knowing what my fellow colleagues are capable of.

Yiling is 32, a few years older than me but you could never tell from her looks.

The white blouse she was wearing is a little translucent and I could see clearly the white spaghetti top beneath. Her light pink bra straps are visible.

Her breast is not big, a nice and round B would be my best estimate. They push tight against her bra, and I could see a hint of a lacy print on the think material of her spag top.

The hip hugging jeans left nothing much to imagination as to how perky her bottom and how shapely her legs are. A pair of grey heels completed her look.

Yiling, like her sister can be described as a fine specimen of the female species at this age range.

Yiling : We’re a couple right…

Jeff : yes.. yes… right…

Yiling : just be natural…

Jeff : I know… I’m trying….

Yiling : hahah… why ?… is it that hard ? …. I’m not pretty enough ??

Jeff : no.. no… you’re… you’re pretty… that…that’s why it’s so difficult… you’re too pretty…

YIling laughed as she let go of my hand and linked arms with me.

Yiling : Thank you… no one has told me I’m pretty in a long time…

Jeff : Impossible… you’re.. you’re so hot… haha.. ahha … do you… do you have a boyfriend ? …

Yiling : yes…. You…

Jeff : oh… oh… hahaha… that’s nice.. haha..

A playful slap arrived on my arm as we went back into the shopping mall.

Yiling: come to think of it… it’s good that you are nervous….

Jeff : Why do you say that ?

Yiling : You’ve read the files about Benson right… what he do… the people he mixes with…

Jeff : Yeah of course…

Yiling : It’s natural to be nervous…. If you are too calm… he might suspect something instead…

Jeff : Really ? … haha… ok… ok… that’s good… that’s good…

I spend the next 2 hours with Yiling to go through our ice breaking session. I could detect her total lack of confidence in me to do my job, that meant that my disguise is holding up well.

Yiling’s body is sculpted, her legs and arms are tone. Her movements are graceful and she has a sweet smile permanently etched on her face. Her eyes though, betrayed her thoughts easily. She has a lot in her mind.

She’s tense and edgy. She reacts to every loud noise from the slam of a door to the scream of a toddler. Her eyes never stopped darting around.

She’s checking out everyone that comes near us a little too obviously.

I grabbed a bottle of wine from a shop before we hopped onto the cab to head over to Benson’s place.

Located in the heart of Bukit Timah, Benson’s place is a large bungalow with it’s own driveway leading up to the house itself.

The cab is not allowed to enter the driveway and we alighted at the main gate.

There is a guardhouse of sort by the entrance and a heavily tattoed man with the 1st 2 buttons of his shirt unbuttoned came out with a cigarette on his lips.

He took a look at YIling and gestured to me.

Yiling : He’s my boyfriend…. I already told sis I’m coming here for dinner… open the fucking door…

She is indeed as short tempered as the file says she is. Yiling made no attempt to hide her disgust for walking into that place.

The man smirked and took his time releasing the magnetic catch of a side gate for us.

We stepped into the compound of the house and I could see the nicely manicured lawn and landscaping. Hidden amongst the shrubs and bushes were black poles between 1.2M – 1.7m in height. Cameras were mounted on them. I could see they covered multiple angles, overlapping each other’s field of view.

Attempts were made to blend them in together with the landscaping.

A large water feature greeted up as we walked up the gentle slope towards the house. The gentle fall of water onto a shallow pebbled floor gave the entrance a peaceful feel.

Jeff: You ok… you’re wearing heels…

Yiling looked surprised as she turned to look at me.

Yiling : Oh… you noticed…. Hahah

Jeff : Of… of course…

Yiling : Are you checking me out ??

Jeff : no… no la… .no la… I’m just saying… looks painful…

Yiling : haha.. I’m fine…

As we got closer to the main door, I could see 2 other men loitering the entrance. My eyes immediately saw the scanner on one of the guy’s hand. Beyond that at the entrance foyer, I saw a smaller scale version of those security scanner you see at airport and checkpoints.

Well, the first attempt must have spooked him.

I kept up my pace towards the entrance and I could see the men lazing around. One of them asked the other for a light while the other just threw him his lighter.

Yiling’s pace changed and I could feel a difference in her speed.

She slowed down further when she saw the metal detector at the entrance.

Jeff : you ok ? ….. painful to walk in your heels ?

Yiling replied a little too quick as she bent down on the pretext of removing her left heel.

Yiling : Yes…yes…ouch… I can feel a blister coming….

Jeff : I got plaster in my bag…

I reached for the small compartment of my bag while Yiling bent down to massage her foot.

While rummaging through my bag, I saw Yiling discreetly reached into her purse and pull out a small dagger.

What the hell is she thinking ?

I heard the men at the entrance shout at us , wondering what we are up to and I turned.

Jeff : coming… coming… leg pain…. She wearing heels !…

I announced to the whole world as I bent down and offered Yiling a plaster.

She was no longer holding the dagger and I presumed she has thrown it into the bush beside us.

Yiling : Thank you… I think I’ll remove my heels…

Jeff : Oh…

Yiling adjusted her bag, linked arms with me on my right as she held onto the pair of heels on her right hand.

When we got to the entrance, the men waved for us to stop.

Yiling : need to go until this extent or not… you think checking into airport is it ??

The men ignored her jibe and did a cursory scan of her body. I followed every movement Yiling made and she’s pretty smooth. She raised her hands, holding onto her pair of heels above her head as the scanner ran along the side of her body.

She deliberately kept her heels out of the scanner’s way as she turned her body, changing hands to hold the pair of footwear.

When she could not avoid a direct scan of her heels, she dropped one when the hand held scanner got close, allowing the scan to go through the other side.

They gave her the all clear and motioned for her to enter the house.

Yiling picked up her heels and walked in, turned around and waited for me.

I put down my bag and cleared the manual scan on the 1st go.

The men gestured for me to put my bag on the scanning belt and I did as I was told. They took all our mobile phones as well.

Yiling placed her purse on the belt after me.

The moment my bag went through the scanner, it set off the alarm.

The guy resting on the chair who was staring at the screen in a disinterested manner suddenly stood up immediately and shouted for his friends.

The men came running in and started shouting at me while Yiling waited at the side of the portal. From the corner of my eye, I saw her push her heels pass the corner of the portal using her feet while all attention were on me.

Jeff : what… what…. What happened ? I didn’t do anything…

A chap with hair dyed blonde grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me towards the screen.

I saw the outline of a swiss army knife in my bag and I almost wanted to curse at Yiling.

She had thrown away the dagger but while I was not looking, she put that into my bag.

Blonde hair chap : what is this… what is this !!!

Jeff : I don’t know… I don’t know !!! I really don’t know… !!

Blonde hair chap : what the fuck you mean you don’t know…. Take it out… take it out !!!

His friend emptied my bag and together with my laptop, out falls a small swiss army knife.

Blonde hair chap : what is this… why do you need this for !!!

I looked around at the menacing faces and I tried to find the right words.

Jeff : I…. I don’t remember seeing that… i… I don’t know… maybe my colleague accidentally … accidentally….

SMACK!

I felt a spark of fire ignite in my belly as I got smacked in my face by the blondie. People are going to get hurt for this project. Perhaps more so than intended.

Jeff : owww…ouch… !! stop.. stop….

I held onto my cheek and Yiling finally came over to my rescue.

Yiling : What the fuck is your problem… it’s just a fucking swiss army knife… people use it for keychain all the time…. what’s the big issue…

YIling grabbed the knife from the belt and threw it at them.

Yiling  : You want you take it la…. Don’t fucking waste our time !…. I’m here to see my sister !

Without giving the men a chance to react from this, Yiling held onto my hand and drag me barefoot across the portal.

The moment we were through, she slipped on her heels.

As her heels clicked across the marble floor of the house towards the grand staircase, I looked up and I could see someone looking down at us.

Dressed in a blue bathrobe adorned with Chinese dragons in gold thread, Benson looked like he walked out of a movie set that depicts Asian triads in the western countries. His eyes never left his sister in law.

He had a bottle of vodka in his right hand and I saw him take a large swig as Yiling held my hand and led me up the staircase.

Benson stood in the middle on Yiling’s path without a word.

I could smell the stench of alcohol from his breath as he looked at us.

Benson : what do we have here !!! hahaha… hi Yiling…. My favourite sister in law….and….. who is this…. Gentlemen beside you…. ??

Yiling : he’s my boyfriend…. I’m here to see my sister……

Benson : hahaha…. Bringing a boyfriend along now… hahah… are you afraid to be alone with me ? hahah…

Benson turned to look at me with his bloodshot eyes. His eyes traces the lines of my face to the bottom of my feet as he sized me up. He’s the same height as me but a lot fatter. He looked like he could lose a good 10kg.

He looked older than the photos I was shown too.

Benson : come….. my wife is breast feeding my son I think… come… come… I bring you to her…

We removed our shoes before stepping into Yvonne’s room.

Benson came over to me. He put his arms around my shoulder and squeeze the muscles beside my neck. I reacted the way he wanted me to. He’s insecure, unsure, and he has to flex his muscles just to reaffirm that he is in control.

Jeff : erhhh.. AHHHH!!

I bent down low as Benson gave my neck a good shake, laughing gleefully at my discomfort.

Benson  : what’s your name brother ?? … what’s your name ??

Jeff : Jeff…. My name is Jeff…

Benson : Jeff… tell me …hahahah… have you seen a woman breast feed before ? hahaha.. haha….

Yiling grabbed my hand and pulled me away from Benson .

Yiling : leave him alone…

Yvonne’s room looked like an apartment on it’s own. We crossed the living area and head towards a room at the back.

It was quiet.

We stepped in and I could see Yvonne trying to put her child down to sleep. She looked tired. There were dark circles around her eyes and she gestured and beg us to stay back.

Benson chuckled.

Benson  : She’s paranoid about making noise… when the baby is trying to sleep.

I could see Yvonne on the verge of tears as Benson approached her.

Yvonne patted her son who was stirring and she threw a towel at Benson. I could see her gesturing in a irritated manner for him to get out and leave her alone.

The baby stirred and made some noise, Yvonne almost broke down as she patted the child, praying that he would finally take a nap.

Benson grinned and revealed how much of a bastard he is when he hugged onto Yvonne from behind.

She tried to worm her way out but he hugged onto her tightly form behind, pressing his nose onto her hair.

Benson looked at us.

He looked at Yiling.

His hands reached for the right breast of her wife.

I don’t know what the fuck he is trying to do.

Yvonne shook her head and tried to fight him but it was no use.

I felt the rush of blood to my cock when I saw Benson squeezed his wife’s breast.

My cock got hard like water rushing into a fire fighter’s hose when the valve is turned. My boxers got stretched as I watch Benson’s eyes undressing his sister in law’s body as a wet patch started to form on the outside of Yvonne’s silk night gown.

Benson squeeze harder and the patch grew.

He kept squeezing, and I could see Yvonne’s milk staining her nightgown as she cried silently while patting her child.

Without warning, Benson stopped squeezing and pulled his wife’s top against her lactating breast and the moisture immediately painted a picture of Yvonne’s engorged love pillow in front of me.

I’m seen some sick shit in my career but this one is beginning to top the cake.

I could see Yiling about to scream at Benson but she was afraid of scaring the child.

Benson pulled his wife’s hands away from the baby and using his body, nudged a sobbing and crying Yvonne away from the crib.

Benson : hahhaa….

I watched on in horror as he placed his large hand on the baby. He stroked the boy a couple of times. The way he looked at the boy, there was not a single ounce of affection.

He stroked the baby as if he was obliged to.

There was no longer a smile on his face as he looked up and spoke so soft that I had to strain my ears to hear what he says.

Benson : let’s have some ….. family bonding fun…. Before dinner…. Shall we ?

………………………………….

 

Yvonne tried to push Benson away but a simple shrug was all he need to give to send her falling back onto the couch by the side. I saw an aggressive streak flash across Benson’s face for a brief moment before it disappeared.

He’s clearly intoxicated.

Looking at the sobbing mess on the couch by the crib, it’s hard to believe she is the same Yvonne I saw on the files.
This was a totally different Yvonne from the one I saw on the photos.

The makeup, the fake eyelashes, they are all gone.

What I see in front of me was just an image of a frightened mother, lost, helpless and perhaps in the midst of sinking into depression. She looked tired, probably going through sleepless nights trying to take care of the newborn.

I looked around the room. There were no signs that she had any help from helpers or confinement nannies. This is weird, considering the fact that I saw a couple of helpers hanging about at the open kitchen on level 1.

Yiling went forward immediately and she whispered harshly at Benson.

Yiling : What the fuck is wrong with you….!!! What is wrong with you!!

Benson cast a side way glance at Yiling before looking at the sleeping child.

Benson : Look… take a look… look like me or not ?

Yiling did not answer his question and Benson repeated himself, a little aggressive this time.

Benson : Look like me or not…. You tell me… look like me or not … !!! LOOK LIKE OR NOT !!!

Yiling glared at Benson and I could see her fist clenched.
Yvonne was sobbing by the side and she was tugging the bathrobe Benson was wearing, asking him to stop.

Yvonne : You’re drunk… you’re drunk…. Go away… just leave us alone !…you’re going to scare Bobby!…
Benson : I’m drunk ? …. You’re saying I’m drunk ?? I’m asking your sister a question here…she’s not answering me…

He turned to me next and he gestured to me with his hand stretch and his fingers pointing down. A few lifeless sweep of his fingers followed and I looked at Yiling as I went closer.
Benson’s other hand was still resting on the child.

Benson : Jeff…. Tell me…. Look like me or not…

Jeff : ermmm… i… I’m not good with faces….. I… can I don’t answer this… err…

Benson : Answer me …. Does he look like me…. ?

Jeff : well… I … I think he has your … your… cheeks ?

Benson laughed, obviously more entertained than my answer than convinced.

Benson : bullshit… i… I think…. I think this child… is not mine……

Yvonne stood up, enraged by the statement her husband made.

Yvonne : What are you saying !!!

Benson whispered harshly back at Yvonne.

Benson : You know jolly well what I’m saying !!!… you’re fucking around…
Yvonne swung her hands at Benson, slapping him across the cheek and setting off a chain reaction of disaster in the room.

Yvonne : You are also fucking around !!! I…

Before Yvonne could go on, Benson slapped her so hard she spun around and fell back onto the couch.

The commotion caused Bobby to wake up. Yiling rushed forward and she shoved Benson away from the crib and her sister.

Yiling : Fuck you Benson ! …arghhh!!! Get away from my sister !!!

Benson laughed as he staggered backwards. His hand massaged his chest as he looked at Yiling.

I kept up a look of panic and I tried to calm everyone down while discreetly taking a step closer to the crib.
Jeff: calm down.. everyone just calm down !!

Everyone ignored me and I took another step in the right direction.
I want to be able to reach for the child and pull him out of harms way should the situation get worse.

Benson walked towards Yvonne and Yiling stood in front of him, blocking his way.

YIling : back off … don’t you fucking touch my sister…
Benson : oh… oh…. Then… then I touch you instead then… hahah.. haha…

Benson held onto Yiling’s shoulder before pulling her towards his body, laughing like a drunk king playing with his harem. He hugged onto Yiling and tried to kiss her.
Yiling snapped and without warning, she delivered a knee towards Beson’s groin. That hit was so hard that I too felt a strange sensation in my cock. It’s like someone shaking my dick after I pee. That has to hurt.

My jaws dropped an inch as I position myself right beside the crib with the baby screaming his lungs out.

Jeff : Oh my god…

Benson : WARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! aWHGGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As if the knee to his jewels were not enough, Yiling felt compelled to punch Benson in his left eye before delivering a back handed slap to his right cheek. To finish it off, she shove Benson back with her right foot connecting with Benson’s backside.
The baby screamed for it’s guardians having woke from a fright from the commotion.

Benson’s shouts attracted the attention of his men into the room. They all ran in one after another to their boss.

Benson clutched onto his cock and he wailed like a dying animal being torn apart by wolves

Benson : erhghhh… arghhhhhhhh!!! FUCK!!! FUCK YOU!!!! FUCK YOU BITCH!!! aRGHHH!!!!! ARHGH!!!!

Benson swung around wildly as he crashed onto furniture and fitting. Yvonne immediately cradled her son in her hands, trying to hush him back to sleep.
I looked at the 4 men that had entered the room and I sighed in my head. Yiling is too hot headed.

Yiling grabbed her sister’s hand and tried to get her to leave the room with her.

Benson : grab her… GRAB HER!!!!

Yiling tried to kick the 1st man that came to her but he ducked and grabbed onto her hair.

Yiling: Yanking her towards him, he put her in a armlock as her legs trashed wildly at the rest of the man around her.

Jeff: Hey… hey …let go !! let her go….

I went avoided the hands and wild kicks of the men and ran straight towards Yiling.

I shoved another guy away with my shoulder and tried to prise the arm away from Yiling neck like a amateur.

Someone just lifted up a wooden chair and was heading towards us.

Jeff : let go… let go of her you fuck !!!

I timed for the arrival of the chair and dug my right thumb into soft fleshly arm of the man holding Yiling.

He grunted in pain and with everything happening at the same time, I pretended to fall backwards, tugging him into the path of the falling chair.

CRASH!!!

The impact on the man’s head and shoulder released Yiling from his grasp, causing her to fall onto me.

Jeff : ahhh.. aiyah… aiyah….

Seeing that he missed his 1st shot, the guy wielding the timber chair lifted it up again, sending it hurling towards Yiling and me.

I orientated my body and shielded the hit with my back.

Jeff : AHHH!!!aRHH!! fuck…

Yiling : are you ok…. ??

The man that was holding Yiling initially looked like he was going to explode as he charged towards us.

Yiling grabbed my hand and pulled me behind her.

Yiling : Stay back….
Jeff : huh ?
She dove forward and drove a knee towards the man’s chest but she was not fast enough. That man’s weight got to be at least twice of hers and she missed the spot she wanted to hit.

He grabbed onto YIling and head butted her in her face.
Another came over and within seconds it was over. They each grabbed onto YIling’s arms as she trashed about, cursing and swearing at the men.

I shook my head and was about to make another attempt to rescue her when I saw something that made me freeze.

Benson is up on his feet with the help of his man. Yvonne was crying on the floor alone.

Benson was holding onto the crying child with one hand.

The screams from that tiny human almost perforated my eardrums.

Benson : I will fucking drop him….. go ahead and try me…. I will drop him onto the floor…

Yvonne : no..NO!!!.. please… no.. no..!!!
Benson : Ah Huan….. tie her up… !

Benson gestured to Yiling and I objected immediately.

Jeff : Stop this…!!! Now !!! this is too much !!
The blondie guy that smacked me earlier shove me 2 steps to me right before delivering a kick towards my stomach. I took it after I tensed up my abdomen before collapsing onto the floor, pretending to roll in pain.

Jeff : arhh.. blergghh!!! Bleefhhjj!!.. bleeeahhhh !!!
The retching and near vomiting fit set off a series of laughs from the men as Benson chided Yiling for choosing someone like me as a boyfriend. Samuel kicked me against on the side of my ribcage.
Benson : enough Samuel…….don’t kill him ah…. Hard to clean up….. my god Yiling….hahah… and I thought you would have chosen someone more…. Capable…. Like me….hahaha..hahah…

Yiling : fuck you !!

Benson : yeah ?? really ? hahaha.. haha…

Benson asked the guy who threw the chair earlier to help Ah Huan tie Yiling up.

Benson : Ah Leong… tie her to the chair… quick…. Hahah… fucking bitch….want to play with me right…. Want to play with me ??

Jeff : what are you doing ?!! .. stop !!!

Benson : hahah… Jeff…. My dear Jeff… aiyoh…. Relax…. I’m just going to welcome you into the family… that’s all… hahaha…hahah… come… come….
Benson still held onto his screaming child. The cries were starting to get weaker. That poor baby is exhausting itself out with it’s cries.
He handed the baby to Samuel and said something to him.
He then left the room with the child and the rest of the men leaving only Ah Huan and Ah Leong behind.

Yvonne : my baby… where are you bringing him !!!

Benson : don’t worry….hahaha…. he won’t die la… haha.. haha….

He grabbed Yvonne by her hair and dragged her over to a chair.

I clutched onto my stomach as I took in what is going on. This is fuck up.
Yiling was struggling in vain against the cable ties while being held down by Ah Huan.

Yvonne is pretty much useless, all she did was cry.

Benson :Jeff… look…. See… you say….. you say you are bad with faces…. Hahaha… so I’ll give you a simple one….hahaha.. hahaa..

He gestured to the 2 sisters sitting opposite each other.
Benson : Look like or not… hahaha..hahah… look like each other or not… hahaha..haha…

Jeff: yes… yes.. they are twins… of course they look like each other.. !

Benson : good !! hahaha.. this is exactly the answer I want.. hahah…
Benson walked to a dresser table and he pulled open the drawer. I watch him remove 2 pairs of scissors and he went over to Yvonne.

Jeff : WHAT are you doing !!!

I watched in horror as he started to snip.

Benson laughed as he started to cut the nightgown his wife is wearing.
Yvonne hardly resisted. She just sat there are her husband made messy cuts of her silk gown, exposing her breast that are full of milk. Benson removed the clothes from his wife with a combination of cutting and ripping the fabric apart.

Benson : hhaha.. hahha… look…look… haha…. Hot right…. So hot….haha.. hahah..

I stared dumbfounded at Yvonne’s naked body which she was trying hard to cover.
Then Benson threw the other pair of scissors to me.
Benson : let’s see if the sister’s body look the same too shall we ? hahha.. haha

I looked at that pair of scissors in front of me before looking at Yiling.

She screamed and cursed, trying to get out of the chair but was held firmly in place.
I went forward and grab the pair of scissors, pointing it at the men in front of me.

Jeff : stop this !!! sTOP!! This… .i warn you… I’m warning you… !!

The men laughed as I orientated the scissors at the men as I asked them to release Yiling. I closed the number of paces between Yvonne and me as I moved discreetly.

If I could get Benson, I could make the men release Yiling from the chair.

Then Benson did something so sick that it put the thought of inflicting pain on him for pleasure all the more tempting for me.

He grabbed Yvonne’s right breast. He grabbed it.
Then he opened up his scissors and put the cutting blade right at her nipple.

Yvonne sobbed and her body shook.

Benson : eh…ehe.. eh… don’;t move… don’t move ah… hahaha… haha you don’t want to cut your nipples off right… hahaha..hahah…

Benson licked his lips and looked at me.

Then he laughed and squeezed his wife’s engorged breast.

Benson : look Jeff… look… whoooooo.. whoooo..

As he did, I saw the squirt of fresh breast milk from Yvonne’s breast.
Benson : hahaha..hahah… go… go and cut your girlfriend’s clothes off…. Or I’m going to cut her nipple off… hahaha.. hahahaa. !!!

Yiling’s curses at Benson is so vile that I was thankful the baby is not in the room even though he would not have understood what it meant.

Benson : I’m going to cut….. haha.. I’m really going to cut…!!! Hahaha
Benson squeeze his wife’s breast again , chuckling at my indecisiveness.
I walked to Yiling and looked at her.

She looked at her sobbing sister and she nodded at me.
I felt the rush of blood to my cock as put my hand on the blouse Yiling is wearing.

I did the first snip and I could see the grin on Ah Huan’s face.

Ah Huan : cut the strap…. Cut the straps !!
I cut off the strap of Yiling’s bra and spag top together. Ah Huan laughed as he yanked down her unsupported bra and cupped his hand on her breast.

Yiling : erhgh!!! FUCK!! Fuck you !!!
Ah Huan : wah… so firm and soft.. haha.. haha… lucky you boy… haha.. can squeeze this every night.. haha..haha..

Benson looked on in amusement and asked me to continue.

Benson : again… some more…. Some more !!! cut them !!!
Jeff : sorry… I’m so sorry .!!

I mumbled softly to YIling who pressed her eye shut as I worked.

By the time her blouse and bra is on the floor, Ah Huan and Ah Leong were laughing and teasing her nipples, squeezing and kneading her breast as if they were checking out fruits at a supermarket.

I could see YIling holding back her tears amidst the humiliation.

Benson : her jeans… her jeans as well !! haha.. haha…
Yvonne sobbed and apologised to her sister as I started snipping off the denim jeans Yiling was wearing.

It was not easy cutting the denim with the small pair of scissors but I managed to.
As I revealed more and more of Yiling’s creamy white legs, I could feel my heart pumping faster. It’s been a while since I fucked a woman and Yiling is my cup of tea.

Ah Huan : her panty…. Cut her panty !!!hahah.. hahaha…
I pulled off the torn pair of jeans and I hands shook as I touched the lacy black panty Yiling was wearing.

2 snips was all it took and I pulled the panty out from under Yiling’s bottom.

Benson : hahah..haha… give me… give to me… !!

Ah Leong threw the panty across to Benson who caught it easily with his free hand. Benson rubbed the torn panty with his fingers.

The look he had on his face.
If his men were not there in the room, I bet he would sniff the torn panty, licking the spot where his sister in law’s pussy were just moments ago.

Benson turned to me and he asked me the question again.

Benson : how Jeff ? … look…. Look carefully… haahaha.. .. their bodies…. Look like twins or not…. Haha…
I said nothing but I kept my eyes on him.

Benson : what? Stare at me ah…. Ohhh… I so scare…. Don’t scare me…haha…fuck you understand… haha… come… come.. change side.. haha…come here Jeff…

I went over reluctantly and he gestured for my pair of the scissors.

Benson : I’m a very fair person…. All my men that works for me knows I’m very fair…see…I’m seeing your girlfriend naked…. But I let you see my wife naked …. Fair or not ? …. Fair or not !!! answer me !!

Jeff : yes…
This is really turning out to be one of the strangest project I’ve ever done.

Benson held onto my right wrist.

Benson : come..come.. is ok… is ok…. Come… come.. touch… touch…
Jeff : No… no… don’t want… don’t want…

Benson : I want… I want you to touch… I insist… haha.. touch… TOUCH!!!

With a forceful yank, Benson pressed my palm onto Yvonne’s breast.
I almost exclaimed out loud as the feeling of Yvonne’s full breast. That has to be at least a full C full choked full of milk.

The weight, the firmness, and I could almost see speckles of white milk forming at the side of her areola as pressure is applied. I’ve squeeze the life out of someone before but I’ve never squeeze milk in my life.
Not even from a cow.

I was a little shocked as Benson pulled me behind Yvonne. His hands squeezed onto the muscles near my neck and I groaned, exaggerating the pain I was feeling.

He grabbed my left hand and put it on Yvonne’s left breast.

Benson : squeeze…..SQUEEZE!!!!
I could not resist the feeling. My head was screaming no.
In fact it was screaming for me to disarm Benson of the scissors and jab it into his eye.

I could not fight that temptation. The feeling of that pair of full tits in my hand. Her skin felt warm to the touch. Yvonne was crying, she was looking down, her chin tucked and bounced against her chest as she sob and there I was, with my fucking hands around her breast.

Benson :SQUEEZE!!! SQUEEZE!!

I kneaded Yvonne’s breast and I could feel my cock turning into a hardened spear as jets of milk squirt out from her breast.

It did not come out straight. No .
Milk don’t travel in a straight line.

They went everywhere. Fucking all over the place.

Jeff : oh fuck….
Benson : hahaha.. hahah… yeah… nice ? ?harder… squeeze harder !!!! SQUEEZE!!!
Benson almost shouted into my ears as I applied pressure onto Yvonne’s breast again, sending a jet of fresh milk onto the floor in front of the girls.
Benson : again… again !!! my wife has too much milk !!!…. SQUEEZE!!!

Yvonne sobbed as she tried to get up but Benson held onto a tuff of her hair, yanking her head back.

Benson : do it.. squeeze… SQUEEZE!!!!

Jeff : aHHHHH!!!
I also almost hear a high pressured jet of milk go towards me as I blessed my face with warm milk.

Benson : nice… nice right….come.. come here…
I let go of Yvonne, honestly in shock with what I just did.

Owen did not include a class on breast milking for my training.

Benson dragged me and he motioned for me to kneel down in front of Yvonne.

Benson : here… do it here… trust me… I tried… it’s fucking amazing…. Do it here..

Jeff :No… no it’s enough… don’t do this anymore…

Benson tried to drag my hand but I resisted, shaking them free.

Benson : do it… do it again !!!!

Jeff :NO… no more…
Benson : no more !!?? huh ? no more ??

Benson grabbed onto his wife’s breast from behind and he squeezed them. \

Jeff : raRHHH.. arGHHH!!

He shot jets after jets of milk at my face.

Jeff : stop… stop !! please…
He laughed like he was high on drugs as I shielded my face from the jets of milk.

Benson grabbed my hair and pushed me towards Yvonne’s breast.

Benson : suck….suck her tits…huh… suck her fucking tits…!!
Jeff : erghhh.. no..no.. please no… suck them !!!

He pressed my face onto Yvonne’s breast and he grabbed a tit and pushed it to my mouth.

Fuck this shit, I could not resist it anymore.
I could either stand up, break his arm and then break his neck or I could fucking suck on Yvonne’s full tits and then do the same thing.

My mouth opened and I wanted to moan as I felt the strong current of milk entered my throat.

Yvonne : ernghhh… ernghhh!! .ernghh!!

Benson : hhahaha.. wHAHAHAHAH….nice or not… nice or not !!!

I gagged a little as Benson pushed my head against his wife’s breast and kept squeezing her tits.

Benson : suck…. I want to see you suck !!!! your cheeks tell me you are not sucking !!! hahaha !!!!

Jeff :slurppzzz !!!! slurppzz!!!!

Benson : yes… yes… now you are sucking … nice or not ??? nice or not !!!

I must have swallowed a few mouthfuls of Yvonne’s milk before I was yanked backwards onto the floor. Benson took more cable ties and proceeded to tie his wife’s hands behind the chair.

He strapped each of her ankle to the leg of the chair as well, spreading her pussy wide for all to see in the same manner as her sister.

He dragged me towards Yvonne’s breast again.

Jeff : no… no… stop…enough…

Before I realised it, I was once again sucking to Yvonne’s tits.

Oh god, the warmth and the sweetness of her breastmilk lubricated my dry throat.

Benson : suck … SUCK!!!!

He jabbed at my cheek to make sure I was sucking.

Benson : Don’t swallow…. Don’t swallow ok… haha.. hahah.. don’t swallow… !!!

I sucked and got a good mouthful of milk in my mouth and I was starting to gag, causing the precious asset to drip down my chin and neck.

Benson grabbed my hair and thrust me in front of Yvonne’s vagina.
Benson : spray it… SPRAY IT at her cunt!!! You got see breast milk BUKKAKE before ?? yes or no ??

My cheeks were puffed up. I could see Yvonne’s pussy right in front of me when Benson punched my stomah.

Jeff :berlghhhh!!! Pusshshhh…
I blessed Yvonne’s privates with a dose of my saliva and her own breast milk that I extracted with my mouth.

Benson and his men laughed so hard that they were clutching the sides of their tummy.

A kick send me onto the floor,.
I coughed and turned onto my stomach as I caught my breath.
Fuck, I would do that again in a totally different set of circumstances. It’s like Jap porn on steroids.

I pretended to pant and catch my breath as Benson now turned his attention to Yiling.
I could see the fire in Yiling’s eyes by then. I knew given a chance, she would kill Benson. She would end him in a heartbeat.
Benson : Jeff…. See… I let you do all those to my wife… it’s not too much if I do it to your girlfriend right ??

Jeff :No… no !!! please… don’t !!

Benson : hahaha…haha…why … have to be fair right…. Right ??
Yiling screamed and trashed about but was held down by Ah Leong and Ah Huan. Benson stuck out his tongue, wriggling it like a worm about to be lowered into the water.

Benson : ler ler ler ler ler…. Ler.. ler… hahaha
He did a final visual check to make sure his sister in law was being held down before connecting his tongue with Yiling’s nipples.

Benseon : ler.. ler.. ler… slurpzz.. slurpzzz.. ler ler… hahaha..slurpssz….

Yiling : ernghhh !!! arGHH!!.. ernghh !!! fuck !!..fuck you !!!

Benson wiped his chin and got up.

Benson : yes… don’t worry.. you’ll get to fuck me… I’m going to fuck you….i’m going to fuck you till you beg me to stop….then I’m going to let my men fuck you….use you like a fuck toy…

Yiling screamed and wasted her strength struggling against the cable ties and the weight of the men holding her down.

Benson : hold her legs… hold them…..

Benson dragged his wife’s chair across the floor such that the knees of the 2 sisters were touching each other.

Their spread pussy a close mirror image of their identical bodies.

He dragged me across to Yiling and got one of his men to hold my head against the naked thigh of my fake girlfriend.

He wanted me to have a close up look of what he’s doing.

Jeff : Stop… please stop…. Stop this….

Yvonne : Benson !!! stop this !!! leave my sister alone… !

Benson : I’m going to let your sister make you wet…. Hahah..haha….

Benson squeezed Yvonne’s breast.

He kneaded and squeeze, directing streams of milk at Yiling’s vagina.

The men laughed as Benson tried to wet YIling’s love hole with her sister’s milk.

Benson : arnghhhh.. arnghhh !!! pew… pew… pew… ahahaha.. pew pew…

Yvonne : ernnh… ernghhh.. erngh !!!! stop !!! stop !!ernghhh..

Jeff : arhhh.. arhg….
Most of the milk landed on the chair and bits of it wet the small tuff of neatly trimmed pubic hair Yiling has on her privates. I could see the milk coming in squirts, droplets as they build onto a small puddle on the chair. Quite a bit of it landed on my face and nose as well.

Benson wet his fingers on the puddle of milk.
Benson : look ar Jeff… look…. Look ah….

Yiling : eRGHH.. erGNH!!!!..e GHH!!!!!

YIling screamed and moaned as Benson’s wet fingers pushed it’s way into her spread pussy.

He pulled out and dabbed more milk from the chair and he pushed it back in again. When his fingers went into Yiling’s vagina, he finger fucked her several times as her body convulses on the chair, sending splashes of milk all over.

Benson : like this… like this !!! this is how you make your woman wet !!! like this !!

Squishes… Squishes… Squishes… Squishes… vorupp… vorupp …. Vorupp… Squishes…

Yiling : ernghhh !!.. ernghh!!! Aernghhh… arnghh!!!

The sound that is filling my ears cannot be described. Like a wet fart repeating itself over and over again, it echoed when Benson’s finger pushed into Yiling’s privates.

Benson grabbed his wife’s breast and started milking her again.
Sporadic jets of breast milk wet the entire region of Yiling’s privates. It was a fucking arousing sight from where I was.

I could see dew like drops of milk hanging off the tips of Yiling’s soft pubic hair.
The droplets got heavier and bigger. Benson’s face suddenly appeared and he fucked his face right into YIling’s vagina, slurping up the milk he had just applied on his sister in law’s privates.

Benson : slrupzpzz.z… zhooooootttt!!! zHOOOOOOTTTTZZZZZZ!!!

Yiling : erngnhhh !!! eRNGHH!!!!! FUCK!!> ENGHH!!!!!
Benson : hahahahaha… hahaha… are you wet now?? Are you wet now ?? hahaha..hahaha

Benson wiped his chin, licking his fingers as if he just had a fried chicken from a famous chain.

I pushed myself up from Yiling’s thigh and tried to push Benson away from her.
Jeff : arghhhh!!!

Benson laughed as he staggered backwards before Ah Huan shoved me onto the floor.

Benson then gestured to his wife.

Benson : come Jeff… I know you are angry… I let you do the same to my wife…. Come…come.. you do the same to her… suck her pussy…. Want or not… make my wife wet !!…ahah

Jeff : NO!!
Benson : come on la…. Man up a little…. Don’t get angry over petty stuff like this… women are meant to be shared… hahaha.. haha.

Suddenly the door to the room opened and I saw Samuel coming back in with the baby.

The baby is no longer crying.
Samuel : I fed him some cough syrup… should knock him out for a while…
Yvonne : ARHHH!!!1 ARHGHG!!!!!!! Let me go !!!
Yvonne struggled in her chair but that was all she could do as Samuel handed the baby to Benson.

Benson put the baby down on the crib and announced to the whole world that he is now going to fuck Yiling.
Benson : Ok… I’m going to go and enjoy fucking my sister in law now ok ?? ..hahah…so please…have fun…. I’m going to have mine… hahaha… Samuel…Peter… bring Yiling…..help me tie her up properly… hahaha…. Won’t want her to get loose halfway… hahah..haha..

Turning to Ah Leong and Ah Huan, Benson told them to make sure I fuck Yvonne.
Benson : have to be fair right ?? tio bo ?? hahah… make sure he fucks my wife….. ok… make sure he fucks her while he sees me fuck his girlfriend.. haha..haha… take a video of it… I want to see him fuck that bitch hahaha..haha…

Benson grabbed the baby monitor and asked his men to make sure I can see what’s happening.

Benson : must watch ok Jeff…. Watch me have fun with your girl…….after I’m done… my boys can have them the whole night….i don’t care anymore.. hahha..hahaha…. so I’m giving you first dips…..make sure you enjoy yourself.. hahaha…

Benson’s men grinned as he swaggered towards the exit.
The door closed.
Ah Huan and Ah Leong came over and grab me up.

Jeff : No… no.. what you doing… what you doing…

They brought me over to Yvonne who was still sobbing in her chair.
Ah Huan : letting you enjoy brother…hahaha..let you get free fuck you don’t want is it ?? hahaha… hurry up… after you’re done is our turn…

They dropped me like a sack of rice in front of a naked and shivering Yvonne.

My patience is running thin.

I slowly climbed up and looked at Ah Leong and Ah Huan visually enjoying Yvonne’s naked body. The wife of their employer. Their hands caressed her breast and squeezed her nipples, tasting her milk for themselves as they grinned.

Ah Leong : waiting for what… fuck her la… hahaha..hahaha…
Ah Huan showed me the display screen of what is happening in another room a few doors down.

Samuel and Peter are trying to tie a screaming and trashing Yiling onto the bedframe of Benson’s poster bed.

I looked at Yvonne who sat there helplessly like a rag doll.

Ah Huan : fuck her… quick… got naked girl sit there for you to play..hahaha.. waiting for what…

Ah Leong : why ? … paiseh ah… shy is it…hahaha… girlfriend sister only mah…. Somemore twins… hahaha… fuck and see if it feels the same… hahaha..hahha…

Ah Huan whispered something to Ah Leong and he nodded his head eagerly.
He went to open a few drawers before coming out with a large face towel in brown. Then he twisted it and began to blindfold Yvonne.

Yvonne : stop…stop !!..what are you doing ..!!

Ah Huan : haha.. hahah….

Ah Leong turned to me and put a finger to his lips.
Ah Leong : You shy ar… you shy then you just keep quiet.. hahha… haha.. don’t say anything.. we settle the fucking for you !!.. haha..hahha.. hahaha…. Or you want… we start off first.. then you join in the middle… we can all do together.. hahaha… she won’t know which is you…. Hahaha… don’t worry….

Yvonne : no please… please… stop…sobzz.z. sobzz… sobz… stop this now….

Jeff : enough… stop this…
Ah Huan : hahaha.. you don’t want to fuck you just keep quiet.. sit at the side… watch up play ok ?? hahah.. hahaha…

Ah Huan gestured to Ah Leong, squeezing his index finger, asking his friend to take picture of Yvonne.

I decided that enough is enough.
I went over and shove Ah Huan with one hand, sending him staggering at least 5 steps back before he tripped on his own feet and fall flat onto his buttocks.

Ah Leong : what the fuck…..

Ah Leong threw a punch at me and I ducked it easily, I causally positioned my right leg behind his left and using my arm trip him off his balance. Right before his body touched the floor, my knees gave his centre mass a light push, sending him rolling like a log towards Ah Huan.

Before the 2 of them could recover from the shock, I dragged the chair Yvonne was in towards the crib and turned her back towards us. I grabbed a pair of noise cancelling headphones a side table and put it in Yvonne.

Yvonne : what’s going on ?? what are you doing ?? let me go !!!!

Ah Huan yanked a standing lamp off it’s socket while Ah Leong grabbed one of the pairs of scissors from the table.
Ah Leong : wah…. Somebody pretend pretend ah…. Haha… now want to act hero…haha..

Ah Huan : want to be hero is it ?? haha.. want to act hero ah… ahhaa… you think just us 2 here want to act hero is it ?? huh ? …. Just now see too many people you scare is it ?? hahaha….

He yanked off the lampshade and practised a few strokes, howling like he’s Sun Wu Kong.
Ah Leong laughed as his friend swung the lamp post about pretending to be monkey god.

Ah Leong turned towards me and he shook his head, as if I had bitten off more than I could chew. He dislodged the scissors into 2 halves, holding each side of the cutting blade in his hand.

Ah Leong : act punk is it ? …. Want to be hero ?? hahah…haha… you don’t know what is call pain young man…

Ah Huan : ow..ow… ow….hahaha… monkey god… ow.. ow…kung fu…hoi… hoi… hoi….oww…oww…. I…..know….. Kung….. fu !!… hoi.. hoi….

The men in front of me has got to be at least 10 years older than me yet the manner in which they are behaving left me wondering if they are just intellectually challenged, or they are just plain high from some shit they took.

Ah Leong : I’m going to teach you something …….. call respect… hahaha

A quick glance to the clock on the table told me it’s coming to 8pm.
The curtains to the room are drawn and the door is closed.
Yvonne is sobbing, blindfolded and turned away.
Bobby is sleeping soundly in his crib.
I checked the display screen from the baby monitor that Benson brought along with him.
All 3 men were just about done tying Yiling onto the bed.
Looking back at Ah Leong, I removed my fake glasses, gave him a slight smile and replied.

Jeff : Well…. Teach me…

………………………………………..

 

Ah Huan moved first, running towards me with the lamp post raised about his left shoulder.

He looked like he is going to swing it down on me in the same manner some kid cut down his family’s apple tree.

At moments like this I would get flashbacks of the lessons I took when I was thrown into the middle of nowhere by Owen.

I learnt more about my own body than I would ever have. If not for the fuck up training in the middle of the jungle, my knowledge of my own body would be restricted to that funny lesson I took in the middle of secondary school.

A lesson in which a man comes in and talks to all the boys about their manhood. An awkward education about our sexuality and our body.

If you randomly ask a man for the length of a part of his body, chances are many would tell you the length of his manhood.

I know mine too.

I also know the length of my arms and legs. I know the reach of my fist when my arms are straight. I know the distance of my knee to the centre of my own body when raised.

I know how far and high I can kick.

I know how hard I can punch, and how much pain it would cause me to inflict that punch.

If you have hit someone before with your bare knuckles, you will understand that the pain goes both ways. Eventually you work out a balance, how much pain you are prepared to feel, relative to the amount of pain you are going to inflict.

Aside from knowing how hard to hit, a lot also depends on your perception of distance.

The large marble tiles on the floor is 600mm x 600mm per piece.

Ah Huan’s left foot was 3 tiles away when he raised the lamp post so high above his shoulder. At 1800mm away, with the length of the metal post and that of his extended arm, there is a high chance of him hitting me before I could hit him.

Even blocking the hit with my arms can be painful.

The best course of action here would be to run. A fight, is a trade, it’s like a business.

You want to feel the least pain, while inflicting the most on your opponent. This is the simplest way anyone can describe a hand to hand brawl.

I shit you not. If you don’t have 100% chance of striking your opponent in a situation like this, back off and wait for the right time.

I back off the instance the post came swinging down and crashing onto a chair on the side.
Before the post could be brought back up, I propelled myself forward like a spring that had it’s tension released all of a sudden.

My right knee shot up below Ah Huan’s arms and connected with his stomach.

The pain took a moment to register in his head as Ah Huan immediately dropped the metal pole he was holding. Releasing my knee from his body, my right foot stamped onto the back of his left kneecap, dropping his entire posture to my waiting hand.

I drove the bottom of my palm straight into his nose and I felt the sick crack of soft bones and cartilage as Ah Huan collapsed onto the floor.

It all happened within 3 seconds.

Ah Huan is not unconscious, he’s not dead, he’s not knocked out.

In fact he is slowly registering the pain that must be coursing through his body.

He clutched onto his nose as he gurgled with a mixture of blood and saliva.

His eyes are open but they blinked rapidly, trying to make sense of what is happening.

Ah Leong was so shocked that it took him a second too long to react to me.

I went for him, raising my left knee up towards his chest. He backed off, crossed his arms instinctively in front of his body in an attempt to block my kick but I was not hitting with my left knee.

It was just a gauge of distance. I switched footing and my right foot was up in the air coming down at Ah Leong in the same manner his friend swung the metal lamppost at me.

I wanted to go for the head but my aiming is off.

My kick landed on Ah Leong’s left arm. The loud smack resulting from the impact sounded like an angry parent whipping the cane down on a pillow case.

Ah Leong staggered to his right with his arms flailing wildly in the air as he tried to regain his balance.

I did not give him a chance to and I went for him again.

He extended a hand with the outstretched blade, grunting as he tried to slice my face open.

I caught hold of his wrist, lowered my stance and went under arm, In the same instance I turned my back to face him and stood up with my right shoulder under his biceps. I yanked his hand down with such force that I felt a gentle snap which told me I just dislocated his elbow.

Ah Leong : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

His free hand swung at me with the other blade and I immediately ducked low.

He’s shouting and cursing. I could tell he wanted to come at me but his body would not listen to him.
The pain made Leong’s body move away from the person inflicting it but before he could, my right foot slammed onto the side of his left knee.

I don’t think that it was dislocated but it was enough to knock him off balance and send him to the floor.

Ah Leong : arhgh !!!
I kicked the blades from his hands and bunching my fingers into a fist, I sent it into the side of Ah Leong’s temple. His head bounced off my hands and a couple of times on the floor.

Ah Leong : erhhhhhhhh… erhhhhh…..! !!

Saliva was drooling from his mouth as Ah Leong mumbled with his eyes half opened. He was gurgling like a baby asking for milk. His eyes would not focus as he tried to look at me.

I reckon he won’t be up on his feet for a while.

I checked the display on the baby monitor.

Yiling has been secured onto the poster bed and Benson was standing by the side. He was laughing with his hands by the side of his waist. Samuel and Peter were at the edge of the video frame

There’s still time.

I went over to the baby and tried to shake Bobby awake.

I checked the pulse of the baby. It’s weak. The body is burning up, he’s running a fever.

I opened the drawers by the crib and saw a packet of those stick on patches for kids running a fever and I immediately applied one to the infant. Aside from that I don’t know what else I can do.

Yvonne sobbed on the chair, naked and shivering. She’s of no help to me in this situation.

I searched Leong’s shirt and pants for a phone.

Jeff : password… what’s the password…

Ah Leong : ergkjhkrje… ergyykkk!!

I could not make out what he was saying. His eyes ere rolling about and he’s obviously still disorientated.

I went over to Ah Huan and pulled his phone out from the pocket.

Jeff : Password…

Ah Huan held onto his broken nose and blood was still flowing freely down the side of his cheeks.

Ah Huan : ..ff…fffuu.. fuck you !!…

I turned around calmly and reached for the half of the scissors I disarmed from Leong.

Pressing it into soft spot behind Ah Huan’s ear where the earlobes are located, I applied pressure slowly, jabbing the blade into the soft spot.

Ah Huan : AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! AHGGHGHGHH!!! FUCK!!.FUCK!! AGHRHHH!H!!!

He kicked and tried to push my hands away but I held on, it’s a spot where it hurts even if you push it hard enough with your fingers. I wriggled and sent the blade cutting 2 cm in before Ah Huan told me the password for his phone.

Jeff : Thank you…

Walking away from earshot, I unlocked the phone and dialled the number Owen gave me.

It was picked up immediately by the operator on standby.

Operator : O’s insurance hotline… what can I do for you ?

Jeff : I have a problem with my policy….. I need to speak with my agent….

Operator : Policy number please.

Jeff : 442454

Operator : Please hold..

A dial tone came back up for 2 seconds before I heard Billy’s voice on the line.

Billy : We have a problem… Agent is not available… he just got on a plane…. Is it done ?

Jeff : No….why the fuck is he on a plane ?

Billy : It’s a last minute thing…. What’s the situation ?

I looked at the baby and told Billy I need immediate medical attention for a 2 month infant.

Jeff : I need extraction for mother and child… … medical help for the infant… it’s urgent…

There was a moment of hesitation from Billy’s end and I know why. It’s against protocol.
The clean up and support comes only after the project is completed.

It has always been this way.

Billy : but..

Jeff : do it…..just fucking do it…

Billy : Ok… ok… I’ll…. I’ll think of something…

I hung up and I took the spare cable ties and made sure Ah Leong and Ah Huan will no longer bother me.

I dragged them over to the bathroom and shut the door.
Leong wanted to curse at me but the pain reminded him of what could happen if he tried.

I checked the monitor again, Benson had removed his robe and is now prancing around the bed naked with his cock swinging about.

Yiling, naked and kicking with her limbs tied to all corners of the poster bed looked ripe for the picking.

All Benson needed to do was to get on the bed, mount her and start fertilising her eggs and fulfil his fantasy of bedding his sister in law.

I looked around the room and tried to think of my next course of action.

Sure, I can fucking march into the other room, maul Samuel and Peter into the ground before taking care of Benson but it would complicate matters. Owen went to great length to make sure Yiling do not who I am.

Base on what he said before, he seems prepared to sacrifice her if things go wrong.

Revealing myself to her might put her in harms way if Owen decides to housekeep and make sure nothing leads back to me.

Yiling is immobilised. There’s no way she can take care of Benson in that state.

I paced about the room, keeping an eye on the monitor and checking on the baby.

It seems to me that Bobby is turning more pale by the minute. This is not good.

Yvonne just peed herself and I could detect the pungent smell of urine as I watch her sob on the chair.

I saw some quick movements from the baby monitor.

Benson was gesturing at the door it seems and I saw Samuel and Peter rushing out of Benson’s room.

The 2 men exited and I saw Benson locking the door after them.

This is my chance.

I ran towards the exit and opened it. There was no time for hesitation.

I could hear the frantic crackle on Peter’s walkie talkie that someone is at the main gate.

“ He’s blocking the gate … he’s blocking the gate !!!…fuck… hey.. fuck !! aeggHH”

 

Peter was standing on the top of the steps when he saw me charging towards him

Peter : what the…

He had time to ball up a fist and raise his hand. I went in low, sliding on my knees at the last moment hugging onto his body as I orientated myself to his back, using the momentum I lifted Peter who did not even have time to shout off the floor and slamming him onto his back and shoulder on the floor.

Peter : erghhhh!!

I straddled him and smashed my palm onto his forehead, delivering a loud thud onto the marbled floor hitting the side of his ear with my kneecap. Hopping onto his left without breaking a beat, I kicked his limp body off the stairs.

I could hear Peter’s body fall as his head and joints hit the expensive finishes Benson had chose for his staircase.

By the time he landed on his back on a landing 6 steps down, he was disorientated, bleeding from his ears and I could see a large cut down he side of his cheek.

Peter : arghhhh.. arghhh.!!

I was up on my feet, flying down the steps as Samuel turned back when he was standing at the front door. He had just opened the door to another colleague of his who was running towards him.

Samuel had a look of disbelief on his face as he tried to come to terms with what is happening.
He was still digesting what he was seeing, probably wondering why his friend is bleeding and lying in pain in the middle of the staircase landing.

I could hear the new guy running towards Samuel saying that someone had just blocked their front gate with his vehicle.

Despite all these, there was more than enough time for Samuel to react to me charging towards him.

Jeff : arGHHH!!

I tried to land a kick on Samuel but he ducked in time, almost tripping over the carpet by the door.
The 1st punch I threw at him was blocked by his forearms as he adopted a defensive position. The 2nd one came a lot harder as I slammed my hit towards his wrist, causing his own knuckles to hit his forehead.

Samuel : fuck !! argHH!!

He jumped forward, grabbing onto me. Being taller and bigger, his weight threw me off balance for a brief moment. His head came towards me in an attempt to smash my nose in but I shifted just in time to feel his forehead graze pass my right cheek.

With my arms pinned to the side of my body, I reached for Samuel’s midsection, sinking my thumb into the sections between his ribcage. He howled in pain as he threw me onto the floor.

Samuel’s friend was in shock as to what is going on and he grabbed a golf club from a cabinet before coming towards me.

I heard the roar of an engine as Samuel’s misplaced punch gave me a chance to deliver a uppercut to his chin, smashing his jaw upwards into his gums. Grabbing his face, I tripped Samuel before smashing him back first onto the marble floor with a loud thud.

I saw the van slice across the water feature, splashing water all over the place before stopping right at the entrance.

I barely ducked the angry golf club that found it’s target in that of an unfortunate vase that had outlived it’s decorative function.

The pieces smashed onto the floor as I kicked that man in his stomach before another angry swing of the club forced me to back off and run away.

It was then I noticed a rather flimsy sliding and folding door moving at the spot I assumed the kitchen and yard to be. It appears that someone is pushing and trying to kick the door open.

The door to the van opened and shut with a loud slam.

Billy appeared at the door looking flustered. His eyes scanned the room before catching me avoiding the smash of the club again like I was playing chicken and mice.

Billy : where ?? WHERE ??

Jeff : level 2… last room on the right…

I found an opportunity and grabbed onto the wrist of my attacker. I jumped up, lifting both my feet of the ground while keeping the wrist I was holding in between my groin, using the momentum of my swinging body, I forced the man to the ground as he dropped his golf club.

My feet pushed against his shoulder and armpit as leverage as I twisted his arm, dislocating it from his shoulder.

His screams was so loud that I was surprised Benson did not come out running by then.

I punched him across his face so hard I felt an old injury pop out the right ring finger.

Jeff : erghhhar…! Fuck.

Not wanting to waste time, I grunted and held back my cries as I popped the loose finger back in while catching up with Billy towards the room where Yvonne and her child is. Running pass the room where Benson is in, I tried the door handle, it was locked.

I could hear loud music coming from the inside. I decided to leave Benson alone for now and sort out Bobby and his mother first.

I went straight to the room and Billy immediately went for the child.

Billy : what the fuck man… he’s fucking burning…

Jeff : where are you bringing him ??

Billy : the doctor… she’ll know what to do…

Jeff : which doctor ??

Billy : The one you always go to !! …

Jeff : what ? who ? ….. hey !!

Billy dashed out of the room and I opened a few cabinet and found a towel. Throwing it over Yvonne, I cut the cable ties around her feet and lifted her off the chair.

She shouted and scream, kicking me on my stomach and chest as I fireman carried her out of the room and down the stairs.

Well, this project has certainly gone tits up.

Billy held onto the child and started the engine before trying to secure him onto a makeshift basket of sort lined with towels he somehow tied to the passenger seat.

I literally threw Yvonne into the back of the van and shut the door.

Jeff : Where is Owen !!

Billy : I don’t know…. He was with me up until before you guys arrived…. He got a call and next thing I know he told me he’s flying off to Japan.

Jeff : He better not be going on a holiday.

Billy : I’m going off… there’s 1 more guy by the guard house but he won’t be up so soon.

Jeff: what did you do ?

Billy : I stabbed him…with this…

Billy held up an illegal stun gun.

Jeff : Where the fuck did you get that ??

Billy : Don’t ask….. Owen refused to issue me a side arm….

Jeff : I don’t even get my own sidearm you fuck !

I heard a loud crash and turning back, I saw that the door to the kitchen had come down. Several aunties and helper emerged, freaked out as hell.

I shut the door and told Billy to go.

The wheels spinned on the ground before he took off down the driveway.

The ladies looked around the place and they seemed distressed.

Auntie : what happen ?? what happened ??? Benson go crazy again ?? he go crazy again ?? !!

I went up to them and told them to leave the house.

Jeff : Yes.. yes… he’s very drunk… and he snapped again… he’s inside his room…

Auntie : Baby… baby where ??

Jeff : on way to hospital… with mother…. They’re safe….

The auntie grabbed onto a charm around her neck and said a silent verse of prayer.

Auntie : Benson always very rough with baby…. Especially when drunk…

I heard Samuel holding onto his bleeding jaw and shouting as he tried to get back on his feet.

Jeff : Is there someplace you all can stay…. Until the police gets here ??

Auntie : yes… yes… outside….there….

She pointed to a standalone structure which functions as a storeroom tucked beside the landscape garden.

Jeff : GO…. Stay there…help will be here soon…

The auntie which I later found out to be the confinement nanny hired by Yvonne led the helpers and a cook towards the building.

Samuel was up on his feet as he looked at a bloodied tooth which still had bits of gum stuck to it on his own palm.

Samuel : arGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

He flailed punches wildly at me and I backed away. I caught onto a half hearted kick of his and sent his body onto the corner of a column.

He groaned in pain and tried to touch his back.

I went up to Benson’s room and tried the handle several times.

Several options crossed my mind, including one that involves kicking the door open by force and just ending it there and then.

I heard the crackle of walkie talkie and I saw Samuel pulling it out from his pocket.

Before I could get to him, he was shouting into it.

Samuel : Boss !!! …Benson !!!…. call the rest over !!!now !!

I jumped down the staircase 3 steps at a time, when I got down, I punched Samuel across his bruised cheek several times before grabbing the walkie talkie from his hand.

Holding it to my ear, I waited.

I waited for a response.

If Benson called the rest of his men who are away back, there’s no way I can handle so many of them.

My heart pounded as I searched the other guy for a walkie talkie. He didn’t have one.

I switched the volume to the loudest and waited.

Still nothing.

Heading back up the staircase, music was still blasting from the room. Recalling the baby monitor, I ran back and retrieve it.

I saw Benson straddled over Yiling. His fat flabby body pumping his cock into her vagina as she cried helplessly on the bed. His large body covered most of Yiling’s, his hands pressing down on his sister in law’s wrist as he rained hot breaths on her face with each pump.

It seems he did not hear Samuel’s warning.

I pounded on the door to his room.

He did not even acknowledge me. He just continued slamming his cock into Yiling. One of her leg was released from the ropes and Benson was hugging onto that leg of hers, licking her thigh while he fuck her.

It was a fucking arousing sight. Benson enjoyed Yiling’s smooth and tone leg with his tongue. His hand grabbed onto her calves while hugging the leg close to his mouth. Upon closer inspection of the video, he was not only licking YIling’s leg as he fuck her.

He was biting her as well, leaving large patches of red bit marks that are visible through the baby monitor.

 

I hammered the door again while keeping my eye on the large 8 inch screen.

I saw him turn his head towards the door but he turned back again shortly, plastering his body onto Yiling as he continued to plough his cock into the depths of her vagina.

I continued pounding on the door until Benson’s head turned again.

I could see him catching his breath, deliberating whether or not to answer the door. I kept pounding on the door while I have his attention. Suddenly Yiling jerked her bottom hard several times, struggling and kicking.

Her free leg landed squarely on the bottom of Benson’s Jaw, sending him flat on his back on the bed.

It infuriated him and Benson snapped.

His mouth was bleeding, probably bit his own tongue.

He lunged forward, his fingers closing around Yiling’s neck.

I hammered the door more urgently and I almost shouted for him but managed to hold it in.

This is not good.

I could hear him grunt and shout as he strangled YIling. As if that were not enough, he spread her legs and fucked his cock back into her pussy.

He shouted so loud I could hear him through the music.

Benson : BITCH !!! YOU FUCKING BITCH!!!! YOU LIKE THIS !!! YOU LIKE THIS !!!! fuck you !!! arghhhh!!!

I started kicking the door but it won’t budge.

Modern lock sets usually fare better then the ones the use in Hollywood.

Benson was jerking Yiling’s neck vigorously as his lower body moved, determined to use her body for his own gratification.

Suddenly he stopped.

He stared at YIling for a few seconds before his hands let go of her neck.

Jeff : Oh fuck…

I hammered the door, the intensity of my knocks did nothing to hide my desperation to get in.

Benson pulled his cock out form Yiling and I saw him grab his own hair.

Then he started running towards the door.

I heard the lockset snap and the door swing open.

My hit came so fast I’m not sure if Benson realised what was happening. I sent his head jerking hard to his right the moment I entered. I grabbed his hair and sent my knee to his mouth, compounding the injury he already had from YIling’s kick.

Benson collapsed like a sack of rice and I ran over to Yiling immediately.

I immediately checked her for a pulse and I heaved a sigh of relieve.

She’s unconscious but still breathing.

I adjusted her position, keeping her airway clear. Brushing the hair from her sweaty forehead, I took in the bruises she suffered in the hands of Benson.

It should not take her long to wake up from this.

I went over to Benson and dragged him across the room to the bathroom.

I wet the floor and made it soapy. I rubbed the bottom of Benson’s feet with water and soap as well.

He’s still conscious, but disorientated.

I positioned him in a manner which would suggest he slipped and hit his head on the floor.

I lifted his head and smashed it several times onto the tiled floor. Hard enough to give him a concussion but not break his skull open.

Yiling was starting to stir by then but her eyes were still closed.

I loosened the knots around her wrist. She should be able to get free from this easily.

I hurried and left the room, keeping my eyes on the monitor from the outside.

There, that should do the trick.

Yiling will wake up, struggle herself free, find Benson on the floor and finish the job.

I looked at the mess the house is in and the state I left the rest of Benson’s men.

I can’t say I called for backup, if I did they should have rescued her as well instead of letting her get raped. I’ll need a good reason.

My thoughts got lost when I saw Yiling came to.

It took her a few seconds to orientate herself before she struggled herself loose.

Jeff : yes… yes… yes…. Quick… quick…. Finish it and we can call it a day….

Yiling freed herself from the ropes and got up, there’s no doubt she saw Benson lying on the floor. She paused for a brief moment before heading towards him.

Yes. Yes. This will be over in a minute.

Just when I thought this is over, Yiling walked towards the camera. I could see her staring right into it.

Jeff : No… no… no…. don’t…

She switched it off and I cursed under my breath.

Jeff: Fuck….

Well, it makes sense to turn it off. I wold have done the same thing especially If I know there’s a camera pointing at me.

The thing now is I won’t know when and if she has done the deed.

It shouldn’t take long, I’ll give her 5 minutes.

Just fucking suffocate that shit on the floor.

It’s as simple as putting a pillow on his face and sitting on it for a while.

It’s not that hard. He’s already half dead.

I checked the rest of the men on the floor.

They’re all in different state of pain, each crouching in a corner of the house.

I received a call on the phone I took and I answered it.

It as Owen.

Owen : What’s the situation.

I could hear the loud echo and the muted roar of the plane engine from the background. He’s calling mid flight, probably a private flight if he can talk.

Jeff : I think it’s under control….Pillbox is doing it right now…

Owen : Ok… the team is on standy… they are reaching the holding area in 10 minutes… once they get pillbox’s call after completion…., they will move in….….i was told the mother and baby is en route to the doctor….what happened.

Jeff : Long story… I’ll explain later…. It’s either that or that baby dies…

Owen was quiet for a while before he asked me to wrap it up and he hung up.

Aside from the music, I could not hear anything from the room.

Well, I think it’s about time it’s done.

I thought about waiting a while longer, but my patience wore thin.

It shouldn’t take that long.

I took a few deep breaths and acted all flustered and panicky as I dashed into the room and shut the door behind me and instantly regretting my decision.

Jeff : fuck…

Yiling stared at me in shock as I watched her bloodied right hand holding a razor blade with Benson’s neck spurting like a miniature fountain.

She was shocked to see me in the room.

I was shocked to see her make such a mess. didn’t they teach her in school not to fucking make a mess if possible. It makes clean up difficult. Blood is difficult to clean and an artery spraying like a musical fountain is a fucking nightmare to cover up.

I stared at Benson whose life is slowly draining away before looking back at Yiling, naked with splatters of blood on her body.

Jeff : Oh my god… are you ok ?? …

My first thought was to cover her body.

I opened a few drawers before I found a towel.

I threw it around her as she stood, shaking and trembling with the razor blade in her hand.

Jeff : It’s ok… it’s ok… calm down… calm down….

Benson had stopped moving but blood was still coming out from his wound.

Jeff : ermmm… ermmm…oh fuck… this is fuck up…. This is really fuck up….

I was honestly referring to the mess YIling made when she calmly walked to the door.

My jaw dropped an inch when I saw YIling turned the latch and locked the door, trapping all of us inside.

I looked at her and I saw that look in her eyes.

That look.

Jeff : what are you doing ?!

She panted and she shook her head.

Yiling : I’m….. I’m sorry you saw that Jeff…

Jeff : What the………. fuck,…. Are you talking about…

Yiling : I cannot afford to have any witness…..i’m sorry…

Jeff : You….. are fucking…. Kidding me…

Yiling : I’m sorry….. Jeff…

She removed the towel I wrapped around her body and started coming towards me with the razor still dripping in blood.

Jeff : Wow….i……. I don’t believe this…

As Yiling closed the distance between us, I found myself checking the windows and doors once more.

The curtains are drawn.

The doors are locked.

Benson is pretty dead.

Jeff : Don’t…. Yiling please… don’t… just calm down… put that down !

Yiling : I am calm….. I’m sorry you had to see that…. I’m really sorry Jeff… I have no choice….

I would have said there is always a choice if Yiling had not rushed towards me with the razorblade in her hand.

As I pretended to shout for help and repeating my plea to Yiling to calm down, a weird thought crossed my mind.

This project is worth every fucking drop of that 17 year old whisky

……………………………….

 

I leaped over Benson whose muscles were still twitching as Yiling screamed and came at me.

Jeff : hey … HEY!!! YIling…. Yiling !!! HEY!!

She is on the verge of losing it.

Tears filled her eyes as she fought back the urge to break down and start crying. Her left hand grabbed her right wrist in an attempt to stabilise her shaking hand holding the razor.

Jeff : for fuck sake put that down !

Yiling : NO!…

I ducked and pushed her across the room as she staggered and fall. Wiping tears and snot from her face with the back of her hand, she stood up and came for me again. It’s almost like watching a child having a breakdown.

She looked unsure, lost and afraid of what she is doing. She is not equipped mentally for work like this. Not everyone can handle the surge of emotions after taking a life.

Not everyone is as sick.

I grabbed the towel that she has thrown on the floor and twirled it around my right hand and forearm.

Yiling : arGHHH!!!!

She screamed as she came towards me with her hand raised.

I grabbed it easily with my towelled hand, the thick fabric absorbing the slice of the thin razor without fuss at all.

Jeff : enough … enough !!

Yiling tried to extract herself from me but I held on.

She tried to kick me and I blocked it with my shin, causing her to scream in pain. It was painful for me too but I held it in.

I twisted her hand and disarmed her of the blade.

Yiling jumped onto me, grabbing my waist with her naked thighs to throw me off balance by twisting her body, but I’m much heavier and stronger than her. I staggered 2 steps before I countered the force and threw Yiling onto the bed with her legs still wrapped around my body.

If I was naked, I could be well positioned to enter her.

Yiling : aerghh!!

Jeff : Stop Yiling… STOP!!… stop or I will have to tie you down !

She punched me on my face as she started kicking wildly at me.

I grabbed her wrist and twisted them behind her back, pinning them down in the same manner an officer is about to make an arrest.

I could feel the rise in my cock as I pressed her head down on the bed the same time I shouted at her to calm down. This is the first time I had to press a naked woman in front of me on the bed with my clothes still on.

The last time I was in a position like this was in a leisure trip to Thailand.

I went to a nice bar and bought this cute university student that was working as a waitress a drink. The next thing I knew I was pinning her down on the bed with her screaming at me to go deeper and harder.

Yiling : let me go !!!

Jeff : stop screaming and behaving like a mad woman and I will let you go ….

I held Yiling’s hands in place and I stepped on both her calves with my left foot. The pain should knock some sense into her.

It took about another 5 minutes of screaming, threats and sobbing before she calmed down.

Her breathing slowed considerably as she just panted for air on the bed.

Jeff : Are you ok now ?? …. Don’t snap…

Yiling : I’m ok… let me go…

Jeff : Promise you stop behaving like a bitch….

Yiling : Yes… yes I promise…

I let Yiling go and took a seat on the bed.

She slowly turned around and massaged her aching joints.

We were both quiet for a while before she asked if I was going to arrest her.

Yiling : Are you going to arrest me ? ….. for killing my brother in law…

I did not answer her because I did not have an answer.

I was hoping I won’t have to deal with shit like this which is why I preferred to work alone.

Stuff like this belongs to Owen’s department.

My heart skipped a beat when Yiling spoke again.

YIling : You’re definitely not some data Analyst…..

Jeff : Why makes you say that…

Yiling : You know how to protect yourself….

Jeff : We all go through basic training….

Yiling smirked as she turned and looked at Benson who had stopped moving totally by then.

Yiling : It’s ok if you don’t want to say…. Just bring me back to the station and wrap this up…

I thought about it for a while before replying Yiling.

Jeff : I’m not just a typical Data Analyst for the narcotics agency… I’m also part of their elite crack team of operatives… I spend my time stationed overseas most of the time….

I said nothing after that, allowing the silence to help Yiling take it all in.

That should make a bit of sense to her I think.

Yiling : so now what ? …

Jeff : I’m interested in the data Benson has in his computer….his overseas network and his local runners…. His contacts… his suppliers… the rest doesn’t concern me…

Yiling : What does that mean ? … haha.. you going to pretend you did not see me kill Benson ? hahaha….

Yiling slowly got up. I could see the slouch in her shoulders as she opened several drawers before pulling out clothes that I assume belonged to her sister.

Yiling : you can’t do that…you’re a law enforcement officer…. And I broke the law…

Jeff : Yes you did…. And you are correct… I cannot turn a blind eye to that…

Yiling wiped away tears from her eyes as she took in a deep breath.

Yiling : Alright… call it in…. I’m just glad he’s fucking dead…

I watched Yiling get dressed, slipping her hand through the black singlet she pulled out.

Her wrist had an angry red mark from the rope burn earlier. There are countless bruises on her body.

She was just raped by her brother in law.

She leaned against the wardrobe for balance as she slipped on a pair of shorts.

I got up and walked over to the towel that held the razor blade Yiling used.

Retrieving it, I held it with my bare hands as I went to the toilet bowl.

Yiling : What are you doing ?

Jeff : what does it look like I’m doing ?

I wrapped the blade with a few pieces of toilet paper and I flushed it down into the sewerage.

Yiling : What are you doing !

I calmly opened another razor blade from the bathroom and I took it over to Benson.

I ran it through his open wound again, dipping my finger and the blade into his neck before pulling it out.

Yiling : what are you trying to do !!

Jeff : I killed him… in self defence… not you…. Just makes my report a bit lengthier….but… all is good…. This makes things easier….. no one will care about a dead drug dealer….

Yiling stared at me in disbelief.

Yiling : you are out of your mind.. !!

Jeff : No I’m not… go take a shower… wash up before I call it in… I’ll get rid of the body and adjust things around a bit to throw my colleagues off your scent.

Yiling stared at me, not knowing what to say.

Yiling : Jeff…..

Jeff : What ? ….. go and wash up…. Quick….

Yiling : Do you know what you are doing ?? ,….

Jeff : Yes I know…. Come on…. Snap out of it…. It’ll be fine…

I gestured to the bathroom without a word and I grabbed both of Benson’s wrist. I was about to start pulling him away from the spot he died when Yiling shouted at me not to touch him.

YIling ; stop!! STOP!!

Jeff : What ?

Yiling : stop….

She looked at me, swallowed hard before asking if I could bring her her pair of heels she wore that evening.

Jeff : what….

Yiling : it’s … it’s outside… please….

I would have wanted to say no but I thought it would be a good chance to check on the rest of Benson’s men that I had put on the ground.

I went out and retrieved the pair of heels from the spot by the staircase. I could feel myself relaxing a bit as I took my time. Benson is dead, Yiling is still alive. Yvonne and the baby should be receiving some medical attention by now.

This project is practically over.

Before I could walk back in, I heard the door snap shut and the bolt came on.

Jeff : fuck no… hey !! HEY!!!

I started hammering at the door while holding onto YIling’s heels at the same time.

Jeff : open up… open up !!! Yiling !! fuck !…

I checked the heel Yiling was desperately trying to hide that evening.

Turning the heel tip, I pulled out a solid stainless steel blade that will certainly do some damage. It’s tip is sharp and its body had groves etched in. This goes in your stomach, chances are your dinner is going to come back out with it.

I put it back in and continued hammering on the door.

Jeff : Yiling … open up ! don’t do anything stupid….

I could hear her from outside the door.

Yiling : sorry Jeff…. This is me and me alone…. I wanted Benson dead from the start…. I came prepared….

Jeff : Open the door….

Yiling : can I ask you for a favour Jeff ?

Jeff : Yes… yes.. anything… just open the fucking door….

Yiling : don’t tell anyone what you saw…..

Jeff : What ?

Yiling : I mean it Jeff…. Your life will be in danger if you say anything… pretend you did not see anything…..i’ll handle the rest…

Jeff : hey… hey !!

She stopped replying to me and I started to look for another way into the room.

I suddenly recalled the helpers in the storage room. I wonder if they knew where the spare keys would be kept. It’s quite unlikely though.

I considered getting Benson’s men to talk but they don’t seem very cooperative unless faced with the prospect of more pain and I’m lazy to go down that road.

I felt the phone in my pocket buzz. I moved away from the door and looked at the phone.

It’s a private number, might be a call meant from Ah Leong. I answered it anyway.

Jeff : Hello….

Owen : It’s me… Pillbox called it in…. she did it…..i’m surprise she managed to….her evaluation has never been good…..the previous time she was just lucky…. Not bad I must say….

Jeff : Well… I literally delivered the project wrapped up with a ribbon on top….she just needs to unwrap it ….

Owen : oh….. I see….. I suspected just as much….the team is arriving in a few minutes…. Did you see her do it ?

Jeff : not exactly… I saw her holding the razor with Benson squirting like a fountain though…. And…. She fucking tried to kill me….

Owen : hahaha.. she did…?

Jeff : She said she could not afford any witness….

Owen was chuckling and gasping for breath by then. It took him a while to compose himself before adding that he thinks Yiling likes me.

Owen : i think she likes you….

Jeff : huh ? what the fuck are you talking about ?

I looked towards the door before making my way a few steps further away.

Owen : I asked if there are any witness….. she told me no…. it was just her in the room….

Jeff : oh….

Owen : She knew if there were any witness she would have to be responsible for them….. and I guess she did not want to get you involved….

Jeff : guess she changed her mind about killing me then…

Owen : well…. She requested the team to bring you in… before you can file your so call report to your superiors…..

Jeff : oh… really ?

Owen : Just play along…. End it at the debrief and we can all call it a day…. Probably want to ask you to keep your mouth shut and all…. Haha

Jeff : Whatever… why are you en route to Japan ?

Owen : Long story… got to go… bye…

I could hear the sirens approaching the private estate from where I stood.

Owen had his personal team of enforcement officers complete with the necessary gear and equipment.

As the flashes of blue and red appeared in the house, men armed in tactical gear stormed in, shouting for everyone to get down.

They were professional, they know the drill.

Yiling came out of the room and I raised my hand.

Jeff : I’m one of you….. I’m one of you !!! same side… !!

“ Get the fuck on the ground now !!! “

There was no room for talks. I allowed myself to be pushed to the ground and restrained. Yiling walked out of the room like a boss and she avoided all eye contact with me, heading straight for a agency car that would have been meant for me if this was my show from the start.

I saw one masked officer asking each of the men something as he pulled them off the ground.

Peter answered with a rather audible ‘ Fuck you’ and the next thing he saw was the ceiling of the house as he was literally whipped with a retractable baton.

“What is your policy number ? “

I told the officer my policy number and he gave me a nod before pulling me aside to another vehicle.

Before I got in, I told him there are helpers and nannies hold up in the storeroom by the side of the landscaped garden.

He nodded before saying something to the driver.

Minutes later, the vehicle started moving.

The journey took about 30 minutes before the engine of the vehicle was shut off.

When the door opened, I saw Billy waiting for me.

I recognised the loading and unloading area of this place. It was a debriefing building set in the middle of an industrial estate in Tagore lane. Billy cut me loose and I jumped off the back of the truck.

Jeff : Is the baby ok ?

Billy : He’s fine….mother is fine too…. She has fucking nice boobs….

Jeff : Tell me about it…

Billy : really ? you didn’t see ? ….they were fucking dripping milk the whole time…. I’ve never felt so thirsty before…

I gave him a disgusted look and told him it was a figure of speech.

Jeff : No need to go into details…

Billy : I’m serious… have you seen that pair ..!! …

Billy had to gesture to his own breast as he tried to describe Yvonne’s breast.

Jeff : Ok… ok.. enough… I’ve had enough breast for a day…

Billy laughed and told me my day is not over yet.

Jeff : Why not ?

Billy : well…. Shit happens when you least expect it….

Jeff : what do you mean ?

Billy told me Yiling will be coming into the debriefing room in a bit to have a word with me.

Jeff : Yeah … let me know when she’s here… I need a shower…. I smell like shit…

Billy : well… Owen told me she tried to kill you… hahaha

Jeff : she did….. all I can say is she takes her work quite seriously.

Billy ; I think Owen is secretly impressed….

Jeff : You think so ?

He pulled a phone out of his pocket that came attached headphones.

Billy told me that he has a segment of conversation that Owen wanted me to hear.

Billy : Listen to this…. Hahah….

Billy handed me a ear piece and replayed the conversation YIling had with Owen.

Yiling : He’s professional…. And….he’s quite nice to work with…

Owen : ok… noted… does he know Owen is dead ?

YIling : I…… I don’t think so… he did not come into the room..

Owen : are you sure ?

Yiling : yes… he did not come into the room…

That tremble in her voice. My god, I bet anyone can tell she is lying just by listening to her.

Owen ; Doing the work we do…. We can’t afford loose ends… you should know that….

I could almost hear Owen laughing on the other end of the line. That bastard. He’s fucking with her on purpose.

Yiling : he doesn’t know anything Boss… he’s outside all the while…. And the clean up team took him…

Owen : ok fine….

I could hear some crackling on the line and I could not make out if it was the reception or Owen trying to stifle his laugh.

Yiling : Any….. Anything else Boss ? …

Owen : I’m just concern Jeff might be a liability……

I looked up at Billy and ask if there is a need to do this. I hit the pause button and added ;

Jeff : Eh… this is fuck up… is there a need for this ??

Billy : Oh ?

Jeff : What the fuck is Owen thinking… she just got raped….and she just killed her brother in law… is there a need to fuck with her like this ?

Billy laughed but said nothing.

Billy : finish listening to the recording… haha…

I hit the play button again as I got to the end of the corridor.

Owen : i got an incoming call…. Speak later…

Yiling : Boss… boss !

I looked up at billy and told him it’s over even though the file is still running.

Jeff : What the fuck… no head no tail….

Billy hit the pause button to bring me up to speed.

Billy : That incoming call….. is me…. I called Owen … because I found out something from Yvonne.

Jeff : Yvonne ? ….

Billy : yeah…. Milk maid…. Keep it playing, the other part is coming up…

Billy went on to say that Yvonne is not aware that her husband is dead.

Billy : Owen wanted to keep it from her… but she said something… that she needed to get back…. Back to the house…. Despite what her husband did to her… and her child…

Jeff : why is that ?

Billy : Benson is scheduled to meet this mysterious client ….

Jeff : what ?

Billy : Yvonne is adamant that she return and meet the client together with her husband…

Jeff : did you manage to find out why ?

Billy nodded his head as he looked up and down the empty corridor.

Billy : She was unwilling to say it initially but apparently …. She is the one that help set it up….

Jeff : she ? I thought she did not touch the drugs and shit….

Billy shook his head.

Billy : that’s the thing…. The client is not interested in drugs…. He’s interested in the way they bring it in…. and apparently… he has the money …. And…. He’s willing to pay…

Billy told me that the client’s rep first approached Yvonne at a charity event and they kept in contact for almost half a year. Says he’s interested in the logistics aspect of their business but some how he left Yvonne in no doubt what he was referring to.

They had correspondence for almost half a year, dealing with small imports of goods from liquor to tobacco. It’s nothing to shout about, just avoiding taxes.

Yvonne revealed that they are aware these were just a test for something else.

Something bigger, more valuable.

Billy : After having a few successful runs…. they are suggesting the 1st meet….. Yvonne would be getting 250k for setting it up….. I reckon she wants the money so she can get away from Benson….

I nodded as I took it all in.

Billy : yes… now… the thing is, Only the Client’s rep has met Yvonne before…..and everyone is aware she is a beauty queen…. She did win a pageant…

I paused and looked at him, I had this feeling in my head I know where this is heading.

Billy : Owen … wants to know who this guy is… and if possible…

Billy click his tongue with a gesture of his thumb across the side of his neck.

Jeff : Please tell me this is not going where I think this is going.

Billy : unfortunately… it is….

He gestured for his phone and hit the play button again.

I looked at the time it was recorded.

It was barely 20 minutes ago.

Yiling : Boss…. Why ? …. I thought it’s over ?

Owen : there’s a bit of a situation….. Benson and your sister is due to meet an important client tomorrow night…..

Yiling : what ?

Owen : 6 months ago the client’s rep met Yvonne at a charity event…. They have been working together since then….

Yiling : and ?

Owen : I don’t think your sister is in the state to do this…. So I need you to become your sister….

Yiling : what ? …

Owen : Debrief Jeff later when you meet him….and tell him you need a favour from him…

YIling : but…

Owen : Jeff will play the role of Benson… your husband…. And you will both meet the client together…

Yiling : this… this is…a bit … to rush no ?

Owen : We just want to establish the identity of this individual…. Once it’s established… I’ll take care of the rest…. We’re getting more information from your sister as we speak….

Yiling : but… but.. what if Jeff refuses….

Owen ; Then you get rid of him…. We’ll think of another way….

YIling : get rid of him as in ?? you want me to get rid of him ?? !!! wait… Boss.. so if he does this….it’s considered settled ?

I swore I heard Owen try to mask a chuckle with a cough as he spoke in the best serious tone he could muster up.

Owen : why are you so hung up about him ??

Yiling: No… i…. I mean… he’s a police officer… we are on the same side no ?

Owen : We will not be on the same side if we get caught red handed…. Talk to him…. I don’t care what you do…. He will play the role of Benson tomorrow…. The clean up crew is working round the clock to get the house in order….. Briefing tomorrow at 2pm…. You have until then to talk to Jeff…

The conversation ended and I handed the earpiece back to Billy.

Jeff : There is not enough time to plan this through…. This won’t work….

Billy told me that he briefly talked about this to Owen as well.

Benson may not be a pageant winner, but as a businessman, he has photos of him in public as well. Although he shuns the limelight, there are still some images floating around. There’s no way I will be able to pull myself off as Benson.

Jeff : Exactly…. Yiling might be able to pass off as Yvonne…. But not for me…

Billy : I will be pouring through their computers and servers tonight….. any information about their dealings the past 6 months will be given to you by tomorrow morning….

Jeff : Are you even listening ?

Billy : I am…. Owen already has that planned out….. about you being Benson….

Jeff : How….

Billy : It’s a gutsy move…. But he says if anyone can pull it off, it’s going to be you….

Jeff : did he pass you another bottle of whisky ?

Billy : sadly no…. hahha

Billy told me that it would be up to me to put on a good show that I am Benson, and that the one that has been appearing in public all this while, is actually a stand in.

A stand in that has now out lived he’s usefulness.

If needed, his corpse will come in handy.

Billy : As long as Yiling plays her part well…. I don’t think this will be much of a problem… all we need is to see who this mysterious client is…. Who can say you are not Benson when the wife says you are….? Yeah ? …. Wedding photos…wedding rings…. You are husband and wife…. Tio bo ?

Billy’s phone buzzed and he told me Yiling will be at the facility in 30 minutes.

Jeff : This could be dangerous…. Find out more about their dealings…

Billy : Will do…. Yiling will be in room 5….

I gave Billy a thumbs up and I grabbed myself some drinks and food before heading to room 5. I hung around the control area until I saw from the camera that Yiling is entering the facility.

I went into the interview room and sat down, sipping my bottle of drink.

I saw the wrist cuffs on the table and I almost forgot.

I quickly secured my wrist to the table and adjusted myself properly, putting on an image of a bored guy having his drink.

I wonder how would Yiling try to convince me to play the role of Benson.

I tried to stifle a smile as I thought about something silly like her trying to seduce me.

Maybe come in a short dress , high heels.

Maybe she will whine and beg ?

Perhaps threatened me into submission ?

Regardless of what she do, it’s going to be worth a laugh or 2 if I can hold it in.

I heard the rattle of the door knob and the door swung open.

There she was.

She looked freshly showered and washed up. Her hair is still a little damp. Yiling had light makeup on and she was wearing a dress alright. A pale yellow sun dress with the hem ending above her knees.

She had on a different pair of heels, cream white with speckles of gold near the tip.

I drained the last of my bottled drink to get ready for her sales pitch.

Before I could swallow it, Yiling rattled of what I presumed must be a pitch she practised at least a dozen times before she walked into the room.

Yiling : Jeff…… Will you be my husband ?

I choked on the drink, splashed it all over the table as I stared at Yiling in disbelief.

Jeff : blurosooooooshhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! What …………….the…………… fuck ?

She dragged the chair over to my side as I stared at her wide eyed in shock.

Yiling : I’m about to tell you something that is going to sound absolutely crazy to you Jeff ….

She waited for my reply and I gave her the first reply that came to my mind with drools of my drink still hanging off my lips.

Jeff : I thought you already did.

……………………………………………………………………..

 

Yiling had a key in her hand and she released me from the wrist cuffs.

I wiped my mouth as I stared at her.
Well she is direct, that I have to give it to her.

Yiling : I know how this is going to sound… you would probably think I’m crazy but I need your help…

Jeff : errr…. What do you need ? you want to apply for a BTO flat ?

She gave me an exasperated look before resuming to unlock the other cuff from my hands.

Yiling : you know… I only just caught wind of this a while ago and….believe me…. No matter how many times I try to run this through my head, I think it sounds crazy….

Yiling crossed her legs and leaned forward with her arms crossed.

Yiling : I…. I meant it in a serious way…. When I ask you to be my husband…. As in… play the role of my husband….
I stared at her without a word, giving her a lost look. I actually kind of sympathised with her situation. She’s still pretty new in this line and for Owen to throw her into the deep end of the pool, it’s unfair.

He would probably say life is unfair if I tell him this.

I could see it was tearing her up inside as she tried to think of a way to explain the situation to me.

For one, she cannot let me know her true identity. Yet she still has to make it compelling enough for me to agree to help her.

Yiling : Ok…. I’ll try to sum it up as simply as I can….

Jeff : Ok….

Yiling :Benson’s dead…. But my sister is still not aware of it….
Jeff : errr….. ok… I am aware of it…
She immediately cupped her hands to my mouth with her eyes wide open.

That touch.

The softness of her hands covering my wet and drooling mouth. I was immediately hit with the scent of her body. There is the distinct smell of her shower foam, a brand I was pretty familiar with since I used a similar brand.

It’s a rainforest shower foam by a brand starting with N.
That sweet scent of the body wash hit me while infused with a heavy rose like scent of a hand cream.

In case you are still trying to form a picture, I was literally smelling Yiling’s hand as she chided me harshly about not saying anything I know about Benson.

Yiling : I told you !!! don’t say anything about him!!!! You are not supposed to know anything !!!
YIling came really close to me, and she had her right hand behind my neck while her left remain plastered on my mouth.

I did not expect a reaction this big.

There is no one else in the room and the control room is empty.

I had to hold back a laugh when she threatened to break my neck if I ever mention anything about Benson again.

Yiling : As far as you are concerned…. Benson is still alive… until …. Until….

Jeff : ergumm…rguhhmmm.rghumm…

Yiling: Until …. Fuck this…. Just know this… you are not suppose to know Benson is dead…. Unless I tell you….oh fuck… this is so confusing…

Yiling let go of me and I could see she was flustered.

Jeff : ok… ok.. calm down…

I wanted to make things easier for her and get this over with so I deliberately skipped any unnecessary questions. I just wanted her to tell me what she needed me to do.

Jeff : Ok… Yiling … look…. Relax…. I’ll help you…. Just tell me what you need me to do…

YIling : really ?
She looked at me in surprise.

Jeff : yeah….although it’s a bit fast for us to advance from a boyfriend / girlfriend to husband and wife….

Yiling laughed and took the chair opposite me again.

She brushed a stray fringe behind her ears as she crossed her legs before leaning forward again.
I could feel the rise in my cock as I tried hard not to look at the cleavage of her breast that is peering up at me. Yes I’ve seen her naked, but seeing her dressed is so much more sexier than seeing her without anything on.

Yiling wasted no time. She started talking about what she needed me to do and what we hoped to achieve.
Her sister and brother in law were due to meet someone important the next day.
Yiling : I don’t know who he is…. but he’s someone important…. We need to meet him… and establish his identity….

Jeff : ok got it…. Go on..

Yiling bit her lips for a brief moment before saying that she would need me to play the role of Benson, while she pretends she is her sister.

YIling : We would play the role of husband and wife….. and receive these guest….

Jeff : oh.. ok…

Yiling : My sister has met one of the representative before but it was 6 months ago…. I think I should be able to pull off as her with the right clothes…
Jeff : What about me ?

Yiling : You would play the role of my husband….

Before I could say anything , Yiling put up both her hands with her palms facing me.

Yiling : I know… I know… don’t worry about anything… the people I work for will take care of everything…. And I mean everything…. Everything we need to know to the wedding photos that we need to display in the house….. and I mean everything… that’s how good we are….

Jeff : errr…. Ok…..

I was about to ask who she works for just to see her reply but she beat me to it.

YIling : If I tell you who I work for…. I will have to kill you…

Jeff : Ok… noted.. you work for James bond and her majesty’s secret service…
Yiling : hahahha…

She slapped me playfully on the side of my arm and said she did not know I was that corny.

Yiling : what else are you hiding from me Jeff… hahah..
Jeff : I don’t know… maybe about the same as how much you are hiding from me…

Yiling smiled and shook her head.

Yiling : I really doubt it… haha… so… can I say you’re in ? ….we have a briefing to get to tomorrow morning…

Jeff : yeah… I’m in…

I could see her on the verge of throwing a punch into the air but she held back.
Yiling : Ok great… come… let’s get started…
Jeff : What ? … the briefing you said was for the next morning right ?

YIling : Yeah… but there’s so much to be done…. We need to start now…

She literally dragged me out of the briefing room while holding my hand.

Yiling : You need a shower by the way…

Jeff : yeah… I have milk all over me…

Yiling laughed and added that milk is easier to wash off than blood.

I let Yiling lead the way even though I’m familiar with the complex we were in.
She made a wrong turn while heading to the carpark and I stopped myself from correcting her, choosing to enjoy the brief moment of respite from the mental stress of doing my job.

I looked at Yiling as she walked on confidently in her heels. She looked just like your typical hot babe working in the middle of the financial district. Nothing on her face indicated she was just forcibly raped by her brother in law earlier that evening.
Her side profile looked the best. There is this oriental charm that you hardly find in girls these days with their thick makeup and edited online photos.

Her nose bridge is defined and there is a natural pout on her lips that you can only catch from the side profile.
Yiling turned to look at me, realising that I was staring at her.

She smiled and asked if I was ok.
Yiling : what’s wrong ? … are you ok ? hahah
As we approached the carpark, I blurted out to Yiling that I think she’s really beautiful.

Jeff : I… just think you are…. Really beautiful….

She raised an eyebrow before breaking into smile.
Yiling : thank you…. You’re just saying this because you feel embarrassed you’ve seen everything there is to see about me isn’t it ? .. haha

Jeff : ohh… ermmm

Yiling : I’m just toying with you… haha…

Yiling unlocked her car and I paused for a moment.
She’s driving a BMW Z4.

What the fuck man. I’m driving a old Toyota.

I began to wonder if Owen sent her to the class about being subtle when Yiling gestured for me to get in.
Jeff :wow… your job must be paying you well….

Yiling smile and said nothing.

When we get in, she locked the door and pointed a manicured finger at me. I could see the nail was already badly scratched, probably damaged earlier in the evening.
Yiling : don’t try to sound me out about my work ok …. Just know that I can kill you with a snap of my finger… hahah

Jeff : hahah… ok… fine.. fine…. Nice car…
Yiling : It’s a smooth ride…I like it…
I sat in the car with a hard on throughout my ride. We all think we know short dresses.

No we don’t

We don’t really know short dresses unless we see the woman wearing it driving in them.

With the low seat, slightly inclined, gravity teased with the hem of the short dress Yiling was wearing.

As we chatted, I could not help but steal glances at her thighs.
Even a subtle movement of her changing her foot from accelerator to the brakes would cause the dress to shift.

When it comes ot the red light, she would tug the bottom of her dress to cover a bit of her modesty. With the initial acceleration, the dress would fall back down again, causing more blood to fill my already hardened cock.
I pride myself on being a subtle peeper but inside the small confines of the car, I guess no amount of subtilty is enough.

Just as we turned into the driveway leading back to Benson’s house, Yiling finally pointed me out.

Yiling : I thought you had already seen everything….. why are you so hung up about my legs ?… hahah
Jeff : what… what ? … no… no… oh… I’m sorry… i… errr….

Yiling chuckled as she pulled up to the side of the house.

There are at least 7 other vehicles parked there.

I’m bound to see some familiar faces in there but I knew they will not acknowledge me. It’s part of their work requirements and Owen was very strict in that sense.

The tease ended when I saw the flash of a white panty as Yiling was getting down the car.
I had to stand still for a moment and adjust my erection discreetly.

Walking into the house, I could see the clean up is going on at breakneck speed. It’s like having an entire platoon of men cleaning up a small bunk before an inspection.

Benson’s men and the blood they left on the floor were gone.

In it’s place were the polished floor and neatly arranged furniture.

I saw Billy kneeling down by a small server cabinet near a study on the ground floor but he did not acknowledge me, choosing to concentrate on the 2 laptops he had in front of him.

The helpers and nannies were gone as well, in it’s place I saw 2 older ladies that I had come across a couple of years ago on another project. They were dressed in white with black pants, a unspoken uniform of sort for helper in the large house.

They went through the kitchen cabinet, familiarising themselves with where the utensils are kept to taking inventory of the things that are in the fridge. Owen is going all out for this.
Staff wearing gloves are removing all traces of Benson from the house, from photos to his personal tablets. I saw 2 man come down the stairs with the wedding portrait of Benson and Yvonne.

Following right behind them is Ben.

Who is Ben ?

Ben is a photographer, the agency’s photographer.
I’ve worked with him several times. Professional, cool and focus is what I would use to describe him and his team.
He did not acknowledged me, not even a nod as he went straight to Yiling, no doubt knowing the hierarchy order in this particular project.

Ben : we’re set up in the guest room….. time is tight… we have to do this through the night…

I looked at the time.
It was coming to 12 midnight. Looks like we will not be getting much sleep.

Yiling and I were brought to the study where the shooting crew had set up their equipment and backdrop. 3 guys were on standby with their macbooks plugged in and ready. A makeup artist assigned to each of us came right over and handed us the 1st set of clothes.
Yiling took it upon herself to explain what is happening.

Yiling : We need the photos to help sell the story of us being husband and wife….. it’s my first time doing this as well….

Jeff : oh… ok….
I took a quick shower before joining Yiling in the guest room.

We changed into something casual, berms and shorts for me while Yiing started off with singlet and a flare skirt.

Ben got us to start posing, giving specific instructions on where he want us to stand to where we should be looking.
10 shots in 3 poses for each set of clothing. Then we change.

The photos immediately got post processed.
I could see the 3 chaps clicking away on their laptop with their headphones plugged in.

By the time Yiling and I were in our 3rd set of clothings, I could see the photo machine printing.

Photos of Yiling and I at various spots in the country were printed for selection.
We started off with simple poses before the more elaborate ones that require props.

There are pictures of us on tables and chairs looking at each other while sipping a drink.

Ben : look at each other….. look at your husband…. Yes… yes… hold… good…

A lot is happening when Yiling and I were taking the photos.
You really think it’s just a photoshoot ?

Of course not.

It’s a building of tension.
And with each set, the tension grew.

We started off by changing behind a makeshift screen like those you see in clinics in the 80s. Flimsy screens on wheels.
By the 5th set of clothes, some how we started changing in full view of everyone.

We need to move fast.

My cock is constantly erected as I looked at Yiling’s body.

Stacks of clothes picked out by the makeup artist surrounded us and the variety of lingerie laid bare on the floor near Yiling. Her panty remains on of course but the bras.
God, seeing her change into different bra that belongs to her sister is a hell of a treat for the eyes.
She knows I’m watching, she knows the whole fucking room is watching and aside from concentrating on their work, the hardest part is to be trying to appear discreet while lusting over her body.

Yet we all put up a front. A front to be professional.
There is no doubt the sexual tension that is building up between YIling and me grew exponentially within that period.

Ben : hold her hand….. look at your husband…… put your hand on his cheek….. hug your wife from behind….. smell her hair…. Look at her neck….. cross your legs….sit on his lap…. Kiss your husband on his cheek…..put your hand on her thigh….. stroke her calves…. Touch her chin…..run your hand through her hair…..
Each of these instructions from Ben sounded mechanical, but there is absolutely nothing mechanical about it when we had to do it.

Our bodies touched and grazed each other.

The look in both our eyes.
The initial giggles and small talks were gone. Our eyes and erratic breathing did more of the talking than our mouths ever did.

My cock is leaking pre cum and I’m sure as hell Yiling is wet. This is getting a little serious.
Ben : kiss…. Kiss your wife on her lips…

I made another mental note to tell Owen that Ben deserves a larger bonus this year as I held Yiling close to me. We could feel our hot breaths on each other.
Her eyes closed before me and when our lips met, the warmth we exchanged via bodily fluids betrayed no hint that this was just a professional engagement, that we were just doing our job.

The clicking went on, the streaks of flash continued.

Ben : enough…. Change…

We graduated to more formal clothing. Suits, dresses and gowns. YIling had no issue fitting into her sister’s clothes while mine is a bit tricky. Benson’s recent wardrobe is too big for me and there is a limit to how much the crew can bring along.

Still, we made do with what we have.

Ben was drenched in perspiration as he directed the whole show, checking the time every once in a while.
The makeup piled on for Yiling. Her hair got styled. The room was filled with the rythemic churn of the photo printer and the hypnotic click of the mouse as the crew worked on without a word.

Each set of clothing changed seemed to be a turn in the tightly wound spring. Everyone in the room could feel the energy that had built up 3 hours into the whole shoot.
When I stepped out in my wedding suit with Yiling facing me in a grand white gown which showed off her ample breast, I was ready to cum on the spot. Our bodies were constantly in contact with each other.

There is no way she is not feeling the push of my cock against her tight wedding gown when I hug her from behind. The look of lust in her eyes as she leaned against my body, turned her head upwards to look at me as the bright flashes go off is impossible to miss.
The way we looked at each other was more than enough to communicate what we both wanted after the shoot is over.

At 3.45am, Ben call it a day and gave Yiling the thumbs up. His crew started packing up and they will be back later with the necessary photo frames and pictures.

My hair is caked with gel while Yiling had full makeup on including the fake eye lashes.
I was exhausted and so was she.

Billy appeared and he went straight to YIling as if I was invisible.

Billy : follow me…
We entered a cleaned up and sterilised master bedroom.
The poster bed had fresh sheets and pillowcase as if a professional chambermaid at a 5 star hotel had just finished setting it up.

There were no traces of blood on the floor, the carpet has been replaced. While there is still a strong smell of chemical and detergent in the room, it should go away after a while.

Billy handed us 2 sets of documents and a tablet.
Billy : read and memorise everything…..your lives depend on it…. It contains all correspondences and email Yvonne had with the client’s rep call Wendy.

Billy unzipped a black case which contains identity cards, passports, even credit cards that would support our new identity.

Billy : You’re husband and wife…. Go through the docket and make sure you know about each other’s lives….. The crew is almost done, we’re clearing out in 30 minutes….
Yiling : we’re staying here tonight ?

Billy replied without a change in expression.
Billy : You guys are the owner of this house…. Where else are you going to stay ?

Yiling removed her earrings and I watch her head towards the dresser and picked up a packet of makeup remover while still listening to Billy.
Right before Billy left he added that security crew will be assigned to us and will be in place before noon.

The 2 helpers have done an inventory check of the kitchen, they will need to stock up on food and drinks for the evening in case we need to entertain the client longer than expected.

Billy : guest room will be cleared out soon…….this room is just needs to get a bit of fresh air……. get some rest… project briefing will be at 10am later….

Yiling : ok… thank you…

Right before Billy leaves the room, he checks that Yiling has already made her way into the masterbath before giving me a wink.

That cheeky bastard.
Yiling started to remove her make up.

I could hear a couple of engine starting up at the ground floor.

Heading out, i saw Ben and his ben lugging some of their gear down the steps.

Everyone was in the midst of clearing out the house.

I went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer form the fridge. The cold brew quenches my thirst and hydrated my body but as the alcohol kicked in, I could feel my other thirst slowly building up.

I grabbed a few bottles of beer and chug them into a bucket before filling it with ice.

I opened a few cupboards and found a bag of chips.

My erection was raging hard and I could swing it to close the cupboard door if I wanted to.
I head back up the stairs as I heard the last vehicle engine start up before backing out of the driveway.
I entered the room and I could hear the shower.

The door is not close.

If this is not an invitation, I don’t know what it is.
I dropped the food and drinks on the dresser table and I walked into the bathroom.

There she was.

Yiling was naked in the shower, hot water pelting down on her body as her head angled sideways. She stroked the shampoo off her shoulder length hair as the steam from the bot bath hit me where I stood.

She did not say anything and I did not move.
Yiling turned her back towards me and I was deliberating whether to take her in the shower.

I was caught instead in a trance as I watch her wash her body.

Her fingers running through her hair, sliding down her neck before settling on her firm breast. Her erected nipples diverting the flow of water before it runs down her belly button and down to her vagina.
Her feet, standing in a small forest of disappearing foam. Her left leg raised up, getting a rub down by her hands.

It’s been a while since I allowed myself to be tease to this extent.

I have a monster of an appetite when it comes to sex.

I continued watching, enjoying the deliberate show that Yiling was putting on for me.

The water stopped, and Yiling’s hand stretched out of the shower stall, gesturing to the ash coloured towel hanging beside me.

I took it.
Instead of throwing it to her or passing over, I opened it, I spread the towel like I’m a matador in a bull ring.

A simple gesture with a powerful language hidden beneath.

Come
To
Me

Yiling’s lips parted a little as she covered her breast with her left arm, her right hand held back a dripping strand of hair.

She stepped out of the stall and walked into my towel.

I wrapped it around her, and if my cock could talk, it would fucking be screaming at me.

Yiling took over the towel and dried herself a little, wiping her face down. Wrapping herself up again, she looked at me.

I could see her eyelashes still wet from the shower.

Her breathe hit me as she exhaled without a word.
She put a foot forward, angling her body in an attempt to walk by me towards the bedroom. Our bodies touched and our eyes never left each other.

It’s a game.

A game to see which one of us could hold it in the longest.

I want her.
She wants me too.

Right before she walks past me, I closed the gapped between Yiling’s boday and mine, pressing gently on her, pinning her against the door.

I could feel a uncontrolled shiver as Yiling looked at me.
I leaned forward for a kiss and she received my tongue eagerly.

When we broke off, I told Yiling to put something on.
Jeff : Get dressed….

She pressed her lips against mine for a few seconds before pulling herself back reluctantly and asked.

Yiling : Why…..
I held onto her left cheek with my palm and kissed her again.
Jeff : because…. I like to do the undressing….

Yiling smiled and she kissed me again.
Removing her towel, she pressed it against my body, pushing me back towards the shower.

She wants me to use her towel, to relish in her scent before I take her.

Yiling walked naked out into the bedroom and I watch her open up her sister’s wardrobe.
A hanging treat of dresses, gowns and the tease of pink, silk and satin greeted both of us.
Yiling turned her head and saw that I was still staring at her.
She broke into a smile as her hand reached into the wardrobe as if she already found what she wanted.

She spoke, but without sound, mouthing the words slowly like a circus trainer teasing a wild animal.
Yiling : Don’t…..
Yiling : keep….
Yiling : me…..
YIling : waiting…..

…………………………….

 

Yiling pulled something out from the wardrobe and disappears from my field of view.

I stripped off my clothes and stepped into the shower. I did not check the mixer and I nearly burnt myself with the hot water that came down on me.

I wondered how Yiling managed to shower at that temperature. Perhaps it was just my low tolerance to heat.

I soaped myself clean, paying extra attention to my private. My cock is throbbing hard and as I soaped it , it almost spoke to remind me not to stimulate it too much. The stimulation and tease will come from Yiling.

The fragrance of the shower foam filled my nose again as I let the rain shower wash off the soap on my body. This will be the same smell that Yiling will be taking in when she puts her nose and mouth close to certain parts of my body.

I did a quick rinse off and almost forgotten I was using Yiling’s towel to dry myself off.

The towel is damp, the threadcount is high. It’s soft and fluffy. I pushed my face into the towel and my erection started building up again.

I wiped myself down, trying to imagine and think of which part of Yiling’s body was wiped down by the towel I was currently using.

The indirect contact making the connection in my imagination as I towelled myself.

Perhaps I am using the corner she ran through her wet pussy to wipe my face.

Maybe I’m rubbing my groin area with the part she dried her breast with.

The damp towel felt significantly heavier after I was down drying myself.

I wrapped it around my waist and stepped out into the room, my heart skipped a beat as I visually appraised Yiling’s body in front of me.

She’s all dressed up for me to do the unwrapping.

I have a feeling I’m going to damage quite a few pieces of Yvonne’s wardrobe that evening.

Yiling wore a pastel pink coloured bra with lace trimmings running from under the cups to the straps that goes on her shoulder. The form is simple, accentuating her nice curves of her full breast.

On the outside, she wore a pink satin robe that is literally glimmering under the warm light of the room. Solid lines in black ran along the edges and trimmings of that gown, giving it character while not forgetting it’s ultimate purpose is to tease.

Yiling took the tease part to another level alright.

How could I possible see the bra if she’s wearing a gown you ask ?

That’s because of the way she wore it.

The left side of the gown is left drooping down a little too much, exposing one side of her body. The gown fell and bunched up sexily around the mid of her biceps.

The middle is tied with a black laced ribbon, reminding me how slender her waist is.

I don’t know if she is wearing anything underneath.

Then I saw her tiptoe for a brief moment before she gained a couple of inches in height.

I got closer and saw that she brought her heels into the room.

My heart skipped a few more beats.

That pair of heels. As if the tease is not enough, the danger turned me on even more.

That knowledge that inside that pair of heels lies a tool that could cause me my life got me even more aroused.

It made me want her more. The part of me that has always reacted differently to danger went into a frenzy.

I walked right up to Yiling and turned herself towards me.

MY left hand slid around her waist and I pulled her towards me in a forceful jerk.

Yiling : ernngh…!

Our lips met and her hands went around my neck while mine felt up her waist, sliding down to her bottom.

She’s wearing something. I could feel it.

There’s something else for me to remove beneath the gown.

Yiling : ernghhhhhhh!!!….

Yiling whispered softly by my ears, asking me to fuck her.

Yiling : are you going to unwrap me soon ? ……. Unwrap me and fuck me….please…. ?

My lips pushed against her lips , guiding her backwards towards the bed. The back of her knees felt soft sheets of the bed and she moaned again, knowing there’s no more space for her to back off.

She sat down and her legs spread, giving me room to stand closer to her.

Her hands instinctively to my towel and a simple tug was all it took to make it drop to the floor.

There was on hesitation on her part. She lifted my throbbing cock with her left palm facing up, her postured lowered and it was in.

Jeff :e errhh !! aroorrr….

The suction came on like that of an angry vacuum cleaner. I held onto a tuff of wet hair as I pushed myself deeper into Yiling’s mouth. Her lips came closer to my pelvic region. I pushed in more and I could feel her hesitation as she tried to open her mouth a bit wider.

The clamp of her lips signalled the start of my journey into heaven.

Yiling sucked onto the dickhead of my cock and while holding that position, she moved her head.

Jeff :erghhh.. arooooo..r.r…..

I looked at her, her eyes were looking right at me.

That position, the view, the feeling on my manhood. The wetness, the warmth, the constant tugging.

It was hard not to moan under those circumstances.

I held onto her head and the sucking got faster. I could not resist the urge and I started pushing my cock deeper into her. Eventually it evolved to her just holding her mouth steady while I fuck her in her mouth.

Jeff :erghhh.. arghhh…

Yiling : slupppz.. slurprpzz… alrupzzz… arouuo…. Sozlurwzzz…

It was a wet and messy affair as I spread a mixture of her saliva and my rpecum all over the lips, her chin and bits of it splashing onto her exposed cleavage.

My cock has not gotten so hard in a long time.

Yiling kept her heels on as she got onto the bed.

Her mouth opened again without me asking her to. That’s how bad she wanted it in her mouth.

She pushed me down and I groaned as she gave me a blowjob while kneeling on my left.

Jeff :arghhh.. arghhh.. oh god… erhghhh!!

After a couple minutes of sucking, Yiling straddled me, showing me her back.

My dry tummy suddenly felt a dab of moisture. Not only is there moisture and wetness, there’s a weird feeling as well, it’s like there’s a row of beads on my stomach slowly rolling and massaging my abs.

At the very spot Yiling that is sitting on, my abs got massaged as she moved her bottom.

She slid backwards on my body, dragging and sliding her bottom closer and closer to my face.

The wetness spread.

Her cunt juices spread on a vertical axis like the trail of a snail. The closer she got to my mouth, the wetter it was. By the time Yiling had us adopt a 69 position, I could finally see what she was wearing underneath her satin gown.

It was a matching pastel pink panty that came as a set with her bra. Accompanying the lace trimmings was a string of pearls.

I felt the air being sucked away from my lungs as I looked at the string of 8 pearls wet and glistening and lined up in the centre of Yiling’s vagina.

The crotchless panty exposed her love hole totally and the row of peals was all that stood between me and her love hole.

She paused her bottom, unsure if she could take it further. Not all men are into this but thankfully for me and me, I am.

I fucking love it when I see a vagina that needs a good dose of licking. Not to mention it’s one lined with pearls.

I held onto her bottom and guided her closer. She stopped sucking my cock, I could feel her quivering as she lowered her bottom towards me. Exposing your most private region to the mouth of a man you hardly knew is hardly something you do easily.

My tongue came out and I licked the row of pearls instead of Yiling’s vagina.

My tongue pushed the row of pearls upwards, teasing the fleshly folds of her wet privates.

Yiling’s moans came out with short breathless gasped of air.

Yiling : ernnghh… erghhh!!! Ernghh!!!

My tongue touched, licked and rolled each of those pearl against the entrance of her pussy.

Another torrent of her natural juices came, drenching the already wet pearls. I could see the collection of juices building up to the point that it’s going to drip.

I touched it with the tip of my tongue and I slurped it into my throat.

Jeff : slurrppzzz…..e rghh.. you taste so good….slirrpzz…..slurppzz…

Yiling : erngnhh… erghhh!!

I could see the pearls vary in sizes, each about half the size of your usual marble. These are not cheap china knockoffs.

This is the real deal right there.

My tongue gave way to my lips. My lips came to a pout as I kissed Yiling’s pearl panty, pushing the string of pearls into the folds of her vagina.

Yiling : ernghhhh… ernghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Jeff : luprrz.z… slrupzzz… zhoottttttzzz… szhhhhhhooooottzzz…. Slruppzz..!!!

This is something new to me. I’ve never got the chance to lick something like this before. Yes, I’ve painted some of my former girl friends before and they loved it.

Beside the fleshly soft folds of her vagina lips, Yiling’s choice of panty gave my tongue something additional to play with.

The spinning, the pushing, it’s like I’m trying to play a new musical instrument with my tongue. I pushed my mouth towards Yiling’s love hole, trapping the pearls literally between both our lips.

My lips brought about countless waves of pleasure to her quivering pussy lips.

I pushed the pearls into the pussy, soaking it with her cunt juice before letting it come back out so I can suck on them.

Jeff :zhhhhooooottttttZZZ slurpppzzz…

Yiling : erhgnnnn !!!

As soon as I sucked the pearls dry and I could not longer taste the amazing juices from YIling’s privates, my tongue shoved it back into her vagina, causing her to send a spasm like shiver down her entire body.

Yiling : oh my god… erghhnnnn.. ernghhhhh !!!

Her clitoris is enlarged and peeking out from the smooth baby like folds of her skin. My mouth sucked onto the pearls and instead of using my tongue to tease her clitoris, I shook my head, rubbing the spherical pearls against the sensitive region.

Yiling’s moans immediately filled the whole room.

Her sucking of my cock stopped.

I could still feel her hot breathes on my dick.

She’s moaning, she tried to suck my cock but she was unable to work up a tempo.

Caught between receiving and giving pleasure, she succumbed to the sensation her vagina is feeling and decides to be on the receiving end.

Yiling : ernggg… ernghhh.. ernghhh … enghghghgh.. harrrrerghhh !!!

I grabbed onto her buttcheeks smouldering my face into the depths of her privates as I tongue whipped the pearls onto her wet clit.

My face never once stopped getting splashed with tiny squirts of her lubrication. Her natural secretions kept moistening my face. When I finally suck onto her engorged clitoris with my mouth taking with me the pearls at the same time, I felt as if a dam broke.

Yiling : eRGNHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! aRGHH!!!erNGHH!!!!

Her legs quivered and she screamed, the hot breathes I was feeling on my cock increased in intensity.

If I was looking at her face on, Yiling would probably looked like she was trying to sing with my cock as a microphone.

She moaned with her face down, her mouth apart barely a few centimeters above my throbbing cock.

Yiling : egnhhhh.. ernghhh.. ernghhh !!!!

A gush of liquid wet my lips and chin. It came fast, and it stopped almost immediately.

Yiling’s moans turned to a smattering of pleas as she shook her head and asked me to stop.

Yiling : ernghh… erngh… no… no…. ernghh…. Stop.. .ernghhhhhhhhhh… noooooooo!!

I could feel her hands gripping my calves, trying to pull her bottom away from my mouth but she was too afraid to move as a large lump of her sensitive nerves were still sucked in my mouth.

Yiling : ernghh…. Please… no… no… NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! eRNGHHHHHHH!!!

My cheeks sunk in as I emptied my mouth of air, filling it with the fleshy bits and folds of her vagina and clitoris and Yiling’s screams turned to curses.

Yiling :eGNHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! NO!!! eRNGHH!!! FUCK!!!! eRNGHH!!!

She was shaking and going into a trance as she collapsed onto my leg with both her hands tapping the side of my thigh .

Yiling : ERNGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! ARHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I stopped, letting her abused clitoris pop out of my mouth as she moaned and panted for air.

I flipped her lifeless body off my legs and spread her legs.

I flipped away the matter hair on her forehead.

Yiling looked at me with eyes glazed over with tears brought about by her explosive orgasm.

She wanted to say something, but all that came out was a whimper when I touched my cock against the same set of pearls.

She shook her head, as if trying to tell me no but her eyes.

Her eyes told me she wanted more.

That eternal struggle of wanted that pain that you know will turn out to be pleasure eventually.

Yiling : ernghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

My cock pushed against the pearls, rubbing her sensitive love spot.

Her head shook again.

I grabbed onto her wrist, pinning them by the side of her head. My knees pushed her legs apart.

She’s still dressed. I like it that she’s still dressed.

I could push my cock in anytime but I took my time to get ready.

I could not resist touching YIing’s breast and feeling Yvonne’s bra. This is probably the closet I could get to having the best of both worlds.

I pressed my nose to smell YIling’s breast and her sister’s bra at the same time.

All breast have their own distinct smell. The scent that greeted my senses is intoxicating .

I touched her bra cups, feeling the lace in my hands, my fingers traced the rise of the bra straps , heading north up her shoulder. I played with that elastic band, tugging the strap upwards, taking in the visual treat of seeing her breast move at the same time.

Yiling : eNGHHH!!! Gasp ! …

I yanked the bra strap a little hard, taking her by surprise.

I’m sure Yiling know I’m the kind of guy that wants to be in control, but I’m sure as hell she underestimate the level of control I was seeking for my sexual gratification.

I pulled the bra strap higher and tighter.

What happens when you pull the bra strap of your girl upwards ? It lifts up her breast of course. You pull it too hard, you yank the bra cup off her breast.

You pull it at the right strength, it starts lifting her breast.

I pulled it, letting the elasticity of the strap do most of the work.

My fingers teased her breast like I’m teasing a fish with my fishing line.

Her left breast that was exposed moved, her breathing intensified.

My cock brushed against the row of pearls.

Yiling’s body was shaking.

I pushed the pearls, willing it to move like the pendulum of a clock, with each wave, it would rub against her pussy.

Sure, she’s probably had her pussy fucked and fingered before but i’m quite sure not in this manner.

I pulled the bra strap and I turned Yiling’s face to face it.

She moaned as I increased the pull of the strap slowly but surely, stretching it taut without dislodging the bra cup covering her full breast.

Yiling : ernghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

I brought the bra strap to her mouth and she looked at me for a brief moment before she got the message.

I want her to bite it.

Yes. I want to see the profile of her face, her pronounced nose, her distinct oriental features as I fuck her.

Not contented with just that, I wanted the energy generated by my thrusting to serve another purpose. I wanted each thrust, each jerk to translate to a pull of that bra strap , which in return will jiggle the round breast it was holding.

I pushed my cock towards the entrance of her labia, the wet pearls toyed with my pee hole of a couple of seconds before being pushed aside.

My cock finally ready the soft fleshy entrance. The vagina greeted me eagerly, all it took was a slight push and I could feel the love hole opening up.

It engulfed the girth of my cock as Yiling moaned like an animal with her teeth bared.

Her teeth is bared alright, and I could see her biting down on her bra strap.

I pushed my cock further and further inside her vagina and Yiling was fighting of the shivering spasm that came with her muscles trying to adjust to the foreign body part in her.

A part her body willingly engulfed.

Yiling : eRNGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!eeeeeeeeeekkkk!!!ernghh!!!

I buried myself all the way, bringing my face down to kiss YIling’s cheeks.

She was panting and moaning softly with each movement.

Jeff : don’t let go of the strap……

Yiling : ernghhhh ….

She nodded her head, a display of obedience that brought about another wave of arousal.

I started to work up a rhythm, fucking my cock all the way in before pulling it out, I like to pull it out really far, to the point that the girth of my dickhead is almost coming out before pushing it back in.

The difference in girth between my dickhead and my shaft is going to fuck with the muscles of Yiling’s vagina the same time I am fucking her.

Yiling ; rnghhh !! ernghh !!.. ernghhh!

As her body moved, Yiling’s teeth held onto the bra strap as she moaned. She held on, she really did, and I could see her saliva wetting the strap.

The erratic breathing, the gasp of air, the smacking of my cock into her vagina. The sound, the scent in the air, the smell , the sweat forming around the brows of my head, everything came together like a well composed symphony.

The air I pushed into her vagina came out as wet pussy fart, the moans Yiling tried to suppress is music to my ears. I could even smell her saliva that is now wetting her shoulder after drenching the bra strap.

I made a mental note to lick and suck onto the same bra strap after I was done fucking her.

Yiling : erngh… ernghhh.. ernghh !!!! ..eernghhhhh!!!

I paused, lifted one of Yiling’s legs and licked the sweat that had accumulated at the back of her knees.

Jeff : sluprrzz… zhoooooootxxzxz… arhhhhh…

Yiling : erngngg… ernghhh!!

I closed my eyes and I groaned, taking a pause in my thrusting. I could feel a bit of abrasion on the side of my cock caused by the chain of pearls.

I pulled my cock out and if I did not know better, a bystander would have thought I came inside Yiling already.

Plenty of her natural lube churned up into a thick glob exited her vagina with my cock.

I pulled down her panty, the soaked garment wetting my hands. My knees pushed Yiling’s already spread legs further apart. She turned to face me, her mouth letting go of the saliva soaked bra strap.

She reached for me with her mouth, there was a needy look in her eyes. She wants to be kissed.

Yiling :mmmmmhhh…. Hmmmm…

Her hands went around my back pulling me towards her. My erected cock easily found the entrance to her love hole and I allowed myself back into her.

The kissing went on for a minute or so after which we just exchanged looks and said nothing else. Nothing needs to be said.

I grind my body against her, nudging my cock inside her vagina and each nudge was met with a slight parting of her lips.

I wanted to feel the explosive feeling of my 1st orgasm soon.

I turned Yiling over on her stomach and she knew what I wanted. She got on her knees, offering up her behind. I kiss and smell the small of her back as my hands cupped her breast from behind. I kneaded and squeezed her love pillows as I felt my way down towards the sash she tired around the gown.

I released it and pulled it all out, netting myself a perfect length of ribbon to use as a bondage tool.

I could have tied her hands, but I didn’t want to. Instead, I went for her mouth. I slid the soft sash in front of her lips and YIling read me perfectly. Her lips parted and I pulled back.

Yiling : ernghh…

I twisted and coiled the remaining sash around my left hand and a gentle tug was all it took for me to control Yiling’s head. There was no need for me to nudge her legs apart anymore. The moment she took that sash in her mouth and allowed me to do that to her, she has relinquished all control.

Her knees parted slowly, as I lifted up the bottom of the night gown. She is a bit further away from me, I could have moved in to fuck her but no.

I wanted her to come to me.

Position my cock at the entrance, I tugged and jerk the sash I held like I was controlling a horse, Yiling moaned as she started to back herself into me.

Yiling : ernghhh… ernghhhh… egnhh!!!

Each time she backed up, my cock pushes a little into the vagina.

I tugged again, she backed some more.

It’s been a while since I felt so horny.

Yiling stopped moving, panting and moaning as her tight pussy adjust to my cock in that position. I could feel the muscles clamping down the thick part of my dickhead as she moaned.

I tugged her once more and there was a helpless whimper.

Yiling : ernghhh!!

When my cock is fully engulfed, I reached for the clasped of her bra and released her breast from that undergarment.

Bringing it up to my nose, I plastered it to my face as I started to fuck myself into her from behind.

The smacking filled the room and was immediately accompanied by Yiling’s moans.

Yiling :ernghhh !!! ernghh ergnhhh… ernghhh..e nghhh..er gnhh… ernghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Ernghh!!!!

Jeff :arghhhh!!! Ooorgghhhhh !!!

I sucked in the scent of Yiling’s breast from the bra cups as if I was deprived of oxygen as I fucked her. This sick act alone released enough endorphins into my brain to tease my pleasure nodes, second only to that of an orgasm.

Yiling :ernghhh.. ernghh..e rnghhh!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m…. erngn… I’m ….. oh my god… oh my god… ermmggnnnn..er gnnn….. I’m…. ernghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Yiling’s pussy contracted again as she screamed, her fingers digging into the bedsheets, yanking them out from under the pillow. I kept up my fucking as she screamed into a pillow that has fell infront of her.

I released the sash I was holding onto and held onto her bottom. She was trying to move away from me, I cannot allow that. She may be feeling sensitive after an orgasm but I haven had mine.

Jeff : efrghhhhh!!! Arghhhh!!!! ergHHHHH!!!

I’m almost there. I could feel the peak like the roller coaster cart reaching the summit.

One last deep breath followed as I exploded raw into Yiling.

Jeff : arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

My cock jerked and deposited at least a week worth of cum into her love hole. I pushed and grunted, moaning and groaning as I watch Yiling turn to look at me with her dishevelled hair.

I kept my cock inside her , and it was only after another long 2 second shiver that I finally pulled my cock out.

Yiling collapsed onto the side with her back facing me.

My left arm went around her waist and clawed her towards my body.

Yiling : ernghhhhhhhhhhh!!…

She reared her head to look at me and we kissed.

Yiling : oh my god…that was amazing…

Jeff : You…… are amazing…

We kissed again, panting into each other’s face.

I don’t know what time it was by then but we were both exhausted.

We collapsed and fell asleep.

I woke up with a jumped when I felt the bed move beside me.

My eyes struggled to adjust to the light that is coming in through the window.

Yiling hesitated for a second before straddling me.

Yiling : What are the chances of us meeting again after this is over … ?

I looked at her and shook my head.

Jeff : unlikely….

Yiling : I think so too….

My cock started to get hard again.

YIling bent down and I moaned as I felt the press of her erected nipples and warm breast on my face.

She pulled her tits away from my reluctant tongue.

Yiling : One more for the road ?

I nodded as Yiling checked the clock on the dresser table. It’s coming to 8am.

She laughed as I pulled her towards me.

Jeff : I think we have enough time for 2….

…………………………………..

 

The next round I had with Yiling is at a more relaxed pace.

Her tight love hole fit like a snug glove and I did not expect myself to cum first ahead of her.

Yiling took a while longer before going into spasm as she hugged her body onto mine, moaning and groaning by the side of my ears.

We lazed about in the bed for about 15 more minutes before getting up.

Breakfast is a combination of beer and the bag of chips I brought up the night before.

We showered separately and by the time we came out dressed, there was no doubt that the rendezvous we enjoyed earlier is official over.

Heading down to the living area, Yiling made coffee while both of us poured through the files Billy handed us.

5 minutes to 10, I could hear the engine of the van pulling up at the house’s driveway.

Billy remained in his van even though he waved to Yiling. He looked like he was talking on the phone.

The other vehicles started arriving shortly after that. Ben and his crew started to arrange photographs of Yiling and me around the house. There were even travel mementos that corresponded with props and stuff they photoshopped into the photos.

A large wedding shot of the 2 of us went up behind the bed in the master bedroom.

As I looked at Yiling in that gown with that plunging neckline, I should have asked if I could do her in that gown the night before.

Billy spoke with YIling for a moment before suggesting that we head to the study to start the project briefing.

Billy : Good morning… I hope you guys had enough time to digest the information I handed you earlier….

Neither of us replied and Billy went on with his brief.

Billy : We’ve had more time to talk with your sister and she is pretty sure this client of her’s is interested to use the established routes Benson had set up…. This is not surprising, how Benson is able to do it consistently and at such scale is something that has all his competitors scratching their heads…. Still…. The results speak for themselves…

Billy added that our instructions are to purely observe and make contact.

Billy : We do not know how many of them will turn up….. we don’t know who the client is… and if he or she is as secretive as Yvonne say they are….. they might just send a decoy…

Yiling : so what do we do after establishing contact… ?

Billy : we are not sure how this will play out but we have to play by ear. …. We want to put a face to this man for now….. find out what he wants exactly…. And we will take it from there….

Yiling : what if he suspect I’m not my sister ?? ….

Billy : I can’t answer that, you’ll have to smoke your way through…. I have here though, a rough facial sketch of the contact that approached your sister….. it’s not very clear… she’s still very stressed out…. And it’s been 6 months….

The photo sketch don’t look impressive, there is nothing about the contact that stands out at all. You can probably bring the photo to the streets and find a dozen of people that sort of fit into that category.

I watched Billy hand over Yvonne’s phone to Yiling before adding that the password to unlock it is 2235.

Billy went through all of Benson’s hardisk and server. There are a lot of information to sieve through and he need more time to see if anything might come up useful.

Billy : Yvonne is not sure about Benson’s smuggling route but she is pretty confident it’s via the sea….i found some information in Benson’s computer that collaborated with that information…..Benson owns a few floating kelongs , some of them very close to Malaysian waters….

Billy handed over the information and added that Benson also owns a holding company in Malaysia that owns and operated a few kelongs that is close to Singapore waters.

He looked at Yiling and told her that cameras will be set up in the house. It will capture everyone that walks through that door.

Billy : Put a face to the leader… and find out what he wants….that’s all…

Turning to me Billy said that he needed to have a private word with YIling.

I excused myself and went to the kitchen to see the 2 aunties stocking the cabinet with snacks and food. I went to the small wine cellar about the size of a walk-in wardrobe and took a peek.

One of the lady came over and started pulling bottles off the shelves before replacing them with those she brought.

Jeff : What are you doing ??

She replied that there are instructions to remove all bottles before 1996 and replace them with something else.

Oh this is definitely Owen. Has to be him.

That cheap bastard. This is not the first time he did this.

A perk of the job he once said when he relieved me of a bottle of Louis xiii Cognac after a project. I was reluctant to hand it over until he asked me to make a choice.

To keep the bottle or for him to look the other way as I empty the safe that is not supposed to be there.

I handed it over and made him promise he would share that.

I never saw that bottle again.

The safe turned out to be a good decision for me. There’s almost 20k in different currency not to forget the 3 pieces of 100gm gold bars.

If we were to follow regulations strictly, all these stuff needs to be catagorised and sent back to the company, but the nature of our jobs made us crooks to start with.

Owen understood the need for people like us to have a backup. A stash somewhere.

A small pot of gold to start a new life after retirement.

I went back out into the living area and Ben was just about done with his stuff.

His guys are putting the finishing touches onto the displays. He handed me a small album about the size of your diary.

Jeff : what’s this…

He smiled but said nothing.

I opened the 1st page and I just froze.

They were pictures Yiling and me. They are all from the shoot the night before.

It’s a book of specially curated shots that Ben chose.

Everyone told a story. Most of them are casual candid shots, taken when YIling and I were not ready. None of them were edited yet you could tell from the way we were looking at each other in the photos that we are attracted to each other.

The sexual tension that I felt the day before were clearly reflected in the photos. There was even a shot of me looking at Yiling’s legs as she slipped into her pair of heels.

Ben turned to make sure no one is within earshot before saying that for once, he wished he was me.

Ben : I wished I was you for just a few hours man….

Jeff: hahah….

Ben : keep it properly… it’s a souvenir…. See you when I see you…

I gave him a nod of appreciation as Ben gestured to his crew to wrap it up and took his leave.

Heading back to the study I saw Billy and Yiling deep in conversation with her looking particularly stressed.

I knocked and they stopped talking.

Jeff : All ok ?

Billy : yeah… we’re just about done….

Billy introduced to the 4 men that will be assigned to us as our so call security personnel.

Billy : they’re trained , they’re armed….

Yiling : Wouldn’t that be suspicious…. If they are armed ?

Billy : Hey come on… you guys are drug dealers…. Don’t worry…. The guns don’t exists… serial numbers filed off…. Different models…

By 11.20am, the entire house was cleared of non-essential personnel.

I went through our cover story with Yiling a few times over a simple lunch prepared by the aunties.

Yiling held onto the phone wherever she went, even into the toilet.

The agreement between Yvonne was that they will be in contact with her that evening, and the meeting will take place in the house.

7pm

The staff whipped up a simple dinner for Yiling and I and we ate while we quiz each other about the role we are playing.

7.50pm

I had just opened up a bottle of wine when the phone rang.

Yiling took a look and she gave me a wave before answering it.

Yiling : hellow… yes….yes… how are you….. good… good…… that’s good to know…. Right…. Right….. sure…. We’ll be waiting…..alright…. I’ll text you the address…. Right…. See you…

Yiling hung up and said the contact is ready.

She text them the address of the place we are in and I saw her got up, heading to the room to get changed.

Yiling appeared in a modest looking dress without bra. I could see the push of her nipples against the fabric as she checked her hair in the mirror.

I poured myself another glass of wine and I remained at the dining table.

Yiling : I know you are nervous… but please don’t get drunk….

Jeff : ermmm… ok….

She drained her glass of wine and I topped it up for her.

8.45pm

One of the security guys assigned to us told Yiling that our guest has arrived.

Yiling : let them in…

I remained in my seat and sipped my wine.

Yiling opened the door and I could tell she was nervous. She was playing with her fingernails and she was pacing a little by the front door.

From where I sat, I could see a convoy 3 vehicles. Normal sedan cars in different colours. You wouldn’t even give them a 2nd look if you pass them along the road.

The engines stopped and the doors opened at the same time.

I felt my heartrate increase a little as I looked at the 15 men that just got out of the 3 vehicles.

1 driver 4 passenger in each car. They were packed to the brim.

Yiling was a little taken aback with the number of people and she turned, giving me a look.

A middle age man stepped forward with his hands stretched.

Freddy : Hi hi… Yvonne…. Nice to meet you finally… I’m Freddy…..

Yiling: Hi…. Freddy…..

Freddy : wow… you look better in person…. Better than your beauty pageant photos… haha…

Yiling smiled and gestured towards the interior of the house, inviting our guest in.

Something is off.

Freddy did not strike me as the kind of man that is in charge.

He’s as nervous as Yiling as he stepped into the house.

He saw me sitting at the table and he waved to me as if he and I were acquaintance.

The gold watch on his wrist, the gold chain around his neck, the multiple rings and the ostentatious leather shoe, this is overkill.

I turned my attention to the rest of the men that filed into the house after that.

6 of them were looking at me.

3 of them caught my attention.

While the rest looked around with the same level of curiously when you enter a new place, that particular 3 stood out.

One of them looked to be in his early sixties. He has a permanent frown on his forehead and he as staring at the assigned guards that are looking down from level 2.

The other is too young. His shifty eyes gave him away immediately.

He spent too long looking at each and everything from the aunties to the photos on display.

Our eyes met and he stared at me. He looked at me with a kind of rudeness you would expect from a impulsive young man. Not that I’m very old but the work I do just sort of ages me mentally.

This brings us down to the last man.

A middle age man same like Freddy.

He’s cautious, he observes without being too obvious.

He made sure someone is in front of him most of the time.

When he looked at me, it was only for a couple of seconds before looking away.

Yiling : Freddy ….. meet my husband…. Benson…

I remained in my seat as I looked at Freddy who paused and looked at Yiling.

Freddy : Yvonne… I ermm…. Correct me if I’m wrong… but…. I’ve seen you on articles with your husband before and….. ermmmm….

Yiling remained calm and offered nothing more than a slight smile.

Yiling : Freddy…. This is my husband…. The one you saw…..is our employee….

That puzzled look and not knowing what to do is more than enough to give his game away.

He’s definitely not the one in charge.

Freddy h… well…well… hahaha… I mean… ermmm … he…. Your husband… he looks very young ah… hahaha… well maintained I’m sure….hahaha.. you also look so good… hahah…

Freddy looked around the house and he was unsure how to proceed.

He looked like he wanted to turn around and ask for instructions but he stopped himself.

Yiling : given the nature of business we are in…. I’m sure you can understand why…. My husband choose to remain outside the limelight….

Freddy : hahah.. yes… yes… of course… of course… I also value my privacy… haha..yes…so… so… ermm… yes… Benson… brother… nice to meet you… haha

I did not say anything and I just looked at a overly friendly Freddy.

All eyes were on me by then but I remained in my seat. I sipped my wine and I looked at Freddy who was trying his best to give me his best smile.

Yiling : Dear…. Ermm… are you going to say something ??

Freddy hesitated for a moment before walking over quickly to me with his hands stretched.

Freddy : Come.. come….let’s talk shop…. Hahah…

I did not take his hand.

I could see Yiling glaring at me as the entire group waited for me to move.

It only takes 2 seconds for the situation to turn awkward. Just imagine you trying to shake the hand of someone who doesn’t want to take it.

Freddy :errrmm…. Hahaha… haha… er… Yvonne… your husband had too much to drink already is it… haha…

He kept his hand and wiped his palms at the back of his pants.

I grabbed a wine glass and poured a glass of wine for Freddy.

He started smiling and laughing again as he received the glass of wine.

Freddy : hahaha.. wow… wow… man of few words… hahaha… I like your husband already….

Yiling by then was caught between murdering me with her eyes and keeping up a smiling front.

Jeff : Freddy…..

Freddy : yes… yes… Benson brother….

Jeff: I’ve had a long day….

Freddy : me too … me too… we all had a long day…. Let’s get this over and done with shall we….

I drained my wine and addressed the whole group at once.

Jeff : Why don’t you guys discuss among yourselves…. And when you make up your mind, get the decision maker to join us in the study….

Freddy was taken aback for a brief moment before smiling again, saying that he is capable of making all the decision.

Freddy : Alright then… let’s do this… I can make the decision….

I looked at Freddy and shook my head.

Jeff: No …. Not you…

Yiling : dear !!.. what’s wrong with you !…

The amount of movements in her eyes as she glared at me could only mean either she wanted me to shut up or she wanted to murder me there and then. I strongly suspect it’s the latter.

Yiling : If you are drunk … then I suggest….

Jeff : I’m not drunk….i just don’t like to waste time….

Yiling’s eyes widened and she smiled in an apologetic manner towards Freddy as she asked me to step aside for a word.

The oldest of the trio I flagged pushed his way to the front.

Old man : You’ve got some balls to be talking like this to my boss….

Jeff : Your boss…… really ?

I grabbed my glass of wine and I splashed it at Freddy.

Freddy : waoshh…. Woah… fuck !!… woah…

There was a suddenly compacting of bodies and movement. The tension in the room went up a notch and the old man reached into the back of his pants, keeping his hands there as he stared at me with his wild, animal like eyes.

Yiling : Dear !!! you’re drunk !!

Jeff : I find it hard to believe… that I did that… and none of you reacted…..

Freddy ; i…what….the….I….

Freddy was at a lost for words and he looked behind him.

The entire mass of bodies now surround the remaining 2 of the trio I flagged.

Freddy : if…. If you are not interested to… to talk business.. then I say we get the fuck out of here…. Fucking waste of my time !!!

His outburst came too late and as Yiling tried to sooth the frayed nerves, the middle age man that was hiding behind the others all along finally came out. He slowly made his way to the front and our eyes met again.

As the came closer, i could see he is well groomed. His poker face gave nothing away.

He walked slowly towards me and our eyes never left each other.

He came closer, stopping right before the imaginary line I drew in my head to define if someone violated my personal space.

Neither one of us spoke .

He nodded slightly at me and by then, Yiling had started to ask me if I needed a hot drink to sober up.

Yiling : Dear !! you need a cup of hot tea ?? … you better stop drinking that bottle of wine…. !! DEAR !!! I’m talking to you… !

The man put 2 fingers up to Yiling with a reassuring smile.

Man : it’s ok Yvonne…. Let’s talk in the study….

Yiling : what ? ….

I slowly stepped back and stretched out my hand towards the study room.

Another wave of his 2 magical fingers was all it took for his men to remain behind. Freddy relaxed significantly, knowing that his role is over.

I turned to look at the guards assigned to us.

1 is at the guardhouse by the main gate. The other 3 by then had positioned themselves on the ground floor close to Yiling and me.

Yiling : erm.. oh.. let’s talk in the study….

We entered the study and settled into the plush armchair.

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a packet of cigarette.

Man : may I ?

Jeff : No you may not….

He looked at me for a couple of seconds before bursting into a laugh.

Stretching out his hand , he smiled and made his introduction.

Ed : Call me Ed….. I’ve always ……always…. Been very curious about how you manage to build up an empire like this….. now that I met the real Benson….. I finally understand… haha..

Yiling’s jaws were slightly opened as I smiled and extended my hand towards Ed.

Jeff : do I give you the impression that I am not capable ? ….

Ed : hahahah… well…. Let’s just say the public face you have chosen … don’t necessary project a façade of confidence….. hahah..

Jeff : What can I say… good help are hard to come by….

Ed laughed heartily as I reached across my desk and offered Ed a cigar from the humidor.

Ed : I thought you didn’t like smoking hahaha….

Ed took one and helped himself to the windproof lighter after cutting the end off the cigar.

Jeff : I don’t… those things will kill you….

Ed : hahah…

I cut one cigar for myself and lit it with the same lighter after Ed is done with his.

Ed : What about these ….? These will kill you too…. Haha

Jeff : death comes to us all….

Ed : hahaha…. True… true….

Yiling looked on without a word. I wonder what is going through her head.

Her work is essentially done. We’ve identified the man in charge.

The hidden cameras in the house would have taken care of the rest.

Jeff : so….what can we do for you…..Ed…..

He wasted no time and went straight to the point.

Ed : I want you…. To bring somethings in for me…… I can pay… but discretion is of utmost importance….

Jeff : If we weren’t discreet…. We wouldn’t be here having this conversation…

Ed grinned and shook his cigar towards me as he eyed Yiling.

Ed : wow….if I knew the Benson… I would have started to work with you long ago… hahaha.. haha…

I smiled and waited for him to continue.

Without breaking a beat, he quickly rattled off what he wanted.

Ed : monthly shipments…. Across the causeway…. No questions asked…nothing bigger than a 28 inch suitcase….

I could feel my heart beating faster as I looked at Ed.

He could sense the hesitation in me.

Ed : I can pay… and it will be more that what you make from what you currently bring in….

Jeff : The stuff I bring in….do you….

He cut me off before I could continue.

Ed : those are nothing….a couple of KG here, a few KG there….how long do you intend to keep doing this…. ?? …

I narrowed my eyes and leaned back in my chair.

Ed : What’s the max you can bring in….? huh ? … 20kg ? …. And how much of those do you get to actually keep minus the little mishaps along the way….. 10 ?

Jeff : You’ve been doing your homework….

Ed : haha… well…let’s put it this way….bring my stuff in for a year or 2…. I guarantee you will be far happier with the rewards my friend….

Jeff : I would prefer to keep this relationship purely professional….. we’re not friends….

Ed gave a hearty laughed as he slapped his thigh and shook his cigar at me again, dropping ashes onto the study floor.

Ed : You’ve got balls….. you’ve got balls hahahahah… I like you…. I like you…. Haha…

I took a puff from my cigar and I asked Ed how does he want to deal.

Ed pulled a plain white card out from his pocket with a number and an email address on it.

Ed : We pay cash…. In any currency you like…. Just let us know where to wait for our ride across the border…..

Yiling stepped forward and took the card. That would guarantee a bonus and compliment from Owen for sure.

Yiling : Thank you Ed….. look forward to doing business with you….

Ed laughed and he appraised YIling’s body before looking at me.

Ed : You are a lucky man Benson… hahah…lucky man…. Benson Liu Guan Jun

I was puzzled as to why he said Benson’s full name but he quickly added that my Chinese name, Guan Jun translates to champion.

With his hands apart, Ed added that he looked forward to working with a champion.

Ed : Looking forward to a mutually rewarding relationship my friend… hahahah…

Ed stood up and so did i.

He came forward for a hug and I took it.

As our bodies part I looked at Ed and added with a smile.

Jeff : May I boldly ask then…. What is my new friend’s name ?

Ed’s eyes widened in surprise before he laughed heartily, his expression a mix of amusement and new found curiosity.

Ed : You can call me ED…….but my friends….…. My friends call me Chan…..

Jeff : oh….. Ed Chan ..

I walked Ed to the study’s door and opened it.

Right before he stepped out, he formally introduced himself.

Ed : My name…. is Edward……….. Fernando …………..Chan…..

………………………………….

 

Jeff : That sounds like a name I won’t forget anytime soon… haha ….

Ed : beast of a name isn’t it ?……..well then…. Benson… what do your friends call you ??

I smiled and added as we got to the front door.

Jeff : My friends…… get to meet the real me….the rest….can talk to my employee…

I finished my statement with a wide smile, and it took Ed a second longer to catch on.

Ed : hahahahah….. hahaha…. Alright ….. hahaha….. good… good…. Hahaha…

Right before he gets into his car, he spoke directly to Yiling.

Ed : Yvonne…. It was lovely meeting you… thank you for setting this up….

YIling smiled and gave a slight bow but said nothing.
The man that claimed to be Freddy opened the trunk and handed Yiling a brown envelope.

She took it without a word. The reward for setting this up and making the introduction that would have gone to Yvonne.
Ed : Benson..

I gave him a parting nod.

Jeff : Chan….

He got into his car with his cigar and Yiling came over to my side.

My hands went around her waist, taking the last bit of liberty with her body before this is over.

We watched the convoy go around the water feature before disappearing down the driveway.

When the last vehicle lest the estate, Yiling turned towards me and gave me a playful smack with the envelope.

Yiling : what the hell man !!

Jeff : what ? haha.. it’s done… just need to know who’s in charge right….

Yiling gave me an irritated look as she tried to pull herself away from me.

Jeff ; I could tell that Freddy is fake from a mile away….

Yiling : what makes you so sure ?? !! he’s got that boss look written all over him…

Jeff :.. he’s too loud….. base on my experience… people in the trade keeps a low profile… we are not shooting a HK triad movie…..besides… He’s literally looking at your breast when he’s talking to you…. Come on…

Yiling gave me a sideway glare as she walked back into the house.

I smiled as I watch her approaching on of the guards and asked for his phone.

She made the phone call, probably calling it in to report that it’s over.

I went to the dining table and topped up my glass of wine.
Yiling came over a moment later and told me that she noticed a young guy taking photos of the house.

Yiling : With his mobile phone…..snapping away….he took a photo of me as well….

Jeff : That’s because you’re hot…. And that dress looks good on you….

Yiling ignored my comment, replying only after she topped up her wine.
Yiling : Thank you for the compliment…. If we are alone I might just sleep with you again….

Jeff : we could go into the room and….

Yiling : In your dreams Jeff…. Ahahah
I laughed and we waited for the clean up crew to arrive so they can reinstate the place to it’s original order.

Yiling’s phone rang several times , so did the crew that was assigned to us.

At one point, even the Auntie that was in the kitchen was on the phone.

I quietly observed everything and waited.

Sooner or later, Billy would be here to update me about the situation.

What I did not expect though was for the wait for be almost 4 hours.

By the time it came to 1am in the morning, I was kind of looking forward to spend the night as husband and wife with Yiling again.
7th June 2013
1am

By then I was pretty sure there’s been some changes to the game plan. Billy arrived and he spoke with Yiling immediately.

I could see she was unhappy with something but I could not make out what was being said.
After that short conversation with Billy, both of them came over to me.

Billy : Hi Jeff…. Thank you for the help in this matter…. We will take over from here….

Jeff : What ? ….

Yiling looked at me but said nothing.

Billy handed me a thumb drive.

Billy : Inside here is all the information you need for your superiors…I’m sure it will net you a good promotion….. before we part ways, I need to let you know that we will be in touch with your superiors with regards to your involvement in this operation…. I hope that you will not say a word of what happened here to anyone….

Billy delivered that speech what I had no doubt was rehearsed beforehand.

There was no clean up crew with him.

The security staff and the aunties did not show signs of getting ready to leave. It quickly dawned on me what Owen wanted to do.

He wanted the ruse to continue.
Everything would be where it is as they find out more about that mysterious client and what he wanted to bring in.

Billy : you will be returned to your post overseas Jeff… and ermm….

Billy said he will be giving me a lift out of the estate after I said my goodbyes.
I wasn’t expecting it to end like this but the time for questions will come later.

Right now, Yiling was standing in front of me, a project folder in 1 hand and 2 phones in the other.

It was an awkward moment as we stood in the middle of the living room.

Yiling : well… ermm… I guess … this is it….

I find it hard to look at her in the eyes at that moment.

Jeff : ermm.. i…erm… I guess so….

Yiling : I doubt we will be seeing each other again yeah…. Hahha…

Jeff : haha… i.. I don’t know….

I opened my arms and Yiling came into my embrace without a need for further invitation.

It was a snug and reassuring 5 second hug before our bodies parted. This is weird on so many level.

We knew other for only a short period of time yet the level of intimacy we share is much more. Perhaps what they say is true, in times of crisis, it’s easier to make true friends. I don’t know if I consider us friends though, especially we will probably not meet again.

I will definitely miss that body of hers.

Owen must have his reasons for pulling me out.
Perhaps he felt I outstayed my usefulness, and it’s time for Yiling to run the show. You can’t expect to have someone holding your hand all the time. This would be a good experience for her. Everything is all set up and connected. Just don’t fuck it up.

All Owen needed to do was to pull the strings from behind the scene and Yiling can continue playing the role of the mistress of the house. Money, power and experience will come flowing in. I bet it’s a matter of time before she rises up the ranking within the company.

There is no point being wishy washy with the parting. We are all adults, not some adolescent engaging in puppy love.
I went up to the room to pick up the clothes that I came in, not forgetting the album of photos Ben gave me as a souvenir.

I grabbed a bag and stuffed everything in. Just when I was about to leave, I saw the pair of heels that Yiling wore on the 1st day. I went closer with a mix of curiosity and perverted thoughts.

I removed the heel and checked out the sharp dagger hidden beneath. I slid the dagger back in and checked out the workmanship of that heel. This is some good shit.
The connection of the joints is seamless. The weight of the dagger feels perfectly balanced in my hand. It’s a nice piece of work, by a professional craftsman. I could only think of 1 person in the country capable of producing work like this and discreet enough to keep his mouth shut.

Afterall, he’s the one that crafted my own knives.

I orientated the pair of heels trying to see what other secret it holds when Yiling appeared by the front of the door. I froze for a second as I realised that perhaps I had been holding that pair of heels a little too close to my face as I examined it.
Jeff : fuck… no…. I can explain.. please….it’s not what you think…

Yiling had a funny smile on her face with her left eyebrow raised.

Yiling : I know most guys have a fetish with heels but you sure take it to another level….

Jeff : No… no… I can explain….

Yiling smiled and said it’s fine.
Yiling : No need to explain Jeff… it’s ok… we slept together…. We had sex… it’s normal…perfectly normal….

Jeff : No…. listen… I was…

 

She put up her palm as she walked slowly towards me, nodding her head with her eyes partially shut, she kept mouthing ‘it’s ok’ to me silently as she tried to stifle a smile.

Picking up her pair of heels, she presented it to me.

Yiling : for you… it’s ok… you can keep it… I wore it less than 5 times…

Jeff : no…. no… please… i…
Yiling just nod and smile, repeating her silent “ it’s ok “ . This time adding a ‘I understand’ behind it.

I sighed as she turned it over before handing it to me.

Yiling : There’s something at the back….see…

She pulled out the dagger which I already knew before putting it back in.
My mouth was open, I wanted to speak but nothing came out.

Yiling grabbed my bag and put her pair of heels in before helping me zip it up.

She gave me a sisterly tap on my arm before walking me out of the room with her arms around my shoulder.

Yiling : I’m glad you took that and not the pearl undies Jeff….hahaha…..personally I can accept the heel fetish part…..

Jeff : Oh god….. how can I explain myself out of this…..
Yiling laughed and when I got to the corridor, Billy was there waiting.
She saw Billy and she regained her composure. Clearing her throat, she stretched out her hand and I shook it firmly.

Jeff : It’s been a pleasure …. Yiling ….
She laughed.

Yiling : the feeling of pleasure is mutual… haha…

We gave each other a curt nod before I followed Billy down the stairs and straight to his vehicle.

I gave Yiling a wave as she stopped by the bottom of the stairs, choosing not to walk me to the door.

The moment we got into Billy’s van, the first thing he said was ;

Billy : you fucked her right….. tell me you fucked her…..

Jeff :…. A gentlemen don’t kiss and tell….
Billy : ok… you definitely fucked her….

Billy laughed and started the engine.

En route back to office, I asked Billy what Owen has planned for Yiling .

Billy : your guess is as good as mine…. All I know was that she is to continue playing the role of Yvonne….indefinitely….

Jeff : Seems like Owen is keen to fill the void of Benson….
Billy : He is… Benson’s position is a treasure mine of information…..and you know Owen…. Nothing is more valuable than information…

Jeff : True…

I stretched out in the car seat as Billy told me both Yvonne and her son has been relocated to a temporary shelter courtesy of the government.

Billy : as long as Yiling is playing her sister… they will be kept safe and out of sight…

Jeff : What about Benson’s men….
Billy : I doubt they will see the light of day anytime soon….. they saw your face… know what you can do…. All of them former inmates…. A couple with outstanding arrest warrants…. My guess is Owen will make sure they never talk….

I let out a loud yawn as I took in them empty roads at 2am in the morning.
I’m looking forward to a good sleep.

Billy told me Owen is waiting for the debrief report before he board his flight back from Japan.

Jeff : what’s he doing there ? …

Billy : He’s not saying…. But I know wants to meet you tomorrow.

Jeff : …. What about my break ?

Billy : no rest for the wicked…
Billy dropped me off in office before driving off.

I went back up to office and finished up some admin work that Owen wanted after each project. It’s a hassle but it gets him off my back and I need that to get my bonus payment.

No one wants to drag when money is involved.

By the time I left office at 5am, I saw the stall owners of the café starting their day.

Lala saw me walking out from the lift and he waved eagerly to me.
Lala : Jeff…. Jeff !!… come…. Kopi O kosong !!! Kopi O kosong.!!

I was exhausted but the thought of a piping hot cup of coffee sounds inviting.
I gave him a thumbs up and went over to the stall.

Steam rise from the respective stalls as the 1st round of water boiled.

I waved to Lala’s father and placed an order for kaya toast and eggs on top of the coffee Lala is preparing.

It felt like a long time since I last sat down at the café even though it has been barely a week. The quiet and empty café, the stall owners hard at work. The sun will rise in a while and the hustle and bustle of the office tower will start off all over again.
I could hear Lala scraping the crispy crust of the toasted bread with the cover of a milk tin.

Looking back, he lather up a generous spread of Kaya and butter. I could almost taste the sweet salty combination in my mouth. He gave me a wave and I went over to pick it up.

I cracked the perfectly cooked half boiled eggs and let it drop with a jiggle onto the saucer. It’s really the simple things in life that gives us satisfaction.

I was about to stand up and go grab the soy sauce & pepper when it was set down in front of me.

I looked up and I was shocked to see Xuehua in front of me.
She looked so fresh and radiant at 5am in the morning. It really came as a surprise out of the blue. More so because I did not see her coming over. I’m usually very aware of situations and people around me.

I had to blink a couple of times before my brain manage to process what my eyes are seeing.

Xuehua : Morning….

Jeff : oh….ermmm….. good morning….

She’s an early riser. Xuehua was dressed in a blue singlet from an annual marathon that I participate occasionally. Beneath that loose blue singlet hid a figure-hugging black sports bra.

I could not make out what she was wearing beneath but the thought of seeing her toned legs, perhaps a pair of sexy running shorts sent blood rushing to my groin.

Xuehua : what are you doing here so early in the morning…. ?

Jeff : well… I ermm… I just left work…

Xuehua : wow…..what do you do for a living ?

As if appearing out of the blue without me realising is not shocking enough, Xuehua spoke as she raised up both her hands to tie her hair.

She stood up to signal to Lala for a drink and as she did so, I saw that pair of soul snatching legs disappear into the pair of grey running shorts.
My erection got harder as my eyes settled on her hairless armpits as she looked down, lifting the back of her hair upwards for her hands to reach it.
You see, if you are looking down from that height, you would be looking down at the table or the floor, but Xuehua kept her eyes on me while waiting for my answer. So picture this, with her head pointing down, her eyes looking up at you while she ties her hair, god, it brings back images of the time when I have girls looking at me with their eyes pointing upwards.
They would usually be on their knees, head down, eyes up.

With her shapely figure, her exposed armpits, I get a shiver in my cock as 5ml of precum just deposited itself on my stretched underwear.

Xuehua : it’s ok if you don’t want to share… hahah.. I’m not forcing you… haha..

She sat back down and gave her tight pony tail a light shake, amused with the frozen state I was in.

Jeff : oh… no.. no.. no… I mean.. yeah… I ermm.. I’m a consultant….yeah…. a consultant…

Xuehua : hmmm… ok…. What do you consult on ? …

Jeff : ermm…. Waste disposal….and ermm….. waste management…

Xuehua : hmmm… right…. Sounds… boring.. haha..

I laughed as she thanked Lala for her bottle of water.

Jeff : you going for a run ? … at this time in the morning ? ….

Xuehua : yeah…. Why not…

Jeff : this is… little india… aren’t you…err…

Xuehua : hahah… come on… this is Singapore….chill man… haha

Jeff : well… you…. A girl has to take care of herself …. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way and all… you know…

Xuehua gave me a raised eyebrow as she grabbed her bottle and got up.

Xuehua : er… ok…. I’m been running everyday for many years…. I stay a couple of streets away..…. I’m still here… haha… alright…. See you around Jeff….

Jeff : what about you…. What do you do for a living ?

Xuehua burst into laughter.

 

She shook droplets of condensed water from the bottle at me before adding with an amused smile.

Xuehua : I sell chicken rice Jeff….. in case you haven noticed..…. Hahaha…

Jeff : hahaha

Xuehua : eggs are getting cold….

She gestured to my breakfast before waving goodbye.

Jeff : bye….. see you…

As I turned and waved to Xuehua heading out of the café, I could see the expression I had on my face. Yes, it’s that same sick lovelorn look Billy describe at sick.

I can’t help it.

Seeing an angel early in the morning, that has to be a good sign isn’t it ? I would have wanted to wait and catch Xuehua again, to see her body peppered with droplets of sweat but I was too tired.

I finished my breakfast and went back home. A cold shower followed and I collapsed into my bed, part of me wishing I was back at Benson’s place with Yiling by my side.

I woke up at 1pm and saw a message from Owen for me to call him.

It turns out that he just touched down in Singapore not too long ago.

Owen : You up ?

Jeff : I’m talking to you ain’t it ?

Owen : I need to make a visit to the Japanese association….

Jeff : why…going for a tea ceremony ? …

Owen ; I wish…. It’s work…. I can only bring 1 employee with me…

I felt a rush of adrenaline hitting me. Owen has his own group of men that he works with on official assignment that requires a bit more careful planning. When the occasion calls for it, he has his own bodyguards.

The last time he asked me to accompany him on a 1 on 1 basis, we met with a North Korean official on a yacht anchored off Lazarus island south of Singapore. The party really started when the Iranians arrived on a separate Yacht.

The tensed meeting lasted for 2 hours before hands were shook and everyone left with a smile.

Owen never told me what was discussed but he was visibly relieved after it was over.

The wait for me though outside the room in which the discussion was held, is anything but pleasant.

It’s embarrassing.
When the powers to be are in the room deep in discussion, there are all but 3 men standing outside. All employees of the men inside the room.
A north Korean, A Iranian and yours truly, me.

The captains of the vessels gathered for drinks and smokes in the North Korean’s Yacht.
There is nothing hostile, no stare downs or anyone trying to show who has the biggest cock. We’re all just doing our job.

You see, the 3 of us speak different languages, if they knew English, they did not let it show.

We communicated with basic nods, eye contact and body language.

Both of them were looking at me from top to bottom, probably thinking you cannot fucking get more Singaporean than this in terms of dressing.

Fucking Owen told me we’re heading out to sea. On a yacht. How would you dress up ?

I came in shorts, flip flops and t-shirt only to be handed a Browning Semi automatic handgun by Owen. In case anything go wrong he says.

Where the fuck does he expect me to keep that when I’m in shorts and slippers.
A pistol is heavy. A fully loaded pistol with a full magazine, is heavier.

It’s fucking heavy and I can only tuck it in my pocket. I might as well hang it around my neck. Even a blind man could see the entire outline of what I was carrying.

Owen assured me it’s fine, that the other guys would be carrying as well.

I wanted to jump into the water when I saw our North Korean counterpart.

Dressed in smart attire of pants and polo T, he had a fucking rifle sling around his neck when he came onboard with a modified version of the AK 47.

The Iranian came onboard with a FAJR 224, their equivalent of the American’s M4 carbine.

He too had pants and a long sleeve shirt on with a smart rifle sling to boot. He made no attempt to hide the sidearm he was carrying behind too. A glock pistol fitted snugly in a leather holster.

I have never felt so embarrassed before in my life. The look they gave is not condescending, nor do they look down on me or anything, it’s one of bewilderment.

Puzzled and bewilderment.

The same puzzled look first time visitors to the island gives when they see us walking everywhere in flipflops and shorts.

We exchanged smiles, they kept 1 hand on their weapon, I kept 1 hand on the top of my pants because it’s fucking drooping to 1 side. Beach berms brother, beach berms, loose and relax one, now it’s hanging off my right as if my testicles is a lot heavier on that end.

30 minutes into the awkward quiet wait, the Iranian pointed to the weapon in my pants and gestured what is it .
I twisted my body a little , offering up the end of the pistol grip that is poking out.

Jeff : browning…

He gave a ‘ahhhh’, nodding his head and added a thumbs up sign.

Iranian : nice… I like too….
The North Korean gestured to my dropping pants before pointing to his shiny belt buckle with his country’s flag on it. He must be wondering why I’m not wearing a belt if my pants are dropping.

I manage an awkward smile and shook my head, waving my hand and added that I didn’t have one with me.
The North Korean offered everyone smokes and when seeing I needed to hold onto my pants, offered to light it for me.
As we puffed away with the gentle sea breeze on our faces, the man opposite me probably think we’re seriously underfunded.

Right before we parted after the meeting, the North Korean chap waved to me and he passed me a leather holster with a badge of their supreme leader for my pistol. The Iranian whistled as their yacht pulled up along side before he gave me his own belt.

Owen watched the exchange in amusement.

Owen : Wow a friendship gift !!… you’ve been busy while I’m in the meeting… you will make a good diplomat.

I was considering whether to use the pistol or belt against Owen.

Owen : What did you give them in exchange ??

Jeff : Nothing…. Fucking nothing,… you asked me to come to a yacht…. I bought half a dozen of old chang kee curry puff…it’s still sitting there on the table…

He laughed.

I refused to speak with Owen for the trip back to the island.
I returned him the pistol as we pulled into the berth and told him next time, brief me properly so I can get ready.

Owen : What’s wrong with you ? … everything went pretty well what….

Jeff : They brought automatic weapons brother…. I have a pistol stuffed in my pocket with my pants about to drop…. Simi lan jiao ? (WTF) if they want us dead, we will be at the bottom of the sea by now…

Owen : haha.. we’re host…what you want me to bring…. Next time I give you GPMG….. mount in front of the boat… gum bo……chill la… I buy you a drink…

Jeff : aarghhh… go away go away… leave me alone..

Now that Owen is asking me to get ready for something like this again, I have to be prepared.

Jeff : inside the Japanese association ? … not embassy ?

Owen : no… it’s a bit sensitive… the topic of discussion…. We cannot meet in the embassy….

Jeff : Is this why you went to Japan ?

Owen : yes and no…

Jeff : ok… let me get this straight this time…. I don’t want to be a fucking embarrassment again…

Owen : wah lau… it’s been so many years…. Fuck..
Jeff : simple….my question is simple…. Do I carry or not…. ?

Owen hesitated for a few seconds before replying me.

The diplomat in him must be thinking of how to be tactful in this instance.

He has to. You wouldn’t want anyone walking into your place with a weapon , then again, it is our own duty to take care of ourselves.

It’s his job to be diplomatic.

My job is to make sure we don’t fucking die.

I don’t want to die, not yet. I still have bucket lists to fulfil.
Owen : well…. Maybe something discreet…..

Jeff : Oh no… no… no…. be more specific…

Owen :alright fuck you know what… no guns…. Clear ? we’re not in the middle of the fucking ocean…. You pull a trigger the entire neighbourhood will hear you….

Jeff : ok…. No guns… fine…
Owen : discreet brother… discreet… discreet and impactful……..keep me alive…. I still want to withdraw my CPF for retirement… meeting is at 7pm this evening… do me a favour, bring Billy to the Pawnshop… he needs to open an account….
Jeff : what… why me ? …

Owen : He has your bonus from your latest project by the way….

Jeff : I’ll contact him right away…
I gave Billy a call after Owen hung up to meet him in Chinatown at 2pm.

 

The pawnshop might look like any other you see along the street. In fact, there is nothing out of the ordinary when you look at it. It’s been in business since 1960.

Staffed with men and women who looked like they can hardly see, people from all walks of life drop in and conduct their business. Old men with white hair squint their eyes trying to put a value to the small trinkets of gold brought in by those that needed some cash.

Old bargain hunters peering hard at the cases of gold and watches for sale, the glass covering the items already yellow with age.
The sound of abacus clicking fill the air, punctuated with that of a creaking ceiling fan. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if they do it purely for the audio effect.

It’s like stepping back in time.

Billy : are you sure this is the place…. This looks like a movie set…

Jeff : shut up…. Watch what you say around here… these people mean business…

I orientated Billy to the setup of the pawn shop.

Like many shops nowadays, you will see small makeshift stalls outside the five foot way. Usually those selling mobile phones and cameras. This particular pawn shop is no different.

The 2 mobile shop outside is staffed by men that looked like they mainline the steroids into their body.

The 4 stocky and built men are hard to miss.

Jeff : listen carefully….. the manner in which you enter the shop matters…. Never from the side of the 5-foot way…. Always from the front…. Through the 2 mobile phone stall…. You go from anywhere else, they will no entertain you…. You want to make a deposit and withdrawal in the future….. walk through the front…. Understand ??

Billy : orh… ok…

Set in a shophouse with an internal courtyard, the pawnshop not only operates it’s main business, it offers storage facility for people in all sorts of trades.

They have never lost anything before and the people in business have a strict rule about keeping their mouths shut.

You can keep anything, literally anything that can fit into the size of storage you choose to maintain. Owen introduced me to the pawnshops scattered throughout the country and I maintained accounts with each of them.

I went to the mobile phone counter and spoke with the man playing on his phone. Beside him hangs a large board with a list of new mobile lines that you can sign up for. You can choose the numbers you want from the list.

I picked one and handed him the number.
Jeff : My friend needs a new line…

The guy looked up at me before turning to Billy. He stared at him for a good 5 seconds and Billy was hitting my wrist with his as if asking me what the fuck he is supposed to do.

The man nodded and asked Billy to hold on for a minute.

He spoke with his friend manning the stall with him before both of them gestured to Billy to follow them.
Billy : what…. I follow them ?

Jeff : yes…give me my stuff first….

Billy : Are you sure… ?

Jeff : yes la….

Billy handed me an envelope before following the 2 men reluctantly down the five foot way to a gold shop a few doors down.
I entered the pawn shop and walked casually past the main counter.

The narrow corridor by the ends with a metal blast door. The walls to my left is filled with posters from the fifties and an old man sits with his assistant to my right behind a row of vertical bars.

They gave me a casual look and I heard the door’s bolt open and I stepped in.

With a carefully curated list of clientele, the staff knows every client by face.
No serial number, no complex locks, nothing high tech.

If you have an account, you can be sure the staff knows who you are.
The courtyard I stepped into is magical. Almost dream like.

The boss will be there, an old man in his mid sixties playing with his bird.
A real one in a cage in case you get the wrong idea.

He never gives a fuck, he never makes eye contact.
He’s the boss.

He plays with his fucking bird. Period.
Someone will be pouring him tea.
Always someone pouring tea like a deja vu happening over and over. In the middle of the courtyard are several tables. Set like a teahouse in period drama, men of all ages will be eating, chatting, some are playing chest.

It’s like a clubhouse, only that membership is exclusive. You can only join if someone brings you in.

A couple of old ladies will be pounding chilli and spices.

Men huddled at a corner talking and sipping their tea. Cautious looks are exchanged as I walk pass the main activity node and towards the storage wing.

Past the courtyard, you get to the storage area which essentially looks like that interior of a Chinese medical hall. You know the old school shop your parents go to grab herbs and the boss opens rows of wooden drawers with Chinese words on it. Yeap.
The attendant will bring you your box, leave you alone as you make a deposit or withdrawal.
Total privacy.

No one cares what you do. Not the ladies pounding chilli, not the man pouring tea, not the attendant, not the boss playing with his bird.

No one.
There are drawers of different sizes , but for me, I have graduated from a drawer, to a large cabinet the size of a full height wardrobe. I’m talking 1.5m wide and 2.4m tall. It’s huge. Inside contains some of the spoils of war I have collected over the years neatly arranged on shelves.

It’s the 2nd largest storage in the whole shop. Only 5 are available.
Money, weapons, identification, passport, you name it. I have it all.

The largest storage in the pawnshop though, is not a cabinet bigger than mine.
Owen told me the biggest storage is the room behind where the boss sits.

No one other than the staff knows who owns it. In fact, hardly anyone knew there is a room behind the boss. If not for the fact that Owen’s predecessor let loose a slip of his tongue, he would not have known either.
I pulled out YIling’s pair of heels and looked at it again, smiling to myself as I set it on one of the shelf. I could not resist taking a quick whiff, the scent immediately bringing me back to the joys of that evening. I put the album Ben gave me beside it.

These will make good memorabilia when I grow old.

The bottom shelf is where I keep my tools of the trade.
My knives.

I have 2 of them specially made. 11 inch each with a 7 inch blade, finished with black epoxy power coat, partially serrated blade and a 20 degree blade angle, it’s my tool of choice when things get rough.

I took one of them out and put it into my bag.
Discreet and impactful.

This is pretty discreet in my opinion. I can hide the knife.

I thought about the impactful part and that was the point I had a bit of hesitation.
I have 2 browning pistols that I reported as missing but they are now sitting in my shelf. Cleaned, oiled with 6 rounds each, these are shit I keep for end of the world scenario. You know, maybe a zombie outbreak or something.

Owen said no guns.

I looked away from that zone and picked something else and dropped it into my bag before shutting the cabinet.

I walked out and the attendant asked if I was done.

Jeff : I’m done.

Billy appeared from round the corner, looking nervous as hell as he clutched tightly onto his bag.

The attendant brought out a brand new drawer for Billy and accompanied him into the room.

I went towards the exit, the same blast door I entered and before I leave, I send my regards to the boss.

Jeff : TowKay ( boss in Teochew ) …. Seng gia liao… ( I make a move first )

He would respond in the same way always. A raised hand to acknowledge me, but no eye contact.

His bird is more important than me.

I went out of the pawn shop and waited for Billy.

30 minutes later he was out after being schooled by the attendant of what needs to be done.

Jeff : All ok ?

Billy : yeah… yeah…. Very expensive….

 

I laughed.

Jeff : good things always are…
As we made our way to our vehicles parked a distance away, it appears Billy is unaware of my assignment with Owen.

He mentioned that Owen told him to have a good rest before our new project starts in 2 weeks time.

Billy :….. Owen will be sending us the project information in a few days time….. I’m going to enjoy my break… maybe take a weekend trip somewhere.. you leh ?

Jeff : I’ll be in office….

Billy : hahaha… eat chicken rice ah….

Jeff : fuck you la… haha
We parted ways and i went home to get ready.

No more shorts and slippers. I put on a smart Polo shirt and pants. A custom made glass lined sheath held the knife I was carrying at the back of my waist, secured to my belt horizontally.
It’s within each reach of my right hand should there be a need to use it.

I pull on a tailored jacket that would conceal the additional budge.

Opening my bag, I retrieve the green canister I kept from another project.

I opened it and pulled out the HE grenade. Yeah, i haven thrown one of these since BMT.

The knife is for the discreet part, this one, is for impactful. Owen did say he wanted discreet and impactful right ?

I put it in my coat pocket and checked myself in the mirror.

I’m feeling a little nervous. I’ve never dealt with the Japanese before and don’t forget, they occupied our country for almost 4 years during the war.

I left my place and drove to pick Owen up at a fast food joint near the Japanese association.

Owen : let’s get this over and done with shall we……

He looked at his watch, eager to get moving. I reckon he wants to head somewhere else after that.

As we neared the turn to the association, Owen told me that he wants me in the room during the meeting.

Owen : Stay with me during the discussion later..
Jeff : ok…

I did not see the need to ask why.

If Owen didn’t feel threatened, he wouldn’t have asked.

This has to be something big.

Turning into carpark of the Japanese association, I immediately saw the large number of security personnel milling about. 4 of them stopped our car and I wind down the window.
Owen : I am here to see Nakamura San.

The man gave a polite nod, asking us to hold for a moment as his friends checked the under carriage of the car with a trolley mounted camera and mirror before waving us through.

Numerous cones were set up and there is only 1 way in.

Even the parking lot was pre assigned to us.

Jeff : this is a lot of men for a meeting…. Who is Nakamura ?

Owen : He do what I do…… in Japan…

Jeff : oh…

I shut of the engine and stepped out of the car.

I could see another 4 men waiting for us at the atrium.

We walked towards then entrance and Owen kept his voice low. Bringing me up to speed as my heartbeat got faster.

Owen : Nakamura requested for this meeting….. at this location….i wanted to meet somewhere else but he insisted.

Jeff : You agreed ?

Owen : I had no choice…. I owed him a favour for getting one of our guys out from Japan…

I turned and look at him.

Jeff : That’s why you flew over ?

Owen : You don’t need to concern yourself with the rest of the details…. There… that’s him… Nakamura….

Through the glass atrium and beyond the 4 men in suits I could see a smiling old man in his sixties give and take. His hair is mostly white with streaks of black.

Dressed in traditional garb he looked like a samurai warlord. Outside his kimono, he wore a Hakama, something reserved for formal occasions if I remember correctly.
There was a man standing beside him and we were looking at each other even before Owen and I stepped into the atrium. He’s a soldier that’s for sure.

He’s about the same build as me.

Owen : Nakamura San !!!… good evening….

The old man approached Owen warmly and shook Owen;s hand.
Nakamura : Mr Owen… thank you for making the trip down….. please…. Come…let us talk….

I fell in step behind Owen, the man with Nakamura gave me a courteous nod and I returned one with a slight smile.

Ok, this is not that bad.

Everything is cool.

A short corridor gave way to a double swing door. The moment it opened, the hair on the back of my neck stood on it’s end immediately.

It’s a large room set up for dinner but there are 6 men inside the room. Every one of them armed.

The door closed behind us and I could hear the bolt close from the outside.
My right hand went an inch closer to my right thigh as I looked at all 6 men in the room.
Owen stopped walking while Nakamura continued talking, not realising that both of us had paused.

Nakamura : Mr Owen ….. something wrong ?

Of course something is wrong.
There we are, standing in the middles of a room, with 6 men holding a samurai sword.

Owen : what is the meaning of this Nakamura San…. I thought this is just a casual discussion….

Nakamura : please….. don’t worry…we….. do not want…..trouble….

I parked myself right beside Owen and the back of my right hand is resting on my right buttcheek by then.

That movement is not lost among the prying eyes in the room.

The 3 men closest to us is already gripping the handle of their swords.
Owen : Nakamura San….. men holding weapons…usually mean trouble…. In our line of work…

Nakamura laughed.

He thought about it for a while before speaking in Japanese. His men replied with considerable concerns before he dismissed them with a wave of his hand.

A curt nod followed, and all 6 armed men left the room.
Nakamura : you have to understand….. I have many…. Enemies…

Owen : I can assure you…. We are not one of them….

Nakamura : Danzo…..if you please…
The man that I saw by Nakamura’s side reach into the back of his coat and I immediately did the same, the cold grip of my knife offering an instant wave of reassurance.

Danzo slowly removed a dagger from behind his back and placed it on the table set far away from the dining area.

Owen gave me a look and gestured towards the same table.

Owen : Jeff…. Please… you too…

 

This is not good.

I mumbled under my breath that if we die, it’s his fault.
I pulled out my knife and it joined Danzo’s dagger on the table.

Danzo and I looked at each other. Each of our dagger within easy reach. My heart is pumping oxygen rich blood all over my body. I could feel the rush of endorphins, my muscles tightened. My senses are on fire.
If this is going to happen, it’s going to happen soon.

Nakamura spoke again to Danzo, in a much gentler voice than I expected. Much like a parent trying to reason with a stubborn child.

I don’t speak Japanese but I could tell Nakamura was trying to tell Danzo to empty his pockets.

Danzo tried to reason with Nakamura but it was no use.

Nakamura came over, tapped him reassuringly on his shoulder, nodding towards the table.

Then the moment came for us to be blown away.
Danzo first pulled out 2 more smaller dagger from behind his coat. As if that was not enough, he lifted his trousers and pulled other another dagger strapped around his left ankle.

Owen and I looked on in sheer amazement.

His right ankle had a pistol.
Reaching for the buckle of his belt, he pulled out a concealed knuckleduster with pointed edge. Lifting up his shirt, he pulled out another pistol on his left waist.
My eyes were wide open by then, staring in amazement how the fuck is he carrying so much shit on him.

Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulled out the last dagger and put in on the table which by then was overflowing with his stuff. Danzo looked at me, as if daring me to beat that when it comes to getting prepared with a smug look on his face.
Nakamura : My apologies gentlemen…..my staff….. gets jumpy…. When we meet people in the same trade as us…. I’m sure you understand….

Owen : wow….This… this is a bit too much don’t you think so ?? ..

Nakamura gave a slight bow, looking visibly embarrassed.

Owen looked at the amount of things on the table, back to Nakamura before turning to face me. Owen wanted to speak.
He wanted to say something then he saw the look in my eyes.
He could read me like a book.

He could see it in my eyes even before I spoke.
Owen : oh god ….. Please tell me you don’t have the same amount of shit on you….. what else did you bring…?

His eyes bored into mine with a mix of worry and embarrassment.

All eyes were on me as I gave Owen a wide smile, showing too much teeth than I would have wanted.

Jeff : … just 1 more… hahah… just 1 more….

I pulled out the grenade from my pocket, put in on the table and looked at the 3 man with dumbfounded looks on their face.

When Danzo looked at me while his mouth partially opened, I gave him a wide smile while retaining a right amount of modesty.
Jeff : I win…

………………………………………………………………………………….

Owen could not believe what he was looking at and he blinked several times before looking back at me.

His mouth parted and all he could managed was a gasp of air escaping from his mouth.

Danzo spoke in Japanese to Nakamura, no doubt telling him that I’m crazy but Nakamura did not seem fazed at all. If anything, he appeared to be a little amused.

Nakamura : Mr Jeff ….. haha…. May I ask why… ?

There was no need to be embarrassed with my answer. I felt that being honest in this instance would work in our favour.

Jeff : I’m sorry Mr Nakamura…… Owen gave strict instructions not to bring guns…. He would have wanted to come unarmed but I am not comfortable…..

I paused for a moment to let it sink in. The nod of his head and smile on his face told me all I needed to know.

Jeff : Please the Singaporean in me……..the Kiasu (afraid to lose ) part is really in our blood and culture….

I was not sure of what other term I could use to describe the situation. I don’t remember learning in school what is the term to describe bringing a grenade to a meeting between people from the same industry.

Nakamura laughed as he spoke with Danzo in Japanese.

Nakamura : hahhahaa… it’s ok…. It’s ok… no problem…. You are a funny man….

Jeff : No..no… I’m just insecure…

Danzo felt compelled to cut in at this point and added ;

Danzo : Insecure…… or insane ? That would have killed us all….

Jeff : well…. I was really hoping it will never get used….. especially seeing the spread of food you have prepared….

Nakamura laughed and gestured us all over to the table.

Nakamura : come come… let’s eat…. Hahaha… hahah

Owen looked visibly embarrassed as he joined Nakamura at the table.

As he walked past me, he mumbled that he wants that grenade after the meeting.

Whatever man.

I have another 2 more. He can have it if he wants it.

Nakamura poured sake for everyone and he did not waste time getting to the point of the meeting.

Nakamura : Owen…. I’ll go straight to the point….

Owen : ok…. I’m listening….

Nakamura told Owen that men are missing in Japan.

Men that he is keeping an eye on.

They don’t work for him, nor are they related to him and his organisation, but dangerous man from a splinter faction led by a former colleague started to go missing.

They call themselves Ronin.

Nakamura : It means a Samurai without master…… but they are just thugs….they are no Samurai..….. mere thugs disrespectful of culture and are essentially, mercenaries for hire…….We keep tabs on them….. but for the past 4 months, they started disappearing , one after another….

Nakamura got a little worked up describing his fellow countrymen .

He did not attempt to hide his disgust for this group of men. They are criminals, some of them former rejects that did not make the cut to join his organisation. They are violent, and rank at the bottom tier of the order when it comes to honour and personal values, they have none.

Nakamura : these men….are despised…. Look down upon in our country…. even the Yakuza… hunt them…. They will do anything for money…. They care nothing about Japan or her people….. even far less about the law and honour…..they are a disgrace…. To our people and our country…

Owen : I see…..

Danzo stopped his boss from going on at the sight of him getting so worked up. He offered him tea which Nakamura accepted as he paused to catch his breath.

I said nothing, alternating my attention between the table and the main door.

I’m only a few steps away from my knife, sitting on the floor in that position meant my legs will get numb soon.

I made sure to keep adjusting to keep the blood flowing. Always think from your opponent’s perspective and plan ahead.

The last this I need was for my legs to go numb when my belly is full of food and the men starts coming in with their weapons drawn.

Nakamura :….. these missing men…….. they are not dead…..they are all well and alive…. The reason why I ask to meet you… is because they are in Singapore….

I froze, with my chopsticks touching a slice of what looked like a really fatty piece of tuna that would hurt my wallet if I were to order it in a restaurant.

Owen’s expression said nothing.

If he was aware of this, he did not let it show.

Nakamura : 7 of them has been spotted….. in Singapore…..i hope you can help us…..find them… we tried to keep tabs on them but someone is hiding them….

Owen looked as if he was deep in thought as he nodded his head.

Danzo : it’s near impossible for the men to leave Japan without help….. more so for them to remain hidden so well….

I looked up at Danzo and shot back.

Jeff : what are you suggesting ? …

Danzo : I did not suggest anything……I merely offered another piece of information….

Looking at the start of a potential squabble, Owen asked me to calm down.

Owen : I do have information…. About a couple of men entering the country via Malaysia some time back……. My people were following 2 of them but they disappeared….can’t locate them since….

Nakamura : Someone…. Is planning something…..with these men… they will not take such great risk…. Leaving Japan ….. and of all places… why Singapore….

Owen : I’ll get some of my people on this….and we’ll be sure to share any information with you…..and we hope you would do the same… and Nakamura San, please do not conduct any…… activities…… of your own in our country….

Danzo : What we do is none of your business….

Jeff : we don’t care what you do…. It’s where you do it …… not here…

Danzo looked like he was about to burst a vein but Nakamura held onto his man, his expression that of a experienced general who has seen it all. He maintained a level of calmness that would be difficult for most men.

Owen : We will keep an eye on this…… developing situation….and please rest assure that we will find these men…..and we will help bring them back to Japan…

Nakamura smiled and thanked Owen for his help before offering up some frightening statistics.

Nakamura : 32 are missing…..7 have been spotted ….. we don’t know how many more there are…. Danzo will send you the necessary information about these men tonight…. More might arrive…. They might not… we don’t know…

Owen : thank you… we will keep an eye on this situation…

Nakamura : yes please…. We do not want to risk damaging the relationship between our countries….. because of a few ….. rouge individuals

The discussion went on to a lighter note as we concluded dinner within the next 15 minutes.

As the 1st bottle of Sake is emptied, Owen told our host we need to make a move.

Owen : I’m sorry we could not stay longer….. there is somewhere else I need to be..

Nakamura : no problem…. Thank you for agreeing to come over….. I look forward to your next meeting….. hopefully it’s not about work….

Owen thanked our host for the dinner and I retrieved my knife together with the grenade.

We walked quietly to the carpark and did not say a word, knowing full well that the walls have ears.

I started the engine in the car and we made our way out of the association.

Owen : Singapore Island country club…

Jeff : ok….

As I pulled onto the main road, Owen pulled out a scanner from his pocket the size of a mobile phone. Developed locally by our own local arms dealer, it detects all outgoing signals within a 6m radius.

The screen filled up immediately with digits and values changing spots rapidly as we moved. Every car we passed by causes the figures to change.

Turning into the small road leading to the country club a short distance away from the Japanese association, the number of signals detected began to fall.

I kept on driving and the signal kept dropping until it was left with only 3.

2 from Owen’s mobile phone and 1 from mine.

He shut it off and asked me for the grenade.

Owen : give me the fucking grenade…… I was pretty sure they would bug the car….

I handed it to him and Owen pocketed it.

Jeff : why is that so ? ..

Owen : I would do it if I were them…

Jeff : I wouldn’t…. they wanted us to trust them ….doing something like this would defeat all purpose of the meeting…

Owen gave me a raised eye brown, looking impressed.

Owen : not bad eh….

Jeff : so… what’s the play here….

Owen : Nothing…. We don’t do anything for now…

Jeff ; you serious ?

Owen :Yeah…. Not until we have more information what is going on…. We don’t want to be sent on a wild goose race by others…… and I’m not doing other people’s dirty work….

Jeff : oh…. So there’s nothing to be done…

Owen : yeap… I’ll assign someone to keep an eye on things… I need you for another project in a couple of weeks…..

Jeff : Billy briefly mentioned something about it.

Owen : The audit team is pouring through the documents we have on hand to authorise the project….. I expect the approval to come in the next few days…. The project is a bit different this time…. as in we do not know who the target it yet…

Jeff : what ? what kind of project comes without a target…..

Owen checked some messages on his phone and asked me to drop him off at Ang Mo Kio.

As we pulled back into the main road, Owen told me that details will be made known to me once the audit team is done.

Owen : I’ll be upfront… you’re not going to like this…..new project…

Jeff : when have I ever like the projects you gave me….

Owen : hey…. You almost fucking hug me that time when you had to pretend you are some big fuck staying for 2 weeks in a suite at Fullerton Hotel…..

Jeff : oh….. once then….

Owen : let not’s forget you got to fuck Pillbox at your most recent project…

Jeff : what the fuck man….. Billy told you that ?

Owen : No…. Yiling did… her mission report…. She put it in…..

Jeff ; what the fuck….. she did … why would she do that ??

Owen : I’ll let you know the exact words….. hahahah

Owen cleared his throat and pretended to speak in a whiny voice, imitating that of a woman trying to give a formal report.

Owen : “subject left me no choice but to get intimate physically in order not to arouse his suspicion “ ahhahahaha…. “ He made repeated attempts to initiate sex through subtle hints “

Jeff : fuck off…. You’re an asshole you know that ?

Owen : Yeah….. sometimes I think I am one too…… guess what…… it takes an asshole to do what I do for a living….

Owen directed me to a housing estate in the edge of Ang Mo Kio housing estate and I pulled into the carpark.

I saw 2 cars waiting for him and I stopped a distance away.

Owen told me to get ready for my next project before he left. I watched him hopped onto the waiting vehicles and they exited the carpark.

I waited stretched a little in the car seat and adjusted the knife behind my back to make the drive back home more bearable.

20th June 2013

Thursday

4am

I spent the next few days repeating the routine of a typical office worker.

A consultant so to speak.

I went to work at 8, clock in normal hours and leave work at 6pm.

Billy would be there on most days, either playing games on his computer or surfing the web with his screen orientated away from me with his headphones on.

I wanted to tell him to always check the reflective surfaces around him but I did not want to burst his cover. He looked all serious, with a finger to his mouth as if he were deep in thought going through work stuff.

The reflection on the window 2 panels down though clearly showed a woman on her knees surrounded by men while they were in a hotspring spa.

I went to the café everyday, I don’t take all my meals there but I made it a point to head there for coffee 3 times a day.

Once when I get in, once after lunch and one during tea break at about 4pm.

Within a week, I no longer need to place any orders. Lala had committed my routine to his memory and before I could get within 3 meters of the café, he has a cup of piping hot coffee waiting for me.

Xuehua will always be there during lunch, thereafter she will head off presumably for her class. Other than a polite greeting and a smile, we did not really interact and it’s for good reason.

You see, for someone as hot and pretty as Xuehua, she has no lack of suitors and admirers, many of them from the office building itself.

Within that short week or so of my new routine, I counted no less than 9 guys attempting to strike a conversation with her, and this is just during the time when I’m there. Eddy will be there watching and scrutinising each of the man talking to Xuehua with his large knife in hand.

If his bushy eyebrow is not intimating enough, the jingle of the steel bracelet around his wrist when he brings the cleaver down onto the wooden chopping board is enough to send a message across.

He would blatantly ask the men to fuck off if they are done ordering and not hold up the queue. Xuehua on the other hand, would just smile and decline each of their advances.

I even see flowers being sent to the stall, only to end up in the bin before the stall closes at the end of the day.

I tried to get a glimpse of the profile of the men that Xuehua rejects and see if I stood a chance. It’s my job to read people.

From well dressed, respectable gentlemen, to the bad boy wanna be, even a rich chap who proudly slap his car keys on the table, announcing to the whole café he drives a Lamborghini , they were all rejected.

Some of the men are pretty good looking too, Korean like hunks, boyish boyband looks, Andy lau matured man style uncles, all shape and sizes, all failed.

Xuehua is simple not interested in getting to know them beyond what they want for their lunch. Come to think of it, I must be one of the few that managed to go beyond a lunch order with her, at the expenses of having my nipples abused that is.

The more I secretly look at Xuehua, the more I felt I was infatuated with her. Not purely in a lustful way, but more of curiosity.

I want to know more about her. With time on my hands and skills that I should not be using for shit like this, I decided to challenge myself since I’m bored.

I got to the office at 4am that morning and waited a little impatiently for Leng, the security guard to activate the barrier of the carpark. He waved to me and I gave him a friendly smile.

I want to quickly get settled into position to wait for Xuehua. She says she runs every morning. I want to catch her on her run without her knowing. I want to know where she stays.

I was dressed for the job as well, in black running gear. Leng took his time, gesturing to the barrier arm of the gantry. It breaks down so often, I wonder why it’s not being replaced.

The barrier arm is held up with a mish mash of contraptions, from ropes, to wire ties. Seems to me there must be a lot of lousy drivers working in that building. The reflective stickers on the arm are peeling off at several locations and the arm drops further than intended at the free side.

I tapped my fingers on the wheel as Leng tinkered with the barrier before it came up.

I gave him a thumbs up as he nodded as if he just woke up from his sleep, sipping on a bag of coffee while keeping 1 finger on the control that raises the barrier.

I parked my car and sprung into action, pulling my cap low to hide part of my face.

Heading out into the street, I checked to make sure the coast is clear before scaling up the back of a shophouse unit and onto the flat room where the aircon compressors are standing.

It’s dark, the hum of the compressors droned on lazily. I checked the time on my watch and waited.

I remembered bumping into Xuehua around 5am previously. From where I’m positioned, I can get a good vantage view of the entrance of the office building.

The lights of the café came on and I could see Lala stretching his massive arms before stepping into the stall.

5am

Xuehua appeared right on time. 5am man. The amount of discipline she must have to keep this up. Most girls would still be deep in lala land. Dressed in a neon pink singlet and black running tights, Xuehua entered the café and took a bottle of water from Lala.

I held my breath and sank deeper into the shadows as Xuehua stepped out into the cool breeze. I felt a stir in my privates as I look at her body. Her hairless armpits presented itself to me once again, a sudden pain in my groin confirms that my erection is pushing hard against my pants.

She checked to make sure the streets are free of cars before starting off on a brisk walk right below me.

She brisk walked for about 10 minutes up and down the 100m alley several times before breaking into a run. She turned left after reaching the end and I clamoured down the roof after her.

I cut into an alley of my left as well, mirroring a parallel path and I broke into a run.

Every junction I would pause and check to see if Xuehua is passing by.

I missed her at the 1st 2 junction and I was pretty sure I had lost her until I got to the 3rd junction and I saw her jog past about 50m away.

I continued mirroring her path until she finally turned left and started running towards me. I backtracked and let her pass before catching up on a parallel road.

I lost her and caught up with her another couple more times. I reckon she must have gone around the entire Little India district 5 times, picking up the pace each time she goes past the starting point where the office is.

Finally she slowed to a jog before walking towards a block of flats at Rowell road.

I kept a distance from her as I pretended to be your average jogger minding his own business. Xuehua stopped at a lift lobby and finished up her bottle of water. She called for the lift and entered.

I jogged briskly over and checked out the control panel.

It stopped at level 12.

I took the next lift and went up to level 11.

I paused and kept my ears open before stepping out.

It’s coming to 6am in the morning. Some households are getting tot start their day but generally it’s still pretty quiet.

I saw a wall of mist falling in front of me and the distinctive sound from the spray of a squeeze bottle.

Someone is watering their plants 1 floor above me.

I took a cautious peek out, looking at the corridor above me, there are no signs of Xuehua. There is a slim chance that the person doing the watering is her.

I held my breathe and walked as quietly as I can to the staircase and scaled it 2 steps at a time, stopping at the mid landing. My heart immediately skipped a beat as I saw the backview of Xuehua.

My cock pushed against my running shorts as I watch her bend over, her posture in the perfect doggy position as she tended to a pot of herbs she grown.

The door to her place is opened. Now I know her address.

She straightened her back and I quickly backed away down the steps. There was a bit of shuffling sound as she walked about before the snap of the metal gate.

This is sick but I enjoyed it. The perverse idea of stalking turns me on in so many ways.

I did a quick visual check and was disappointed that there are not laundry poles outside the house. Not a surprise, this neighbourhood is hardly safe to leave your things lying about.

I looked at the floor and steps I was standing on. It was littered with cigarette butts and there are drinks cans lying around.

Perhaps I’m not the only one stalking Xuehua.

I was about to head off when I heard the lift beeping to announce the arrival of the car on the 11th floor.

I froze for a second before quickly backing up the steps to level 12, praying that Xuehua don’t appear in the corridor out of the blue.

I never expected to see the figure of a man appearing at the steps shortly after. My heartbeat increased and I quickly backed up another flight of steps and observed what this man is up to.

He looked to be in his late twenties and he had shoulder length hair much like what Chen Han wei ( local celebrity ) looked like in the 1990s.

From where he is directing his eyes, I have no doubt he too came here for Xuehua.

I quickly checked the floor above me, this will be awkward if I bump into fellow stalkers.

I heard the soft slap of his slippers and I quickly scurried up another flight.

From the sound, I am pretty sure he is now outside Xuehua’s unit. Perhaps he is someone she knows after all, but why would he choose to take the lift to 1 floor below ?

Barely a few seconds later, I heard the sound of his slippers at the flight of steps below me again.

I heard the scratch of a lighter and I could smell the cigarette smoke. So he’s the one smoking outside Xuehua’s place it seems.

He must be up to something.

I went up a couple more flights of stairs and prepared to make my entry.

My intention is to head down the steps really fast, making enough sound to show that I’m not sneaking around, merely a resident trying to get fit using the steps.

I started skipping down the steps 3 at a time, my shoes tapping loudly on the concrete steps.

There was no time for the man to react.

By the time I saw him, it was too late for him to try and hide that pair of running shoes Xuehua was wearing.

He tried to put it behind his back but 1 of it dropped with a piece of accompanying sock.

I pretended not to notice and continued my way down. He must have had quite a shock as he dropped his cigarette shortly after. That fuck. He picked a good timing.

Early in the morning, residents hardly up and about, Xuehua would be likely in the shower after her run. He could have his fun with her shoes and socks before replacing them before she even realised they were gone.

It’s a old pair of running shoes with sweaty socks, she would have never guessed it would be a hot commodity among horny men.

I continued my way down to level 1 before slowly jogging back to office through the carpark.

Well, it’s a good workout.

Now I know not only Xuehua’s address, I also know there are more than 1 pervert lusting after her if I included myself to the list.

I took a shower before getting changed into my work clothes.

At 8am, I saw Xuehua appear at the café. Her hair cascaded beautifully down her back as she gave me a warm smile.

Her simple t-shirt and shorts combination really brings out the perfect tertiary student look. Her slightly discoloured flip flops only drew more attention to her flawless and smooth feet.

She had a light grey cardigan on as she briefly spoke to Lala with a A3 art folio in her hands.

I could picture her sitting somewhere, her pencil tracing the outline of her subject.

There is just something so romantic about that scene I cannot describe.

She saw me staring at her and I quickly looked away.

Xuehua made her way over and I could smell her fragrance the minute she came close.

Xuehua : hey…. Morning…

Jeff : Hi…. Morning….

She sat down in front of me and gestured to Lala for a drink. I find it hard to look at her in her face as I started stirring my coffee.

She seemed to be able to read my mind and asked me the questions I wished she hadn’t

Xuehua : do you ermm…. Not like looking at the people you talk to ? hahaha…

Jeff : me ? … no… no… I ermm.. of course not… haha…

I gave her an awkward smile as I could not help looking over to Eddy who happen to be sharpening his knife on a stone.

Xuehua : ok…. You keep averting your eyes from me…

Jeff : is it ? … no… I ermm… hahah…. I didn’t realise that…. Hahah…

Lala brought Xuehua her drinks and I tried to make some conversation. Gesturing to her A3 sketch book, I asked her what does she draw.

Jeff : You…. Ermm… like to draw ? …. What do you draw ?

Xuehua : everything…. Everything that looks nice to me.. haha.. want to see ? haha

Jeff : sure…

The moment Xuehua flipped over the 1st page of her folio, I was blown away by how beautiful the sketch is. It’s a sketch of the neighbourhood, of the typical alleyway in little India.

Jeff : wow….

I stared at the sketch without moving and Xuehua asked me what I thought about it.

There is so much depth and detail to the drawing. Besides capturing the buildings, Xuehua also drew the people and what they are doing. It’s so life like and 3 dimensional that I could almost feel myself getting sucked into the picture.

Jeff : wow… this… this is amazing …

Xuehua : hahah really ? … you’re just patronising me…hahah

Jeff : no… no… of course not… this …. This is so nice… I’ll never be able to draw like that….

Xuehua looked like she was above to close the folio but she stopped when she realised I was still looking at it intently. I was really impressed by that sketch. This is something you cannot fake.

It’s fucking beautiful.

I’m sure Xuehua could tell I’m not just saying it because it’s polite to say so.

Jeff : this is amazing man…. Wow….

All girls like to be complimented, some like it to be base on their looks and appearance and at that moment, I realised for Xuehua, she very much preferred attention to be given to what she can do rather than her appearances.

I could not resist asking her if I could see more.

Jeff : Can i…. can I flip ?

Xuehua handed the folio to me with a smile and asked me to go ahead.

Xuehua : sure… hahah…

Page after page I flipped and I was really fucking impressed by the 10th page. It felt like I was teleporting from location to location.

From the bustle of Chinatown, to the tranquility of a nature reserve. It was all there.

Every stroke of her pencil, every dash of shadow.

Xuehua : you really think it’s nice ? hahaha

Jeff : of course !! ..

I looked at her with my eye wide open and asked if the drawings are for sale.

Xuehua : hahah… are you serious ahhaa ? no one has asked me that before…

Jeff : of course I am serious !…

Xuehua squinted her eyes at me for a moment before asking me how much do I think her drawings are worth.

Jeff : they’re priceless….. but I can afford to pay 1000 for this….

I pointed to a sketch of the Singapore skyline she did.

Xuehua : wah… hahaha….. you must be doing pretty well as a consultant to offer such price hahaha…

Jeff : I’m serious !… I would pay more if…

Xuehua took over the folio and said she is just joking. The drawings are not for sale.

Xuehua : just kidding… these are not for sale hahah… it’s my own collection….

Jeff : oh… I see… haha…

I was about to extend the conversation when I saw Billy entering the lobby. He gave me a look before directly his eyes upwards, indicating that I need to head up to the office.

Shortly after, I saw Owen enter the building with a bottle of Whisky in his hands. He did not look at me but I am sure he saw me talking to Xuehua.

Xuehua : hey… Jeff…

Jeff : yes …. Yes ??

Xuehua : you seemed distracted….

She turned around to see what I was looking at.

Jeff : nothing… nothing… a colleague gestured to me…. Probably work matters…

Xuehua : oh… you need to go ?

I was reluctant to leave the table but Owen coming here could only mean work.

Jeff : ermmm..well… yeah…i…… erm…. i…..errmmm… i…

Xuehua looked at me with a smile on her face, waiting for me to spit out what I want to say.

She probably has an idea of what I want.

A date.

A coffee.

A movie.

These are what guys ask for right.

I could see her keeping her folio, getting ready for a polite rejection as she looked down at her coffee but I’m not your average guy.

I want more than a coffee date and a movie.

Xuehua : yes ? … what is it ? … hahaha….

Jeff : can you draw me ?

Xuehua’s eyes lit up for a moment and I could see she was shocked. She probably expected me to say oh hi, maybe we should do coffee again, or I want to buy her dinner and look at her folio but no.

She did not expect this.

Xuehua : wow… hahahha….i did not expect this.. hahaha… you’re serious ? haha

I nodded.

Xuehua : wow… this is one of the best pick up line anyone has ever used on me… hahaha…

Jeff : what makes you think I’m trying to pick you up ?

Xuehua smiled and gave me a look from the corner of her eye.

Xuehua : because I read minds…. Hahha.

It was a tensed 30 seconds as she looked at me while I said nothing. I could see she was considering what I asked.

Xuehua : I’ll draw you on one condition….

Jeff : what ?

Xuehua : tell me what were you thinking of when you asked me to draw you….. be honest !! hahaha ..

I told her the 1st thing that came to my mind was the scene in titanic when Jack was drawing Rose.

Xuehua laughed so hard that Eddy looked over. I turned and I could see Eddy now sharpening his knife with the block in his hand more vigorously.

Xuehua : but you can’t draw hahah….

Jeff : but you can…

Xuehua laughed and shook her head, clearly amused with my request.

Jeff : I’m… I’m not suggesting we do something like that you know… I ermm…

Xuehua chuckled and said ok.

Xuehua : ok…. I’ll draw you… hahaha… but it will be something….. casual…candid…when you are not expecting it….. that’s the only way you can capture the essence of that moment…. Haha..

Jeff : ok…sure… haha…

Her eyes lingered a second longer on me before she gets up with her folio.

Xuehua : see you Jeff… hahaha…

I finished my drink and went up to office with a smile on my face.

Billy : Happy… happy…. Eh….

Owen : don’t shit where you eat Jeff….. I’ve said all I can say about things like this…

Jeff : don’t worry…. All is good…

Owen opened the bottle of whisky, a 12 year old this time. The standard for a straightforward project and poured each of us a glass.

Billy : Something interesting ?

Billy pointed to the folder Owen’s arm is resting on.

Owen : yes….

Jeff : come…. Let’s hear it…..

Owen opened the folder and pushed across the documents. The expressions on both Billy and my face changed, growing solemn immediately as we tried to make sense of what is in front of us.

I looked back up at Owen and he nodded his head in confirmation.

Owen : Yes……

The words came out softly from Billy’s mouth as if he too could not believe what he was seeing.

Number 17 in terms of project ranking.

Billy : One of ours….

…………………………………………………

Jeff : Why ? …..

I looked at Owen and waited for his reply. There must be a good reason for this.

There must be.

A shit load of things is going through my head at that moment and I have a feeling you might have guessed a couple of my thoughts as well.

Billy looked at the documents on the table and the one in his hands, no doubt trying to figure out what this is about.

Owen sipped his drink and looked at the documents through the glass of drink. He looked tired, as if he hasn’t slept in days.

His answer will pretty much determine my next course of action.

I trust Owen, to a certain degree that is.

He brought me into this shit, we go way back and all but end of the day, I am very clear as to what I am getting myself into.

If things go wrong, it’s every man for himself. He taught me that too. He taught me that the very first time he handed me my bonus for the project.

Shit will go wrong one day.

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

This man.

The one whose photo I’m staring at, is a colleague of mine in a way. I don’t know him, I have never met him but he works for the same organisation. He receives the same training probably.

He works for Owen too.

The idea of getting rid of a colleague is unsettling.

If I get a whiff of Owen getting rid of people once they have outlived their usefulness, I’m gone. I may work for him but I’m not someone you use to get rid of people that fight for the same flag.

How could he ask me to do this ?

If it’s really about making people that is not longer useful disappear, I’ll bolt.

I’ll vanish.

I shit you not, I am packed and ready to go. I don’t care.

I cannot afford to care. If this is happening to number 17, one day it will be my turn. I can almost picture Owen having the same conversation with a different team, a different colleague.

Telling them that I have outlived my usefulness, that I need to retire.

I can disappear from the island within 12 hours and no one will know. I can leave everything behind in a heartbeat, my car, my house, my bank account, everything. This is the very reason why you keep your stash all over, not just in Singapore.

You think I walked away with just the Belt and a holster after meeting the Iranian and North Korean that faithful day ?

Of course not.

When the opportunity comes knocking for you to make friends, you jolly well make them. You never know when you will need their help.

1 week after that meeting I went to the North Korean embassy.

The guard asked me what I want and I showed him the belt I received from the guy on the boat. 10 minutes later I was drinking with Min Joon at a patio within the embassy grounds after giving him a gift I prepared.

I left 30 minutes later with an email address. We kept in touch regularly since then doing each other small favours here and there.

1 month later, I was having tea with Hamid at a café 2 streets away from his office.

Iran do not have an official embassy in Singapore yet but they have multiple operations offices and safe houses on the island.

6 months later, Hamid , Min Joon and I gathered for the 1st time for dinner. It was a potluck gathering in a section of the quarry in Pulau Ubin. By potluck I meant sandwiches and water.

We communicated with broken English, using gestures whenever their limited vocabulary cannot express what they want to say.

None of our employers knew about this little gathering and we are happy to keep it that way.

Some cards you keep close to your chest until the final hand.

Jeff : why ??

I repeated the question as Owen drained the whisky in his glass and poured himself another 2 fingers of it.

Billy : are you serious with this ??

Billy waved the picture in front of Owen as we all waited for his explanation.

Owen looked distressed, and he finished the 2nd glass of drink quickly. It’s not hard to see he has a lot on his mind.

Setting it down, he tried to reach for the bottle again but I stopped him

Jeff : That bottle is meant for me no ?? what is this shit about ?? we taking out co workers now ?? is it ?

Owen wiped the remnants of the drink from above his lips and composed himself. I could see he was trying to pick the right words to use.

He knew how sensitive this situation is.

Owen : Yes… he’s one of us…. Number 17….. callsign …… Gshock…..

Jeff : why ? … you haven answered my question…

Owen looked at me and answered immediately.

Owen : He went rouge ….. he defied orders…. He’s a fucking cowboy now…. Running wild….

Billy immediately added, asking if the audit team has gone through the documents and evidence presented.

Owen revealed another stack of document. The audit team has verified all the facts and have given the green light.

All documents are in order.

Owen : I know how this sounds…. It sucks…. It really sucks…. But I have no choice… I cannot afford to let someone like him run around unchecked….

Jeff : Can we bring him back ? as in…. is there a need to kill him ?? … have you had a chance to talk to him ?

Owen exhaled as if I was overstepping my limits. You can’t blame me. I deserve to know.

Would you not have asked the same question if you are placed in the same situation? Surely the employee deserves a chance to explain himself.

Owen : I’ll go straight to the point…. Gshock… also known as Clement. ….. is an operative just like you….. he handles some of the organisation’s business… that generate much needed cashflow…. But he fucked up….he fucked up big time….

Jeff : what did he do ? ?? money… he lost money ?? are you fucking removing employees because of this….

Owen : Shut the fuck up Jeff….. and listen….. He killed someone..

Jeff : That’s our job brother…. You trained us to do this…

Owen : a 12 year old girl…..

The room went quiet. I could feel my body temperature starting to heat up. I was shaking. I waited for Owen to continue.

I prayed he would tell me that he did not make a 12 year old Clement’s target.

Billy saved me the agony of the wait and asked Owen right away.

Billy : Is that girl a target ??

Owen : No…. let me finish…. Don’t interrupt me again…

Owen grabbed the bottle from my hands and poured himself more alcohol. His eyes were starting to get bloodshot. I could see he was angry.

Angry that it had to come to this.

Owen : Clement has dropped off the radar since 3 weeks ago….we flagged him when we realised he had done something behind our back….

Owen told Billy and I that Clement had killed that 12 year old girl for her organs.

Owen : the organ trade is booming in Asia and unknown to many, Singapore is a thriving hub for organ transplant. …. Many of which happens under the table….

Clement runs several private clinics that were entrusted to him by the company. The main clienteles are VVIPs and politically connected people including royalties. It’s a good cash cow arranging for these people to come into the country unnoticed and away from the prying eyes of the media.

They come here for the usual medical procedures, but unlike private hospitals, the clinics Clement managed offers much more.

Personalised protection, private flights, a large premium is charged, making the company the funds needed to continue our operations.

It doesn’t matter if you are a disposed dictator or an ousted premier in another country.

You pay, Clement does the rest. All away from the prying eyes of the media and even your own government.

Yes and the clinics has their own team of specialist to handle the transplant of organs.

Owen : The clinics perform the transplant, but we don’t provide the organs…..the clients usually procure their own…… they are brought in… by their own doctors…. We don’t ask questions……it has always been this way…… But in this case…Clement…. Stepped out of line….

It was made known to us that Clement murdered the 12 year old girl because her organs are a match to that of a VVIP kid that is 1 year older.

Owen : It’s a rare blood type . B- negative…. Only 1.5% of the earth’s population has it…. rarer still to find a ready target within reach that Clement has access to…. The money being offered is enough to make him sacrifice the girl…

Jeff : What the fuck…..

Owen : He took her kidneys, and heart….

The room descended into an uncomfortable silence.

This is fuck up.

Jeff : are you….. serious??

Owen : I have been trying to find him…..he’s gone underground… but I am very sure he is still in Singapore….. the VIP in question is also in Singapore….

Billy : Then why are you here ? ….fucking beat it out of them !!! where the fuck is this fucker… !! take the organs back from that privilege fuck !!..
Owen : That kid doesn’t know !!… he’s royalty….. son of a sultan…. Of a powerful country…..in case you forget your geography….. we are fucking surrounded by countries with Sultans…. With oil… money…. Power…..!!
Jeff : Then the parents must know…

Owen: Oh…. Really… what ? …. You going to hit a member of the royal family ?? fuck off…. There’s geopolitical relationships at stake here…

Jeff : Do I look like I care about politics….

Owen : I’m not done with the briefing…. This is a special situation….I need you guys to understand what is at stake…
Owen said that the girl that was murdered has a twin sister.

Owen : Gwen is born 10 minutes after her sister Gillian…. Both of them are orphans….. they stay in a church managed orphanage…..where the clinics that Clement managed are the main sponsors….. from money to medical services….

Gillian’s body has been retrieved, cremated and laid to rest.

Now this problem is Gwen.
Gwen has the same blood type and compatibility of organs as her sister.

Owen : It has come to our attention that the VIP’s body is showing signs of rejection for the kidney that Clement took form Gillian….. and we have credible information that Clement will be coming for Gwen….

Jeff : fuck off…..

Owen : He will not stop……. He will see this through….

Billy : Where is Gwen now ?

Owen : At the church…. I have 5 men watching her…..but I will be withdrawing them soon…. I have them there for the past 3 weeks….. I can’t keep them there any longer….

Jeff : what… ? please don’t tell me this is some budget shit…. You don’t have money to keep the men there to protect that little girl ?!!!

Owen shook his head.

His eyes.

His eyes betrayed his thoughts immediately.

I slammed my hand onto the table, causing Billy to jump in his seat.
I pointed a finger at Owen as I stood up, unwilling to believe the conclusion I had come to in my head before Owen said it.

He knew I caught on yet he remained quiet.

He did not want to say it.

Billy : woah.. woah… what ?? .. what is going on man… chill…. What’s happening…. I’m not following….
I looked at Owen who maintained a neutral look. He had regained his composure, perhaps the alcohol earlier helped.

His eyes never left mine as I shook my pointed index finger at him, as if I’m reprimanding him for something.

Jeff : how could you even think of this… ?

Billy looked on, puzzled as to what I am trying to get at.
Jeff : You want to use Gwen as bait…. To draw Clement out….
Billy’s eyes widened as he took a step back, unsure of what to say.

Owen poured himself more drinks and he said I got half of it correct.

Owen : Yes…. I’m using her as bait….but….the men….. the men protecting her…. I was ordered to let them go…

Jeff : What the fuck do you mean ? are you serious ??!!
Owen’s eyes closed and I could see him composure finally crumbling down. He’s on the verge of snapping.

Owen : what would you have me do ??? !!

His arms tightened, his fingers closed and curled up like claws, facing each other in front of him ad if he was trying to concentrate an energy ball towards me. His face was scrunched up and he was grinning down on his teeth.
The pressure on him must be huge.

Owen : I …….. am trying to keep this shit together…….. do you have any idea how hard it is for me to do my job… !!! on one hand I have to face the politicians, on the other hand…. I’m managing ….. people that can snap anytime, slaughtering innocent bystanders …!!

He took a deep breath and I looked at his blood shot eyes.

Owen : This is the only way…. The last thing I need is him trying to grab some other kid ….. at least we know he has a target….. do you accept this project ? …..

Jeff : Owen !!.. that girl is 12 for fuck sake… !!

Owen : Should you wish to accept this project …..

Jeff : She is 12 !!
Owen :It is my duty to remind you that if you are caught…. The organisation will not…

Jeff : Are you fucking listening to me !!

Owen : will not be responsible for your actions…

Jeff : Owen !!
I shouted at Owen for the first time ever and he stopped talking. Billy has a hand up in front of me trying to calm me down.

My blood was already boiling when I knew someone killed a girl for her organs, now my boss wants me to use that girl’s sister as bait.

Owen : I want to state for the record that….. the target is Clement… codename Gshock….get him…. At all cost…. If Gwen is going to lead us to him…. Use her…

I could not believe what I was hearing from Owen.
Jeff : Are you even listening to yourself Owen ?

Owen : WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ME DO !!!

He finally snapped back at me.

Owen : Clement will not stop….he will not stop…..if he can’t get Gwen… he will try to get others….. he will get anyone…. Any one !!! that he thinks might be a match….you hear me ! ?? what would you have me do !!??

The shouting silenced the entire office as we stared at each other.

Billy’s eyes alternated between each of us, unsure of which side to take.

Billy : Come on guys… calm down…. Jeff… don’t take this…..leave it to the others….

Owen looked away first and I could see his shoulders slouched.

There is something else he is not telling us.
He’s keeping something.

I could see it. He’s deliberating whether to let it slip from his tongue.

When Owen finally spoke, he wiped the perspiration from the top of his lips.

Owen : I….. I have 2 sets of orders…..1 is for my ears only…

He looked at Billy and me before saying that he will not force us to take up the project.
Owen : As per the audit team’s approval…… Clement must die….

Jeff : What is the other order….

Owen : If Clement gets his hands on Gwen before you stop him……. we are not to intervene…. The VIP will get his organs…. And you take care of Clement after that….

Jeff : Fuck you…..

Billy : wait… wait… so if we get Clement before he gets Gwen… then it’s all good right ?? .. it’ll all be good right?? There’s still a way around this….
Owen shook his head.

Owen : If you get Clement before he strikes….. Gwen… will still be delivered to the VIP’s doctor.

I shook my head and swept the bottle of whisky off the table and across the room

I could not believe what I was hearing.
Owen : We’re running out of time…. My men will leave Gwen in 4 hours….. regardless whether you accept this project..
I wanted to speak but nothing came out of my mouth.

I was totally speechless.

Owen looked away for a moment. Billy was just staring at the table of documents in front of us.

Jeff : Why me ? … you knew I would not agree to this…..there’s no way I would give Gwen up if I take this project….

Owen replied almost immediately, as if he knew what I was going to say.

Owen : because you have more empathy …… then the rest of the men working for me….

Billy went on to pick up the bottle and glasses on the floor.

Owen : I have no doubt you can take care of Clement…..and you will surely have a way with Gwen….

Jeff : What if Gwen dies before she gets to the VIP ? hypothetically …..

Owen shrugged his shoulders.

Owen : Shit happens right ? ….. there’s no telling what Clement will do… if Gwen dies…. During the confrontation…. I would have no one to deliver to the VIP…

I saw the twinkle in his eyes and I finally understood his intention.

He knew I would not follow his orders blindly.
Owen : if you refuse…. I’ll go down the line… someone will accept this project….

I looked at Owen and I considered my options.
Billy’s attention was on me, he was wiping his palms on the side of his pants.

Owen : don’t feel bad to say no… its your right…. If you are not taking this up…. I’ll go to the butcher…..

Bastard. He’s just out to antagonise me.
Owen : Or the Gourmet ….

I could feel the shiver in my spine as Owen went on, rattling off the callsigns of the colleagues ranking right below me.

Owen : Socket….

Jeff : enough…..

Owen : Iron….
Jeff : I said enough !!..

The callsigns of the men would have offered a glimpse to their capabilities and their methods.

I have no doubt Clement will be dead soon, but I seriously doubt Gwen’s fate would be pleasant in the hands of these men.

Jeff : I accept….

Billy chirped in immediately after me.
Billy : me too…

I immediately saw Owen heave a discreet sigh of relieve as he settled back into his chair.

That wily old fox.

He wanted me to do this. To get me riled up.
Owen : I gave the orders as per the audit teams approval…… as for what you do ….. it is beyond my control….. nor will I be responsible…..

Jeff : How typical of civil servant….. covering their own backsides even before it begins…

Owen : I’ve said all I could… your cover is that of a social worker…. I’ve made the arrangements…. You will report to Mandy at the Orphanage tomorrow at 9am….
Jeff : Tomorrow ? but you are pulling out your men this evening….

Owen : Yes…. Something that I’m not suppose to share….. do what you want with the information….. it’s beyond my control….

Owen pulled out a vibrating phone and walked away to answer it.

Billy looked at me, waiting for me to say something.
The Orphanage is in Punggol.

4 hours, there’s still time.

Billy : Now what ?

Jeff : I need to head to the pawn shop….

Billy and I went to make a withdrawal at the pawn shop, I packed a knife, first aid kit and I emptied the cash box I kept. It’s not a lot, probably about 12k in various denominations.
As I directed Billy to a temple in Sengkang, I closed my eyes and tried to think of a way to get Gwen out of the country.

She’s too young to be on her own and I don’t know where else to send her. I can keep her hidden for a while definitely, maybe bring her to a Kelong operated by a friend of mine. Then when the opportunity arises, get her out of the country. I don’t know.

Or perhaps I can fake her death ? Impossible.

They would want to see a body.

This is some fuck up project.
As Billy pulled up to the temple, he asked if I was going to pray.

Jeff : it’s too late to pray….wait here for me….

I walked into the temple and right past the caretaker into the back room meant for staff.

The old man manning the room told me that place is off limits.

I went to his wooden abacus on his desk and rearranged the beads in the right order without a word.

He checked the inputs before pulling out a wooden case from the wall and left me alone.

Opening the case, I took out another 15k in cash. It’s not going to be cheap to buy a passage off the island for Gwen, not to mention the money she will need to survive.

I checked the time.

1 pm
1 more hour before Owen’s men leave.

I got into Billy’s van and we headed over to the Orphanage in Punggol a 10 minutes’ drive away. We parked at the multi storey carpark opposite the church and Billy launched a a small drone into the air.

Within seconds the drone sent back an aerial view of the church.
I could see the 2 vehicles parked in the compound. A couple of Owen’s men are milling about.

I’m not supposed to show my face in the church till 9am the next day.

A lot could happen between now and then.

2pm

Right on time, Owen’s men loaded into the vehicles and they drove out of the church.

I told Billy I’m going to head down and check out the perimeter.

I pulled a cap low and walked slowly towards the church.
I took a glance through the main gate and I caught a glimpse of Gwen. I recognised her from the pictures.

She was just sitting at the patio, staring blankly into the air. Her legs dangled lifelessly off the bench. It was a heartbreaking sight to take in.
Imagine losing the only kin you have left in the world. Your sister.

She’s still so young.

I saw another lady come out into the patio. A sweet looking girl next door.

She put a hand on Gwen’s shoulder and spoke to her.
I walked past the gate, not wanting to arouse any suspicion.
I trek around the perimeter of the church, security is non-existent.

There are no cameras and the walls are low. Anyone can climb over the walls into the compound if they wanted. Well, this is Singapore after all, who would want to trespass into a church ?

I was completing the loop around the perimeter when I received a call from Billy.

Jeff : Yeah ?

Billy : Grey Toyota…. Passing you in 5 seconds….

I kept my head forward and walked on casually.

A few seconds later, the car came into view. It cruised along a little slowly, making a turn and going past the main gate of the church. It’s windows are tinted, definitely against regulations.

Billy : that’s the 2nd pass….

Jeff : any other beside this ?
Billy : No….

I did not want to go pass the main gate again in case I get recognised so I crossed the road and settled myself down at a coffeeshop, picking a table that gives me an unblocked view of the compound from the main gate.

The gate is shut, I doubt Clement would be that dumb to try anything in broad daylight.

Billy text me that the Toyota made a 3rd pass and it’s gone.

I took a sip of the coffee and shook my head. It’s terrible.

Seems like the rumours are true.

Punggol has terrible food and coffee. One of the worst places in Singapore to get a meal.
Rent is high, food is terrible.

I lifted the cup to take another sip of coffee and I felt the hair at the back of my neck stood on it’s end.

Goosebumps rippled down my spine and my heartbeat increased.

I could feel the rush of endorphins and the tingle of an erection setting in.
My fingers trembled for a brief second as the muscles on my body tensed up. I could feel myself biting down on my teeth.

A man had just sat down with a bowl of noodles 2 tables away from me.

He orientated himself the same manner I did, towards the gate of the church.

His eyes scanned the immediate surroundings, taking in everyone at the coffee shop including what they are doing.

I could not move in time, he saw me looking towards the road and in the general direction of the Church.

Our eyes did not meet but I knew he is paying attention to me.

I continued sipping my coffee and I dropped Billy a text to pick me up in his Van by the side of the road.

Instead of shying away from my current line of sight, I continued looking at the road, making no attempt to change my attention to something else.

The man ate his noodles, his pair of shades rest at a strategic position on the table. The reflection from the glasses gave him a wider range of view even though he’s looking at only one direction.

At moments like this, the hardest thing to control would be your emotions.

The anger seething inside you threatening to derail everything out of control.

Billy’s van appeared a few minutes later and I stood up and gave the van a wave as I finished the disgusting coffee.

I hopped onto the van, looking like any other tradesman or contractor prowling the growing estate.

Billy put the van into drive and I looked at the side mirror towards the coffee shop.

At the same man slurping his noodles looking at the church.

Billy : What’s happening ? …
I replied Billy with only one word.
Jeff : Clement…

…………………………………..

 

Billy : he’s already here ! ?

Jeff : he probably knows Owen’s men are gone…

Billy : Then how ?

Jeff : He can’t march in and just grab a girl in broad daylight…. But we can be sure he is planning something….

I directed Billy to another estate on the other side of the Church.

I don’t want the Van to make a 2nd appearance along the same street. Clement might flag us.

Jeff : I think we cannot wait till tomorrow…. We need to go into the church now…

Billy : ehhh… you’re suppose to be in there tomorrow morning….

Jeff ; Think of something….

Billy : ermmm… walk in and pray ??

I turned and looked at Billy. That is a fucking good idea.

Jeff : Why didn’t I think of that ?!

Billy : You can’t be serious…you would be showing yourself to Mandy even before you met her tomorrow….

Jeff : Doesn’t matter… I can always say I’m here to check out my new work place….

Billy : no no… no… wait… please… think it through…this doesn’t feel right….. what if Clement sees you walking in ?

Jeff : What is wrong with someone going in to pray….?

Billy : Well…. I ermm… I don’t know…. Are you Christian ?

Jeff : is it written on my head that I’m not ??

Billy : but…

Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a loud crash and the painful screech of tyres on the road.

WHAM!!!!

It sounded like someone just smashed their car against the wall just down the street. I could hear horns sounding.

I got out of Billy’s van and looked towards the direction of the sound.

It’s the church.

There’s been an accident.

I started to run.

As the entrance of the Church came into view, I could see people gathering at gate along with the car.

That same Toyota had smashed itself into the gate of the church, wrecking it’s front and badly mangling the steel. One side of the gate was totally dislodged, the other barely hanging by the hinges.

A few motorists had stopped their car to help.

Billy caught up with me, panting for air as we looked at the scene o the accident.

People had started to gather to watch the commotion.

Some of them had their camera phones up, taking a video of the incident to share with their friends. I nudged Billy a little to cover my body as I looked towards the coffee shop. Clement is still there.

He had finished his noodles and is now taking in the scene while sipping on his coffee.

Everyone at the coffee shop were pointing and talking about the crash.

Within minutes, the police and the ambulance arrived.

People started commenting about what happened. A man with blonde hair was sitting on the floor, he was laughing. A old man pointed his finger at him as if he was giving the man a lecture.

I kept my attention on Clement.

This was no accident.

He destroyed the gate on purpose.

Without the gate, it would give him free access into the church compound right up to the main door. It’s going to be a walk in the park to just drive in, surprise the hell out of everyone and grab Gwen from the courtyard or patio.

A middle age couple crossed the road, coming towards Billy and I. Like many others, they were watching the incident but from up close.

I gave them a warm smile and a nod of my head and asked like a concerned neighbour.

Jeff : Very jia lat leh…. Knock until like that…..

Uncle : Ai yah….. that one young man…. Confirm take drugs one….. knock already still can ya ya papaya….. really bastard this kind… lucky he never hit anyone….

Auntie : God’s mercy…. His gate stopped him…. Amen….

I gave them a wave and checked on Clement. He was still there, eyes on the gate.

The people started to disperse after about 30 minutes and Billy and I retreated as well.

The scary efficiency of Singapore demonstrated itself right before our eyes as the accident scene was cleared within the hour. Only the badly mangled gates of the church remained.

The lady I saw earlier is in the courtyard talking to a civil defence officer.

With some help from the officers and their power tools, the gate of the church has been removed and neatly stacked by the side of the courtyard. They even placed some tape around it.

Jeff : This is it…. Fuck it… I’m going in…

Billy : wait… Jeff !… wait.. !!

Billy tried to hold me back but I shrugged him off. Instead of going to the front gate, I went along the pedestrian path leading to the housing estate beside the church. I entered from the side gate and took in the church.

A gentle gust of wind hit me, as if I just stepped into the middle of a wind tunnel.

Surrounded by tall residential buildings packed so close to each other, the church’s compound feels like an oasis. The garden is in immaculate condition. Not a strand of grass our of place.

If not for the mangled gate sitting at the corner, it would be perfect.

A small fountain fills the courtyard with the sound of flowing water.

There are several small trees in the garden including a cluster of bamboo, they are not matured enough to provide much shade but in time to come, they will be.

In 5 years this garden will be small eden.

I walked along the small stone slabs towards the church. I stepped into the interior and was overwhelmed by the change in spatial experience.

The high ceiling and the spill of sunlight into the prayer hall calmed my frayed nerves a little.

The pews are empty.

I was never a religious person but I believe strongly in something basic, respect.

Looking at a the cross, I said a silent prayer which sounded nothing like one.

Jeff : Boss…. I’ve never prayed to you…..i’m here to stop something bad from happening to someone that believes in you….. will appreciate any help you can spare….

As if my prayer had been heard, a small side door near the alter opened and I saw the same lady. She looked at me curiously.

I gave her a smile and I approached her.

Jeff : Hi…. I’m Jeff…. I’m the social worker that is suppose to start tomorrow….and I’m suppose to report to Mandy….

Her expression change from one of curiosity to one of a more friendly disposition.

She is Mandy.

Mandy : Oh hi…. I’m Mandy…. I thought you are suppose to be here tomorrow… !

Jeff : Yes yes… I am…. I was checking out the neighbourhood…..trying out the buses to see which one works best…..

Mandy : Oh… haha.. ok.. it’s a new estate… it can get confusing…

Jeff : exactly…. I wonder which genius comes up with the road names in Punggol….

Mandy giggled and she brushed back a strand of her hair that flew across her face.

She is about 1.6m tall. She’s slim and dressed simply in t-shirt and jeans. Her breast is small, probably a full A but I would say her figure is quite proportional. Her jeans isn’t exactly the figure complimenting type but I could tell she has a perky ass.

One that you could not resist smacking.

Her eyes are big with natural double eyelids.

She has no dimples in her smile but she has that cheerful outlook that is guaranteed to brighten your day.

Her giggles itself is enough to make me smile. You might not look twice at her along the street but trust me, this is exactly the type of girl you bring home to your parents and they immediately gives you your inheritance if you are expecting one.

Mandy : exactly !! I tried to take a taxi and they have no idea where I want to go…. !!

Jeff : I had to stare at google map for a while as I figure out the place…I guess the planners didn’t learn from their Sengkang experience….

That set Mandy off even more as she nodded her head.

Mandy : I stay in Sengkang….. when I first moved there in 2000,… I told the cab driver rivervale drive…. He took me to river valley… hahaha

Jeff : Oh… you stay in rivervale drive ??

Mandy : yeah I do…. It’s just a short drive away….why ? hahah

Jeff : you see… you belong to be wealthier batch of people in Sengkang….

Mandy : Why is that so ?

Jeff : After building Rivervale drive, the planners realised that cars are so expensive….. people cannot afford to buy them… so they came up with Rivervale Walk….

Mandy burst out laughing, bursting the sanctity of the church.

Jeff : I’m serious… my friend used to stay at rivervale drive….. scrapped his car and downgraded to rivervale walk…

Mandy : you are really funny la… hahah then… then what about the names in Punggol… Edgedale…Edgevale…. Hahah

Jeff : Come on… they already put an ‘edge’ in front of all the names…. you’re already at the edge of civilisation…. Can’t expect them to sugar coat everything can you ?? …

Mandy was half bent over by then chuckling as we walked towards the exit of the prayer hall.

Mandy : What about you Jeff… where do you stay ?

Jeff : I stay in Jurong East…..if you need to go beyond that… you need to bring your passport already…. Because that’s essentially Malaysia….

Mandy : Oh my god… hahah.. that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard this year… haha

I shrugged my shoulders and walked with Mandy as she said she will show me around the compound.

By the side of the main hall is the administrative office. A short single storey structure with plain looking doors. There’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

Mandy : This church was built a few years ago… but the 1st contractor did some pretty shabby work…. Place started falling apart…. We had to do a major rework on many parts of the church…

Jeff : Oh… no wonder it looks so new…

Mandy : We only just completed the works 2 months ago…. Actually we were planning for a grand opening and all but….

Jeff : But what ??

Mandy’s tone became solemn when she told me that an unfortunate incident happened a month ago.

Mandy : A girl that the orphanage took car off passed away….

I tried to keep my emotions in check and asked Mandy what happened.

Mandy : No one is sure… she got up in the middle of the night and left the church…. Something she has never done before… and…. And she ends up getting knocked down by a car….. poor thing….

I did not say anything to that.

Mandy : Poor girl… her twin sister is still here….

We stepped out into the patio and I saw Gwen sitting along on a stone bench. There are several of those scattered throughout the garden.

She hugged her knees and just stared into thin air.

Mandy : She hasn’t spoke a single word since her sister passed away….

Jeff : really ?

Mandy nodded her head.

Mandy : poor girl…. Imagine not having anyone left in this world…. All alone… I cried like a baby when my grandmother passed on…..but Gwen….Gwen is just shell shocked….

Mandy told me that Gwen did not cry when news of her sister’s death was made known to her.

Mandy : I broke it to her in the gentlest way possible….it was heart wrenching…. Her eyes went red….. then I could see the tears dropping silently….but it’s not the same as crying you know what I mean….?? She’s not letting her emotions out…. She’s bottling it all in… it’s not healthy….

I am also bottling all my emotions in at that moment, yet I had to somehow manage a weak smile.

Jeff : Life….. fucks with us all one way or another….

Mandy : woah…. Watch that language cowboy… hahah….chill man…

Gwen is the oldest kid in the orphanage. The other 3 are toddlers who just started to learn how to walk.

Mandy : The younger ones get adopted fast… but older kids like Gwen….it takes a while… and …. And recent developments… have not been helpful….sigh….

Mandy showed me the sleeping area where the kids are settled and introduced me to Auntie May.

Jeff : hello… I’m Jeff

May : Hello… hello…

Mandy : May takes care of the kids full time…. She rotates the shift with Mariel….where is Mariel ??

May : she’s at the back….

Mandy introduced me to her filipino colleague and we walked round the back to the last building in the compound. A smaller stretch of single storey structure with a pitched roof.

Mandy : This is the staff quarters….. here….this is the general store….

She opened the door and tried the light.

Mandy : Oh.. the bulb died a month back…. Still waiting for the handy man to come by…

Jeff : Handyman ? …. No need la… come.. I’ll do it..

Mandy : No.. no it’s ok…

Jeff : The bulb is right here…

It’s literally sitting 1m away on the shelves. I could see gardening equipment, spare parts, even some Christmas decorations neatly arranged on the shelves.

I grabbed the ladder and opened it.

It was a piece of cake.

When I was trying to replace the bulb though, I realised something weird.

Or rather, I felt something weird.

Say you see someone climbing a ladder, you want to offer your help. You would help to hold onto the ladder or whatever equipment the person needs right ?

I was only 2 steps up, the ceiling light isn’t exactly high up so that places my butt right in front of Mandy’s face.

I felt a shiver run down my spine when she asked if I needed help and she held onto my buttocks.

What the fuck.

Jeff : errrr….

This is weird on so many level.

She just pushed my butt cheeks up through my pants, in the same manner I would pretend I’m pushing up the boobs of a favourite teacher when I’m in school and a head shorter than her.

Mandy : Can ? ….. can or not ??

I don’t know what kind of answer to give her as I screwed in the new bulb.

Is she asking whether I can manage with the bulb or is she asking if I allowed her to push my buttocks ?

Jeff : ERmm… yeah.. it’s done… can you try ?

Mandy : Sure.. sure…

She let go and I jumped off the ladder.

The light came on and Mandy gave me a thumbs up.

Mandy : wow…. You are a man with many talents Jeff… hahaha

Jeff :Thank you… haha… you have no idea what I can do…

Mandy : hmmmmmmm…..

I turned and put the ladder back where I took it from and I literally jumped in the storeroom.

Jeff : arghh!!

She pinched me.

She fucking pinched my backside.

I turned around and I looked at Mandy who spoke before I could.

Mandy : That statement of yours… hmmm…. I hope you don’t meant it in a sexual way you know… hahah… hahah… it can easily be interpreted as sexual harassment… towards a colleague… hahaha.. hahah

I was staring at her with my mouth half opened as she shut the light of the storeroom.

Mandy : come on… I’ll show you the sleeping quarters…

I massaged my buttocks and exhaled.

Now not only do I have to worry about Clement, I have to worry about a fucking horny colleague.

Mandy : This room is shared between May and Mariel …..they usually sleep in the kids room…. And this other room…

She showed me the other room at the extreme corner. It’s a nice room, like your hostel in university. Functional and neat with 2 single bed.

Mandy : This is mine… and…. Yours….

I nodded my head with a frozen smile.

Jeff ; Right…. Ok….

Mandy : You mentioned you stay in Jurong East right ?? that’s so far… maybe you’ll want to bring some clothes over….you know… that way.. you don’t need to head back every day….

I have a feeling Mandy might want to rape me. If not for the skills I have equipped myself with over the years, I would have bolted from this place right away.

She’s really sweet and nice but she gives me a feeling she keeps a lot bottled up inside her as well. Something is waiting to explode inside her too. Perhaps her virginity.

This is a good opportunity for me to move in and I immediately voiced my thoughts.

Jeff : well….ermm… you stay just a short drive away right…. I guess you don’t really use the room often…. So I hope you don’t mind if I use it…. Now and then….

Mandy : No… no… no…. of course not… go ahead….well…I could always stay over you know… it’s good to get to know a new colleague…

Jeff : ermmm…I ermm

Mandy : oh…I’m sorry… I’m sorry… are you attached or married ??

Jeff : No.. no I’m single….

Mandy literally drooled, perhaps wet herself as she cast another lustful look at my groin region. She is good.

Really good.

I mean not many people can make me feel uncomfortable. Not even the baddest ass of fuckers I’ve put away but she, she fucking makes me feel uncomfortable.

Mandy : Well…go ahead and move in…hahha…it’s quiet at night around here….

Jeff : Right…..ok…

Mandy suddenly lowered her voice and told me that no alcohol is allowed on church grounds

Mandy : but we are all adults… I won’t say if you won’t….

She gave me a wink together with a click of her tongue as she opened the mini fridge by the side of her bed.

My eyes lit up immediately as I saw the 21 year old bottle of Hibiki.

Mandy : ahhh…. You know the good stuff when you see it eh… hahah….

Jeff : ermmm…well… I don’t think we should…

Mandy : Not in broad daylight duhz…. Hahah… let’s find a evening you know… we grab a meal…. Then maybe chill out….a drink or two…

I managed another weak smile and told her I look forward to it.

We left the staff quarters and I pointed to the cameras mounted on the columns and ceilings.

Jeff : are those working ??

Mandy : No… they went down about 2 months ago…

Impeccable timing.

Mandy : Management said they will fix it… but it’s been sitting there ever since…. Took all the recordings with them too….

Jeff : What about the gate… it’s trashed… anyone can just drive in… security is an issue…

Mandy : Hahah… come on… this is Singapore… very safe… very safe…. Don’t worry…

We wrapped up the tour ending at the main entrance of the church. Mandy asked me what do I think of the place.

Jeff : seems like a nice place to work… look forward to getting started.. !

Mandy :Really ! hahah.. good… looking forward to spending the night…. Sorry… I meant… you chilling out….hahaha…it’s been a lonely period for me… and aermm… i… I don’t know why am I blabbering… haha

Jeff : ermm…ok… i.. I should be bringing some stuff over… to stay over occasionally…

Mandy :sure.. sure… the… the shared bathroom has some of my toiletries…. Feel free to use them… hahaha….

Jeff : ermm… well thank you… haha..oh by the way…. You know… we guys… having been through army and all…. We get a bit… particular with security and all…. Seeing how open this place is…

Mandy : oh really ?

Jeff : Yeah…Singapore is safe and all but… seeing the gate down… is a little… uncomfortable…. Is it ok if I do something about it ??

Mandy :sure.. sure but… but I have to tell you in advance…. Asking the management for money…. When it comes to big ticket item like this….it’s really…. Really… hard…hahah you know what I mean…

I waved her off with a smile.

Jeff : Haiyah… small issue la… my uncle owns a factory producing gates like this…. I can get it done on the cheap….. it’ll look exactly the same… I’ll do it…. A small contribution to the Church….

Mandy stared at me with her mouth and eyes wide open.

If she hasn’t wet herself earlier, I think she just did. She exhaled, wiped her palms on her pants and brushed back the stray fringes on her head. Her zealousness is really commendable. Mandy is probably in her early thirties, she can be cute depending on the perspective you take.

At the moment, she feels more like a charging bull, eager to bulldoze her way into my life.

Mandy : wow…..

Jeff : Aiyah…. Don’t make a big deal out of it…. Haha

Mandy checked the time on her watch and offered to buy me coffee.

Mandy : Let me get my wallet ….

I followed her towards the area where the kids are staying. We walked passed Gwen’s room and I slowed down, looking into the small simple room where Gwen shared with her sister.

The louvered aluminium windows looked like relics from a different era but it offered me a glimpse into the private lives of the girls.

Mandy saw me slow down and she knocked on the door.

Gwen is inside the room with a book in hand.

Mandy :Hi Gwen…. We have a new staff…. Just want to say hi…

I appeared at the door and made my first eye contact with her.

There was no smile, no nod of acjnowledgement, no greeting.

Gwen stared at me for a few seconds before looking away.

Mandy spoke to me softly by the door.

Mandy : It’s heartbreaking to look at her….. I cry for her sometimes…. I tried to arrange for a therapist to speak with her but their schedule is so packed…. They can only send one next month….

I looked at Mandy and asked her if I could try.

Jeff : Can I try talking to her ?

Mandy laughed.

Mandy : haha… go ahead… everyone has tried…. She refused to even open her mouth… she refused to stepped out of the church compound…. Not even to accompany me across the road to the coffee shop for lunch….

Jeff ; Well…. If you don’t try… you never know right…

Mandy : sure… I would like to see… your…… many talents… hahaha..

I knocked on the door again but Gwen ignored me, choosing to lose herself in the book she was holding in her hands. I looked at the book title, Journey to the west, a classic I’m sure many of us enjoyed when we were little.

As I entered the room, every detail I took in broke my heart a little.

Pictures of Gillian and Gwen adorned the sparsely furnished room.

Some pictures are printed on normal A4 pieces of paper, some are instant polaroid. Most of them without frames, the ones that had were handmade. Like taking a walk through history, the pictures tracked the girls growing up years.

Names of different orphanages are visible at the background of some of them. The number of hands they had passed through.

I wondered what went through their heads each time they moved.

The adults don’t want us, passing us around from one to another.

Their smiles radiated warmth in the old grainy pictures. They are sweet and pretty, pretty enough for me to acknowledge that if I ever have daughters, I would want them to look like Gwen and Gillian.

There are a lot of drawings on the walls. They typical stick figures albeit with a bit more details. There are always 2 stick figures.

2 for 2 girls.

2 for 2 sisters.

The stationaries belonging to the girls are properly labelled. I could see everything that belonged to Gillian remained untouched. The table the girls shared is neatly divided into 2.

The names of each girl proudly decorated in glitters on the top corners.

I could almost see an image of the 2 girls back in happier times, bickering and talking to each other as they draw on that very desk.

There’s a shelf filled with books so old that the paper has turned yellow and blackish. Some of the covers are barely holding on. I looked at the titles that the girls read.

The usual Enid Blyton I read as a kid, most of it are about the famous five, the adventurous four, even one of my favourite when I was young, adventures of the wishing chair.

People read for many reasons, some chose to enrich themselves, some just want to escape the harsh realities of life. There is a reason why people chose to forgo sleep, flipping page after page knowing full well it’s a work of fiction, that it’s not real but we cannot help it.

Choosing to fully immerse yourself in the world of the characters. To see what they see, to feel what they feel.

The girls chose the easiest form of escape available to them.

Books.

They can climb the highest mountains, sail across the four seas right in the comforts and safety of each other’s company.

Perhaps they flip each page hoping for the escape that would finally come their way. True freedom to lead their lives by each other’s side.

Jeff : Hi Gwen….. may I sit down ?

She did not answer me, not that I expect one.

I grabbed a stool and sat down beside her bed.

Her eyes never left the book.

Jeff : I like this story…. Have you watched the show before ??

Again Gwen remained unfazed, choosing to flip over a page, hanging on to every word of the novel.

I asked Gwen if I could read to her.

Jeff : Can I …. Read a chapter to you ? ….lend some life to the characters ?

She looked up at me as if I said something ridiculous.

I gave her a reassuring smile and reached for the book, stopping my hand halfway from her. I want to see if she would take up the offer.

She hesitated. I don’t blame her.

Jeff : Just a chapter…. Nothing more… you don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want to….

Gwen looked at me. Her big round eyes painted a picture of hurt and pain. Inflicted upon her by a world she has yet to understand.

She handed the book over and I could hear Mandy gasped at the door.

I took over the book and I could see scribbles and drawings on them. I cleared my throat and I started to read. I narrated the part the Tang Monk travelled to the Kingdom of the women together with his 3 disciples.

I alternated my voices, going mischievous and squezky when I played the monkey, going dorky when I played Piggy, and being a little goofy when I spoke as Sandy.

It’s an adaptation of the original piece meant for younger audience. The dialogues are simple, some are funny. I spoke each line, animating it as if I am playing the characters.

I could hear Mandy laughing at the humorous part, but not Gwen.

Not her.

She just looked at me, curious why this man would come out of nowhere and read to her.

From a sitting position, she started to get more comfortable and relaxed. Gwen propped her pillow properly and laid down. Her eyes are open, still looking at me.

At the end of 30 minutes, as I wrapped up the chapter with the Tang Monk and disciples entering the palace, Gwen’s eyes were closed.

Her breathing was light. She had fallen asleep.

I closed the book and put it by her side. Turning to look at Mandy, I could see the look of awe in her eyes.

Mandy : you…… have no idea….. how sexy you looked when you read….. wow…. Are you gay ??

I laughed and shook my head.

Jeff ; No I’m not…

Mandy licked her lips and put her hands into her pocket.

Mandy : ermm.. let’s go grab that coffee ?

I nodded my head.

She walked away , presumably to get her wallet or her purse from the room down the hall.

I was about to stand up when I felt a hand on me.

Gwen.

She held onto my wrist.

She pointed to a drawing pad on her desk.

I went over and picked it up.

Jeff ; This ?

Handing it over to Gwen, she opened the drawing pad.

My eyes lit up and a wave of emotions hit me like a tsunami sweeping up along the beach.

There is the feeling of heat radiating from my belly, spreading like a plague into my limbs as I scrunched my toes in my shoe.

I bit down on my teeth hard as I looked at Gwen.

That drawing made me sick.

It showed 3 stick figures, 1 of them carrying Gillian horizontally.

The dark background, the yellow crescent moon.

Gwen’s stick figure had tears on her face and a frowning mouth.

Gillian’s figure too had tears illustrated with her hands stretched out waving at her sister.

It’s as if her sister is waving goodbye to Gwen.

Someone came in the middle of the night for her.

Clement came in the middle of the night and took Gillian and Gwen saw it.

She saw it all.

Gwen looked at me with her eyes filling up with tears.

She did not say anything. She did not break her silence but her eyes spoke more to me than words ever could.

Mandy appeared at that moment and she entered the room.

She saw the picture and sighed.

Mandy : She’s been showing us that picture ever since the day the accident happened…. People taking her sister away….. I guess it’s her way of dealing with it…

Gwen shook her head weakly, keeping her eyes fixed on me.

My heart felt like it was stab by a heated knife.

That aching is unbearable. It took everything I had to keep myself form shivering.

How painful it must be for Gwen to be dismissed by all the adults around her.

No one believed her.

Who would ?

Who would believe a 12 year old who just went through a traumatic experience ?

Mandy : Put that away Gwen…. Have a nap….Come on Jeff… let’s go…

Turning to Mandy I asked her to give me a moment.

Mandy : I’ll wait for you outside… get some rest Gwen dear…. I’ll buy hot milo for you….

I waited for Mandy to exit the room. Both of Gwen’s eyes are red and heavy with tears. I could see the desperation in them. Desperate to be heard, to be taken seriously.

I held her hand reassuringly and I looked at Gwen in her eyes.

Jeff : I believe you…

Gwen’s lips pressed hard against each other as her eyes shut, setting off a torrential flow of tears. Her face scrunched up as she cried silently, it’s as if she was afraid of other people knowing.

There is so much fear in her. I felt her hands squeeze mine so tightly that her fingers turned red. The amount of angst and pain cannot be described in words.

As she washed her face with her tears, Gwen flipped the page of her notepad, revealing another page.

It was the same drawing with a bit of modification.

The same 3 menacing stick figure but this time, they were not carrying Gillian.

It should them against the same dark and imposing backdrop, illuminated by a lone crescent moon in the sky.

This time they were coming for Gwen.

Not a single word left her mouth. All I could hear was sniffings and all I could see was the relentless flow of tears from her eyes.

Nothing stood between the 3 stick figures and Gwen who was illustrated with a frowning face under a hut with a cross on top.

I choked back emotions and tried to think of what to say.

I could have said anything, anything a little girl would have wanted to hear.

I could have told her who I am.

What I can do.

That I am there to protect her but it will not be enough.

The world of adults has destroyed her live before it had a chance to begin.

I reached for a crayon on Gwen’s table and gestured towards the drawing, asking permission to draw on the drawing pad.

She nodded.

I started to draw a figure in between Gwen and the 3 stick men.

The 3 stickmen that came for her at night.

No. I did not draw myself.

I drew someone she can relate better to.

I drew the Monkey king. Taller and towering above each of the other stick figures.

I drew him facing the 3 men, chin up, fist clenched.

Gwen smiled for the first time as she finished the drawing for me by adding on the magical staff, weapon of choice by the immortal monkey.

I handed the notepad back to her.

She closed it, and brought it close to her chest, her eyes never left mine.

Jeff : I haven introduced myself…. I am…. Sun Wu Kong….. ( Monkey king ) ….

Gwen’s smile did not stop the flow of tears from her eyes.

She laid back down on her bed , clutching her drawing pad close to her chest.

I helped her pull up her blanket.

She held my wrist again, as if asking me to stay till she falls asleep.

I nodded my head and told her I will be right there.

Less than 3 minutes later, I could hear a soft snore coming from Gwen.

I stood up slowly and checked behind me. I could see Mandy on her phone far out into the courtyard.

I brushed back a strand of hair matted on Gwen’s cheeks that are wet with tears.

She’s asleep, she won’t hear me but I still said what I wanted to say.

Jeff : I’ll protect you…….

The next part is not an appropriate thing to say on religious grounds, but I don’t expect to go to heaven.

I’m not a saint.

Jeff : I’ll find them………….and then I’ll kill them………….. I’ll kill them all….

……………………………………………………..

I suggested to Mandy that we have our coffee in the church compound instead of the coffee shop after her phone call. I don’t feel comfortable leaving Gwen alone for now.

Jeff : The environment is so much more pleasant here don’t you think ?

Mandy : of course haha…. More peaceful…. Quiet… no one to disturb us… tell you what…. Wait.. here… I’ll go grab the coffee…. See you in the garden ??

Jeff :ehhh… I’ll be right here…

The moment Mandy stepped out of the church compound, I called Billy. The 1st drone is down and is currently charging. 2nd one is already up in the air.

Billy : the drones are not charging fast enough for continuous monitoring… we’re probably going to loss the aerial feed in another 2 hours give and take…

Jeff : Bring it down… I doubt anything is going to happen today… save the battery…

Billy : Jeff there’s another problem…

Jeff : What is it ?

Billy: I’m seeing another drone….. not ours…

Jeff : What ?

Billy : It’s a older company model…..lower battery life and camera resolution…. It’s been holding it’s position about 30m below us for the past 15 minutes…

Jeff : Can you crash it ? use your drone to knock it to shit…

Billy : Errr……. No…. mine is more expensive… and I signed out for it…

Jeff : Clement is watching the church as well….

Billy : He probably is….. I’ve operated that older model before…. At this height, he can make out figures…. Not in detail… and the rotors are a lot noiser…. He can’t afford to go too low…

Jeff : we’ll have to block his sight…. Not let him see what is going on in the compound…

Billy : you block him… you block me as well….

Jeff : not true… I’m going to get you in tomorrow…. Get the cameras and surveillance up for the church…

I walked right up to the main gate and looked outside and across to the coffeeshop.

I can see Mandy queuing at the drinks stall. There is no sign of Clement.

I was quite thankful for that. I don’t know if I have what it takes to remain calm if I see him.

Perhaps I would just charge right at him, make a mess at the coffee shop and let Owen clean it up for putting me through this.

There’s still a traffic police bike at the junction. An officer was talking to someone, probably asking about the accident earlier.

Further down the road there’s another police car with it’s hazard light on.

I asked Billy to get me a change of clothes.

Jeff : I keep a bag in my office… bring the whole thing…

Billy : You sure… it’s going to be at least a 2 hour journey to and fro with current traffic.

Jeff : Yes…. Go… and stock up on water and food…. I don’t know how long you are going to hole up in that Van…

Billy : I have a fully stocked fridge in here…. Only thing I worry about is a fresh shower….

Jeff : You are welcome to use the bathroom here… I have a overzealous roommate who wants to share her toiletries….

Billy : oh…. I think I’ll take the fountain then… haha…

He hung up and I made the next call to a contractor I worked with regularly. I sent him come pictures of the gate and the space it use to occupy before giving him a call.

Jeff : Hello…. Ah Keong ah….. Jeff ah…..ho seh bo ( how are you ) …. Still helping your dad with his construction business ?? ….ok la…. good enough…. One day you will take over Matthew….i’m good I’m good….

I looked at the mess on the floor and told Ah Keong I sent over some pictures.

James : I need a gate… can send your guys down….i need it yesterday…..

Ah Keong is a contractor that does magic tricks. I kid you not, he is a magician. He can perform miracles. He’s creative and resourceful. He’s actually a rich kid with plenty of money to spare and no where to spend it.

I’m not sure how old he is but he couldn’t be too far away from me in terms of age. His dad owns a pretty big construction company and has their own factory cum warehouse.

We hit it off right away when we collaborated on one of our early projects.

Owen made the introduction, says these are men that don’t talk.

Owen : These people don’t just look at money…. Brotherhood and loyalty actually means something to them…. Old school…

It’s already coming to 5pm, everyone is calling it a day. With the evening peak traffic, Ah Keong estimates that his men will reach the church about 7.30pm

Jeff : Come…just come… I’ll be waiting…

I told him what I needed and he told me he will take care of it.

Next, I called a tentage contractor. Those that erect temporary shelters for night markets and bazaars.

Jeff : Ah Beng…. Jeff here… I need a cover…big one… you come down and measure…. Yes… today… can… can… no problem…. Ok… ok thank you….

I’m going to fucking cover the entire courtyard wherever possible with tentage.

If Clement wants to see what is going on, he can jolly well walk in the front gate and find out for himself.

No one would suspect a thing.

You see these going up all the time during events or openings.

This is a double edge sword. Sure, it stops Clement from seeing what is going on in the compound, but it also alerts him to the fact that there is someone in the compound who knows what he’s doing.

I have no choice. I’m playing defence.

The difficult thing now is to convince Mandy why I’m doing the things I do. I would have to smoke my way out of this. Perhaps cook up a stupid reason or something.

Mandy crossed the road with the coffee in hand, raising them to show me as she stepped into the compound. Her hair caught the breeze and as it lifted up, revealed another side of her.

Her looks will grow on you. I can almost picture her as the goofy girlfriend you would enjoy taking to an overseas trip. It’s going to be funny, humorous and if she is as horny as she makes herself out to be, the sex will be great too.

We went to one of the stone benches and sat down.

Jeff : Thank you for the coffee… I’ll buy the next round…

Mandy : Oh… haha.. sure…. Anytime…. Anytime man…

She asked about my past posting and where I worked, I told her the story as per the cover Owen arranged. He would have made sure everything checks out.

I told Mandy that someone will be here to put up some temporary structures for the gate.

Jeff : I hope you don’t mind…. But seeing you girls…. Alone in the compound… without a proper door and all…. I won’t be able to forgive myself if something happened…

Mandy just looked at me and hung onto my every word.

Mandy : wow….. where have you been all this while….

Jeff : I’m serious… the church is not fully opened…. The orphanage has kids and aunties… and there’s you…. A single pretty girl… alone…. Thank god you don’t stay overnight here…

Mandy rest her arm on the backrest of the bench while supporting her cheeks with the back of fingers and just looked at me talk.

Mandy : Exactly… I’ve heard from a friend that a woman gets raped everyday in Singapore…. It just goes unreported…..

If not for the lustful look in her eyes, I would have asked her what is the statistics for men getting rape.

Mandy : …. The administrators come over once in a while… but until the church is officially opened, it’s quiet around here…… especially at night…

I swallowed a gulp of saliva and I looked away.

Mandy : but now that we have a man around… I would feel safer to stay over…

Jeff : ermmm…well… you stay so near… isn’t the bed more comfortable at home ?

Mandy : hahha…. Hmmm… my bed at home is indeed more comfortable…. How would you know that ?

Oh god. I actually looked towards the church as if pleading for help.

How can she sexualise everything I say ?

Mandy : It’s got a pretty good bounce… and the spring…. The salesgirl told me is individual pocketed….. it makes a difference…

I massage my forehead and told Mandy that it might not be nice if we stay overnight in the same room.

Jeff : I’m afraid it won’t be fair to you… you’re a girl…. I don’t care what people say about me…. But it’s not going to be… you know… nice… if people see us spending a night in the same room….

She cut me off even before I could finish.

Mandy : I’m single Jeff… I broke up with my boyfriend 5 years ago… I don’t care what people say…

I took a sip of the horrible coffee and tried to change the topic of our conversation.

Jeff : Where do you park your car ? …. There’s carpark lots in the church but it’s empty…

Mandy : You know why he broke up with me ??

Jeff : ermmm Mandy… I think….we should…

Mandy : He said I have a high sex drive…. Too high for him to handle.

I dropped my coffee, spilling everything onto the grass as Mandy laughed.

Jeff : What !?

Mandy : Come on chill man…. I’m just kidding… hahah..haha

I have a feeling she isn’t.

Jeff : ERmm.. anyway… I have made some calls… so some contractors will be in to….ermm.. do some work… how to I inform the administrators …. Or the pastor or… who’s the boss here…

Mandy smiled and she crossed her legs on the bench, raising an eyebrow at me.

Jeff : err… yes ?

Mandy : The cross is the boss around here but when it comes to the grounds and facilities…I would day…..ahemmmm… yours truly…is in charge…

Jeff : Oh… really ? great !

Mandy : What are you going to do ??

I told Mandy I’m going to do something to the gate, get a contractor in to fix the cameras and I will be erecting a tentage shelter in the courtyard.

Mandy : Why is there a need for the tentage ?

I had no reason for that. I can’t possible let her know there’s a drone spying on us. So I thought I’ll crack a joke instead.

Jeff : So…. No one from the surrounding HDB will see what we are up to… ?? hahah… just kidding…

I never fucking expect her eyes to lit up.

Mandy : I love that idea…. Go ahead….Erect…… that tent…

I could not help but register how much emphasis she put on the word erect.

Mandy : but… nothing touches the lawn…. Solid ground only….. leading to the patio…. That should do just fine… and don’t assume I don’t know what you are thinking with the tent…

Jeff : Huh ? what ??

Mandy smiled and told me she knew my plan.

My heart skipped a beat as I looked at her.

Mandy : The only power point is at the patio…. You want shelter for the workers that will be working here right ?? hahhaha….. I knew it….. those foreign workers also need a place to rest, to eat…. My god Jeff… you have such a pure heart….a Big…..big…. heart…

Jeff : of course I do…

Mandy : People with big heart…. Usually has a big…..hmmm…

Jeff : Please don’t go there….

Mandy : relax….hahah… big smile…. I meant a big smile…

I nodded with a forced smile and a sigh of relief.

6pm

Mandy left work on time, saying that she’s going to head back and grab some stuff, that I should do the same as well. She gave me a set of keys and the password to enter some of the rooms in the compound.

I went over to check on Gwen and she is still fast asleep. I could smell the food Auntie May is cooking. I guess dinner will be served soon.

Ah Keong and his men arrived at 7pm.

I shook his heavily tattooed arms and they got to work immediately.

2 guys started taking measurements of the new gate I would need while others set up the temporary barrier. The same type of red and white plastic barrier you see on the roads.

Ah Keong’s men helped me blocked the entrance before filling it up with water. It’s not going to stop a charging vehicle but at least it’s something.

Ah Keong : No way to finish it so fast brother… the gate is big… earliest going to be next Tuesday…

Jeff : As soon as you can…. Appreciate the help..

He left and when the tentage contractor got in at 7.15pm, Mandy had brought dinner for me. I told the contractor what I needed and he gave me a thumbs up. He will be back the next day with the materials.

I was famished and we ate in the garden. What I did not expect was to see Gwen walking towards us with a plate in hand.

Mandy : are you ok Gwen ?

I did not say anything, cleared the seat beside me of the plastic bags and gesture to the stone seat.

Jeff : Come.. join us…

Gwen ate silently as Mandy did most of the talking.

9.30pm

Mandy was speechless when she saw Gwen tugging my shirt and handing me the same book I had read to her earlier.

It took only half a chapter this time round to put Gwen to bed.

Mandy : I wonder when will I get to see all your hidden talents… hahaha..

Jeff : ermm… I hope you don’t have to…

Mandy left the church reluctantly at 10.30pm, only after I promised I will stay Friday night for beer and a chill out session with her.

Billy was waiting for me to be available before handing me the bag I asked for.

I shifted the barrier and let Billy backed his van all the way into the Church carpark lot.

Jeff : Check out the cameras… they’re all offline…

Billy : Got it…

Within an hour, Billy got it all up and running with the parts he kept in his Van. Like a doraemon pocket, it’s shelves are stocked with everything.

Billy : It’s actually all set up… someone removed all the hard drives and stopped the recording….definitely some funny shit going on around here..

I sat down with Billy in the courtyard at almost 1am in the morning.

21st June 2013

Friday

1am

Jeff : long day huh…

He handed me a cold beer before opening one himself.

Billy : you met her yet ?

I nodded.

Billy handed me an ipad with it’s screen subdivided into 9. All the cameras are live.

Billy : They don’t cover all angles… but these are the important ones… how is she taking to these ?

Jeff : She’s scared…. Freaked out….hasn’t spoke since…

We drank our beer quietly in the courtyard. Just when we ere about to discuss who to take the first watch when we heard a shout from the vicinity. The shout shattered the peacefulness of the neighbourhood.

Then the pop pop pop of a series of small explosion came. In the quiet of the night, it’s hard not to notice the popping sound.

We immediately identified the cause of the noise. We didn’t have to look far.

The coffee shop across the road.

It’s on fire.

Billy : Bloody hell…..

Jeff : relax… he’s not coming tonight…

Billy : What the fuck he burnt the coffee shop for ?

Jeff : drinks stall is 24 hours…. There might be people hanging around…..burn it… and there’s no reason for people to be at the shop….. no one sitting across with a view of the church…

Billy : What the fuck….

Jeff : He probably started the fire from the back…. Where the seafood stall is…. Furtherst away from the drinks stall…. By the time it spreads…. It’s too late…. That’s what I would do if I were him….

The fire got bigger and we just sat there, we could already hear the sirens blaring from a distance away. People were just standing around watching the spectacle.

Coffee shop patrons that were sitting at the area moments ago retreated to a safe distance.

Blinking lights illuminated the church compound, our seat offering us a front row view to what is happening.

The whole place will be flooded with officers and firefighters in a matter of minutes.

Jeff : Get some sleep… nothing will happen tonight…

Billy : When will it happen ?

I shrugged my shoulders.

Jeff : Not tonight…

6am

I woke up and took a fresh shower, using Mandy’s toiletries.

My knife is strapped around my calves, concealed by my pants.

I went to Gwen’s room. She’s still sound asleep.

I went to the storeroom with the gardening tools and took stock of what I have at my disposal. I separated a pair of garden shears, keeping one side hidden in a bush and the other tucked near a bin.

An old mallet went to the fountain.

There’s even a pickaxe. I put it under a large canvas covering the compost heap near the staff quarters.

I made sure everywhere I look, there is something I would want to kill Clement with.

I can smash his head in with a rock, I can drown him in the fountain.

Looking at the old rusty spade, I wondered if I could bury him alive.

Before sunrise, I was done with the tools.

Looking across the road, I could still see officers milling around after the fire. There’s a lot of work to be done. Investigation, interviews and the usual. By the time they find something, Clement would be long gone.

Friday went by peacefully.

I had to do some administrative work together with Mandy for 1 of the toddlers, some phone calls, other than that it was just stopping her from putting her hands on my buttocks accidentally.

Mandy dressed different that day, turning up for work in a dress.

She wore glasses with rose gold tinted rims. She carries off the look pretty well, bringing out a different side of her. More demure, still as horny.

Her blouse had it’s first button undone and I would be blind if I did not see the imprint of her lacy bra screaming at me through the thin fabric of the blouse.

She wore heels and a short skirt.

I swear if I was not preoccupied with the project on hand, I would have grabbed her into the room and gave her a good humping.

The word subtle is probably not in her dictionary.

The tentage was set up by 5pm on Friday. Gwen literally followed me everywhere.

She did not stick by my side but she made sure she could see me.

When I’m in courtyard, she would be peeping at me from the patio.

If I’m talking to Mandy, she would be loitering near the back.

She just looked on with curiosity as the contractors erected the tentages.

I kept trying to talk to Gwen but no, still no reply.

It’s ok. Eventually she will talk.

It’s just a matter of time.

I could see reporters across the road trying to ask passer-by if they knew what caused the fire or had any stories to share.

I introduced Billy to Mandy, telling her that he’s a IT geek that would help us set up the cameras and all.

I could tell Mandy is excited about that Friday evening.

I checked her fridge, she had stocked new beers and snacks.

There’s even a pack of condoms I swore was not in the fridge the 1st time I saw it open. Who the fuck puts condoms in the fridge.

7.30pm

Mandy Ordered pizza in, she invited Billy to join but he declined.

I went to have a word with him before he left.

Billy : looks good… I don’t think it will be easy… you think he will hit over the weekend ? you’re pretty well set up here….

I looked at the surroundings and shook my head.

Weekend. Residential estate.

People come back late on Friday night.

Not tonight.

I don’t think so.

Jeff : Unlikely…. He just burnt the coffee shop…. Has to wait for the dust to settle…

Billy : what a fucker…. Crashed the gate….burnt the coffee shop…. What’s next…

I looked around the church. There is no way he is not aware of all the structures coming up.

He would know there is someone working against him.

He would need to move fast. The more time he gives me to shore up the defences, the harder it would be for him.

Billy : when would you do it…. If it’s you…

I looked at him, surprised that he would asked me that question.

Jeff : Monday morning…. After 2 am… before 6am… it’s a work day…. People sleep….perfect time…..

Billy : but you’re not him…

Jeff : No I’m not…

Billy packed up and I opened the temporary gate for him. He would be driving across the road to the multi storey carpark to get some shut eye.

Billy : Call me if anything happens…

Jeff: I hope not…

I shut the compound and went to the garden where the stone table is.

Mandy had a 6 pack out, half submerged in a bucket of ice. The Pizza has arrived.

Gwen was standing about 5m away looking at us.

I gestured for her to come over and join us.

Mandy : alright…. It’s a party !!

Aside from the occasional mosquito, the garden is a pleasant place to chill. Mandy asked Mariel and May to join us but they declined.

Mariel told us she is packing her stuff for her off day and May just wants to catch up on her sleep while the toddlers are resting.

I asked Mariel if she needed help with the suitcase but she declined.

I sipped my beer at the table and let Mandy lead the conversation. She is a story teller, an explorer and an entertainer all rolled into one.

Gwen and I listened to Mandy’s tales of her travel adventure. From how she got lost in Prague to having a homeless man pee on her in Bratislava.

Nothing beats her falling off a horse and straight into their droppings when she was in Budapest.

Gwen chewed on a piece of pizza and her eyes alternated between Mandy and I depending on who is talking.

I could tell she is a smart girl. Very observant, eager to learn. That spark in her eyes got brighter when she hears of Mandy travelling alone.

At her age, I bet a pact was made with her sister to travel together.

To see the world when they are old enough.

There is still so much things she has yet to do.

She doesn’t even have a passport, has never been overseas. Chances are I will be smuggling her over to Malaysia before arranging for her to head somewhere else. I don’t know.

I haven planned that far ahead yet. I got to take care of Clement first.

As Mandy’s stories went on, I too allowed myself to drift a little in my thoughts.

I too was a little lost in my own world.

I tried to put myself in Clement’s shoe.

What would he do ?

Time is ticking. The longer he waits, the harder it will get.

Mandy : and….. and Berlin….. I hated Berlin…. Hahha….that’s pretty much my adventure through Europe…. so… I was saying… I’ve got some movies I downloaded…. We can you know….Jeff… pick a show…

I was about to think of a reason to reject Mandy’s advances when I heard a loud crash.

This cannot be a coincidence.

Mandy : Aiyoh… what is happening…..? so many accident along this road this couple of days….

I remained in my seat. My eyes looking at the perimeter wall.

Then my attention went to the road in front of the church. The entrance of the Church is about 15metres away from the Junction.

I can hear commotions, horns but I see no cars.

I started to count.

10 seconds. 20 seconds. 30 seconds.

A typical traffic light at the junction leading to a small road like this don’t take more than 30 seconds. Let’s not forget the left turn with zebra crossing, what are the chances of an accident blocking all the access ?

I kept up my counting, my right hand put down the piece of pizza and went to the side of my pants.

At the 50 second mark, I am sure the entire road is blocked by the accident.

It’s impossible to have no cars passing by the road on a Friday evening before 9pm.

He has some balls. Fucking Clement.

Gwen’s eyes never left me. She too put down her pizza.

She could see I was nervous.

I pulled out my phone and called Billy.

The dial tone went on for a while but he did not answer.

I have a bad feeling about this.

I stood up.

Jeff : Stay here…. I’ll check things out…

I barely took 2 steps when the lights to the entire church went out. Both the compound and the main building.

Mandy : aHHHHHHHHH!! What the hell !

I froze and I lowered my body, back tracking to where Gwen was sitting.

Turning to her, I asked her to go to her room.

Jeff : Go… lock yourself in the room…. Don’t open it for anyone unless it’s me…. You understand ??

Gwen nodded. She turned and started to run towards her room.

Mandy : What is going on ?

Jeff : go stay with Gwen…. I’ll go check on the blackout.

Mandy nodded and the moment her back is turned, I reached for my knife and brought it out of its sheath.

The cold grip and the perfectly balanced knife feels comforting in my hand.

I tried Billy’s phone again. No answer.

Something must have happened to him as well.

I head the rattle of wheels behind me and I quickly hid the knife behind my back.

It was Mariel with her trolley suitcase.

Jeff : Blackout…. Be careful Mariel…

Mariel : I will…. The DB box is over there…

I looked towards the direction where Mariel is pointing and immediately regretted my decision.

She brought up her trolley and swung it towards my head with speed and intensity I never expected.

Mariel : argHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

My head took the brunt of the hit and I staggered to my right, feeling the effects of the disorientation immediately.

She attempted a 2nd hit but I manged to duck in time.

The fury inside my belly started to grow, like a demon that feeds on anger, it grew.

It grew bigger as I connected the dots when I looked at the shrieking Mariel trying to hit me the 3rd time with the suitcase.

Mariel helped Clement get access to the girls.

Someone on the inside.

My fist found it’s target squarely on the nose. Mariel’s pudgy body struggled to balance after my hit. I did not stop.

I continued walking towards her. She swung her right hand wildly at me, I grabbed it easily, driving my knife into the fatty meat of her forearm.

Mariel : arghhhh!!!!!!!

Her screams were cut short when I drove my palm upwards into her nose, breaking whatever is left of the cartilages and soft bones.

Does it bother me she is a woman ? No.

Does it bother me she is probably 60 years old ? No.

Blood cascaded down her chin and her chest, staining her t-shirt. Her mouth was bubbling as she spit out globs of blood and mucus.

Staggering backwards, she fell, tripping against the concrete sidewalk that separated the driveway from the turfing.

Jeff : You….. you gave them Gillian….

I grabbed Mariel’s hair and forced her to look at me in the eye.

Mariel : ….it…..it….. it was…….was…… an act of….. mercy…..they have no one…..to… love…

I punched her so hard that her head literally bounced off the concrete sidewalk.

By the time she turned back, she was blabbering and blood was bubbling around her torn lips.

I pulled out my knife from her forearm, slicing off bits of her flesh and skin as her screams were silenced by her own blood that could not stop filling her mouth.

I turned her around such that she is facing the sidewalk. Grabbing her hair with my right hand, my left squeezed open her jaws and I pushed her against the concrete slab.

Just imagine you opening your mouth wide at the step of your concrete staircase. I pushed her head against the step as her body convulsed and muffled screams reached my ears.

Jeff : Where….. is Clement… ?

Mariel : erhhhh..arhghhh… arhgh!!!

Jeff : WHERE !!

I pushed her head harder against the hard concrete and I heard the sickening grind of her teeth before a couple of snapping sound broke out.

Mariel : arghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then a loud piercing scream reached my ears.

Gwen : AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s Gwen.

I looked up towards the direction of the scream and I saw Gwen being dragged out towards the courtyard where I was.

Gwen screamed and kicked as the man tried to carry her up horizontally, in the same manner as what she had drawn in the picture.

The men saw me.

They saw what I was doing to Mariel.

There were 3 of them.

Clement is not among them.

They paused about 15 metres away from me, staring in disbelief what I was doing to a 60 year old woman.

Gwen never stopped screaming and struggling but her 12 year old physique is no match for that of a full grown man. The man kept trying to cover her mouth to stop her from screaming.

Gwen : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mariel : erghhh!!! aRGHHH!! aRGHH!!! ARGHH!!!

I looked at the 3 men and they looked at me.

I pushed harder and harder, driving Mariel’s skull into the concrete as the scrapping sound of her molars complimented her muffled screams of pain. Not only am I pushing, her struggles ensured that I was dragging her along the edge as well, grinding down what’s left of her teeth against the pavement.

Gwen tried to wriggle herself free but was promptly slapped by the man holding her. The hit stunt her for a brief second, the shock of that slap fed the demon inside me, allowing it to grow further.

The man shouted at me to let Mariel go, gesturing that he would hurt Gwen if I did not follow his instructions. I could tell from his accent he is not local.

I let go of Mariel and I stood up.

The man holding Gwen backed 2 steps while his friends each drew a knife.

Gwen bit down on the hand of the man holding her and he let her go. She scrambled over to me, crying and screaming while wiping her tears, barely escaping the clutches of the 2 man with the knife who tried to grab her.

Gwen sobbed and she ran behind me holding onto my pants as she washed her face with tears.

The 3 men started to advance towards us. I held onto Gwen’s shoulder and we backed off , mirroring their steps. I don’t want her to get hurt.

I was hit with a strange feeling. A weird and morbid thought. Our positions is exactly as what we had drawn the night earlier.

Me in front of her facing the 3 stick figures.

We kept backing off, 1 step at a time.

And Gwen, She finally spoke.

She finally called out to me and it seems she was not asleep at all the night before.

Gwen : do…. Do you mean what you said last night ?

I looked at her, surprised that she was not asleep.

She pointed her finger at them.

Gwen : It’s them…. They took my sister !!! they KILLED MY SISTER!!!

The 3 men stopped advancing. Realising for the 1st time there is a witness to what they did previously.

The lights are out.

We’re under the tents.

The 3 stick figures Gwen drew are standing right in front of me.

I could see the desperation and anger in Gwen’s eyes .

Jeff : Promise me 1 thing….

Gwen nodded as tears flowed freely from her eyes.

Jeff: don’t look.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

I flipped Gwen over to face the road a little too roughly than I wanted but time is of the essence.

Jeff : cover your ears !

 

There is no time for touching monologue and a sad sound track in the background.

 

I covered the grounds we retreated in 2 steps, my right foot went forward propelling myself forward and up back towards where Mariel was lying on the ground. She had barely pushed herself off the side but I timed the landing and position of my left foot perfectly, smashing my foot into the back of her skull as I pulverised her face against the concrete.

 

A sickening crunch reached my ears as my right foot found the balance my body needed to land.

Mariel was no longer moving, but I could see the twitching in her fingers and her left leg is wobbling as if her muscles were beyond her control.

 

Pulling up the knife from the ground I charged towards the 3 men who has yet to get over their shock of what just happened.

 

No shouting, no big movements. Just a silent charging bull knowing exactly where to head for.

 

Not the 1st, not the 2nd, but the 3rd guy.

 

I feigned a kick to the first and quickly rolled passed him as he adopted a defensive stance. The 2nd chap was too far away from the 1st to matter, giving me a clear opening to the 3rd guy who is unarmed.

 

There was no time for him to react, he just grunted and backed away but not fast enough. I pushed myself off the roll, grabbing onto his waist with my legs, spinning to the side using his stretched arms as leverage, bringing his entire body to the ground with me.

 

The night was immediately punctuated by a cry of pure agony as we land on the floor.

 

The knife I was holding now buried into his lower back, punctuating his kidneys and intestines.

 

It’s not that easy stabbing a knife into a body. The skin is tougher that it looks, it can take a while to get used to the feeling when you first do it, which is why I always prefer to let gravity do the work.

 

Put it at the right place and fall my target on it.

 

There was no time to lose, he’s still alive but he’s never getting up again from an injury like this.

 

Rolling myself up into a crouch, I yanked the knife out, pulling the only plug that prevented a massive outflow of blood onto the ground.

 

I wanted to go for the others but they finally managed to regain their composure and the 2nd guy shouted as he came at me, slashing wildly  in the air.

 

He was holding his knife with the cutting edge downwards.

Swinging and cutting an ‘x’ motion in front of himself as he ran towards me.

 

I backed away with my knife up in front of me.  He was clearly enraged and agitated, his movement is quick, random and angry.

 

There is no rationale to his movements. It’s just random mad slash. Any hit from him could be fatal. I could parry his strikes but this is not a choreographed performance for the camera, there’s no telling where he would move next.

 

The 1st chap had his knife up also, he wanted to come at me too but thankfully for me, his enraged friend is doing me a favour.

 

His big movements slashing about like a mad men is actually making his friend keep his distance.

 

No one in their right mind would go near a man swinging his knife in that manner friend or not.

I ducked strokes after stokes. Jumping and shifting as I bidded my time and waited.

 

There is no way he can keep up with that level of movement. He will get tired. He will get breathless.

 

I found my chance when the 2nd guy did a particular long slashed to his left, before he can swing his arms back up, up jumped in, literally plastering my body against his , blocking his right arm with mine, I tripped him halfway with my right leg.

 

He fell and grunted his knife waving dangerously close to my face but I knew he’s done.

 

I dropped the knife from my right hand to my left, driving the sharpened edge into the soft flesh beneath his armpits.

 

Before I had time to twist the knife back out, the 1st man charged at me.

 

He’s close, I can’t fight him off in the posture I was in.

 

I concentrated on the position of his stabbing hand.

 

I deflected it away, missing the spot I wanted to hit but good enough. I relaxed my body, allowing myself to fall backwards and when I did so, I pulled him down together with me. My right hand grabbed the back of his head, pulling it to my right while my left continued the motion of pushing his chin to the left, swinging his head painfully in the clockwise direction.

 

I twisted hard, but not enough to break the neck at this angle.

 

His body reacted naturally to the twist in the head, compensating for the pain by turning his body in the same direction so as to right the position. I held onto his body, his heavier built acted as a counterweight, pulling me upright onto of him as he turned.

 

It was over in 3 seconds.

 

Straddling a distressed and beaten man in pain, my left hand reached for the stone seat right beside us on the turfing.

 

My fingers dug into the heavy stone seat and pulled it down against the man’s face.

 

1st man : erghhhh!!!arGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The rough stone left a laceration deep enough to see the tissues and bones beneath his face.

 

I got up and toppled the stone table onto his face as a crunch that sounded like you stepping on a snail stopped the rest of his body movements.

 

Walking over to the wailing man with a knife in his armpits, I twisted it, as he convulsed in pain.

 

Jeff : Where is Clement ?? …

 

2nd man : arghhhh!!!! aRGHH!!!!

 

I pulled the knife out and his body went into spasm as I watched him bite his own tongue in pain.

 

I jabbed the knife tip to his left shoulder.

 

Jeff : Where is Clement ?

 

2nd man : aghhhh1!! arGH!H!!!!!

 

Jeff : Wrong answer…

I hammered the knife into his shoulder like I was getting ketchup out from a new bottle.

 

I could see Gwen pressing her hands tightly against her ears as she cried. She had gone form a standing position to a squatting one.

 

Jeff : last chance… where is Clement ?

 

I was wasting my breath. The man is not in any condition to talk.

 

I pulled the knife out and look at him.

 

There was no need for me to do anything else.

 

He will bleed out soon.

 

I stood up and looked around, immediately regretting the mess I made.

 

It’s going to be a bitch to clean up.

 

I dragged the bodies 1 at a time onto the turfing and towards the side. Piling them on top of one another, I pulled the canvas from the compost heap and covered them.

 

I was perspiring through my shirt.

 

I went over to Gwen after making sure my knife is safely back in the sheath by my leg.

 

She screamed a little and backed away from me when she saw the state I was in.

 

Gwen : ahh!!

 

I was covered in blood. Wiping my hands down my pants, I told Gwen it’s ok.

 

Jeff : It’s ok… it’s ok… they’ll never hurt you again….

 

She hesitated for 2 seconds before coming into my arms.

 

I carried her up with my right hand and immediately tried Billy’s phone again.

 

He’s still not answering.

 

Jeff : Where is Mandy ??

 

Gwen shook her head.

 

Gwen : She said she wanted to go check on the babies….

 

I went to the staff quarters, she’s nowhere to be seen.

 

Heading to the nursery, I could smell the noxious smell of petrol and kerosene.

 

The entire place is drenched in them.

 

Jeff : Mandy !!…. Mandy !!

 

I nearly tripped over what I thought was a stool but turned out to be May.

 

She’s not moving.

 

Gwen cried and she called out to Auntie May.

 

I checked her for a pulse, there is none.

 

I looked at her body and discovered 2 stab wounds.

 

Swinging around, I looked for the toddlers.

 

I saw the cribs.

 

I felt as if someone had just swung a bat in my face as I looked at the 3 toddlers unmoving in their crib. A bright patch of red visible on each of their top with respective prints of cartoon characters.

 

Gwen was crying.

 

My head felt like it was about to explode.

 

I felt like shouting.

 

I felt sick.

 

My hand went to my mouth as I checked their pulse with a trembling finger.

 

Jeff : aRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

 

I shouted in frustration as I kicked over a table of toys in frustration.

Looking around the place, the darkened room, the chemical smell of petrol and kerosene, Clement was going to burn the place down along with everyone in it.

 

Gwen’s sobbing was the only sound in the room as I tried Billy on the phone again.

Still no answer.

 

I heard a door open at the back of the nursery and a figure stepped out.

 

Gwen instantly went behind my back.

That figure was not alone.

 

He was dragging someone along.

 

As the faint spill of light from the exterior cast itself upon the faces in the room, I saw Clement.

 

I felt a surreal feeling of excitement hit me before it was quickly replaced by the soothing calm of an oasis.

 

My muscles twitched and I could almost feel an erection building.

 

That excitement before a kill.

 

I’ve never wanted to kill someone so badly before.

 

Clement half dragged the figure out into the open and literally threw her in front of me.

 

Mandy.

 

She was bleeding from her nose and mouth.

 

Gwen : Mandy !… Mandy !!

 

She’s not responding. I did a visual check of her body, she looked fine. No visible injury. She might have been drugged or knocked out.

 

I lowered my body and checked Mandy out.

 

Jeff : Mandy…. Mandy can you hear me ??

 

She’s not responsive.

 

My hands reached for my knife and I pulled it out from the sheath as I stood up and stepped in front of Gwen and Mandy.

 

Clement : I see…. Owen….. has send you to clean up his dirty work….

 

I refused to acknowledge him.

 

There is only 1 thing on my mind, that is to kill him.

 

Clement : your friend…… in the van…

 

I paused. He’s talking about Billy.

 

Clement : he ran…..hahaha… some kind of support you have there…

 

Again, I kept quiet, he looked like he has a lot to say. If he is offering information voluntarily, I’m not going to stop him.

 

Billy ran, that meant he’s ok. He’s still alive.

 

Clement : he ran away with his tail tucked in between his legs…. Hahha…I’ve never seen someone run so fast before hahahah…. Some kind of partner you got there…

 

I started to advance towards him and I saw him pull out 2 knives from his back.

 

He mirrored my steps and kept to the perimeter of my reach. I don’t have the luxury of space in the small nursery. There is still the crib with the bodies of the toddlers in front of me.

 

Clement : sucks isn’t it… to know that your partner ran…. Right when you need him the most …

 

Words. Words meant to antagonise.

 

People like this come into our lives everyday. You see them in the streets, on the trains, in the office.

 

People who just wants to put people down in order to feel better. Like the lady who is trying to be difficult to the service staff, the passenger trying to put down the cab driver, the manager trying to make things difficult for the team for absolutely no reasons at all other than to feel superior.

 

To let their target know they are better. That you are beneath them.

 

Clement : I was so close….. so close… to knowing who you are… hahahhaha….. your friend looked like he was ready to spill….hahaha….

 

My eyes never left Clement. I wonder how it would feel.

That feeling of watching his life drain away from his body as I put my hands around his neck.

 

Clement : You’re not much of a talker are you….. let me guess….. Writer ? … Gourmet ??…. hmmm.. definitely not the butcher… you don’t look like one…. Hitler ? hahah…. Priest ? ….ahhhhh….. butler ?…. yes… I think you look like a butler…hahahah…..

 

I tightened the grip on my knife.

 

Oh I am so going to enjoy this that I felt a bit bad. I’ve always seen this as a job, something I do for a living. It’s not right to take pleasure in this but not this time.

 

Not this time.

 

Clement : so…did Owen tell you who I am ?? ….. what I did ?? well…. He’s always someone who I fell…. Tells half truths…. Don’t you think ?? … he tells what people wants to hear… ?? hahah…

 

He may be talkative, but he’s cautious.

 

He maintained a safe distance from me, and when that is not possible, he made sure there is an obstacle, so I could not spring an attack on him. We paced along the length of the nursery, our eyes looking at each other like 2 predators sizing each other up before a fight.

 

Clement : my clinics…. Account for 30%…. of the company’s operating budget…. Did you know that ?? ….it’s a dirty job…. Nobody wants to do it… not even Owen himself….hahhaa….

 

He went on to say that he found it hard to swallow as well when he first started out but eventually he dealt with it.

 

Clement : Who are we to question what is right and what is wrong ? right ?? hahah…. The things we do…. Wrong…. The things we are made to do….tell me… how did you join the company??? …. Did you have a choice ?? … did it just fall into your lap ?? do they have something on you that you cannot wriggle out of ? hhah

 

I remained quiet.

I am not interested in having a chat.

 

Clement : come on…. I hardly get to talk with a colleague…..let’s have a chat… hahah…. Who knows… maybe we can lunch together…. Hahaha

 

He gave me a cocky look from the side of his eyes together with a raised eyebrow but received no response from me.

He shook his head and sighed, waving one of his knives at me.

 

Clement : So rude….. you are so rude… hahahha…

 

He went on to tell me that he has killed a lot of people in his career and the type he enjoys killing most are those that are rude.

 

Clement : rude people… damm…. Don’t you think rude people deserves to die… ? …. I can’t stand rude people….hahahah

 

I stopped moving. That’s the limit for my patience.

 

Clement : Since you are not much of a talker… let’s wrap this up shall we ? …. Hahah …I have one last question for you….

 

I got ready to receive his attack or initiate mine depending on the situation.

 

Clement : how do you know who to trust ?? … doing the things that we do ? hahah…

 

Gwen : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!watch out !!!

 

Gwen’s warning came a little too late as before I could turn my head, I was struck so hard with something that I literally flew to my left before collapsing onto the floor. I was bleeding. I could feel the warm flow of blood down the side of my head.

 

I can’t hear anything for a few seconds and the room was spinning.

 

I dropped my knife.

 

I turned around in time to see Clement coming towards me to finish the job when a shouting and charging figure came into the room.

 

Billy : aRGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!1 fuck you !!!! aRHGHH

 

He barrelled head first into Clement from the side, sending him staggering away from me. The precious couple of seconds was enough for me to regain my composure and I grabbed my knife and went immediately for Clement.

 

Gwen was screaming and shouting.

 

Clement rolled away and my stab was blocked with a side table he managed to grab hold of in the last minute.

 

He kicked my foot out from under me and I tried to knee him with the other.

 

Gwen : AHHHHHHHHHHHH !!! help !!!!

 

Clement managed to get a kick in but I blocked it with my forearm, still the force was enough to send me a few steps back. The clash of cold steel rang out twice in the dark room as I made 2 attempts to get Clement.

Clement feigned and attempt to stab Billy on the ground and I jumped over to block him, he swung and delivered a kick into the side of my body and I got a hard elbow to the side of his head.

 

Both of us were on the floor, picking our body up when I cast a glance towards the exit of the nursery.

 

That was when I realised what is going on.

 

Mandy is not longer on the ground. She’s already out in the courtyard with Gwen in her arms.

 

The dots connected itself again as I wasted half a second trying to decide going for Clement or Mandy.

 

Clement got up and instead of coming for me again, he laughed and ran for the back door.

 

I cursed, angry at my own indecisiveness.

 

Billy looked like shit. He was barely conscious. I ran out into the courtyard after Mandy and Gwen.

 

It was not easy for Mandy to handle a struggling Gwen but she was almost at the entrance of the church.

 

There is a waiting car.

 

I ran as fast as I could towards the girls.

 

The muscles in my claves burned like it’s on fire as I tore up the steps in the church compound, flying through the evening air silently towards Gwen.

 

Mandy half drag and threw Gwen towards the waiting car where another pair of hands dragged her in and the door shut.

 

I could still make it.

 

I was almost there.

 

Mandy came at me, throwing her body against mine, hugging and pulling me to the ground as the screech of the car tires pulled away.

 

Jeff : argHH!!!!

 

I freed myself, grabbed Mandy by her hair and smashed her head onto the ground.

I felt her entire body go limp but she is still conscious.

 

I stood up and panted for air.

 

Jeff : why…. WHY!!!

 

Mandy breathed heavily as she struggled to look at me with blood streaking down the side of her face.

 

Mandy : money…. Is too good….. to pass up….

 

I pointed a finger at Mandy, too mad to even speak.

 

Jeff : I’ll deal with you later…..and you’ll wish you were dead…

 

I dragged Mandy deeper into the courtyard and away from the entrance of the church.

 

I grabbed a shawl from Mariel’s spilled luggage and tied Mandy up.

 

Running back into the nursery, I went straight for Billy.

 

Jeff : Billy … Billy you ok ?? .. are you ok ??

 

He looked like he was beaten up pretty badly.

 

His mouth and face were swollen.

 

He’s bleeding in his left leg as well and I could see him using his belt as a makeshift tourniquet.

 

Jeff : Billy…. Billy !!!

 

His eyes tried to focus on me as he struggled to speak. I could see he had a missing teeth as well when he opened his mouth.

 

Billy : I…… I didn’t tell them …… I didn’t tell them who you are…. They wanted to know….ha.. hahha…. I didn’t tell them…. What…. What a bunch of fuckers….hahah..

 

I checked his body for fatal wounds, he is fucked up real good. Three fingers on his left hand were dislocated.

 

Jeff : I’m calling the clean up crew in….. you’ll be ok….you hear me… you’ll be ok…

 

The truth is I’m not sure if he will be ok. There is probably internal bleeding, I don’t know if he damaged any of the vital organs.

 

Billy shook his head as he coughed out blood and tried to speak.

 

Jeff : Don’t talk… don’t talk…. I’m calling the clean up crew….

 

I made the call, and cursed at the operator when she told me Owen is not available.

 

Operator : Clean up crew is inbound. ETA 30 minutes… hang in there…

 

 

Billy grabbed onto my shirt, yanking me forcefully towards his face as if asking me to listen.

 

Billy : G….. GPS……GPS on clement…

 

I looked at Billy as he nodded his head. Right when he charged at Clement. He planted one on his body.

 

Billy : less….. less than an … hour battery…. Too…. Too small….go…

 

He pushed a iPhone with a cracked screen onto my hand together with the keys to his Van.

 

Billy : go… .. my Van…. is on… level 3…opposite….

 

Billy opened the application for me and I could see the red beep moving on the expressway.

 

Looking at Billy , he nodded his head and asked me to tell them who I am .

 

Billy : He wanted to know…. Hahha… he wanted to know who Owen sent… hahha.. tell him yourself…..you hear me….

 

I nodded and gave Billy a brotherly slap across his face before I started running,

 

The roads has been cleared and a car honked angrily at me for dashing across the road. Flying up the staircase 3 steps at a time, I ran towards Billy’s Van.

 

I stared the engine and mounted the phone onto the stand and sped out of the carpark.

 

The GPS placed Clement heading towards Changi area.

 

I had just merged onto the expressway towards Changi when my phone rang.

 

It was Owen.

 

Owen : Its me…. We’re here…. Billy’s ok …

 

I was so angry with him but at the same time relieved. Relieved that he could tell me so much within a short sentence, basically everything I want to know.

 

Jeff : Mandy….

 

Owen : is there a reason she is still alive ?

 

Jeff : yes…. I’ll take care of it after I’m done over here…

 

Owen : alright then….. she will be at the debriefing depot ….

 

I overtook a bus and floored the accelerator cutting into the lane of a truck which flashed it’s high beam at me.

 

The GPS is still moving, Clement is heading towards the direction of changi village.

 

I could feel the engine of the Van groaning as I slammed my pedal down, coaxing every extra bit of energy from the vehicle.

 

Owen : You left quite a mess…. Not really your style…

 

I overtook another vehicle before trying to squeeze my way back into the left lane as the exit got nearer.

Another vehicle honked at me, no doubt throwing curses in his vehicle as he had to slow down in order not to hit me.

 

I did not answer Owen as I swung the vehicle out of the expressway, getting ready to turn left and catch up with Clement.

 

Owen : The VIP….. has been admitted back into the operating theatre….they’re waiting…

 

Jeff : Then you fucking get off your ass and do something !!! something !!!

 

I hit the steering wheel several times as I cursed at Owen through the phone.

 

Jeff : FUCK… FUCK you !!.. fuck !!! fuck this !!!argHHH!!!! fuck ! ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!

 

I panted while I cursed, frustrated at what a shit storm this had become.

 

Owen did not respond to my outburst at all.

 

It’s as if he knew that was the way I would react and chose not to acknowledge it.

 

Owen : I’ll be waiting for your call when you make a claim on the policy…..

 

Jeff : Fuck the policy…

 

Owen : Hibiki…… claims….. all his policy….everyone….of them….

 

I hung up on Owen and I raced up the quiet road leading to the eastern enclave of the island. The GPS beacon had stopped. I looked at the map through the cracked glass.

 

It’s the location of the old Changi Hospital. It’s been cordonred off and accessed barred to public for the longest time.

 

I made my turn up the hill and I would see a couple of vehicles parked right at the entrance of the abandoned hospital.

 

Jumping out of the van I ran towards the old building.

 

It’s a big place but I knew where to go. I just needed to follow the power cables. There are thick cables being laid on the ground, they are fresh, all leading towards one direction.

 

My shoes echoed in the quiet compound as I ran.

 

I saw the figure on my right and my arm came up deflecting the blow to my head as I staggered a few steps before regaining my footing.

 

I was at the start of a short corridor less than 25metres long. The cables fed directly into a brightly lit room at the end.

 

A man speaking heavily accented English at the end of the corridor spoke.

 

Man :  stop him

 

It’s not Clement.

 

3 other men appeared out of the shadows, placing themselves between me and the door I want to get to.

 

Man : it’s too late…. You will never make it…

 

I started walking towards the men, blatantly ignoring his warning with my knife drawn.

 

Man : stay back !!!… we are here on diplomatic visas !!!

 

Jeff : arghhhh!!

The 1st man tried to grab my knife only to get knee in his stomach before I wrestled him to the ground and stab him once in his side, once under his armpit and one more directly into his neck.

 

The men spoke in what sounded like Malay with a slight variation. The 2nd men had a baton out and I blocked off an attempt to smash my head in. Twisting his weapon in his own hands, I relieved him of the baton, swiping the side of his skull with it and barely 1 second later was kicked in my chest by the 3rd man.

 

I flicked the baton out and went forward again, I threw my knife, aiming for the fleshy thigh of the 3rd man. It hit but not deep enough. The sharp tip punctured his flesh as he groaned in pain but the damage is not deep enough for the whole knife to remain lodge in.

 

The extended baton cracked the skull of the 2nd man before I slapped it onto the exposed wound caused by my knife on the 3rd mans thigh, splitting the flesh open further.

 

I stomped on his face and another swing of the baton ripped a chuck of his cheeks off before he stopped moving. The man that was speaking to me retreated behind the door.

 

I kept moving forward.

 

Picking up my knife from the floor I kicked the double swing door opened.

 

The room I entered is brightly lit.

 

It’s like a clean room or sort. The insides plastered with sterile plastic sheets.

 

There’s a large wash basin for cleaning up before surgery.

 

I could see another door in front of me.

 

I headed for the door but before I could stepped through it the door swung opened.

 

Clement : you…. Are as persistent….. as a fly….!!!

 

He pulled out his knives and held it in front of himself, adopting a fighting stance.

 

I held the baton in front of me as I relaxed the grip on my knife.

 

 

Clement : Let’s dance…

 

…………………………………………………………………………

 

All cautions were thrown to the wind as I made the 1st move, smashing the extended baton towards Clement.

He ducked and came at me with his knife. The sound of cold steel grind against each other as we tried to land kicks and knees upon each other’s body.

Our legs tangled as we tried to trip each other off our feet while our hands executed attempts after attempts to slice each other’s face off.

Clement : arghh!!

My baton has a longer reach and I managed to disarm one of his knife but Clement landed a cut on the back of my left wrist. It’s not deep but it stings and the momentary pain caused me to drop the baton.

There was no time to think or hesitate, our bodies became plastered together as we landed blows on each other’s body with elbows and knees. The blades of our knives were locked against each other as we grunted in the room.

A blow to the side of my head was met with a knee to his kidney.

Clement smashed his forehead towards my nose, I ducked just in time to receive the blow on my uppercheek. Blood vessels ruptured beneath my skin as that is sure to leave a bruise.

I slid my knife down against his cutting blade in a gamble, the grinding sound giving me the brief second of distraction that I needed to back away and slam a left kick into the side of his torso.

I know how hard I kick, that would leave a bruise much worse that the one I would have on my face after this is over.

I jumped in again, stabbing my knife from the stop, Clement’s forearm met mine, stopping the blade halfway as he tried to elbow me in the face as he forced a turn with his body.

I blocked the elbow but it was a hit hard enough to feel like I smack my own face with my arm.

Clement : aRGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

He slammed a kick into the side of my thigh and I gave him a punch to the side of his cheek.

Pain shot through our bodies as I charged at him, lifting his leg up in at attempt to force him to the ground but he countered the move perfectly, regaining the balance and landing a blow to the side of my face.

I slashed my knife upwards and he ducked, managing to move millimetres away from the blade before it landed on his face.

Realising the baton is right below my feet, I pick it up just when Clement is charging at me, he realised the added arsenal in time to halt as I swung the baton precariously close to the bridge of his nose followed by another close stab to his body that he deflected with his knife.

I panted for air and so did Clement.

Our eyes never left each other as I went at Clement again. He threw a knife towards me and I ducked but it was not fast enough. I felt the warm flow of blood down the side of my neck as I registered a stinging pain just below my ears.

I threw mine as well towards Clement’s torso, he did not manage to block it as well as my knife sliced cleanly along the surface of his body, ripping into his clothes and flesh, leaving what I would estimate to be a centimetre deep wound running along a 8cm length.

Clement applied pressure onto his chest , holding the knife in front of him.

I touched my bleeding neck, I could feel a large cut as well but it is not life threatening. If it hit any major arteries, I would not even be standing.

I stuck like a fencer making an attempt to hit with my arms and feet outstretched, swinging the baton left and right, I started to land blows after the 3rd attempt striking Clement on his forearm and knuckles.

He grunted and cursed as a hard strike to his knuckles caused him to drop his knife.

I flew in so fast that I surprised myself, landing a knee squarely to his chest. It knocked the air out of his lungs and as he staggered backwards towards the door he came out from, I ran and literally flew towards him with a kick on his stomach , sending his body back and swinging the door wide open.

Clement collapsed onto his knees as the contents of his dinner found it’s way out of his body through his mouth and landed on the floor.

Grabbing his hair, I knee him in his face and it’s over.

I was about to break his neck when I froze.

My body petrified by the scene in front of me.

My lips was shivering.

I blinked several times.

Jeff : uuhhh…. Uhhhhhhhhh…

I felt a lump coming up my throat as I groaned.

I groaned in disbelief as I brought my hand to my mouth.

There is this sinking feeling in my throat as I groaned again.

Jeff :uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh~~~~.. no….. no…. no … please.. no….uhhh…

It was a groan choked with emotions as I navigated the boundary between remaining standing or collapsing in tears.

There was a doctor. He was in the midst of stitching up Gwen.

The machines were off. There were no beeping. Gwen’s face was drained of all colours, it was just a pale shade of white.

Her lifeless eyes were opened.

Jeff : uhhh…. Uhhhh….. aghhhh… ahhhhhhhhhhhh.. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

My left hand went to my forehead as I looked at the doctor who was trembling in fear while holding onto the tools he was using.

My feet staggered 2 steps backwards as I looked at Gwen.

Her opened eyes looking at me. I could still see the fresh streak of tears down the side of her cheeks.

The bruises on her arms, the swollen cheeks.

My heartbeat raced through the roof as I looked at Gwen, I was too late.

How could anyone do this to a little girl ?

When my eyes looked up from Gwen to the doctor, it was not the eyes of a human being.

It was the eyes of an animal.

Doctor : no… no wait… I’m just an employee… ahhh..

I grabbed him by his throat and slammed his head back against the sterile walls of the operating room.

Jeff : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

His feet gave way, but I held him up, I punched him so hard his center of gravity shifted abruptly , causing him to fall headfirst onto the blood stained floor.

Turning to Clement who was laughing, I saw that he was slowling standing up. He’s trying to get back on his feet.

Clement : too late… hahahaha… too late….

I walked over to Clement and I sent him staggering back towards the wall with a series of punches.

I hit him again and again as he collapsed onto a lowered bed stack in the side of the room.

I did not stop, I could not stop.

My knuckles were bruised, skins are flayed but still, I did not stop.

I punched Clement on his face, again and again.

His arms were up, he tried to block his face like a boxer taking a defensive pose. I don’t care, I continued hitting.

Left, right, from the top, from the side. I punched so hard that it sent his own knuckles hitting onto his forehead.

Jeff : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clement’s arms could hardly remain upright, I kept punching. Over and over again, I rained my blows on him. I dislodged 2 teeth from his mouth when I delivered an uppercut with a right blow.

I could see cut on my right hand deep enough to see the bones of my knuckles. Still, I did not stop.

Punches, knees to the face, kick to the face. It kept coming.

Clement was literally just bobbing against in his sitting position. A human punching bag. Grabbing his arm, I hyperextended it , using his own body as leverage with my foot and I dislocated his right arm from it’s shoulder socket.

His scream was choked back by a punch to his face.

I grabbed his left hand who was trying to block my hits and literally ripped his fingers apart from each other. I stomped on his knees and I wanted to dislocate every joint but I did not know how to do it. I tried hyper extending his legs but it was too hard.

It took too long.

It was faster to keep slamming my fist into his fucked up face.

My heart and lungs were burning as I shouted and alternated my punches and kicks with such intensity that every muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop.

The pain I was feeling physically was nothing compared to the cut I was feeling emotionally.

I shouted and shouted, venting my pent up frustration and anger.

I slammed my left foot to the side of Clement’s face, causing him to fall like a sack of rice. Still I did not stop. Turning and reaching for a stainless steel tray holding surgery tools, I lifted it up and slammed it onto his head several times until the medical grade steel got deformed.

I reached for the trolley and sent it over to Clement as well.

Jeff : AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHRGGHGH!!!!

Words could not describe the level of frustration and anger I had inside me.

For a brief moment, I felt I was not a human. That I was not capable of compassion.

The only emotion I felt was anger.

Pure, unfiltered and animalistic rage.

Pulling the tangled mess of steel and equipment from Clement, I dragged him upright.

He’s still alive. Barely.

Blood was flowing freeing from his mouth. His face swollen beyond recognition.

He could hardly support himself.

I sucked in breathes of cold air, filling my oxygen deprived lungs.

I grabbed Clement by his hair, his eyes could barely open as he looked at me.

A portion of his lips was hanging loosely by the skin, exposing the empty slots where his teeth should be.

He looked like he was losing conscious.

I hit his head against the tiled wall, knocking him awake.

The laboured breathes of a dying man greeted my ears as I looked at Clement in his eyes.

My right hand went around his neck.

Clement : ehhh…..ernghhhhhhhhhhhh.eghh!!

I applied pressure , clamping my fingers closed around his neck as I deprived him of air. There was hardly a struggle, there was nothing left in him to struggle.

Clement passed out within 30 seconds.

I checked him for a pulse. There is still one.

He’s still alive.

Turning to see the doctor groaning on the floor, I went to retrieve my knife.

I grabbed his hair and forced him to look at Gwen.

Doctor : please… please…. I was just following instructions…. I’m a doctor !!! please….

I shook his head as I yanked him so close to Gwen’s expressionless face.

Exposing his neck, I placed my knife at his throat.

Doctor : please… please… no… sozb… sobzz… please….

Jeff : did she struggle ??

Doctor : please….. please… sobzz…

Jeff : ANSWER ME !!!

He nodded his head.

Doctor : yes… sobzz.. yes… please… ahhhh…

Jeff : Did she fight for her life ?

He doctor nodded again, I could see a pool of urine spreading from under his knees.

Jeff : Tell me….. what is the oath… you took….when you became a doctor…

Doctor : please… please no… sobzz… sobzz… please…

Jeff: TELL ME !!!

I pressed the blade of my knife harder against his neck and he started to talk in between tears.

Doctor : sobzz… sobz… I… I solemnly pledge….. to …

Jeff : go on….

Doctor : dedicate my life to the service…. Of humanity… sobzz… sobzz…

Jeff: don’t stop….look at her…. Look at her when you speak !!!

I could feel his body shaking as tears poured down his cheeks.

Doctor : give due respect & gratitude to my teacher….practice my profession with conscience and dignity….sobzz… ahhhhh.. sobzz.. I’m sorry…. I’m sorry….

Jeff : shut up…. Go on …

I tightened the grip on the knife.

Doctor : make…. Make the health of my patient…. My first consideration… sobzz..

Jeff : almost there… go on…

Doctor : I’m sorry… I’m really sorry….sobzzz…

I slammed his head against the metal table Gwen was lying on and waited for him to continue.

Doctor : ahhhh.. sobzz… respect… the secrets which are confided in me….sobzz,,,,i…. I don’t remember the rest… I’m sorry… ahhhh…sozbbb… I’m sorry… I really don’t remember the rest…

Jeff : I see can why…

Doctor : Please… don’t… don’t do this… please….sobzz… I’m a doctor… sobzz…

Jeff: Does that make your life more valuable that the others ??

He shook his head as the tried to turn and look at me but I forced him to look at Gwen.

Jeff : I’ll finish it for you……

I closed my eyes and all I could see was Gwen. An image of her.

I took several deep breathes.

Instead of seeing her cold, naked on the operating table, I saw her smiling at me. There was someone by her side.

Gillian.

Jeff : …. You… respect the secrets which are confided in you……respect your colleagues as your professional brothers and sisters….

The images kept coming, flooding into my mind like a invasive thought. Like a silent movie, it kept coming.

Gillian has her arms around Gwen’s shoulders. Gwen was holding her drawing pad.

Both of them looking at me.

Gwen was smiling.

It was a peaceful scene. I knew it was not real, merely images and thoughts conjured up by my brain to help me cope.

Everyone needs closure. Even someone cold blooded like me.

I know it’s not real, I really do but part of me wished it was real.

That this is closure not only for me, but for Gwen as well.

No longer does she have to live in a world where monsters walked the earth beside her.

No longer does she have to live in fear.

No longer alone.

Jeff : you will not allow…. The consideration of race, religion, nationality or social standing…. To intervene between your duties and your patient….

My eyes fluttered for a moment and when I opened them, I was surprised to find my vision blurred. Blurred with tears.

Yet through the blurred vision, I saw that Gwen is no longer on the table. She’s clothed, in winter wear, compete with earmuffs and gloves. It looked like the sisters are going for a holiday.

They were finally going to travel together.

Gillian was adjusting her scarf for her sister.

They are about the same height but I could see the slight maturity you would have expected from a sister form Gillian. Gillian blew on her hands as she finished tying the scarf for Gwen, making sure her sister is snug and warm.

Gwen pulled out one side of her glove, offering it to Gillian. The winter clothes on them looked old, probably hand me downs but it kept them warm and happy.

Their gloveless hand held each other as they waved at me from the corner of the room.

Gwen mouthed the words ‘ it’s ok ‘ to me.

It’s not ok.

I’ve never felt so disappointed before in my life.

I blamed myself.

I was not fast enough. Gwen placed all her hopes on me, and I failed her.

Jeff : you will maintain…. Due respect for human life…. Use your knowledge in accordance…. With the laws of humanity….

Gillian and Gwen started to walk away.

As if something or someone far greater than us had walked into the room, I watched the muscles of Gwen’s eyes relaxed. They started to close.

The doctor sobbed as I held his head in my hand.

I finished up the rest of the code and came to the last line.

Jeff : You make there promises solemnly….. freely…. And upon your honour… ….where is your honour ??!!

Doctor : zobzzz… sobzz… sobzz… please…. Ahhhh !

I turned his head away from Gwen’s body and I slit his throat, letting his body convulse on the floor as his hands tried to stop the inevitable.

I dropped the knife and lowered myself to Gwen’s level.

Touching my forehead to hers, my tears landed on her face.

Jeff : I’m sorry Gwen….. life ….. is not fair…. I’m sorry….

I took in several deep breathes as I shook my head.

Jeff : your sister and you were dealt a bad hand in this life…… you deserve better…

I sat down on the bloodstained floor and leaned against the cold walls of the surgery room.

I felt so tired.

I don’t know if I fell asleep but I looked up and saw Gwen in front of me.

She smiled that radiant smile at me and the only thing it did was break me harder.

The innocence in her smile, her opened arms asking for a final hug.

Jeff : I’m…. I’m really sorry…

I felt her cold body hug onto mine as I broke down.

Jeff : AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

Gwen’s wiped the tears from my eyes she shook her head.

Gwen : Thank you…. For being the only one that truly cared….

Jeff : No… no…

Gwen :Goodbye…. …..Sun Wu Kong….

Jeff : no…

My eyes closed and I hit the back of the tiled wall as I opened my eyes. My body drenched with sweat.

I took a deep breath and stood up.

I touched Gwen on her cheeks and said my goodbye as well.

Jeff : Goodbye Gwen…. Take care of your sister too….

I tore myself away from Gwen and I went over to Clement. I did not check him for his pulse again. I took my knife and with a continuous stroke using the serrated side of my knife, I sliced his head cleanly off his neck.

When I hit the bone part, I stopped. I did not want to waste the extra energy sawing through bone. I dropped Clement’s head and smashed my feet into the remnants of his head as I watched it fall sideway like a deflated balloon.

I kicked him a couple more times, hardly putting any strength into the attempt to hurt his lifeless body.

Turning to the doctor, he was no longer moving.

I opened the other door at the back of the surgery room.

It was empty. There are benches and drinks scattered throughout the area. I could still see smoke coming up from one of the coffee cup.

I walked to the end of the room and opened the door, feeling the brush of the cold air against my face.

The tracks on the soft grass are fresh.

There were vehicles parked here, waiting, waiting for Gwen’s organs not too long ago.

I headed back into the surgery room and checked Clement’s body for his car keys.

I walked over to his car and unlocked it.

There were stacks of documents inside his car including a suitcase fill with money in local and Australian currency.

There’s got to be at least 2-300 k inside that suitcase alone.

I flipped open the documents.

Names, pictures, medical records.

I looked at the dates, there are about a year ago.

I checked the folders for the ones that were labelled for this year.

Opening it, I flipped it to the middle and I froze.

I was staring at a familiar face.

Benson’s man.

Ah Huan.

I flipped the page. That blonde hair.

Owen.

He was lying. He knew about this.

I picked up my phone and made the call to the operator.

Operator : O’s insurance…

Jeff : I would like to make a claim for my policy….

Operator : policy number please…

Jeff : 442454

A dial tone came up for 2 seconds before the operator came back on.

Operator : acknowledged….. we are on our way…

She hung up on me after that.

I threw the documents into Clement’s car and I took the money, putting it in Billy’s van. Opening the glove compartment, I found passports and air tickets.

There’s another envelope of cash in the glove compartment and I took it as well.

I helped myself to the cigarettes on the dashboard and lit up as I leaned against Billy’s van.

30 minutes later, the 1st convoy arrived. Owen was in one of the cars.

The crew wasted no time as they hurried into the hospital to survey the mess I left for them.

Owen walked towards me and he could read the expression on my face.

He stopped 3 meters away from me and he looked at Clement’s car.

He saw the documents.

He sighed and looked at me.

Owen : yes…. That’s what we do…. But no kids…..criminals…. drug dealers…. Death row inmates….. no kids…. No fucking kids….

I did not say anything.

I finished up my cigarette and threw it on floor.

Owen : Jeff ….

I walked passed Owen, deliberately bumping him on his shoulder as I did.

Owen : It’s over…. Never again…. We don’t need these money…. Not anymore….

I turned and just shrugged my shoulder.

Jeff : Do I look like I care ?

Owen : You do…. More so that you care to admit….

Jeff : Fuck you….

Owen : I mean it…. No more…. Yiling’s drug business is pulling in enough…. We’re cutting this off….

Jeff : where is the VIP ?

Owen : Jeff ..

Jeff : WHERE !!

Owen’s men had their hands on their side arms right away seeing the outburst but Owen waved them away.

Owen : You’re tired… you’re hurt…. You’re emotional… and your judgement is clouded…. This is not the Hibiki I know…

He’s right.

He’s right on all counts yet I find myself still so fucking pissed at him. I turned and made my way up Billy’s van. I could not bear to stay at that place any longer.

Owen : Mandy is at the debriefing facility….. you get yourself some medical attention…. We’ll talk after your fucking head gets sorted out….

I showed him the finger and reversed the vehicle out of the compound. There is nothing wrong with my head.

There is something wrong with this world.

I took a slow drive towards the facility in Defu lane.

There was no longer a need to speed, to overtake.

The pace at which things move slowed down significantly.

It was coming to 2am in the morning by the time I arrived at the facility. I could see security is tighter than usual.

The crash barrier is up and the security guard motioned for me to key in my access code at the keypad.

I entered the code and the barrier came down.

I droved straight to the loading and unloading bay tucked at the back of the building.

I could see armed man stationed near the entrance.

Owen’s men.

I got out and went to the door.

They were speaking into their walkie talkie.

Before I got to the door, one of them opened it and said nothing.

I entered and the door shut behind me.

There is someone at the end of the corridor.

A woman.

She looked nervous. Dressed in jeans and t-shirt, she has her hair tied up in a high ponytail.

She was hugging a tablet in front of her chest. She’s armed, I could see her wearing a pistol by the side of her waist.

I kept walking towards her, there was no sign of her giving way to me.

I could see her swallowing a gulp of saliva as I got closer. Her eyes, she was looking at me, she knows.

She knows who I am.

I’ve never seen her before. She better have a good reason for blocking my way that morning.

I was not in the mood for administrative work.

When she spoke, her voice gave her away immediately. That voice.

The voice I have been talking to for the past few years.

Belinda : Hi….. Hi Hibiki…. I …. I meant Jeff…. I’m….. I’m…… I’m your operator….

She was literally shaking as I watched her fingers curled harder around the edge of her tablet.

Jeff : what do you want ? …

She immediately gestured behind her in a nervous manner.

Belinda : ermm… ermm…. Mandy is in room 3…. Billy is in the infirmary with Dr Lynn.

She plastered herself against the wall as I walked past her.

I’m headed to room 3.

I could hear Belinda close behind me. I stopped outside room 3 and looked at her, she better have a good reason for following me as well.

Jeff : Yes… ?

Belinda : I’m sorry…. I know you don’t want me to follow you but…. But Owen said I was not to let you out of my sight !!!… I’m sorry… please don’t make this difficult on me… !

I wanted to speak but I was exhausted. I could not find the right words. This is really the last thing I need right now.

I reached for her side arm and she yelped , trying to stop me from taking her weapon.

Belinda : no !! no no!!! please… NO!!!… I’m just following orders Jeff ….

I sighed and told her I’m just borrowing it.

Jeff : Can you lend it to me…. Please… ?

It took her a couple of seconds to register what I said and she literally jumped as I pulled the weapon out of the holster. Entering the room, I saw Mandy seated in the metal stool in the centre of the room. Her hands were handcuffed behind her, her ankles chained to the floor.

Mandy : Jeff…. Jeff… I’m sorry… I’m sorry….. please !!… I’m sorry… I have money… I’ll give you my share…. Everything… I’ll give you everything….

Jeff : Sure…. Where is the money ??

Mandy : You’ll let me go ?? will you ?? I’ll give you anything…

Jeff : yes… tell me… and I will let you go…

It was then she saw the gun in my hand and she started to beg me harder.

Mandy : Please Jeff… please !!! in the fountain…. There’s a waterproof package in the fountain…. There’s 60 thousand in it… please….

Jeff : anywhere else ??

Mandy : NO!!! NO!!… nothing more… that is all… that is all !!!.

I raised the weapon at Mandy and she screamed. She struggled against the restraints and begged.

Mandy : you promised…..you said you would let me go !!!

I levelled the weapon at her head and lined up the sight.

Jeff : I lied…

I squeeze the trigger in the room. The explosion of the weapon caused Belinda to scream. Mandy bobbed once as the bullet went through the front of her eye and exploded out the back of her head, painting the wall and floor of room 3 a bright shade of red.

Turning back to Belinda who had turned a shade of white, I could see her holding back her vomit. She covered her mouth as I put the weapon to safe and returned it to her holster.

Jeff : Thank you..

I opened the door and walked out.

I heard Belinda retched and vomited behind me as I continued walking towards the infirmary.

I opened the door and was hit with that familiar smell of disinfectant. That so-called hospital smell.

There are 2 beds inside, one of it is occupied by Billy. He was sitting up, heavily bandaged.

The ward trolley extended over his thigh, serving as a table.

There were 2 glasses of alcohol on the trolley.

Our eyes met and I knew Billy knew. He must have been receiving updates.

Dr Lynn stood beside Billy, looking every bit as radiant and beautiful as I remembered.

She’s hot, intelligent and married to a Colonel in the armed forces. The last time I saw her was almost a year ago.

Doing what we do, seeing Lynn is never a good sign. It only meant we got hurt. Lynn is like the sister I never had. If I have a elder sister, I would want her to be just like Lynn. Matured, pretty and always calm and cool.

Her smile works better than the best soothing balm and I credit her for making most of my scars looking better than they ever will be.

Dressed in Jeans, a white blouse with matching heels, Lynn looked at me from head to toe. The man that has her is a lucky guy.

Her hands came out from her coat pocket and she reached for a chair.

Tapping the seat, she gestured for me to go over.

The door behind me opened again and I could see Belinda coming into the infirmary form the reflection in front of me.

Belinda : Hi Dr Lynn…

Lynn gave her a nod and a smile.

Lynn brushed the hair from the side of my head to check out the wound below my ear.

No one said a word.

Lynn quietly prepared the disinfectants and put the tools she needed in a metal dish.

She set the things in front of me as I stared blankly at the wall.

Lynn : Belinda…..do you mind ?

Lynn gestured towards the cabinet on the other end of the room.

Belinda : oh…ok.. sure…

Belinda brought out 2 more glasses and a bottle of whisky. No labels, nothing, but I know it’s the good stuff. Doctors always has the good stuff stashed away.

She refilled the 2 glasses on the trolley in front of Billy before filling up the 2 new glasses.

Lynn looked at me, I could see she felt sorry for the state I was in. I felt her gentle hand touch my wrist.

Lynn : don’t be so hard on yourself….. you can’t control everything….

I nodded but said nothing.

The silence in the room was deafening. It was so quiet I could hear everyone breathe.

If this was out of a motion picture, I would imagine the camera slowly pulling backwards, retreating out of the infirmary with the 4 of us perfectly framed.

No one would move, yet the picture alone would speak volumes.

A vibrating sound broke the tranquillity of the room.

Then another.

And another.

It kept coming.

It all came form Belinda’s pocket.

She pulled it out and checked her messages, aware that all eyes are on her.

Lynn : do you need to go ?

She shook her head.

Belinda : Owen…. Owen wants me to… to keep an eye on…. On Jeff…

Lynn : it’s ok… I’m here… I got him….

She shook her head, clutching onto her tablet in front of her chest.

Lynn started to clean my wound.

Belinda reached for the glass of whisky and drained it in one go, panting and fanning her mouth as it brunt her throat on the way down.

She put down her tablet and poured herself another large serving.

Belinda : I…. i……

She was struggling to speak as she looked at us.

Belinda : I just want to say….. I just want to say……

She took another mouthful of the drink she is obviously not used to having.

Belinda : the VIP did not make it……

I looked at Belinda and asked Belinda where is the VIP located.

Jeff : Where…. Where are they…

Lynn : enough Jeff…… you’ve done enough….

She gave my cheek a light slap, forcing me to expose the wound on my neck to her in a chiding manner.

Lynn spoke without looking at Belinda, choosing to concentrate on my wound.

Lynn : Tell him what you told us earlier….

I felt the sting of the pain as Lynn dragged the line through my skin, closing up the wound below my ear.

Belinda : Butcher will be flying the royal family back to Indonesia…. That flight will not land……. Raptor….. he’s across the border at a Motel…. Waiting for the other men involved…..Gourmet…. he’s… he’s on a yacht …. With another doctor involved… currently sailing out of Singapore waters….none of these have been approved by the audit team… it’ll all be an accident….Owen set it up….

Lynn pushed my cheek with the back of her gloved hand, expertly tying up the stitch and cutting away the excess. She grabbed my face and turned it to the side, before turning back to face her.

Pulling away her gloves and took her glass of drink and raised it slightly in front of me.

Lynn : No child shall ever suffer the girls fate ever again…..Not on Owen’s watch….. not on our watch…

Billy reached for his glass with his good hand.

Belinda sniffed and she was crying. Wiping the tears with the back of her hand, she took her glass as well.

I blinked once and was surprised to feel the last roll of a warm tear streak down my cheek.

I took a deep breath, reached for my drink and touched the waiting glasses.

Jeff : Never again…

Billy : To Gwen….

Belinda : sobzz… to Gillian….

Lynn smiled and with that sisterly confidence that would reassure all around her that everything is ok, she added ;

Lynn : and to the silent guardians around us……men and women……. Who will never be named….you are the reason…..why we are not afraid of the monsters who lurk in the dark…

We drained our drinks and Belinda promptly refilled the drinks, mine first.

Belinda : Jeff…. Can you….

I turned at looked at her with what I assumed would be a pair of bloodshot and tired eyes.

Belinda : Can you…..can you….. write the incident report for why I have a missing round in my weapon ? …. Owen… Owen is anal about … about things like this….

Lynn burst out laughing and so did Billy.

I shook my head and could no longer hold it in and I laughed.

Belinda : what ?… what is so funny ?? !! it’s not funny….. I signed out for this!!

There was a knock on the door and one of the armed guard stepped in. He was carrying a bottle.

A fucking bottle.

He greeted the doctor and handed the bottle to Belinda.

I looked at that 17 year old bottle of whisky that Belinda was holding.

What kind of fucker Owen has to be to do this to me ?

Belinda composed herself and gave me that bottle of drink.

Jeff : Is this what I think it is….??

Belinda : No…. no… no… it’s not a new project…. It’s just something I got… for you…

I looked at her, puzzled and full of questions.

Jeff : Why ?? …..

Belinda : because…..because…..

Jeff : Because what ?

Belinda : I’m …….. I’m going to be your new intern….

………………………………………….

 

I could not even be bothered to give Belinda a reply.

I could hear Lynn chuckling in the background.

Lynn : budget cuts man… we all got to deal with it… hahaha….

Belinda : I know… I know this is the last thing you would want to hear now but… but…. I want thinking it would be good if I can give you some advance notice…. And and….

I put up my hand and wave her off.

Jeff : No… period…

I started to get up and Belinda just went on and on.

Lynn called out for me to go back to her in 2 days to change the dressing on my wound but I did not reply her. She threw a packet of antibiotics at me and I caught it.

Belinda’s voice was drowning her instructions out.

She told me she had a degree in psychology and she has been looking forward to get out into the field for the longest time. I was not in the mood for this and I continued walking towards the door.

Belinda went on to tell me that the company is no longer sending it’s recruits to the same program the earlier pioneers went through. The budget cuts is eating into everyone’s department and Owen thinks it’s time to let the new recruits tag onto someone more experienced.

Belinda : I know you would not like this but… but… after looking through the profile and studying all your previous work, I know I want to learn from you….

I ignored everything she said.

It just went in from one ear and came out the other.

No means no.

I don’t give a fuck.

What the hell is Owen thinking ?

An intern.

Perhaps he forgot what is it we do for a moment. I walked along the quiet corridor towards the exit and was thankful Belinda chose to stay inside the infirmary and did not tag along.

I might just hit her given the mood I’m in.

I exhaled and went towards a locker room. I kept some spare clothes in the facility and I stepped into a shower stall.

As the cold water pelted my body, I took stock of the sores, the aches and the cuts I had sustained.

It felt like every bit of my body was hurting. I know my physical state would be back to normal in no time, the injuries I had were minor. It’s my mental state that I’m not sure I would be able to cope.

The feeling is just impossible to describe. It sucks.

I needed a break.

Perhaps a couple of months away from all this.

Maybe I’ll even give Yiling a call.

Fucking the local drug lord might be a good way to get my head cleared.

I sneezed a couple of times as I stepped out and dried my body.

Turning to look at the shower, I threw a few curses at it.

All the money and Owen did not even put in a water heater in the place for staff. I made a mental note to get an electric heater and install it myself the next time I’m here.

I did not head back home after the shower. I drove Billy’s van back to the office and I left it at the parking lot before getting into my own car.

I checked myself into a nice 5 star hotel in town and I collapsed onto the comfortable bed.

I woke up at 9am and read the papers while I ate my breakfast. There were a few articles about accidents near a church and an unfortunate fire which killed a few people. I refused to read it.

The articles will only contain the stories spun by Owen and his team.

I flipped to the pages about holidays and travel promotion. This would be a good time to just fuck it all and head off for a holiday. I gave Ah Keong a call about the gate he is going to install, I told him to fix it and send me the invoice.

He said he will take care of it.

I checked out of the hotel at noon and checked myself into another one.

Yes I’m running. Running away from reality. I just want to pretend I’m a tourist, visiting a country I hardly know.

I did nothing except sleep, eat and soak myself in the bathtub before I repeated the ritual again. I bought whatever I needed, clothes, toiletries, shoes, bandages.

I cycled through the few hotels within town.

Pan Pacific, Mandarin Oriental, Meritus, Ritz, then I headed over to Fullerton, working my way down to Sands. After I checked out from Sands, I drove back to the church.

The gate has been fixed. I could still see the barricades within the compound.

People walk by it as if nothing happened.

Live goes on. This is how fast things move in the country.

I entered the compound , there were a few foreign workers painting the walls of the nursery where I last saw the toddlers.

They paid no attention to me.

Walking to the fountain, I looked into the water. My hand reached under and I tried feeling around for indication of a package.

Circling the rim of the fountain, my fingers felt the material of a waterproof bag. I pulled it out and looked at it.

I walked out of the church and back to my car and dropped the dripping package onto the car floor. It’s money, no point letting it go to waste.

I drove around the island, dropping off the loot at various stash.

By the time I’m done, I could not decide if I want to continue burning my money at some hotel. I can afford it.

Before I realised it, I was driving into Sentosa.

I checked myself into another hotel and got into the bathtub again.

I realised suddenly how lonely I was. My phone had only 2 messages and not even a miss call.

Not that I’m expecting anyone to call me.

Billy told me he’s has been discharged and that he will see me back in office.

The next message is from Owen.

He told me I’m on a one month paid leave, thereafter, it will be unpaid leave until Lynn certifies that I’m fit to get back to work.

Fuck him.

I spent a good 2 weeks rotating through different hotels trying to get my fucked up brain sorted out.

By the time I checked myself out of Amara Sanctuary, I felt a little better. I’ve wallowed in self-pity for long enough.

Life goes on.

1st July 2013

Monday

I went back to office. Billy was in, and he gave me a nod as I went to my terminal.

Billy : You have a lot of emails…..and a very angry doctor looking for you…

Jeff : What…. Why ?

Billy : I think you forgot something….about your dressing…

Jeff : It’s fine…. Won’t die la…

I touched the pharmacy bought square plaster on my neck. I’ve changed it regularly but the wound is not exactly closing well. It’s gotten a bit swollen and I left the antibiotics she gave me in the shower at the locker previously.

I can’t really see the wound but at least I’m not bleeding and dripping pus.

Billy : You know what…. You better go find Lynn…. She told me she will slit your throat if her handiwork is ruined by you not taking care of it and it ends up scarring badly….

Jeff : ermm…ok…

Billy : I fucking mean it man…. I skipped my antibiotics and she almost broke my fingers again.

Jeff : How the fuck would she know if you skipped ?

Billy : Brother… I’m lying on the fucking bed 2 steps away from her desk…. You have no idea how desperate I am to check out of that infirmary….

Jeff : Oh…

I’ve know how feisty Lynn can be. She can be a monster if she wanted to.

You know how rumours of colleagues fly about every now and then about what someone has done in the past.

Word is someone tried to be funny with Lynn. You know, get fresh with her, she’s hot and I can see why maybe some men could not resist that temptation. That sweet face, the fresh look and that seductive smile, she would be the perfect target of your typical alpha male.

The story goes something like that man grabbed her breasts during treatment.

Lynn did not pursue the matter on the surface but she swop his medication, giving him shit that chemically castrated him.

Yes, chemical castration. She killed him, or rather his cock slowly. It took 12 months before that chap realised it but it was too late.

Another story that would make it into the urban myth of the company would be Lynn giving a colleague who tried to rape her a sex reassignment surgery. This I’m pretty sure it’s a myth, but the word is the man woke up only to realise his testicles has been removed, and his cock turned into a vagina.

Owen tells me the colleague now works in finance and no longer in the field. I’m pretty sure he’s fucking with me when he talks about that transgender colleague in finance but one thing I know for sure, Lynn is good with a knife.

Not only that, she can fuck with your head as well if she wants to.

Owen told me before a couple of years ago, Lynn made the butcher cry.

Can you believe that ?

She made the butcher cry !. The butcher is just 2 rankings below me and she made him cry.

As if that were not enough, Owen tells me that while we address Lynn as Dr Lynn, or by her name, the butcher calls her something else.

Owen : Lynn Zeh zeh…. ( Sister Lynn ) …

Jeff : You’re fucking with me….

Owen : oh ho ho ho….. trust me…. Lynn… is the last woman you want to fuck with…. And that’s not forget she’s dating a Colonel in the armed forces… Now you’ve never met the butcher….. but I shit you not….. butcher is someone you see and immediately feel danger…I saw with my own eyes….. butcher sitting upright , legs closed and both hands on his knees as he kept nodding away at whatever Lynn was saying….that…. is …… impressive I tell you….

Excerpts of that conversation came into my head and I could feel a shiver run down my spine.

Add to this a story Lynn shared with me some time back when she switched the medication of a colleague who refused to follow up with his recovery with her, I was suddenly tempted to run. She made him shit in his pants in his car in the middle of the expressway. When he made fuss in her clinic, the next thing he knew, he was on the bed wearing diapers for 3 days.

She can be an absolute bitch if she wanted to.

I could not help but touched my manhood subconsciously as I asked Billy about Lynn.

Jeff : When did she last called ?

Billy : This morning….i almost wanted to give her your mobile number but it’s against the rules…. She knows that…

Jeff : ok… fine… I’ll go look for her…

Billy : Her clinic is on the 3rd floor… good luck… It’s a Monday…. Half the people in there is looking to get an MC….

I looked at my table with documents piled up.

I still owe Owen the report from my last project.

I opened a brown envelope and I saw my knife inside, it’s been cleaned, sharpened and oiled. There was a note from Belinda telling me she was the one that did it.

I contemplated bringing the knife along before I meet Lynn but decided against it as I left the room.

Jeff : Lunch later ?

Billy : No I’m good… you go ahead…. I bet you miss the chicken rice….

Jeff : Yeah I do….

Heading down to the 3rd floor, I entered the clinic and took a queue number.

There are at least 5 patients in front of me.

The clinic looked like any one of those neighbourhood clinics you visit, it’s clean, tidy, with that unattractive white light and walls filled with posters.

I understand the clinic caters mostly to administrative staff in the company and of course, the occupants of the tower we share the office with.

I did my registration and told the assistant my name.

She keyed in my details and did a double take at the computer before looking back up at me.

Jeff : All ok ?

Clinic assistant : Yeah….

I watched her as she went to the glass door and turned the sign to ‘close’

Oh fuck, I should have brought along my knife.

Lynn must have put in a note or something.

I waited for about 40 minutes and I could feel the temperature drop as each of the remaining patient left the clinic. New patients were turned away and told to come back after lunch.

It’s coming to 11am when my name was called.

Clinic assistant : Jeff… your turn…

Jeff : Orh…

I stood up and watch her shut down her terminal and switched off the lights near her table. She grabbed her purse and water bottle, it looked like she’s about to head out for an early lunch.

My right hand instinctively reached to the small of my back but there was nothing there.

I walked up to Lynn’s door and I heard the snap of the electronic lock as the assistant scurried out of the way, leaving me alone with Lynn in the clinic.

I cursed under my breath as I touched my cock again.

I knocked on the door and open it. I was about to give a friendly smile when I saw Lynn with her arms folded, legs crossed with her heels dangling off 1 foot.

She is not smiling.

Her fair and toned legs , that pair of seductive heels and that short black skirt would have given me an erection but I was not getting any that day. Her white blouse had volume , pushed out by her full breast. Her white coat flared widely apart at the bottom near her waist.

Her eyes were emotionless as she looked at me like a teacher about to scold a student for forgetting his homework.

Before I could say anything, I saw her open her drawer and she took the packet of antibiotics I left in the shower and threw it onto the table.

I found myself gasping a breath of air as my eyes widened. My right hand went behind me again and once more, I found that the comforting grip of my knife is not there.

Lynn : Explain…. this..

Lynn pointed a forceful finger at the packet of medication.

There was only one expression that came into my head at that time at it came in the form of a Hokkien dialect.

‘ Ji pai hong gan’ ( Looks like I’m fucked )

Jeff : it… it was a… traumatic …..experience…. I meant.. that night….. a lot happened….

Lynn did not reply me, she waited for me to go on.

My survival instincts kicked in immediately. I’m a survivor.

Situations like this would require me to think on my feet.

My brain ran through the various possibilities that would play out and I immediately chose the one that would give me the highest chance of walking out of the clinic with my testicles intact.

Jeff : I’m… I’m sorry…. I’m really sorry…. My head was… fucked up… this will never happen again…

I held my breath and waited for Lynn to respond. She sighed loudly in the room and asked me to sit down.

I could see her getting ready her lecture as she prepared the tools.

She cursed at me the moment she removed the bandage.

Lynn : Fuck… it’s a bit infected already…. What were you thinking !!! Tsk !… I know you are upset but this is no reason for neglecting your own body…. Respect your body Jeff… you understand that or not…..do you know what I mean ?? …

I kept quiet as I hear the metallic clink of the tools in the dish.

Lynn : What is wrong with you !!! …. Not taking care of your own body is disrespectful….you are not being responsible… !!

Don’t say anything. I kept telling myself that.

Don’t say anything. Think of your testicles, think of your bowels.

Lynn : I take pride in my work !… and nothing makes me more angry… than seeing people like you take a piss in my work !!! …… this is going to leave a scar….a bad one… fuck….arghhhh!!!

I closed my eyes and nodded. Survival instincts still at play here. Don’t say shit.

Don’t say anything.

Lynn removed the old stiches and said I needed 2 more.

Lynn : See.. this part here….arhghhhh !!!… Tsk…It split open… arghhh !! it’s red and god…arghh !!

I looked down on the floor, suddenly realising the pain is a lot more intense compared to the night I sustained the injury.

Lynn worked on as she started scolding me for a good 10 minutes.

Jeff : yes…yes…. I’m sorry… yes…I’m sorry… yes… yes…. Ok… ok…. Never again…. I understand….

After a new dressing is applied, Lynn gave me a tube of cream.

Lynn : use this.. it will help with the scar… and…. Eat this…

I watch her give me a new bag of antibiotics from her drawer, throwing the old one aside.

I swallowed a gulp of saliva.

Jeff : What about the old ones….. I can eat the old ones… don’t waste…

She gave me a glare and I immediately took the new medications from the table.

I’m going to make Billy google it before I eat it.

I did not expect Lynn to pour me a glass of water.

She put it down in front of me and waited.

Jeff : You mean now ?? ermm… shouldn’t I eat it after food or something… ?

Lynn had her arms folded and she was looking at me with her head slightly angled to the side.

Lynn : Now….

Jeff : ok… ok… relax man.. …

I looked at the white pills and sighed as I popped 2 into my mouth before washing it down.

Jeff : done… happy now ?…

Lynn frowned and made me promise I will finish that course of medication.

Jeff : yes… yes…. I will… I swear..

She cleaned up and disposed off the gauze she used and asked me how am I feeling.

Lynn : You ok …. Feeling better ?

Jeff : yes… Owen says I need your… ermm… sign off… before I get back to work…

Lynn : Yes…. If not you’re going on unpaid leave for as long as I say so…

Jeff : I’m ok already…. I’m good to go….

Lynn : No you’re not….

Jeff : I’m serious… look at me… I’m good….

Lynn shook her head and clicked away on her terminal. She said I still have 2 weeks leave before it’s over.

Lynn : you should enjoy it…I wished I could get paid leave for a month…. I hardly have enough leave as it is…..

Jeff : Oh… I heard you are getting married soon….

Lynn nodded and told me it’s going to happen in 2 weeks time.

Lynn : You’re coming right… ?

I hesitated with my reply. I remembered seeing the invite in my mail some time back.

Lynn : I asked you a question…

Jeff : Yes… yes…. Wouldn’t miss it for the world….

Lynn : Where is it.. ?

Jeff : What…

Lynn : Where is my wedding held… ?

Lynn slammed her hand on the table as I stood up laughing awkwardly.

Jeff : I’ll check the invite again… hhaha… I’ll be there….

Good luck to the man that is marrying her.

Lynn : Many of your colleagues will be there….. Owen too…

Jeff : Is this a good idea… ? … for so many of us… to….

Lynn : why ? …. Haha… are you afraid ? …..

Jeff : why would I be ? …

Lynn : there are 300 employees in the company… I invited them all for the buffet dinner…. Not sure who will show up though….. but….

Lynn shut down her computer and took her purse from the drawer.

Lynn : but I only invited Owen, you and Billy for the ceremony….

Jeff : Wow… why the special treatment… ?

Lynn looked at me in the eye before letting it drift down to my body, then to my thigh, my legs and then back up again.

Lynn : Because I patched you up more times than you remember……. Especially in the early days…. When you are clumsy…and rash…. And…

Jeff : Ok.. ok.. enough.. fine… I’ll be there….

Lynn : Owen is my boss… I have to invite him… besides,,, he gives a big red packet…. I invited Billy only last week….

Jeff : Oh… I guess you guys hit if off eh…. When you were looking after him….

Lynn : No…

She gestured to the exit and told me Billy was helping her with her wedding montage.

Lynn : He will take care of the music… the montage…childhood pictures… hohoho…. All the computer stuff…..

Jeff : You shouldn’t be a doctor…

Lynn : What was that again ?

Jeff : Nothing…

Lynn : come… you’ll buy me lunch… there’s nice chicken rice at the café downstairs….

I smiled as Lynn removed her coat and hung it near the reception before we stepped out of the clinic.

Stepping into the lift behind Lynn, I let my mind wandered as I look at that tight ass and toned legs. Some women just look so good in high heels. I felt a slight rise in my cock and my heart fluttered.

Ok, she did not poison me.

We chatted about her upcoming wedding as we walked to the café.

Lala saw me coming and I had my drink ready before I reached.

Lynn : Wow.. you must be a regular…. Haha

Jeff : Long story… haha…

I looked towards the chicken rice stall and Xuehua is there.

She turned and she saw me. She saw me with Lynn.

I could see Xuehua checking Lynn out the way woman size up each other.

I got Lynn a drink and told her I’ll go place the order.

Lynn’s beauty is in a class of her own. She attracted her own sets of eyes in the café, being the resident doctor in the building also meant she knew a few familiar faces.

I saw her nodding and smiling to a few people entering and leaving the café.

I placed my order and Xuehua handed me the utensils.

Xuehua : so pretty…. You’re girlfriend ah ?

Jeff : huh ? …. No la… haha… my doctor…. I where got such fortune… haha

Xuehua smiled as she placed the rice on the tray.

Xuehua : you purposely choose pretty doctors to go to is it ? … hahha…

Jeff : haha…no… I only choose pretty chicken rice sellers to go to…

Xuehua laughed as I watched her uncle sever the neck from a chicken a little too forcefully.

Xuehua : she’s hot…. I would go after her if I’m a guy…. So pretty.. and sweet… I would go for her if I’m lesbian too… hahaha

She handed the tray of food to me.

Jeff : Well… she’s getting married in 2 weeks time…. I don’t think you have a chance…

Xuehua laughed and rolled her eyes at me.

I went back to Lynn who was looking intently at my exchange with Xuehua.

Lynn : She’s hot…. I would go after her if I’m a guy…. So pretty.. and sweet… I would go for her if I’m lesbian too… hahaha..

Jeff : wow… would you believe if I told you she said exactly the same thing ?

Lynn : hahah… no way…

We chatted as we ate, I was facing Lynn and looking towards the lobby whereas she was facing the stalls. I could see her looking at Xuehua a couple of times as she separated the skin from the chicken.

Jeff : Eh give me those… I like…

Lynn : so fatty… will clog up your blood vessels…

Jeff : a clogged vessel is the last thing I’m going to die of..

Lynn : Tsk !..

Lynn kicked me in the leg as she transferred the skin of the chicken over to me.

I laughed and I did not expect her to change her topic so suddenly.

Lynn : What’s her name ?

Jeff : What ?

Lynn : The girl you were talking to….she likes you..… haha..

Jeff : who ? Xuehua…… haha… no way….

Lynn smiled as she sipped her coffee.

Lynn : Trust me…. I’m the doctor….

Jeff : well…. Trust me…. She has a wall around her…. Turns everyone down… I don’t stand a chance….

Lynn smiled and I could see her looking at Xuehua.

Lynn : well…. She has good reason to… she’s hot… can’t imagine the amount of preposition she is getting….

Jeff : well… I like her too but….you know… people like us… we…

Lynn put down her utensils and she stood up.

Jeff : Lynn… hey.. hey… HEY !.. Lynn !!

I watched in horror as Lynn walked towards Xuehua.

Jeff : oh fuck…

I stood up immediately and was about to head over when I saw Xuehua look at me as Lynn spoke with her.

My eyes widened as I saw Xuehua laughed.

I froze. I looked around the café.

Every table that has a member of the male species is looking at the same direction as I am.

The direction where 2 hot girls are talking to each other.

Every few seconds, Xuehua would smile or laugh as she looked at me.

This was punctuated by Lynn turning over to look at me with her arms folded with a cheeky look in her eyes.

My heart was beating really fast. She better don’t make things awkward.

It’s going to be embarrassing if she says something stupid.

The seconds seemed to crawl as I looked on.

The girls look so good together. Lynn in her corporate looking attire while Xuehua is dressed casually in cheap chic clothing.

Even Eddy is looking at Lynn, grinning at the pretty doctor.

Then I saw Xuehua cast me another look before she nodded. I could see from her lips she said ok.

She said ok to something.

I walked over immediately, embarrassed that Lynn had to do something like this.

I heard Lynn talk to Eddy in a casual manner, like a old friend sending a greeting.

Lynn : Eddy…. Cholesterol medicine got take or not ?? …

Eddy : have… have… still have…

She pointed a finger at him and narrowed her eyes in a playful manner that is guaranteed to melt the heart of any man. Paired with a pout and a hand on her waist, Eddy even dropped his knife, smiling in a silly manner at Lynn.

Lynn : Must finish ok ??

Eddy : ok… ok… confirm….ok.. hahaha…

Before I could say anything, Xuehua smiled at me and turned away.

I whispered sharply at Lynn, asking her what did she do.

Jeff : what did you do !!! what did you say to her !!! don’t fucking embarrass me !!… what did you girls talk about !!??

Lynn raised an eyebrow at me as she took her seat.

She crossed her legs and sipped her coffee.

Jeff : Lynn !….what did you talk about !!!

Lynn : Are you going to finish your antibiotics ? …

I nodded my head.

Jeff : Yes.. yes…

Lynn : I want you at my clinic in 5 days to remove the stitches….

Jeff : Yes… yes… anything…

Lynn : hahahah…

I could see she was taking pleasure in toying with me.

She patted her chest as she swallowed her coffee.

Lynn gave me a playful smile with a twinkle in her eye.

Lynn : I invited her to my wedding…..

Jeff : what !

Lynn : I told her you needed a date….

Jeff : what !! why !

I could feel my face flush red as I turned to look at Xuehua. She was digging inside her bag for something. I looked at her come over and my heart beat faster. It was literally slamming against my ribcage.

Lynn : Alright… thanks for the lunch…. Finish your mediation… haha..

Lynn stood up and smiled at Xuehua before making way for her at her seat.

I swallowed a gulp of saliva as Lynn walked away, waving her hand in the air without turning back to look at me. Xuehua sat down, she pushed the dirty dishes aside and just looked at me.

I did not move.

I think all eyes in the café were looking at me.

A good 10 seconds must have passed as we just looked at each other.

Finally Xuehua shook her head as a smile slowly break out on her face.

Xuehua : You’re really like what she said….. a little boy at heart… don’t know how to make the first move… hahaha….

Jeff : what ? …

Xuehua whipped out her phone and dangled it in front of me.

Xuehua : Are you going to ask me for my number ? …. Or I have to ask you for yours?? .. hahah…

I fumbled for my phone and gave Xuehua my number.

She gave me a miss call and she looked at me coyly with her beautiful eyes.

I could not contain my curiosity anymore.

Jeff : What… what did Lynn say to you ?? ….

Xuehua laughed.

Xuehua : She asked me not to tell you… hahaha…

She left my table and I found myself smiling in a silly manner as I got up and walked slowly out of the café.

I feel like I’m floating on a cloud.

It’s like I’m high on something.

I could feel this tingling feeling of butterflies in my stomach.

Wow. I’m going on a fucking date with Xuehua. This is better than striking the lottery.

This had to be the best news I’ve received in a long time.

Well, if this works out, I owe Lynn a big favour.

I entered the lift and did not realise it was headed down. It’s ok. I’m not in a rush for time.

When the lift door opened in the basement level, I saw her walk in.

It a he, no, it’s a she. Fuck I can’t decide.

She’s a transgender.

With shoulders as broad as mine and about the same height as me, I could see her entering the lift and taking thein front of me closer to the lift entrance.

Through the reflection I could see her features clearer. The unmistakable features of a man. She has full makeup on, and even a boob job. She avoided my eyes, choosing to concentrate on the stack of documents she was holding.

As the lift headed up, it chimed opened on the 3rd floor.

I saw Lynn at the entrance.

She had one hand inside the pocket of her white coat while the other was holding her phone. She was looking and scrolling through her messages.

The girl, or the chap beside me saw Lynn and I could see the change in body language. She tensed up immediately, backed a few steps away until her back touched the back of the lift.

Lynn looked up and saw me but her attention went to the woman beside me.

In a trembling voice, I heard the transgender woman greet Lynn.

“ Hi…..Hi …… Dr…. Lynn…. “

Lynn barely acknowledged her greeting, choosing to give a toneless murmur.

Lynn : hmmm…

Lynn stood in front of the both of us as the lift went up to the 5th floor.

The woman kept her head down and scurried out of the lift as if she could not wait to get away from Lynn.

Subconsciously, my hand went to the front of my body. I crisscrossed my wrist as if I’m a footballer waiting for a freekick and I needed to protect my nuts.

As the lift door closed, Lynn spoke without turning back.

Lynn : You know Linda ? From Finance….

Jeff : err…. No…

Lynn : He used to be called Lionel….

Jeff : I… I see….

When the lift chimed 6, Lynn stepped out. She turned and looked at me, before she can speak, I immediately said what she wanted to hear.

Jeff : I’ll finish the antibiotics.. ! … and I’ll remember our appointment…

Lynn : good…

I found myself holding my breath in until the lift door close before I exhaled.

Jeff : Bloody hell….

I stepped out on the 8th floor and walked towards my office.

I’m looking forward to the wedding and my date with Xuehua.

Now I’m keen to meet the groom too.

I wonder what kind of maniac would marry a woman like her

……………………………………………………………..

 

Do you remember that kind of feeling you have when you first get the number of a girl you like ?

That fluttering feeling in your stomach that made it impossible for you to decide whether to stand or sit. I got back into the office and I just stared at my phone.

I stared at the number on the screen.

There must be some guide to this, some online guide, perhaps in some dating forum or something. How long must I wait before I make the 1st call or text ?

I tried to google for it and all the answers are different.

Should I even send Xuehua a text considering that she is just downstairs ?

It’s lunch time, she’s going to be busy, would she be irritated that I’m texting her ? I barely got her number a few minutes ago, I might come across as someone being too needy and clingy, that’s the last thing I want her to think about me.

I paced about my office and thought about what to do.

The excitement building up inside me is intense.

I could see Billy looking at me from outside through the glass window, he probably thinks I’m crazy.

Courage is something I’m not short of but I find myself hesitating. I’ve always been a go getter, if I want a girl, I will get her but I don’t know why Xuehua makes me feel nervous.

Extra nervous.

I’ve never had difficulties getting into the pants of my previous partners before but this is different. I’m not just interested in sleeping with Xuehua, I could feel my heart leaning towards a relationship. Something stable.

Something that perhaps would pull me out and away from the industry I’m in.

I don’t know her well to be honest but there is something I can’t really put my finger to that draws me to her. It’s like I’m a wandering moth in the dark, and Xuehua is that beacon of flame dancing brightly in front of me.

I want to protect her, to make her happy at my own expense if necessary.

I shook my head and laughed to myself, this series of thoughts is really messing up my head.

I really like her, I want to build something together with her, perhaps a relationship.

A relationship would make me quit for good in a way.

I stared at my phone and composed a message but I deleted it halfway.

Then I repeated it again, then I deleted it again. The office phone in my room rang.

I looked out the window and I saw Billy gesturing to the phone.

Jeff : Hello ? what ?

Billy : You ok ? … is there a new project ?

Jeff : no…

I hung up on Billy and I could see he was more curious than ever as to what I am up to.

I grabbed my knife out of the bag and started to work on my footwork and thrusting, grunting and slashing at the air in my office.

Jeff : whuuuarrr !!! Hiakk!!! Whuarrrr!!!!ARGHHH… Hiakk hiakk… WHuuuarr !!! arghhh!!

Billy shook his head and got up from his seat with the help of a walking stick. I saw him exit the office and I kept my knife.

I’m behaving like a mad man.

Finally I decided to man up and send Xuehua the 1st text. The man must make the first move, if not nothing will happen.

I text Xuehua, asking when the drawing she is doing of me will be ready.

After hitting sent, I literally held my breath.

That agonising feeling, that wait.

I must have held my breath for more than a minute as I stared at the phone. I brought it closer to the window to make sure there is reception for my network. I even changed position within the office to make sure the indicator bar for the network remains full.

Nothing.

Jeff : fuck…. This has to be one of the most loser thing I’ve done…. Staring at the fucking phone…

My phone rang and I almost dropped it. I checked the caller ID and it’s not Xuehua. It’s the company.

Jeff : Hello ?

Belinda’s voice came up.

Belinda : Hi.. it’s me…

Jeff : what do you want…?

Belinda : Dr Lynn asked me to try my luck with you today… she says you are in a good mood… maybe you would say yes….

Jeff : what ? … no… NO! … I’m saying no…

I hung up on Belinda and quickly checked my phone to make sure I did not miss out on any messenges.

Still nothing.

The phone rang again.

Jeff : What ?!

Belinda : Gwen…. Her belongings…

The mere mention of her name struck a raw nerve. I could feel the anxiety within me calm down.

Belinda : just… want to ask if you want her drawing pad …

I remained quiet for a long time.

Why would I want it ? Why would I want something to remind me of something so sad ?

Belinda did not rush me. She waited silently on the other end of the phone.

In the end I told her yes.

Jeff : ok…. Send it to me…

Belinda told me she will swing by in 30 minutes.

I sighed and put my phone down. The disappointment of my recent failure stirred up my emotions again. I know I’m slowly moving past it, but I’m human after all.

30 minutes later, Belinda dropped me a text that she is at the lobby.

I went down and she was there with shades on dressed in the same jeans and t-shirt setup.

She handed me the drawing pad.

Belinda : There are some drawings… dated the day she…

She stopped herself from finishing the sentence and just turned and left.

The drawing pad felt heavy in my hands. Belinda hopped onto a waiting car and it disappeared around the corner.

I hesitated for a few seconds before I walked out of the office tower. I strolled casually to a café at the next street. I ordered a coffee and chose a seat by the glass window.

I smiled as I looked at the cartoon characters Gwen scribbled on the cover.

The first few pages were random drawings and sketches. I got to the page when the 3 men grabbed her sister.

It did not stir up the same emotions as before. I touched the Sun Wu Kong I drew and I smiled at that silly act of mine. Part of me is glad this is all over. The drawing pad will probably be something I will file away in my storage, maybe it will form part of the memories & stories when I head into retirement.

I was about to flip the next page when my coffee is served. I caught a glimpse of the next 3 pages as I did a quick flip with my thumb.

The next 3 pages were all dated on the day she passed on. Something she drew.

My fingers hesitated, unsure if I was ready to see the rest of the drawings.

I decided not to. I’m not sure if I’m afraid of what I will see, or I just don’t want to go down the slippery road of sinking back into the cycle of blaming myself. I closed the drawing pad and exhaled, clasping my fingers together as I stared blankly into the road.

The work I do is mentally exhausting.

I must have spent at least 45 minutes in the café staring at the cover of Gwen’s drawing pad and the road. I did not even touch my coffee. It’s one of those times when I really let my thoughts drift.

I thought about my retirement, how would it be like. Most likely it would be another country, a different climate. Maybe pick up a new language, expose myself to a new culture. I’ve always like Korea.

Maybe I could move to one of the smaller cities over there.

There was the chime of a bell to indicate a new customer had entered the café.

The place is literally empty on that weekday afternoon.

I did not have to wait long to know who is the new customer as she pulled out the seat beside me and sat down.

Looking up, I saw Xuehua. She was holding her own drawing pad. She pushed aside my cold coffee and she showed me something.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

It’s a reflection of myself, sitting in the café, staring at the road.

The amount of detail in that quick sketch in pencil is amazing. My solemn expression, fingers clasped, deep in thought. I looked at the drawing for at least 30 seconds before I looked up at Xuehua.

Jeff : Wow…. This is….wow….

Xuehua : thank you for the compliment…. Haha…

She told me she saw me at the lobby initially, she was about to head over when she saw me heading across the road.

Xuehua : I saw you deep in thought and I didn’t want to disturb you…. So I went back , got my drawing pad…. And…. Tada !!! …

I laughed as Xuehua took the pad and started to sketch in more details to the road and café exterior.

Xuehua : it’s not done yet…. I still need to work on the shadows… the depth…. And you are welcome….. although I have yet to hear a thank you…

Jeff : Well.. this… this is stalking on a whole new level man…

Xuehua : hahahah ..

Jeff : and… thank you… this… this is amazing….

Xuehua : I humbly accept your compliment…. Hahaha….

I asked her did she do the drawing because I dropped her a text message about it.

Xuehua : haha… no, of course not…. I already said it will be random… impromptu….i saw a moment I think is nice….. and I decided to capture it….

Jeff : a photo would do the trick as well…

Xuehua : nahhh… not as sincere… haha..

I watched her cross her legs and dangled a flip flop off her toe as she added more details to the drawing.

I was staring at her and she did not seem to mind.

There is something sexy about looking at an individual when he or she is concentrating on the task at hand. If drawing is Xuehua’s talent, I dare say I would happily watch her do it all day.

Jeff : Can I get you a coffee ?

Xuehua : sure…. Hot Latte please….

I made the order and went back to her side.

Jeff : How long have you been drawing ?

Xuehua : Not long… a few years I guess… haha…. How long have you been at your present company ??

Jeff: Oh… ermm… very long…. Like… immediately after…graduation in a way…

Xuehua : wow… nice… not many people stay that long n their jobs these days…

The 1st latte became 2, and the 3rd one followed. Before I knew it, Xuehua and I had spent almost 3 hours talking. She did most of the talking by the way. She can go on and on but in an engaging and animated way.

There was never a dull part or an awkward moment. You know sometimes you can be talking about something totally random and both of you started nodding vigorously at each other with your eyes widened and realised that you have the same perspectives to the same issue, it happened so many times that I found it hard to believe myself.

The time with Xuehua just flew past and before I knew it, the sun is setting and the street lamps came on.

However, neither of us showed any signs of wanting to leave the café.

Xuehua : You work must be quite flexible eh…. Seeing that you can sit here the whole afternoon… hahaha

Jeff : Yours too …. I bet many customers are looking for you at the café…. Haha

Xuehua rolled her eyes and sipped her 4th latte.

Right about that moment, her phone rang. I notice it vibrating a few times on the table when we were chatting but it was faced down, I can’t make out who is the one looking for her.

That phone call though, made her flipped her phone over.

The moment it came face up, my eyes caught sight of something.

The long hair, that face of the man at the staircase. The stalker outside Xuehua’s place.

Xuehua spent a couple of seconds looking at the picture of the man calling. I saw that the name on the screen is Aaron. I immediately took in the details of that display picture. He’s sitting in a car with the brand of it prominently displayed by it’s logo.

A Maserati. On his hand sat an expensive watch, probably 50k give and take.

Xuehua muted the phone and turned it over.

Jeff : Not going to answer that ?

Xuehua : Nah…

Jeff : Not your boyfriend I hope ?

Xuehua : hahaha…. Nope… just a classmate of mine…. Who is interested in me…

Jeff : Wow…. He’s driving a nice car… how about you…. Are you interested in him ?

Xuehua laughed and commented on my sharp eyesight expertly avoiding my question entirely.

She opened up her drawing pad and started to add some details onto the sketch she did of me.

Xuehua : What about you ? Are you interested in me ? hahhaha

Jeff : that’s a really direct question but I’m sure you know I am… hahah

Xuehua laughed .

Xuehua : yeah…. Most men are… hahaha… but end of the day, they all want the same thing….

Jeff : Your attention ??

Xuehua : hahahahhahaha….

She laughed out loud as she pushed the side of my cheek with her pencil to look at my jawline, then she went back to darken some lines on the sketch.

Xuehua : oh please Jeff….hahah… I’m an adult too ok… hahah…we both know what it means when men look at you on the surface and say they like you….. they just want to fuck… to procreate….to own you….

She stuck out her tongue in a playful manner before going back to her drawing.

Jeff: well… that tongue stud do give people ideas…

Xuehua laughed again, before jabbing me with the back of her pencil. I saw it coming and I immediately grabbed it, stopping it when it was barely millimetres away from my chest and immediately regretting it.

I can’t help it. It’s muscle memory.

I was worried for a moment she would comment about my agility but she screamed and hit me with her fist on my arm instead.

Xuehua : sick !!!… you all guys… all the same… why can’t we girls express ourselves without being objectified .!! hahah

Jeff : I’m just kidding la… haha

The phone rang again and it’s Aaron.

Xuehua took another look and I could see her contemplating whether to answer his call.

Jeff : He must be really interested in you…. Did you choose that display picture??

Xuehua : No!!.. hahah.. he insisted I use that one…. My god… hahah…

Jeff : what picture did you use for mine ??

Xuehua laughed and raised her phone to take a picture of me but I blocked her.

Jeff: No la… not today… at least wait till I’m dressed up and all…

Xuehua : no need la… stop blocking me… hahah ..

In the end, she managed to take a picture of my dull looking face with a rather grumpy look.

Xuehua : ok.. ok… use this one… ahhaa…

I decided to take a leap and ask Xuehua what kind of men she likes, seeing that she has been rejecting so many advances.

Jeff : What kind of men do you like ?

Xuehua : I kind of hate them all….hahah

Jeff : Please tell me you are not a lesbian…

Xuehua laughed and shook her head.

Xuehua : nope… haha… the thing is…

I saw her go quiet for a bit and there was a subtle change in her expression before it goes back to normal.

Xuehua : I just don’t want to be hurt anymore….so I rather not get into anything… haha…

I nodded and looked down but Xuehua used her pencil to turn my cheek again, commenting on the plaster on my neck.

Xuehua : What happened ?

Jeff : Accident…

She continued to look at me and work on her sketch, kicking off the 1st stretch of silence even since she sat down beside me.

The more I look at her, the more infatuated I am. Her beauty, her grace, everything about her feels like the one to me.

Xuehua : What about you Jeff…. What kind of girls do you like ?

She did not break her sketching stride, she continued her drawing as she spoke without looking up at me.

Jeff : Someone who can draw….?..

Xuehua : haha … bloo

The laugh burst out as she tried to stifle it, causing her to spray a short burst of saliva onto the pad and my arm…

Jeff : and preferably….don’t spit saliva…

Xuehua laughed but did not look up at me.

Even the side profile of her when she laughs is so alluring. That radiant smile really just lit up her whole face.

Jeff : my perfect girl….. would be someone who understands that I need my own space sometimes….someone who loves me for who I am….someone who… hmm… I love and yet afraid of at the same time….

Xuehua : hahah.. go on..

Jeff : she must be independent…. Hmmm.. have her own views….has a sense of adventure….

Xuehua : Aiyoh…. Go marry your right hand la… haha

Jeff : I’m not done yet… she has to be ermmm…humourous….can talk better than me…. And ermm..

Xuehua : ok… ok stop… hahah….

Xuehua closed her drawing pad and she orientated her body to face me.

Xuehua : Lynn says….you would make a good boyfriend…. Hahah

Jeff : really… she said that?… what else ??

I made a mental note to send Lynn a bouquet of flowers to her office the next day.

Xuehua : hahaha… she says… you’re someone who will take care of the people around you…

Jeff : what else…

Xuehua : that’s all I’m sharing with you… hahah…

I was about to continue the conversation when my eyes caught a glimpse of a figure across the road.

He is standing squarely in front, staring at Xuehua and me.

I looked over and I could see Xuehua looking across as well.

Aaron.

Her friend.

Xuehua seemed a little shock to see him and I could catch a glimpse of irritation on her expression.

Xuehua : haizz… alright… I got to go… see you at the café…

Jeff : everything ok ??

Xuehua : yeah.. yeah.. it’s fine… just a clingly friend… hahah

I got up and as I did, I saw Aaron crossing the road.

I exit the café and our eyes met.

There was no hiding that air of hostility as our bodies passed each other. I could not fucking believe how childish he is when he deliberately bumped into my shoulder as he walked passed me.

What the fuck.

I turned and our eyes met and I saw Xuehua coming out of the café.

She has this irritated and exasperated look on her face as she called out her friend’s name.

Xuehua : Aaron !! …

She immediately apologised on behalf of her friend and literally dragged him inside the café.

Good. I like that.

Dumb enough to piss off the same girl we are both interested in.

I gave Xuehua a smile and a parting wave.

I went to the gym before going on a 10km run. I’ve slacked off long enough the past couple of weeks.

It’s time to get things back into routine.

At 11pm that evening, I saw a text from Xuehua. She apologised for Aaron’s behaviour again.

I told her it’s ok and we ended the short conversation with a smiley face each.

10th July 2013

Wednesday.

10.30am

Strange enough though, Xuehua did not show up at the stall for more than a week.

I text her in the middle of the week and she told me she’s not feeling well and I left it at that.

Her reply did not seem like she was interested in an extended conversation.

I noticed Aaron at the café almost on a daily basis. He eyeballed me each time he saw me.

I made sure I visited Lynn during my appointment and my wound is healing nicely, it will leave a scar but not a bad one.

It’s a couple of days before Lynn’s wedding and I was feeling a little nervous.

I haven seen Xuehua for a while and I wanted to know if our so call date is still on. I’m kind of looking forward to attending the wedding with her.

I decided to call her and I heaved a sigh of relief when she did answer my phone. It’s all set and all I needed to do was to wait for the big day to arrive.

Xuehua even gave me her address to pick her up.

13th July 2013

Saturday

10am

I put on a suit. A fucking suit.

One I had not worn in years but it still fit like a glove.

I want to impress Xuehua yes but the last thing I want is to piss Lynn off with bad dressing. She text me 2 days before to tell me it’s a black tie event.

The exact words are ‘ wear a fucking suit or I will kill you ’

A fucking suit it is.

I drove and waited under Xuehua’s block. My eyes eagerly scanning the estate for any sign of her approaching.

Jeff : oh fuck me…

When I saw Xuehua emerge from the lift lobby, I was literally blown away.

She looked amazing.

Paired with a radiant smile, Xuehua put her left foot forward first as she walked towards my car having waved at me prior after registering my car plate number.

She has on a white silk gown that clings onto her body. The curves that greeted my eyes looked like it can only be sculpted by a master craftsman.

The split along her legs revealed a pair of legs so heavenly that I had an erection just looking at them.

Honestly the dress doesn’t look like it has much design. It’s simple, with a modest plunge at the breast but Xuehua looked amazing in it.

The simple clutch bag in her hands is intricately adorned with beadings of a white peacock set in a shimmering sea of gold.

The light makeup she has on brought out the best of her features and her naturally long eyelashes curled up seductively that I found myself too afraid to look at her in her eyes.

When she opened the door, I felt as if someone had hit the slow motion button.

The dress she was wearing bared her entire back with except of a ribbon like strap running horizontally across where her bra strap should be.

Xuehua sat down first before simultaneously swinging both her legs into the car.

Only the slam of the door snapped me from my daydream.

Xuehua adjusted her pearl earrings and smiled at me.

Xuehua : why ? never see pretty girl before is it ?

Jeff : hahaha. Wow…. i… I don’t know what to say…. You… you look amazing…

Xuehua : hahaha.. thank you… turn up the aircon please… before my makeup melts in this fucking heat… hahaha..

I laughed and we started the 30 minutes drive to Lynn’s wedding venue.

We arrived at a large villa set in the perimeter of Botanic garden.

There was first a long stretch of forested area before the road gave way to flowers and signage directing us to the wedding venue.

Xuehua was singing and humming to the melody of a song on the radio.

It’s been a while since I went to a wedding reception. I don’t have much friends who send me wedding invites anyway, the ones I get are the few I keep in contact with while gaining experience in various industries after my training.

The manicured lawn and driveways are flanked with pink roses. I could see staff attending to every detail.

Xuehua : I always knew Lynn is rich…. But not to this extend…

I jerk my head to the left and looked at Xuehua in surprise as she resumed her humming of the melody.

Jeff : You know Lynn ? … from before ?

Xuehua laughed.

Xuehua : would I have accepted an abrupt invitation from a total stranger otherwise ?? haha.

Xuehua revealed that she and Lynn knew each other by face on med school.

Xuehua : She’s like royalty, and she’s hot…. Everybody knows her…. I’ve seen her a few times on campus….

I almost blurted out and asked why she did not complete her course but I held back my tongue and she readily offered the information.

Xuehua : I stopped when I’m just a couple of semester away…. Lost interest in it. Hahaha…

Jeff : What the fuck… you are weird… why would you stop when you are so close to becoming a doctor… ??

Xuehua : because I realised I like drawing more… hahaha…

I saw the gloved hand of a usher directing me to the carpark. A valet approached me and got out.

When I opened the door for Xuehua, all eyes within the vicinity were on me as she stepped out into the humid afternoon.

Male staff stopped what they were doing just to steal a glance at Xuehua. She got out and adjusted her dress, pulling the fabric at her shoulder to straighten some bits.

Xuehua : stop staring at my breast … I’m not wearing bra… hahah..

I looked away immediately and I felt as if I struck the lottery as Xuehua linked arms with me.

Xuehua : alright…. First time attending wedding like this….let’s go…

I stepped away from the driveway to enter a large marquee tent. That tent is enclosed on all sides and the cool air from the air conditioner immediately offered relieve from the heat. The hair on the back of my neck immediately stood on it’s end when I took in what was waiting for us.

My heartrate increased. I was immediately alert.

It’s like a checkpoint of sorts.

Right up ahead are 3 sets of scanners with it’se own security team. They are all armed. These are not your average hired joes from security company, they are all military.

The unsettling feeling in my stomach grew slowly as I looked to my right.

Owen is on his phone, he gave me a nod and turn away, putting his hand to his mouth as he continued talking. His men were trying to argue with one of the officer in the room.

Barely 5 seconds later, I saw Owen’s men checking in their side arms to the lockers provided, completed with armed guards.

To the left I saw more men with earpiece staring at each and every guest.

Xuehua : Wow…. This is really like wedding for royalties.

We showed our invitation and our names were crossed checked against a list before we stepped through the scanners. I crossed without a hitch but Xuehua set off the alarm.

As if she did not have enough eyes on her body already, she drew more attention as she gave a wide eye ‘ I have no idea what is happening’ kind of look.

A female staff came forward with a hand held scanner. It’s a different type from the ones we usually see at the airport and clubs.

As the scanner ran along her body, half the men wished they were the scanner, the other half wished they were the female staff that is about to pat Xuehua down.

The scanner ran smoothly and started to beep when it stopped near Xuehua’s mouth.

Female : open you mouth please…

Xuehua laughed and when she stuck out her tongue to reveal her tongue stud, I think the soldier next to me wet himself.

Xuehua : your scanner very powerful…. Hahaa..

The female staff waved Xuehua through and I handed her the purse that passed through the scanner.

When our arms linked again, I saw the soldier by the exit looking at me with a smile.

He nodded at me as if acknowledging my accomplishment in getting a girl like Xuehua, although I’m pretty sure if he spoke, it would be ‘ you lucky bastard ’

Jeff : why the tongue stud ?

Xuehua : Do you lack imagination Jeff ? hahaha. Men go on their knees in front of me…

Jeff : hahaha..

We stepped out into a bigger tent that looked like it came from the set of a movie.

Jeff : woah….

It’s about the size of a large ballroom. The ceiling tapered down to the sizes, joining the edgeless rim of the circular structure. Soft, silk like fabric danced lazily in the climate controlled interior.

I could see a table set up complete with the necessary decorations for a signing ceremony. The chairs were already set up for the guest.

At the sides of the structure, the buffet spread is already up and there are servers waiting every 10 steps away.

Someone approached and offered us Champange.

Xuehua took 2 flutes and offered me 1.

Xuehua : Wah…. Good stuff leh…hahaha

She edged me with her elbow as we touched the glasses and took a sip.

My eyes looked beyond the fanvy interior and setup and towards the large lawn the structure sat on.

More armed guards are stationed outside. They are all armed with automatic weapons. Some fucking big shot must be a guest.

Xuehua : come… let’s go to the photobooth !

As I posed with for the shots, I noticed a commotion at the entrance.

Men in tuxedoes went forward to shake the hands of the newly arrived guest.

Xuehua : woah…. That’s the Sultan and Crown Prince of Johore …..

I looked at the men smiling for the cameras and I felt a little uneasy.

Lynn : JEFF !!!! yo yo yo !!

I turned to see Lynn in a beautiful pale yellow dress that ended just above her knees. She was walking around in sneakers, looking casual and radiantly beautiful.

There was none of that pre wedding stress as she joined us in the photo booth.

She looked hot, her plunging neckline revealed almost half of her full breast and I could see the glitters of her makeup dancing about near her cleavage.

Lynn : Hi Xuehua !… glad you could make it…

The girls hugged and when they posed for the camera, the amount of flashing lights in the room went up a notch. It’s as if celebrities had just arrived for the Oscars.

I felt my muscles tightened when I saw a group of men walking towards my direction.

Our eyes met immediately and within that split second, I knew who is the groom.

The colonel mad enough to marry Lynn.

Behind him were a couple more of his men I assumed were his staff and bestmen rolled into 1. One of them is huge, built like a mountain almost 2m tall.

The eye contact I made with all 4 of them felt longer than necessary.

These are not the eyes of your regular career soldiers.

I know those eyes.

They are the same as mine.

These men are killers. These men are like me.

Their pace slowed as they got closer.

I orientated my body to face the groom. We are about the same height. He’s slightly beefier than my build.

The distance he stopped is not random, it’s perfectly calculated.

Too close you appear hostile, too far, you’ll appear unfriendly.

He stopped exactly where I would, within striking distance. His men stood further again, giving him the necessary room to back up should there be a need to.

From the corner of my eye I could see Lynn scurrying over to us.

It’s as if she could smell trouble brewing.

Without breaking stride, Lynn put both her hands around our shoulders and pulled us closer for a picture.

Lynn : photo…. PHOTO !!!.. come !!!.. where is the photographer !!!

The lights flashed and Lynn was mumbling while trying to keep up a smile.

Lynn : come come… I’ll introduce you all ok….. this is my husband to be….. James…. And….

Letting go of her arms around me, Lynn introduced me to her husband.

Lynn : This is Jeff… 1 of my very first ermm.. patient… when I started practising….i fix him up many many times… hahaha…

The awkward laugh did not ease the tension in the air.

There is no ego at play, nothing personal.

Just the threat a predator feels from another. The feeling is mutual.

James looked at me and I could see him looking at the scar at my neck.

James : what happened to your neck ?

I answered without breaking a beat.

Jeff : Sharp furniture…. Lousy contractors…

James : I see…

I gestured to his men behind him with a tilt of my chin.

Jeff : your…brothers…. They carry guns for the gate crash this morning??

James turned and one of them suddenly realised his side arm is showing and he buttoned up his coat.

James : yes… it’s fake…. Just for the games…

Jeff : I see…

Lynn’s arms were folded by then and I could see she was starting to get pissed.

Lynn : alright…alright… stop…. James… your boss is here… please… go… ask for red packet…. Jeff….. Xuehua is going to get picked up by that developer’s son if you are still going be here..

Lynn cut in between of us and walked away.

From the corner of my eye, I saw the Prime minister of the country enter the reception area.

James : Nice to meet you Jeff…

Jeff : Nice to meet you too James…

We shook hands.

James : Have i…… seen you before somewhere….

Jeff : I doubt it…. I have that common face look…. You must have mistaken me for someone else….

I added a smile for reassurance, but I knew he could tell it was fake.

James : well…. It is lovely meeting you … perhaps…. One day… we might meet… on a more professional setting… ?

Jeff : I doubt our paths will cross…. My work is boring…. You know… offices… meetings…boring stuff….nothing as exciting at the military…

James smiled.

James : I hope our paths don’t crossed too.

……………………………

 

I stepped away after the groom and his men went towards the other politicians that are arriving for their wedding reception.

Now I understand why the need for this level of security.

With so many political big shot arriving, I’m surprised they did not park a tank at the entrance.

Walking over to Xuehua, I heard her excuse herself from the man talking to her.

Xuehua : I’m sorry, my boyfriend is here…. I’ll hold on to this…

She waved his name card at him as I exchanged a pleasant smile with that good looking gentlemen.

My heart skipped another beat as she linked arms with me, guiding me away to a corner of the reception.

Jeff : So is it official now ? … like as in I’m your boyfriend … just like that ??

Xuehua : hahah… you wished… I just want to get away from him….

She waved the name card she was holding in front of me.

Xuehua : Developer’s son leh…. Staying in Sentosa cove…

Jeff : wow…then what are you waiting for ??

Xuehua : nah…. Not my cup of tea…. I’m into the simple life…haha

I immediately beamed her a wide smile and added my life is pretty simple.

Jeff : I go to work and I go back home… simple life..

Xuehua : Simple Jeff…. Not boring… hahah..

Jeff : I don’t understand women…

Xuehua : perhaps you never will …. Hhaha…

Xuehua picked out some food and we shared them at the corner, choosing to stay away from where the action is. There are people lining up for photos with the politicians.

Looking at Xuehua eat really brings about an appetite. She had no qualms about sharing her food, taking a bite of a scallop before nodding her head earnestly and shoving it towards my mouth.

Xuehua : Wah… this 1 good.. good.. must try…

Jeff : Ok. Ok…

This happened with everything. Spring rolls, fancy canapes, smoked salmon, ham, basically anything she can get her hands on, she will take a bite, and pass the rest to me.

I think I was a bit slow to realise but it seemed like I’m the dustbin as she dumped all the food she no longer want to me.

Jeff : Eh… wait… wait… why does it feel like I’m cleaning up after you ah…

Xuehua laughed as she commented how slow I am to realise that.

Xuehua : You slow la.. haha … I kinda have to watch my diet you know… to maintain my figure… it’s a girl thing…

Jeff : but you run everyday right…

She just smiled and waved to a server for more champagne. I looked over the general direction and I saw Owen talking to the Prime minister and it looked like he was trying to say something but the minister is not interested.

Something feels off.

I watched as the prime minister walked away before turning back and talk to Owen again in hushed voice, as if they were trading secrets at a venue not meant for discussion of this nature.

I took another flute of champagne from Xuehua as I continued to observe Owen. After what seemed like another 2 minutes of talking, Owen literally turned and walked away from the prime minister.

It’s like he was pissed with something.

I turned my attention back to Xuehua who was looking at Lynn.

Jeff : Do you ever think about your big day ?.. how would it be like ?

Xuehua : hahah.. definitely nothing like this… maybe just me and my groom… I like privacy…

Jeff : Really…. Me too !..

She gave me a naughty look before rolling her eyes and laughing.

I said nothing and just looked at her.

Xuehua caught my gaze and she returned it, looking at me without a word.

Jeff : I really don’t know why…. why I’m so lucky … to be able to come here with you…

Xuehua : hahaha… really ? …. Honestly… I’m kind of at a lost why I agreed to it as well…

Jeff : Do you… like… you know… like me… as an acquaintance ? … I know im boring…

Xuehua : hahah… I don’t dislike you… is that an answer…? What about you… ? beyond the superficial beauty of my exterior… what else do you see ?

I hesitated for a while before I answered.

Jeff : I feel like…. You are putting on a front… like a mask… I don’t know… to protect yourself from unwanted attention…

Xuehua : hahaha.. go on…

Jeff : You are happy, cheerful on the outside… but I don’t know why… I could detect a hint of sorrow… buried away somewhere…just a guess…

Xuehua pursed her lips for a brief second before asking me to go on.

Xuehua: alright… what else… ?

Jeff : You are afraid of commitment…. Why ?

Xuehua smiled but said nothing.

It was mainly an educated guess but I think I got quite a bit right.

The cheerful people are usually the ones with the most to hide.

Jeff : Bad childhood ?…

She nodded slowly without looking up.

Jeff : Me too…

Xuehua : How so… ?

Jeff : I’ll tell you over dinner ?

Xuehua : Hahahahah… wah.. you are good man… hahaha…

I saw Billy arriving with his laptop and was showed to a corner of the tent where the AV system are set up.

Lynn went over to him and I could see ushers getting the guest to head to their seats.

A server came over and gestured to us to head over as the ceremony will start soon.

I gave Billy a wave when our eyes met.

I settled into a corner with Xuehua, there’s a lot of guest and we are definitely not the front row deserving type of guests, but it’s ok.

3 large project screen showed a clear and close up view of the wedding ceremony.

The justice of peace arrived and I could see Lynn smiling and bouncing a little at her corner of the table.

I saw James come into view. The hostility in his eyes were gone. He looked nervous, almost comical.

The host took the mic and said some customery stuff before asking the couple to exchange their wedding vows.

I almost smiled at James rubbing his palms on his pants if I was not reminded of the eyes he had when we spoke.

Xuehua had her legs crossed, her right leg above her leg dangled so close to me that her heel is almost stroking my calves. She stared intently at the screen.

I wonder what is going through her mind, surely everyone have imagined such a day, such a ceremony before in their head when they are single.

Lynn took the mic first as she stood in front of James.

She looked even better on screen. The hall grew quiet and only the faint melody of jazz music played in the background.

They way the couple look at each other, anyone could tell they are deeply in love.

Lynn : ok… Baby….

Laughter broke out in the crowd.

Lynn laughed and commented that James literally pleaded with her not to call him that in public.

Lynn : Beside the …. Ermm.. usual…. For better for worse and what not…. I have something else I want to say…. Haha

Lynn paused and wiped a tear from her eyes as she tried to fend off the tap with a laugh as she turned to her bridesmaid who were giving her the thumbs up sign.

Lynn : you are…. The last person I thought I would end up with…. Hahaha….but…your sincerity…. Your corny jokes and your down to earth attitude…. They won me over… through and through….

Lynn paused and took a deep breath of air.

Lynn : You…. You are like this…. This… big .. tough guy on the outside… but I know… sobzz… you are the sweetest , gentlest man ever…. On the inside….sobzz… haha..

Someone offered Lynn a napkin but she rejected it, determined to get through this moment on her own.

Lynn : hahha.. that’s not exactly the things you want your… your subordinates to hear but … but I still want to say it…. Haha…

Sporadic laughes broke from the audience as everyone hung on to every word Lynn was saying.

Lynn cleared the throat and wiped away the tears that have rolled down her cheeks.

Lynn : I have had … my fair share of suitors…… obviously…

The laughter got louder.

Lynn : and… you being one of them…. Ranked the lowest initially…. Because you have no idea what you are doing !! .

Xuehua laughed and so did i.

James looked visibly embarrassed.

Lynn told the guests that James brought her to a nature hike on their first date.

Lynn : After 3 hours, … I’m sweaty,… I’m muddy…. I’m covered with mosquitoes bite, my bra is giving me an abrasion….haha… and …. And… there were a troupe of monkey jumping above our head….and James chose that spot to tell me…. That I’m beautiful….

Everyone laughed and I could see the Prime minister clapping a couple of times.

James covered his face and I saw the 2m giant behind him prod him in his back as he laughed.

Lynn sniffed and told the guests.

Lynn : That was one of the most miserable moment in my life…. And this… this man… told me how beautiful I look at that very moment… haha

Xuehua laughed, jerking her body forward and looking at me for a couple of seconds.

Lynn : I…sniffed…. I knew at that moment…. If a guy can tell me I look amazing when my hair was all frizzled with leaves in them, mud on my face, dirt on my arms, my waterproof makeup all gone in the humidity of the forest, not to forget I have a fucking pissed look on my face…… he’s either stupid… or he must really like me…

Shouts and cheers rang from the crowd as the applause got louder.

Lynn : I love you baby….. and I can live with your stupid…because I love you… so.. so much…

Lynn took another deep breath, fanning her face with a smile.

Lynn : I love you Baby,,,, I will stand by everything you do… I will be that woman behind your success…. I will be that pillar of strength when you need to make the toughest decision, I will always be there for you…. For better for worse, …. There will be no sickness… only good health, we will not be poor…. I’m a fucking doctor and my parents are rich…

Whoops rang out and Xuehua laughed again but this time round, she wiped away a stray tear.

I could see James trying hard to hold back his emotion. His fist were clenched. He was shaking. Something you won’t expect from a man like him.

I wonder if the day came for me to be in his position. Will I be trembling as well.

Lynn : I will be your wife…. From this day on,… till death do us part…. Sobzz..

Lynn finally count not hold back her emotions anymore and she broke down, so did Xuehua.

I motioned for a server who was 5 steps away and he was attentive enough to see Xuehua crying.

He handed a stack of napkins to me and I passed one to Xuehua.

Xuehua : thank you…

She wiped her tear as the host took over the microphone.

Host : ok… ok… calm down people…. The groom hasn’t had his turn yet.

The guest laughed and it was a few seconds before the mic was handed over to James.

James : I erm…. I didn’t prepare a speech…

The laughs that broke out from the audience we so loud and some of them were up on their feet, cheering for James. I laughed and I could see Lynn holding her bouquet of flowers with 1 hand, her head tilted sideways and glaring at James in the manner an angry wife would.

James : I erm…. I not good with words….so… erm… I’ll just .. speak my mind…ermm..

James licked his lips and I could see his mind was racing to come up with something. He better, if he wants to keep his balls. I wonder if Lynn told him the story about Lionel.

James : You are the kindest….and … ermm..smartest woman I know….and… and… I think I’m really lucky… to be able to have you as my wife….

James took a deep breath and looked down at his feet. What he said so far are the superficial stuff. This is the moment when the real stuff will be revealed.

You can just tell.

James : I’m not good at expressing my emotions and feelings… you know that… but I love you…. I love you more than I love myself…..not a day goes by… when I don’t have you in my mind…. I look forward to hearing your voice… seeing your smile… feeling your touch whenever we are apart….

Lynn looked like she was about to break down again.

James : I’m not… a romantic guy… I don’t know things like that but I know you do… that’s why I’m willing to learn….i will learn how to romance you with sweet nothings at night before you sleep….. I will learn to be a good husband to you…. A good father to our children… a good son to your parents….i will do anything for you…

Lynn’s bridesmaid handed a napkin to her as she dabbed away her tears.

James : My life… is always about being in control…. But…you came into my life and… haha.. and I just find myself losing control…

Lynn : hahaha…

James : People call me Sir….. you call me Baby…

Lynn shouted her reply much to the amusement of the crowd.

Lynn : You made me call you sir when you wear your uniforms in bed !!!

Xuehua laughed and wiped her tears at the same time.

James looked visibly shocked at that reply as Lynn laughed at him.

He licked his lips and composed himself before coming up with a equally witty reply.

James : That’s because you made me call you doctor first…

Guests : wooooooooooooooooo!!!! Hahahaha

Lynn put her hands on her hips and gave James a warning glare that ended with a smile.

James : I love you Lynn…. More than you will ever know… I will honour you…. Protect you… love you…. For better for worse…. In sickness and in health…. Death will not dare come for you….because I will be there to stop him.

Lynn laughed and made an attempt of throwing her flower at James.

James : I take you as my wife…this day henceforth., we will not part…. Not even in death….this life and the next… I will always love you…

Lynn dashed forward to hug James as the guests clapped for the newly wed.

Xuehua’s eyes are red. The napkin on her left hand is wet with her tears. She did not clap, choosing to nod and smile instead.

Her left hand is faced up holding the napkin.

I reached for the napkin,I wanted to help her throw it away, I gave a gentle 1st tug but she did not let go.

I don’t know what came into me. Perhaps I too was absorbed into the moment.

I let my hand go down, my palms compressing the wet napkin and my fingers touched Xuehua’s fingers.

She sniffed once. I shifted my right hand slightly and closed my fingers around hers, crossing my fingers with hers.

As my digits curled to a close, Xuehua turned and look at me with tears in her eyes.

Xuehua : You really know how to choose the right moment… haha..

I smiled and said nothing as I felt her fingers closed around mine as well.

We held hands.

We held hands throughout the ceremony until the couple put their signature on the wedding document, right up to the point they exchanged their rings.

When the ceremony is over, we stood up, the wet napkin still sandwiched between our hands.

Xuehua : I don’t know anything about you Jeff…. And you don’t know anything about me…

Jeff : I intend to start learning more about you…. Starting from today…

Xuehua : hahahah… ok… please give a better speech…. If this happens..haha

I led Xuehua away from the crowd who were lining up to congratulate the couple.

The projector screen started showing pictures of the couples dating days and the music changed accordingly. Billy saw me holding Xuehua’s hand and I saw his jaw dropped.

I ignored him and the server offered us more Champange.

Neither of us let go of our hands until and we walked around the perimeter of the large structure, chatting with the flute of champange in our hand.

Lynn : aRHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Lynn’s sudden scream gave us a scare and we both dropped our fingers, the crushed and damped napkin finally dropping to the floor.

Lynn : I saw that… I saw that !!! I saw that !!! Muuuuwhahahahahhaha….

She did an exaggerated evil laugh as Xuehua asked her not to attract so much attention.

Lynn : I knew… I could feel it… ohmmmm…

Jeff : It’s nothing la… we’re just getting to know each other…

Lynn : whatever…come.. come… photos.. photos…!

We took a few shot with Lynn before she shouted for James to come over.

Lynn : Baby… here… here…

We took a few shots and that was when James noticed Xuehua’s tongue stud.

James : Woah… wicked…

Lynn : tsk !.. don’t be an asshole…

The look James gave me then is a different one when Xuehua linked arms with me.

Almost a look of envy that lasted for half a second before it disappeared the moment he laid eyes on Lynn.

James : Enjoy guys… help yourself to the food …

Xuehua : Thank you…

Xuehua and I spent another 20 minutes milling about before we decide it was time to go.

Jeff : I’ll send you back ?

Xuehua : of course la !… did you even have to ask… hahaha.. you brought me here…

Jeff : hahaha…

Walking out to the parking area, I handed the valet my ticket and we waited by the security checkpoint.

I saw Owen again, he looked tired and agitated as he spoke harshly into his phone at a far end flanked by 2 of his men.

I looked away, I’m technically still on leave.

Let the others handle the issues.

When my car arrive, I thanke the valet and opened the door for Xuehua.

Xuehua : Oh look… what is this ?

I got in and saw something at make my heart dropped. The sinking feeling came back.

There’s a bottle of whisky. A 17 year old bottle ribbon wrapped and nicely placed on the back seat.

Jeff : Well… I think it’s a wedding favour gift or something…

Xuehua : Wow… but there’s only 1…hahaha… does that mean we have to share ? hahah

Jeff : I’ll gladly share it with you… hahha…

I brushed the thought of the bottle out of my head and drove out of the area.

I don’t want to waste the day since we are already all dressed up so I suggested to go catch a movie or something to Xuehua.

Xuehua looked at the time and said she can’t.

Saturday she usually heads down to the café to help her uncle do some stock taking and getting ready the stuff he needs for the following week.

I would have thought it was a rejection but thankfully it was not.

Xuehua : I’ll just need an hour or so…besides… it’s too uncomfortable walking around like this… hahaha… let’s change into something more casual… then we meet at the café say at 4pm ?

Jeff : sure… hahah ok…

I brought Xuehua back to her place and although I was not expecting a kiss or anything, but a simple 2 second stroke of my thumb and a smile was all I needed before she left the car.

4pm

I went back, got changed and immediately flew back down to the café.

Saturdays are usually quiet. Leng and Annie are just chatting over coffee at the café.

Lala, saw me and knew exactly what to get me.

I could see Xuehua back into her casual and chic street wear.

The cross back white bra with a loose grey singlet. A simple pair of white shorts with 2 pockets behind her.

A squeaky white pair of sneakers glided across the floor of the café as Xuehua helped her uncle look through the delivery items and invoices.

I sipped my coffee and I could feel the butterflies in my stomach again.

My date.

Movie. Dinner, coffee, what else do couples do these days. I hear the rumble of a powerful engine pull up outside the driveway and I immediately recognised the car.

The driver took his time to get out and I saw a taxi arriving behind it.

Belinda and Billy got out of the taxi the same time Aaron exited the car.

He literally blocked the driveway and walked into the café with a swagger. The taxi had no choice but to reverse out of the driveway.

Aaron : Xuehua ….

I sipped my coffee and said nothing as I continued observing him.

Belinda had a large file in her hand and Billy gave me a look before shooting his eyes towards that folder.

The same kind that Owen always bring along for a new project.

Aaron demanded to know why Xuehua is avoiding him.

Aaron : what’s wrong with you ?!!

Xuehua : Nothing is wrong with me… you are the one that is pestering me…Aaron… I told you already… I’m not… looking to go beyond friends with you….

Aaron : Why not…

Xuehua shot me a look and Aaron looked over as well.

Aaron : him?…. really ? … that faggot ? ….what does he have that I don’t !!! Look at him… he’s got a fucking loser face….

Xuehua rolled her eyes the same time her uncle came back from his smoke break.

Eddy looked like he was about to start cursing at Aaron.

Aaron dragged Xuehua across the café and I saw the look on Lala’s face change.

Lala : OEI !!!!

Lala’s dad held onto his son as Aaron brought Xuehua in front of me and started to berate me.

Aaron : tell me.. tell me…. What does he have that I don’t !!

Xuehua : stop it… ! you are embarrassing yourself and me !!! I’m sorry Jeff… I ermm…

Aaron : tell me !!… is he rich ? … he got money ?? … richer than me is that it ?? he doesn’t know you… I do…Xuehua…you know how I feel towards you…

Xuehua : Aaron… stop it !! you’re making a scene.. I told you.. it’s not possible between us…

Aaron : oei you !!…

Aaron jabbed me on my shoulder, pointing a warning finger at me.

I looked up at him with hardly any expression on my face.

Aaron : get up… come !… let’s talk outside…who are you !!..

Xuehua : Aaron … stop it !!! He’s my boyfriend !!.. you satisfied now ?!!! stop harassing me !

Smack !…

My head shook as Aaron smacked me across the head.

Belinda gasped and dropped the folder she was holding in her hand and she scurried down onto her knees to pick up the documents.

Billy immediately came over to me and held onto my shoulder.

I could see his face panicking as my relaxed fingers twitched, the allure of clenching them too over powering to ignore.

Lala : aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Thankfully, Lala saved me.

He literally leapt out from behind the drinks stall and went straight for Aaron.

Aaron had no time to react.

Aaron : aHHHH!!!!!!!

With lighting like stealth and speed, Lala’s hands went to Aaron’s nipples and clamped down again, sending reminders of the pain into my head as I gasped in surprised.

Aaron : arHHHHHHHHH!!!1 aRGHH!!!! My Neh neh pok !!! arhhh !!! stop.. stop !!!

The pinching lasted for about 10 seconds as the group of us tried to separate Lala from Aaron.

It was easier this time round and we got him off within a minute.

Aaron was cursing and massaging his nipples, swearing that he will make Lala pay for what he did. A couple of cars arrived at the driveway and were sounding their honk at Aaron’s car.

Leng, the security guard finally got his ass off the seat and shouted at Aaron to move his fucking car.

Aaron scurried away as the rest of us tried to calm Lala down.

15 minutes later, Belinda and Billy joined me at the table.

Belinda : We need to go up and talk.

Jeff : Not today… not now…. I have a date… it’s my first date with….

As if the timing could not get worse, Xuehua finished her work and dragged a chair over to our table.

Xuehua : Ok… I’m done…are they your colleagues Jeff ?

Billy nodded and introduced himself and so did Belinda.

Xuehua : nice to meet you all….am I intruding ?

Belinda : no no… of course not… we just need to talk to Jeff for trip to Korea.. we need to attend a trade fair over there next week…

I looked at Belinda in shock. What the fuck is she talking about.

Xuehua : wow.. sounds fun… you’re all going ?

Belinda answered immediately.

Belinda : Well…. I want to go… but Jeff is not keen to take me in as his intern…. So I guess I’m staying in Sg….been hoping around from department to department… I like his working style… but he refused…. I’ll be able to learn so much from him….

What the fuck is she talking about.

Xuehua : Oh… why Jeff ? can teach just teach what… guide the younger ones along…

Jeff : What ?… no.. no.. it’s not ermm..

Belinda : It’s ok.. it’s ok…. I can’t blame him… he’s always busy and… I understand… it’s a male dominated industry….sighhh…

Xuehua : Jeff !… take her… just take her la… company paying right….

I stared at Belinda and Xuehua in shock.

I don’t believe this. I don’t even know the specifics of the project.

Belinda : it’s really ok la… but you know what…you guys are dating ?? … you should go along too…

Jeff : what !

Billy : what !! ??

Belinda : we will be at the trade fair the whole day… company is paying for the room which will be empty…

I saw Xuehua’s face lit up immediately and she immediately get what Belinda is trying to say.

Xuehua : ok.. alright…alright… hahahaha… I know…here’s what’s going to happen… ahem…

She cleared her throat.

Xuehua : Jeff… take her as your intern… I’ll pay for my own air ticket.. hahahaha…lets all fucking go to Korea together… ahhahahaaha….. I’ll help take care of the room while you guys are away…. muuuuhahahah . I can shop !!

My jaws hung 2 inches below my chin as I looked at Belinda. I have half the mind to break her neck right there and then.

If she ever puts Xuehua in any danger, I will fucking kill her myself.

Xuehua : ok ? … ok ? … can.?

All eyes were on me and I just gave her a dazed look.

Xuehua : hahaha… alright… I;m going to the ladies for a bit… you guys chat…

As soon as Xuehua leaves the table, Billy whispered sharply at Belinda.

Billy : What the fuck !!.. are you mad ??

Belinda was unfazed. She tapped to the document in her hand and rattled off a quick summary.

Belinda : 50 year old Singaporean business man….hotel owner… bugged and video cam certain rooms to blackmail the guests, sometimes raping the girl.…there’s proof he is responsible for 2 disappearances….. I’m suppose to play a couple with Billy….by that it meant doing whatever it takes !!! …. Until we get a chance…to… Jeff is suppose to oversee everything….

I took 2 second to register what she just said.

Billy : errrr… okay…

Belinda : But I’m afraid I’m not attractive enough…. I might not be his type… He won’t show himself…he’s elusive…He’s always hiding…. But if he like what he sees….intel suggest he will drug the couple… then take the girl for himself… there’s intel to suggest he has 1 more Singaporean girl hidden away somewhere…

Belinda exhaled a long breath of air.

Belinda : He will surely like your girlfriend…she is so fucking hot! …all we need is for him to show up… that’s all.. you will be with Xuehua… what can happen ?? Billy and I will be in the next room…. He shows up…. I’ll do it… I have to do it with my own hands…

Jeff : No… I will not agree to this… I’m not putting Xuehua in harms way…. There is no room for discussion on this…… I am still on leave… I have yet to be certified…

Belinda whipped out a letter addressed to me.

It’s from Lynn.

Belinda : She’s going on her honeymoon…. Signed it in advance…. You’re cleared…

Jeff : I’m not getting Xuehua involved on this… Period… I’ll fucking kill you if she gets hurt…

Belinda : Many other people are getting hurt…. Right now… a mother is missing her daughter…she don’t even know if she’s alive or dead….

Xuehua came out of the washroom and I could see her walking towards us.

Belinda : please Jeff…. Take it as a short break…. It’s the easiest project Owen could find… Just lure him out…nothing bad can happen…

Xuehua : ok… are we done… when should I start packing ? ….

Belinda : He’s still considering……Always has a lot on his mind about things not going to plan.

Belinda gave a disappointed face, she can really act.

Xuehua : why ? … what is there to consider ? hahha. It’s just a trade show…. What can go wrong ?? hahaha.

Xuehua put her arm around me and added.

Xuehua : Alright… if you would excuse us… I have a date with my new boyfriend….which i just sort of got tricked into during a moment of weakness this morning hahaha… but I look forward to getting to know him… you all can talk work on Monday….

Xuehua turned and gave me a smile together with a raised eyebrow.

Xuehua : Yes ? …. Dear ? Please ? Baby ?

I exhaled with my nose and nodded.

I stood up and told Belinda and Billy before I leave with Xuehua.

Jeff : We discuss in detail…. 9am… Monday…. Book the flight …. we leave Tuesday morning…

…………………………………………………………….

 

I had quite a bit of things on my mind when I went down to the carpark with Xuehua.

Belinda is only holding onto a single stack of document. Doesn’t look very thick, base on experience, it should be a pretty straight forward job.
One that Owen deemed unnecessary to even brief me personally.

Before I could get over the project, I was faced with another trouble issue.

Waiting for Xuehua and I in the carpark is none other than Aaron.

Xuehua : What do you want…. Aaron ? …can you behave like an adult… for once…

Aaron : Sorry… I’m sorry… I was a little … agitated…but i… I really like you Xuehua… I can give you a good life…. You won’t even need to work anymore…. i..

Xuehua : Stop please…. You’re being rude, disrespectful and..and… oh god… I don’t want to continue this conversation…let’s go Jeff…

I walked past Aaron who looked visibly upset and he was glaring at me.

I shrugged my shoulders at him, giving him a ‘too bad for you’ look.

Xuehua walked on ahead to my car.

Aaron lost it and he threw a punch at me. I saw it coming and I ducked easily. He’s too slow. Both my hands were not even out of my pocket. Using my body, I bumped into Aaron hard enough to shove him back a step.
Missing that punch and getting shoved made him even more angry.

He grunted loudly and I saw Xuehua turned around, I relaxed my body and turned my head away, taking the punch to the back of my head.

Jeff : Ahhhhhh !!!,,, aiyah.. aiyah… !

Xuehua : Jeff !!! ..Aaron !!!

Xuehua ran towards me and she shove Aaron away.

Aaron : Xuehua… I….

I did not expect Xuehua to react that strongly. She tried to slap Aaron but has her wrist held onto by him.

Xuehua : let me go !!! arghhh !!

Aaron let go as Xuehua screamed and kick him in his shin.

He yelped in pain. After kicking Aaron, Xuehua helped me up and hurried me along.

Xuehua : let’s get out of here… !… I’m so sorry about that.

Jeff : It’s ok… it’s ok… I’m fine…

I could not resist smiling to myself. I can be such a fucker if I want to.

I got into the car and my heart sort of melted when Xuehua was fussing over me, asking if I’m ok.

Jeff : I’m fine… I’;m fine…. Just a knock….

I put the car into drive and I could tell she felt bad about dragging me into this situation.

As I pulled towards the carpark exit, I saw Leng trying to put more cable ties onto the carpark gantry again.

Xuehua : every week he got to redo one time…. haizz..

Jeff : The management needs to replace this…

Xuehua : A lot of lousy drivers here… every time replace, everytime will dropped off….

We pulled out of the carpark and I gave Leng a friendly wave.

I would have wanted to head out to town or something but I never expected Xuehua to want to do something totally out of the blue. She wanted to go grocery shopping.

Xuehua : Let buy stuff.. and… cook dinner ?

Jeff : Wow… can you cook ?

Xuehua gave me an irritated look as she directed me to a supermarket few streets away.

We chatted about what to get en route to the super market and it suddenly got me thinking.

If we were 10 years younger, the activities we would be doing should be quite different. I’m thinking of the clubbing, the drinks, parties and stuff but now that I’m turning 30, it feels kind of weird that my date with my girlfriend involves getting groceries and cooking them ourselves ?

Not that I mind 1 bit, we’re going to be going up to Xuehua’s place, and we all know what that means. 1 step closer to the bedroom.

She’s hot, I’ll be lying if I say I don’t want to fuck her but this goes beyond just the typical fuck and go I once go for. I want her for eternity.
Xuehua made me feel I’m selfish.

That I want her only for myself.

Heading to the supermarket, I grabbed a basket but Xuehua went for the trolley.

Jeff : Are we getting that much things ?

Xuehua : It’s easier to hold hands if we use a trolley…. You don’t want to hold my hand ?

She gave me a coy look before breaking into a chuckle.

Xuehua : Oh god…. I can’t believe I’m doing this… hahaha.. I think I’m too old for this dating thing…

Jeff : hahah . it’s ok… I like it… do it again…

She rolled her eyes and we started down the super market aisle.

All was good with the bantering and smiles until I got to the 3rd aisle.

I saw a familiar face looking at me.

I remember the faces I’ve seen and this is one I’ve seen often.

Standing at the end of the aisle looking at the nutrition information of a can of beans is one of Owen’s man.

I was immediately on alert as we slowly walk pass him.

He’s not here to follow me, if he is, he has failed even before he started.

I casually look left and right trying to check out the display of the canned food on promotion and our eyes met.

The man said nothing but he dropped the can he was holding together with some others that he accidentally knocked off.

The commotion and sound caught everyone’s attention within the vicinity.

Xuehua bent down to help and he thanked her. Another man turned the corner and while no one is looking, palmed me a note before walking casually down the aisle and out the supermarket.

Xuehua : those dented cans won’t sell for sure… haha… I have to come back on sale day to grab those… sure heavily discounted…

Jeff : You very auntie leh…

Xuehua : hahah.. you’re dating an auntie already…. How does that feel… ?

Jeff : Loving every moment of it….

Xuehua : Please…. Men all go for sweet young things….

Jeff : But you are a sweet auntie…

Xuehua made an attempt of trying to throw a packet of chips at me.

I kept the note in my pocket and continued shopping.
This is unlike Owen.

The nature of our work deals mostly with projects that are pre planned.
There’s hardly if any urgent stuff unless you are in the middle of a project.

I am not.

The one that I agreed to doesn’t start till Monday.

I was still thinking of asking Owen along for the planning.

Some major shit must be up if he needed to ask his men to get in touch with me this way.

He could have called, or text, but I probably would ignore him given what happened recently. I can be childish at times.

Turning my attention back to the shopping, Xuehua bought a dozen live oysters, a good cut of steak. Wine, chips, chocolate, and a whole watermelon. There’s also strawberries, kiwis and even a bunch of bananas.

Jeff : It’s just us 2 right…

Xuehua : yea..i’m a big eater… I thought I should tell you that upfront… hahah..

Jeff : I kind of know when I saw you stuffing yourself at Lynn’s wedding earlier…
Xuehua : hahahah….

Moving to the end of the supermarket, Xuehua picked up some toiletries.

She walked over to the sanitary pads section and I hung back a little with the trolley. While she was checking out her pads, I looked at the note Owen’s men passed me.

I cursed under my breath.

Fucking Owen.

He wants to meet at 5am the morning. In the Zoo.

The fucking Zoo.

As if that was not enough, the coded message included instructions to come masked.

I’ve only done a masked meetup before. When one of the ministers had to be present for the meeting with Owen and me.

A full balaclava, shades, cap, long sleeve top and pants.

It concealed my face alright but try walking around like this in the country and see how many steps you can take before you get arrested.

Knowing Owen, he would not ask me to things unless necessary.

I’m going to kick myself in the nuts if I Xuehua allowed me to spend the night only for me to sneak out before the morning.

Xuehua linked arms with me as we headed to the cashier. I offered to pay for the groceries but she would not have it.

Xuehua : I’m cooking… I’m hosting… you can do the next round….

The chauvinist in me wanted to insist on paying until I saw Xuehua open up her wallet.

A row of shimmering cards from gold to platinum, even the coveted black cards available only via invitation smiled at me.

Digging into the cash compartment, I could see at least 20 fifty dollar bills in there as she pulled out a few pieces to settle the bill.

Jeff : Do you always carry that much money around ?

Xuehua : don’t rob me ah… these are all I have for the rest of the month….

Jeff : Oh… you’re getting an allowance from Eddy ? from helping out at the stall…

Xuehua laughed as if I said something ridiculous.

Xuehua : don’t be silly… I’m helping him for free…. I’m just lazy to head to the ATM more than once a month…

Jeff : errr… ok…

As we groceries get bagged Xuehua added that she is nowhere as rich as Lynn is in case I’m wondering.

Xuehua : Lynn’s literally a princess…haha.. I’m no where as rich as her…so..you’re gonna have to work till you are like 65 or so I think… hahaha.

I smiled and said nothing.

We got to Xuehua’s place in no time and I checked out her unit up close. Her plants provided a wall of green, giving her the privacy she needs staying in such a compact development.

My heart beat a little faster as I watch the door opened up to reveal the interior of Xuehua’s house.

Jeff: You stay alone ?

Xuehua : yeah… don’t worry… Eddy’s not here.. hahaha..

Jeff : hahah ok…

Walking into her house feels like stepping into another world.

The warm coloured walls and the sound of water greeted me immediately when I step into that cosy abode.

The walls are filled with photos of Xuehua when she’s overseas. A nice comfortable sofa with cushions neatly arranged sat to the right on the living room. She does not have TV, what sat in the space meant for the TV cabinet and console is instead a easel for her painting.

There’s a white dining table meant for only 2. I guess she seldom have guests over.

She shut and lock the door behind and I helped her bring the food into the kitchen.

The kitchen is old school, with all the cabinets tucked onto 1 side of the walls, leaving the walkway clear.

Condiments and sauces were neatly arranged on the countertop and I could tell she cook often.

There are a variety of knives displayed on a magnetic board.

Jeff : Wow… this is a damm pro kitchen man….

Xuehua laughed and says it’s for display only.

Jeff : Do you know how to use all those knives ? all different ones you know.

Xuehua gave me a smirk and says she’s an expert.

Xuehua : Don’t try to be funny ok…. I know how to use them…hahah

She picked up a paring knife with a short blade, it’s great for intricate work, peeling fruits , deveining shrimps.

Xuehua : This 1…. Is call bao gao liao knife ( everything can do knife ) ….just right side for my hand… can cut, can chop… can do everything !!..

Jeff : ahaahahaha.

I laughed and she went on to pick up the one with serrated edge. It cuts cleanly though fruits and vegetables without tearing them, it’s good for bread and bagels too.

Xuehua : This 1…. Is a saw…. Meant for irritating boyfriends who bother me when I cook…

Jeff : hahaha

Xuehua picked up the cleaver.

Xuehua : This…. For zombie outbreak ..

I could not resist laughing as she gave me an irritated look and asked me to go to the living room and leave her alone.

I shook my head as I watch her deliberately use the cleaver to open up the plastic wrapping for the steak.

Jeff : Can i… check out your room…

Xuehua : sure…go explore on your own….

It’s a small and cosy 3 room flat.

I turned the corner towards the sleeping area and saw that Xuehua converted one room into her wardrobe space. The amount of clothes she has is staggering.

There are like dresses on the walls with plastic wrappings, stacks of neatly folded clothes on shelves. 2 of the 3 cupboards could hardly close it’s door fully.

Stacks of drawing pads are arranged neatly according to date on one side of a low shelf. A variety of pencils and brushes took the next half.

It’s mainly a storage room from what I can see.

I looked to the room opposite and I could hear the firing up of the gas cooker in the kitchen.

Xuehua’s room has a queen size bed taking up the centre of the room.

A small study table with her laptop plugged in and charging sat at the edge of the bed.

Without a wardrobe in the room, it’s actually quite spacious. I Saw 2 yoga mat on the floor, a kettle bell, some weights and resistance band. She does a bit of workout in the room.

I could smell the aroma of meat being grilled and I asked Xuehua if she wants to close the door to her rooms.

Xuehua : oh yes… please… and don’t stay inside…. I don’t want you messing with my lingerie… I’ve read online on sex forums what men like to do… hahaa

I laughed and shut the door to her bedrooms.

I helped to cut the fruits and set the table.

It didn’t take long before Xuehua finished the simple dinner in front of us.

A nice piece of steak garnished with fruits I cut. Looks colourful but weird but it’s cooked by Xuehua.

I cut the steak and tucked in, nodding in satisfaction at Xuehua who beamed proudly with a smile. It’s a good piece of marbled meat. You can’t get it wrong. Just need to watch the timing.

Jeff : It’s amazing… I love it..

Xuehua : really ? hahah…. Thank you !!.

Nothing out of the blue happened over dinner but I noticed something about the way Xuehua holds her knife. Each cut she made on the steak is precise, a single stroke, severing the small piece of protein from the steak.

Almost with surgical precision. Well, she’s was going to be a doctor.

Jeff : You hold your knife like a surgeon or something hahaha…

Xuehua : hellow…. What is with your fasciation with knives ? … are you a serial killer or something ? hahaha… would you rather I eat like this ??

She stuck her whole fork into the meat and brought it up to her mouth before taking a large bite, staining the sides of her lips with the fats of the meat.

Jeff : hahahah.. that’s disgusting… hahah..

She ignored me and chose to use her hands this time round. Holding onto the meat and taking another bite.

Xuehua : whatever… hahaha… I’m not as ladylike as many people think I am underneath…. Not to late for you to run now…

Jeff: Not gonna happen… hahaha…

I helped to wash the dishes before we settled into the sofa in the living room with anouth bowl of fruits.

There’s no TV, no radio, no distraction.

It was a chat over fruits, Xuehua started first, bringing me up to speed about her live so far. She skipped her entire childhood portion, choosing to start only at the part she first went to medical school.

The men she dated before, the assholes she came across.

Some people can just tell a story so well and Xuehua is just one of them. Relating her past seemed like she is narrating me into her life, at some points I even imagined myself inside her past, as if I’m right along side her.

We continued into the night and when the clock struck 11pm, Xuehua stretched at the sofa, her t-shirt riding higher and exposing her slim waist.

She exhaled and looked at me.

It’s as if she was dropping me a hint.

Not to get into bed but it’s late. Reading her body language, I knew this was a test of sort.

Am I going to just bulldoze and ask to stayover on the very 1st date or I know how to play the gentlemen game and bid my time ?

I have a feeling she is open to both but it’s too soon to make my move.

Jeff: Well.. it’s… late… I better make a move…

I could see a subtle sign of relief and affirmation from Xuehua.

Xuehua : hmm ok.. it’s pretty late…

She walked me to the door and waited for me to put on my shoes. She held onto the metal gate and I stood up to look at her.

That familiar seconds of hesitation from both of us is obvious.

We were both expecting it but since this being the first time, there is bound to be some awkwardness.

Jeff : Goodnight… Thank you for the dinner…

Xuehua : You’re welcome…

I decided to make the move and I leaned closer to Xuehua, she did not shy away. Her eyes darted shyly as she closed the rest of the distance and planted a kiss on my lips.

Xuehua : goodnight.. !

She shut the gate slowly and I could see she was waiting for me to say something.

Jeff : Are you doing anything tomorrow ?

Xuehua : NO! ..haha

I laughed and asked if I can pick her up at noon for lunch.

She nodded and wave me off before shutting the door.

I drove back home and picked out a change of clothes. After that I drove straight to the columbarium in Mandai, not too far away from the zoo.

Heading up to a niche with a fake picture, I checked my surroundings to make sure I’m alone.

I pushed the marble niche inwards and it snapped, the magnetic ball bearing catching the weight of the slab immediately. I pushed the side and it rotated, revealing an empty space where I kept some cash and a dagger.

It’s not my weapon of choice but it’s the closest stash I have to the meeting spot.

The meeting may be set at 5am but I’m not walking through the front door of the zoo.

I need a few hours to get to the spot.

The only reason why I need to mask myself is because there will be other people there. Not just Owen.

You can never be too cautious when it comes to stuff like this.

I went to another niche and pulled out a night vision goggle I smuggled into the country from Thailand. I checked the battery and it’s only 1/3 full. It’s been a while since I charged it. I got changed and left the columbarium

I parked my car along one of the small roads bordering Mandai road and lifted the bonnet up to give an impression that the car has broken down. I finished an entire bottle of water, 1.5 litres in all. It’s going to a while before I get to drink again.

Checking to make sure the coast is clear, I dove directly into the forested area bordering the zoo compound.

It’s going to at least a 2 hour walk by my estimate, I want to stake out the meeting place even before the time Owen scheduled.

This entire meeting stinks of trouble.

The moon is generous with it’s light piercing though the thinner part of the jungle and I proceeded slowly, stopping every minute or so to make sure I’m alone.

Aside from the sound of the jungle and the occasional scurrying of small mammals, it’s just me as far as I could tell.
3am.

I got to the perimeter of the zoo at 3am in the morning.

Recalling the map I downloaded before my trek, there’s still a distance before I get to the amphitheatre Owen wanted to meet. I could see the entrance of the Zoo from where I was, there were several cars parked at the entrance.

Using the night vision googles, I could roughly make out a few of Owen’s men.

Owen would have made sure the place is clear but I’m not walking through the front door.

I trust my instincts more.

I closed my eyes and tried to remember the animal enclosures I will be trespassing. The last thing I want to do would be to jump into the enclosure of a fucking lion or a tiger.

Even an angry hog would spell trouble for me. I popped in salt pills and washed it down with a sachet of isotonic drink in my pocket.

Checking my bearing on my compass once more, I started on my slow trek towards the meeting spot.

I reached the perimeter of the amphitheatre at 3.50am in the morning. My night vision googles is almost out of battery having used it more often within the zoo compound.

I found a spot I like and I got on my belly and waited. As far as I could see, there was no one else in the vicinity.

I pulled on my mask and my cap. Only my eyes are exposed.

I tried to slow down my breathing and I kept my ears open. The jungle did not sound right to me.

Having stayed in one for almost a year, I know the noises, the sound, the calls of the insects and nocturnal animals.

Something is off in the same forested area I am in.

It’s quiet.

Too quiet.

The animals know they are not alone.

There are predators near them.

I pulled out my dagger and stuck it into the soft ground in front of me.

The call of the insects came and went periodically. I could see a couple of marquees looking at me from a tree few steps away.

4.30am

The jungle got quieter, the crickets stopped singing for some reason.

My senses are on fire.

I could feel that weird sensation I get before a kill creeping into me.

I felt a tinge of fear.

I’m not alone.

There are predators and hunters among the darkness. It’s not just me.

Men like me.

Colleagues.

The excitement turned into anticipation as the clock ticked closer to the appointed time.

Owen made no attempt to be quiet. I could hear him even before he stepped into the amphitheatre. He walked right to the stage empty handed.

He looked around the empty structure but said nothing.

He simply leaned against a table and waited with his arms folded.

4.55am

Barely 5 minutes to the appointed time, there were absolutely no signs of anyone arriving.

Owen had his head down, looking at his feet with his arms still folded.

I checked my perimeter visually, I could not see anyone near me but I know I’m not alone.

4.59am

Owen stood up and stretched himself as he walked to the edge of the stage, looking at a still empty space.

5am

I watched Oven take out the same scanner from before and did a check on the outgoing signals in the area, satisfied that he’s alone, he kept the device and literally spoke into thin air.

Owen knows. He knows whoever he invited is already there. Just that none of us showed ourselves yet. His voice boomed loud in the quiet of the night.

Owen : I know you are all here…. None of you have ever been late before…

There was no response but it did not stop Owen from going on.

Owen : You must be wondering why I ask to meet so urgently…. And at this place… well…

Owen sighed and added.

Owen : An unprecedented crisis is upon us… and we need to response accordingly.

Not only am I listening to Owen, I had gotten up on my feet with my dagger in my hand. Every few seconds, I visually checked my surrounding again.

Owen : I know all of you have always worked alone…and none of you have ever failed…. Ever…

My heart started beating faster. Owen sounds a little worried. I could almost catch a hint of desperation in his voice.

Owen : There will be a project coming up….one we cannot afford to fail….the audit team has given their in principal approval but we are awaiting final approval documentations…..i just want to say we cannot afford to wait on this one…. The intel is time sensitive….when it’s time… we need to do it…. Approval or not…

Still faced with the chilly silence of the night, Owen went on, unfazed by a lack of reply.

Owen : Some of you have ongoing projects… some don’t…. those that do, I’m confident you can finish whatever you have on hand in a week or two…. Those that don’t , there will be none for you from now till the arrival of this project I am talking about.

Owen went on to say that he has never forced us to take on a project we are not willing to.

Owen : I have never forced anyone to take up a project you don’t want to…. Never have…. And I never will….it’s still your choice to make…you are still free to choose….

Owen jumped off the stage and started his way up the steps slowly.

Owen : Target is female. A terrorist. She might have an assistant… we don’t know…

Owen stopped at the 2nd tier of the amphitheatre.

Owen : The bonus for this project is 470k…..each…

What the fuck

I was starting to doubt what I just hear when Owen repeated it again.

Owen : 470… each…regardless how many of you decide to do it together….as long as the target is eliminated….intel suggest target carries about 1.6Mil in various currencies for funding purposes…. Split those… keep it… whatever… I don’t care…

That’s almost half a million in bonus. This is crazy.

The highest bonus I’ve receive so far is just shy of 110.

Owen : I know some of you are thinking of quitting…. This project…together with what you have from previous engagements…. Should set you up properly…. A new life…if you wish to that is….. your choice… I won’t stop you….

This is definitely a tempting proposal.

I’ve stashed away close to 2million during the course of my work. This project could be the golden handshake before I stop for good.

Owen : As I said before…. I say it again now….your choice…. I’m not forcing you..

I looked around the amphitheatre, there are still no signs of anyone around.

It’s as if Owen is talking to the air.

Owen took a deep breath and he said nothing, as if he was giving whoever is listening the time to think and consider.

At least 3 minutes of silence followed before Owen spoke again.

And when he did, all the hair on the back of my neck stood on it’s end.

Owen : Iron ….. ?

My heartrate went up a notch as I saw the black figure of my colleague step out from the shadows on the other side of the amphitheatre.

Owen turned to look at him, clad in the same manner as I am, a full face mask and a hoodie over his head, Iron said nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

He simply nodded.

I’ve heard of his reputation. Iron is a hard striker. He once punched a man to death.

Owen called out another familiar name.

Owen : Raptor ?

I tightened the grip on my dagger as another figure stepped out from the shadows barely 30 feet away from me. He was so close, yet I’m not even aware of him.

Raptor is an old hand in this game, having started earlier than I did. He’s fast. Owen once told me he did 3 projects in 3 days.

Raptor stepped out with his hands in his pants pocket. His black balaclava had black spiked studs near the head.

I could see that nod as well. A nod without a word.

Another name.

Another call sign.

Owen : Gourmet ..?

The figure appeared at the top of the amphitheatre, coming down the steps with a swagger like a boss.

Gourmet was once known as Urchin, but he changed his callsign after a project.

His target was a serial rapist who terrorised a preschool, at least 6 toddlers were sexually violated by the target I one of the biggest cover up in the country.

Gourmet hunted the rapist down and kept him alive for 6 months, ignoring Owen’s repeated orders to kill him.

He cut pieces off that fucker and fed it to him, the meat from his own body being the only subsistence for half a year before Gourmet finally choked him to death with his own intestine.

Word is that the 1st clean-up crew vomited and had to be replaced by the 2nd crew barely 30 minutes into the job. For the 1st time ever in the history of the company, 2 crew had to rotate in a clean up for a mess left by the gourmet.

The gourmet gave a slight bow in a dramatic way like what a stage actor would and nodded his head as well.

Still, Owen did not stop.

Owen : Butcher..

I heard the rustling of leaves to my right and the large build of the butcher came into view.

His name alone left nothing much to imagination. I could see clearly the meat cleaver strapped to his left thigh.

Butcher is a vegetarian according to Owen. He is violent, has a short temper and the clean up crew always had difficulty accounting for all the body parts after he’s done.

Butcher nodded and he was the only one that spoke.

His voice boomed low in the quiet of the night.
He has a voice that would surely give kids nightmare if they hear it.

Butcher : Let me guess the last one…. Hahahha.

Owen nodded.

Looking around the amphitheatre, as if trying to guess where I am, Owen finally called out to me.

Owen : Hibiki…

I got up and stepped out into the light.

All eyes were immediately on me.

HIbiki, the one holding the coveted top spot in the organisation. I could smell the bloodlust in the air.

The ego, the ambition, and the allure of being the best at what we do. Among the looks of admiration my colleagues gave, I detected the urge, that need to be better.

The need to be the best.

Butcher : hahahhaha….. Hibiki……finally…. We meet….

I stood about 10 steps away from Owen and he waited for my reply.

I felt a certain excitement in my veins.

One I cannot describe. I felt like an animal.

How apt given the location we are in.

Owen did not choose the spot randomly. He choose it because he wanted the animal inside all of us.

And he has 5 of the worst predators the country has bread right in front of him.

I wanted to consider longer, I have questions, questions that needed answers but the animal inside me made the decision for me.

I nodded without a word and Butcher’s low laugh filled the amphitheatre with his hollow echo.

I have only 1 question on my mind.

What kind of prey justify the need for so many predators like us ?
………………………………………….

Owen : alright… I’ll be in touch with you all…. The armoury will be open.. for your own equipping….schedule your dates with operator…

No one said anything and we all just looked at Owen.

The armoury has never been opened to us before. Previously when we needed or wanted something, there are forms to fill in, someone needed to sign off on it.

Owen will give you shit about why you need something like that, but this.

This is interesting.

An open armoury.

Butcher : hahahaha….are you high on drugs Owen ? hahhaha…

Butcher’s hearty laugh filled the amphitheatre again.

Owen : No.. there are no restrictions on what you can get….but the responsibility is yours…you get caught with it…outside project execution period…. You bear the responsibility….

Butcher took a seat and leaned back on his large arms.

Butcher : Interesting.. this is really interesting… hahah… hahaha… you looked afraid Owen….are you ??

Owen ignored the question and continued.

Owen : Take what you need…but there’s no guarantee that you can use them…. It depends on where the project will take place…. The target must die… period…

Butcher : hahahha… you are…. Afraid…so are the rest of the mother fuckers standing around… ahhaha… no one spoke a word… hahaha….

Iron spoke next, breaking the silence he kept.

Iron : Are we allowed to kill each other….if someone gets too noisy…. And affects the project…?

Butcher : What the fuck….. what did you just say ?? !!

His cleaver came out immediately off the side of his thigh and he stood up.

Butcher : go ahead and try….i’ll fuckng carve a steak out of you…. Maybe gourmet will digest some of that iron in your blood … hahahaha…

Iron’s hand appeard from behind his back and I could see 2 customised knuckle duster on him.

It has a stabbing blade on one end. You could punch and slice your way out of any situation with that.

Butcher : come on you dick !! those knifes are meant for a girls’ play pen !!!

Owen : Enough !!

I have never seen Owen lose his temper before.

Butcher shook a middle finger at Iron and settled back down on his seat. He grumbled to himself, his voice resembling the growl of an animal.

Owen is always calm, composed. He did not even lose his temper back then when I think he should have with the incident with Kenneth.

He is the kind of man to plan, to think through stuff, strategize, then execute. He has some of the best killers in the country working for him.

There is really nothing much that can scare him if you put things in perspective.

Owen : I know this is a bad idea for all of you to be working together… but this is important… this is the first… and probably the last time….get it done… and don’t fucking kill each other in the process…. That’s a fucking order…

Raptor spoke next. His voice calm and strong. Like that of a newscaster. In fact, I think he has a good voice. He can easily be a voice talent, or a DJ, maybe even a singer if he wanted to.

Raptor : Do you have more information… about the target… that you can share…

Owen took a few moments to consider before nodding his head.

Owen : Aiko Hattori …. Japanese….34 years old…. Wife of Hiro Hattori….

Gourmet could not resists holding back any longer.

Gourmet : Japanese ? ….. really ?

Owen : yes… are you expecting someone from Afghanistan …. Or Iraq ?? Please don’t stereotype people with extremists ideas….they come from all over, regardless of race, language or religion….

Butcher : hahah… they are not here to build a democratic society that’s for sure…

I laughed. I could not believe he just said that shit.

Jeff: hahha..

Butcher turned and looked at me before pointing his large hand at me.

Butcher : Now….. that is one motherfucker with a sense of humour….. I can work with him…hahah

I tipped my cap towards him and he did the same.

Iron : We’re only going for the wife ? … what happened to the husband ?

Owen : Hiro has been taken care of 3 weeks ago….by another colleague of ours…Barbwire…

Barbwire. An up and coming newbie with only 3 years under his belt but he is rising fast through the rankings. 3 years and he already has 6 kills to his name. I know Owen likes him, he’s eager to learn, follows instructions and after years of dealing with jaded old birds like us, it’s fresh to have someone listening to your every word.

Owen : Barbwire took care of Hiro… and I sent him to go after Aiko…. He never returned…he’s gone quiet for more than 2 weeks…. He’s probably dead…

The silence went on longer than it was comfortable.

Being told that a colleague died while going after Aiko is hardly reassuring news.

Raptor : Aiko … what can you tell us about her… ? is she formal military… does she work for the Japanese government…. In a different capacity….?

Owen : No… Aiko is a housewife…

Gourmet : Really…. A Japanese housewife…..

Owen : Yes…

Gourmet : A Japanese housewife…. That is a terrorist… really…. This is a new JAV plot ?

Butcher laughed, clutching onto his stomach and pointed to Gourmet this time round.

Butcher : I like that…. But I’m not having any meals with you…. You’re disgusting… ahhhhaa….

Gourmet : My meals are works of art… yours just grows out of the ground….

Butcher : hohoh… hahaha.. hohohhahah…

Owen : Aiko is a teacher….at an international preschool…..Hiro, her husband, use to work for us ….

Raptor : What ? he is one of us ?

Owen : Not in the same capacity as what you all do…. Hiro works in the logistics arm of the company…..we conduct regular checks on all employees… and discovered some irregularities with Hiro…. We probed further… and opened a can of worms… that’s all I can share with regards to Hiro….

Owen went on to say that Hiro passed on information and materials to his wife. Information and materials that can cause a lot of damage.

Owen : She knows we killed Hiro…. She’s hiding now…

Raptor : Any idea where ?

Owen : We’re trying to find her…. A lot of resources are being dedicated to this project…. We know she has help….we don’t know from who….if not, there’s no way we are unable to find her…..whoever that is helping her…knows what they are doing…

I asked my first question.

One that made everyone turned to look at me.

Jeff : Does Hiro and Aiko have kids ?

The hesitation on Owen’s end told us the answer. Everyone could see it.

His expression, the pause as he tried to search for the right words.

Butcher : woah…. I don’t do kids…. Sorry boss…

Iron : Boss…. What’s the play on this… everyone on site has to go ??

Gourmet : It’s ok…. I do everyone… all of us are just pieces of meat once our heart stops beating…

Raptor : I’ll do it…. I’ll make it fast….and painless…

Gourmet : hey…. Are you trying to say I’m slow ?

Raptor : No… but you like to take your time…

Gourmet : hahah….

Butcher : And I thought I was the sick one….

Jeff : How many ?

Owen looked at me and when he finally replied, I could see the hesitation on everyone’s faces.

This complicates everything.

Owen : a 4 year old girl…. And she’s 4 months pregnant…

Iron : you got to be fucking kidding me….

Iron gestured to everyone in the amphitheatre.

Iron : You are sending us…to go after a pregnant woman…and a kid….

Butcher : I think I’m going to be sick….

Owen : I already said…. It’s unprecedented …you are still free to walk away…

Raptor : who is the one helping her ? her organisation ?

Owen : From what we could gather so far, Hiro is working alone on this…. There are no major organisations involved… none of the usual suspects…

Jeff : What is Hiro planning for ?

Owen : I’m afraid I can’t share that….

Owen took a look at his watch and said he needed to head to the airport.

Owen : I have a flight to catch… can I give you all a lift to the front door….? Or you want to fucking go back the way you came…..

Pointing to Gourmet , Owen chided him for taking a baby monkey.

Owen : Give that fucking monkey back to it’s mother…

Gourmet ; How could you possibly know that… ?

Owen : It’s going to fucking give you ebola virus or something…

Gourmet : I never said I was going to eat it…

Owen : Put it back… fuck

I could hear the hissing of brakes of the tram arriving at the top of the amphitheatre. Owen started to make his way up. No one moved, each trying to see what the other would do.

I was tired, drenched in perspiration, I don’t mind a lift to the front gate.

When the others saw me heading up, the followed suit.

No one sat together. Owen went to sit beside the driver while the rest of us chose a section each. The tram started moving and we got to the entrance in a couple of minutes.

I got off and I could see Owen’s car waiting for him.

A staff of his handed him a brown project folder.
He took a look inside and pulled out a few photographs.

Owen handed out the photographs of Aiko and Hiro together with their daughter.

He was holding onto 3 different photographs and I was a little late to gather in front of him.

He gave out all 3 of the photos. I adjusted myself discreetly as the rest of my colleagues gathered to look at the pictures of the family and committing them to memory. I positioned myself behind Owen, pretending to look over at the gathered group while my eyes shifted to the folder he was holding.

Jeff : Any more ?

Owen opened the folder to check for more photos and my eyes did a quick scan of what I can see. Information gathering is all about being sharp at the right time. My eyes took a quick snapshot of what is in front of me as my mind slowly processed it.

I could see the project number . 331390. There were sheets of reports and texts, some black and white photos of a industrial area and a car. I can’t make out the car plate number. All the sheets of paper are loose sheets, unlike the ones we usually received that are properly binded by sections.

The folder is new, hardly any creases, nothing out of the ordinary.

Owen shut the document and looked back towards me as if he had a feeling I was looking at him but I was faster.

I already orientated myself away and I had my hand out towards Butcher, gesturing for him to let me take a look at the photographs.

Owen : No… no more photos… on my end…

I looked at the family portrait.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with questions but no one said anything.

Hiro and Aiko look like your average middle income family trying to make a living.

Still I should not generalise people’s thinking and behaviour with their looks.

Looks can be deceiving.

We all know that.

We handed the photographs back to Owen after passing it around.

Owen : I’ll be in touch once I have their locations…. It’s going to take a while…. Rest up… get ready….

With that, he got into his car and it disappears promptly down the winding road.

I started walking away and so did the rest of my colleagues except Gourmet. He went back into the zoo but not one cared.

It took me an hour to get back to the car. I kept my equipment back at the niche at the columbarium and went back home.

After a hot shower, I put in a call to the operator. The sun is already up that Sunday morning.

Belinda took a while to answer my call. Technically operators are not on standby unless there is an ongoing project.

Belinda : Operator… zzz…

Jeff : It’s me…

Belinda : I know… what’s up…

Jeff : I have authorisation to access the armoury…

Belinda : huh … really ? …. Alright… let me check and get back to you…. Time and location ?

Jeff : Rifle range road….9.30am

Belinda : ok… I’ll call you back..

The armoury we use do not have a fix location. It’s mobile.

The reason why we don’t use a centralised location is because Owen does not want some overly zealous staff that wants to start a massacre to raid the armoury.

Having these amounts of sensitive stuff in a fix location is also hard to explain if it gets discovered by other agencies. Most of the weapons have their serial numbers filed off, some are confiscated off the projects we do.

I shut my eyes for a bit of rest and it was 20 minutes before Belinda calls me back.

Belinda : ok. 9,.30 Rifle range road…. It’s… not for the Korea job right…. We need to take a plane you know…

Jeff : No.. it’s not…

Belinda : Ok… see you tomorrow in office… today is my last day as your operator by the way…. Tomorrow I will..

I hung up without waiting for Belinda to finish and looked at the time.

It’s coming to 8am.

I took a quick nap before making my way towards the location agreed.

9.30am

I was leaning against my car by the side of the forested area when I saw the truck come towards me. Disgusted as a mover’s truck, the armoury switches location every week. The driver is a 60 year old man, Gerald, with his son Callum, as his assistant.

A legit shell company’s moving contacts and advertisement are plaster on the exterior in bright yellow letterings. Owen uses the company for logistics purposes and of course, to process cash seized from individuals who no longer need them. The cover is perfect. How many times have you seen mover trucks along on the road everyday when you drive ?

No one bothered to question what is in them. Probably someone moving to a new house.

No one gives a fuck.

From what I know, the armoury position is passed down from father to son. Gerald is the 2nd generation to take over. That hardest part of their job is to look away and keep their mouth shut. It’s a cushy job, pays well, most of the time you are free to do anything you want.

The truck parked at the agreed spot and I walked up to the passenger side of the truck.

Jeff : Do you have a street directory I can borrow brother ?

I was handed one and I flipped it to the page and pointed the location which would identify myself to the father and son.

I’ve only seen Gerald a couple of times and it was several years ago.

Callum : let me help you check the GPS…

He fiddled with a machine the size of a credit card reader. He nodded his head and got out of the truck.

He opened up the back of the truck and I climbed up to face a wall with 3D painting of boxes. From far and at a quick glance, it would look just like a delivery truck if anyone looks in.

I keyed in my passcode at the keypad on the side and one of the panels slid open.

Stepping into the hidden compartment of the truck, I stepped into a toy shop, for adults that is. Unlike the fancy interior of a Hollywood production, the interior of the 25 feet moving truck is pretty bare.

There’s a row of screens on the wall showing the concealed camera views covering 360 degrees of the truck’s exterior. I could see Gerald and Callum pretending to check on the wheels of their truck.

If anyone passes by, they would look as if they are checking on their vehicle.

There are no rows of guns sitting on racks with pretty LED lighting. Almost everything is kept within the rows of drawers & cabinets that are custom made and bolted to the floor.

I went to the drawer with the revolvers and helped myself to 2 of them. A Sig sauer with suppressor & one more Chinese made QSZ-92.

I put them into a black bag I pulled from a tray.

I checked the bin in the truck and I saw something in it.

I pulled it up and saw it’s the wrapping for a brand new assault rifle, the manufacturer’s sticker still intact. The oil from the rifle still dripping from the bag.

The trash is cleared at the end of every say.

This meant someone ahead of me just grabbed a big fucking gun. I skipped the knives drawer and I opened the rest of the drawers. The locks on them area all electronic, controlled by the server offsite.

Some drawers will remain lock, it really depends on what kind of access you are granted.

I was surprised to find so many unlocked. The handguns, the automatic weapons, assault rifles. Even the explosives drawer is open.

I could not believe this. Owen basically opened the armoury up for us to get everything we need.

I went to the explosives drawer and whistled when I pulled it out.

That drawer is always locked. I’m talking military grade stuff right there.

Well, Christmas came early, no harm stocking up on some stuff. Others would do it too.

I picked out a coil of detonating cord, and a box of detonator. I grabbed a few primers and took a crimping tool.

I tried the bottom drawer where the electronics are kept but it’s locked.

It’s ok, I can still set these fireworks off manually. I grabbed a coil of safety fuse and added it into my bag.

I’m probably going to bring both my knives and a gun to this project just to be safe. One of our colleagues is missing.

The rest of the stuff I’m taking is more for my own collection.

You never know when you will need them.

You must be wondering what my plan is.

Will I really be able to kill a pregnant woman with her child ?

Honestly I don’t know but I know some of my colleagues would do it.

All I needed to do was to tag along, and go through the motion, and tagging along meant almost half a million in bonus.

This my friend, is call working smart.

Someone makes the kill, I take the money. They can have the kill count, they can have the top spot if they want. I’m already thinking of retirement before I fucked up my head any further.

I was about to walk out of the truck when I saw the only full height cabinet in the truck with it’s door slightly ajar. I tried to close the door but the timber door has warp slightly, it wouldn’t close properly.

I opened it and saw a full row of body armour. Made out of aramid fibres, it has 5 times the tensile strength of steel. It’s a good light weight armour against handgun calibre projectiles.

I’ve tried being shot wearing one before during training. It still hurts like hell and I had the bruises for almost 2 weeks. It literally knocked the air right out of my lungs and I was left gasping like a fish out of water on the floor as my instructor laughed at me.

I thought about it for a moment. This will probably make me look weak. Butcher will probably laugh at me if he sees Hibiki walking into the project with a body armour on.

Fuck this. I grabbed one and added it to my stash.

He can laugh and tease all he like.

I’m not getting shot in the back on my last job. What’s an extra few KG to me when I’m not doing the heavy lifting ? Just hang back a little and relax.

I’ll happily retire with Xuehua after that, get a private property, rent it out for income and takes things easy. Just the thought of it is making me excited already.

I exited the truck after making sure the surroundings are clear on the screens in the truck.

I kept the stuff I took in my car and I gave Gerald a thumbs up.

He nodded and gave me a wave.

I drove out of the small road and made my way to the pawnshop in Chinatown.

By the time I deposited everything in my cabinet, it was almost noon time and for my date with Xuehua.

I’m looking forward to see her.

Xuehua was already dressed and waiting in her living room when I got there.

Dressed in a white dress with white canvas shoes, she looked so pure and seductive that day.

Xuehua : I’m trying to go for the student look….

Jeff : Yeah ?… the canvas shoes works..

Xuehua : Really ? hahaha

She lifted up the back of her shoe and showed me a friendship band that had sunk below her ankles.

Xuehua : See… friendship band ok… don’t play play…hahaha

Jeff : Wow… definitely have that 90s school girl feeling…

She laughed and we linked arms and left the house.

What followed was a relaxing and enjoyable Sunday out in the suburbs.

We text Lynn to wish her well on her banquet day since we don’t plan on attending that. There’s too many colleagues invited and I hate to think what Butcher’s voice would do to my appetite.

Time seemed to fly by when I’m with Xuehua. The more time I spend with her, the more convinced I am that she is the one for me.

How do you decide whether you will get along with someone ?

Simple, just see if your values are aligned.

Values define us more than we realise.

We have similar views towards money, life, the society.

Xuehua’s ideal retirement is a quiet place, out of the fast pace city where she can draw and paint.

I’m not a painter but I want out of this city as well.

Singapore will always be my home, but I know moving to a place with a slower pace of life will be better for my overall well being.

I told Xuehua about my childhood, how my mother died during birth.

Something I have never once revealed to any of my short lived relationships. I was lying down on her thighs and just looking up at the evening skies when I told her about my day dreams as a kid while cloud gazing.

Xuehua brushed aside my hair and she just looked at me with the sweetest smile ever.

Xuehua : My parents… passed away in a car accident…. The driver….was in a truck…. Trying to get her wife who was bleeding to the hospital….

She told me the driver was worried about his wife and the child inside her tummy. He sped, and he ran a red light.

Jeff : I’m sorry to hear that…

A teardrop landed on my face but her smile remained.

Xuehua : He survived…. His wife and child didn’t…. I was angry… so angry… not at him but at myself….

Jeff : Why ? … it’s not your fault…

She shook her head.

Xuehua : I was angry why I was not in that car that day… we could have gone off as a family…

Jeff : Don’t say that… I wouldn’t be able to meet you if you were in that car…

Xuehua laughed.

We went to a coffee shop for bottled drinks, and ordered fried crispy squids from the seafood stall.

There is absolutely no airs whatsoever for Xuehua.

Her cheerful personality is infectious.

Within 30 minutes of us sitting down at that coffee shop, she was bantering with the table of old uncles drinking beside us.

Laughter hardly stopped and the drinks kept coming.

By the time I sent Xuehua back at 11.30pm that Sunday night, we were a little tipsy from drinks and we were giggling most of the time.

There were no hesitation when we kissed outside her gate. The moment I felt the cold tease of that tongue stud, I think I wet myself as my tongue shivered in Xuehua’s mouth.

It’s the first time I’ve kissed a girl with a tongue stud. The feeling, that sensation, the raw taste of metal, the tapping against my teeth.

My erection could almost imagine that same tongue on it.

Our bodies pressed against each other as we explored the interior of each other’s mouth.

Xuehua : erngh… shit….is this too fast…. Are we going to fast…

Jeff : No… I don’t think so… it’s just nice for me…

Xuehua laughed and we continued kissing outside her door.

When we finally pulled away, our foreheads connected and we laughed.

I knew I was almost getting there.

If I asked for it, she would allow me to go in.

And once I’m in, there’s nothing to stop us form fucking each other’s brains out.

Xuehua : should we…..or save it…. For the Korea trip ? … hahaha

I laughed as she put her arms around my neck, kissing me against. I hugged her waist, bringing her body tightly against mine.

Jeff : I’m a man…. You should know the answer before you even asked… hahha..

Xuehua : Tsk !…

She gave me another kiss, panting hot air into my face.

Xuehua : couple more days then… hahah…. Something to look forward to ?? hahahah… aside from work…

Jeff : haha… couple more days it is then… hahah..

We parted ways after I made sure she locked her gate and door.

15 July 2013

Monday

8.30am

I was already at my desk when Billy came in with Belinda in tow.

Belinda : alright… shall we get started ?? !!

She looks excited.

We spent an hour going through the primary plan. It’s a simple job.

Belinda told me Owen has gone through it and made some adjustment to her proposal so it’s all good.

Belinda : He’s in Thailand this few days… by the time he’s back, we should be done with this…

The plan is simple.

The 20 room hotel is located a few stops away from the city centre. Intel suggests that when we check in, the staff will decide which room we will be assigned to.

Billy : I’m pretty sure they will give you and Xuehua the…. Erm…. Special room….

I gave Billy a middle finger as he went on.

Billy : They have only 2 staff…. Owner, Ricky, won’t show unless he sees a target he is interested in.

Preliminary investigations suggest that they will drug the girls or couples they are interested in, usually by means of a complimentary bottle of alcohol or pastries like cakes.

Belinda : We got the construction drawings of the hotel, the 2 rooms here and here…. Has a false wall that connects to the freight elevator behind it…. We suspect owner will either rape the girl in the room when she’s passed out, or bring her to his basement…I know you don’t want to use Xuehua as bait but she’s the fastest way we can draw Ricky out….

Before I could say anything, Belinda quickly added.

Belinda : He will never even get to touch her….all we need… is for him to show up… come out of hiding…. And it’s all over…. You will be there with her… every step of the way…. He’s won’t even be able to smell the scent with Hibiki in the room…

I wanted to speak but she cut me off again.

Belinda : We booked the entire hotel…..the rest of the rooms bulk blocked by a shell tour company…. Only we will be there… tour group will be delayed… they will not show…the suspected girl in the basement…. We just need to get her, deliver her to the embassy and our job is done…. Simple… very simple…

Billy : Hardest part is probably you doing it with your own hands…

I was about to give my take when I froze.

My eyes saw something peculiar.

Taking my silence as consent, Belinda asked if we could call it a day so she can go get ready.

Belinda : Ok ? Boss Hibiki ?

Jeff ; Huh…. Er.. yea yea…whatever…

I was lost in my thoughts as I tried to rationalise what I just saw.

Belinda : great… see you guys at the airport tomorrow… i’ll go talk to Xuehua for he details to get tickets for her if its ok with you Jeff…

Jeff : Huh.. oh… yea yea yea… sure sure.. thanks…

When the door shut behind her, I turned to Billy.

Jeff : You have a soft copy of project documents right ?? ….

Billy : Yeah…. I’m always the soft copy person….

I asked Billy to open it on his terminal.

Billy : What’s up ?

Jeff : Open it….

Billy : What are you looking for ?

Jeff : what’s the project number for this ?

Billy : Hmmmm…. Here.. 331390… buying toto or 4D ?

Impossible.

I felt my heart skip a beat as I asked Billy to scroll down to the project budget.

Billy : Hmm… ok…. Here…budgeting….and… woah…what the fuck…

My throat felt dry as I stared at the figures.

Contingency allocation.

It’s almost 3 million.

Billy : There must be a typo…. Bonus for this type of job averages 45 to 68k… that’s catered for under this section here…. Woah… what the fuck….

The budget for this is way higher than the jobs we’ve done. 5 times the amount.

Jeff : go to the audit tab

Billy : err… ok…here…. All in order… approved… Ricky’s a fucking asshole… he deserves to die… I think probably Owen trying to move money around…. He does stuff like that sometimes…

Jeff : Approval date for this….? When did the Audit team start looking into this…

Billy : wow… this started almost 3 months ago… and only now then he assigns it out…. Quite unlike Owen to sit on stuff like this….. ok… I see.. here… look… this date… when another girl goes missing…. Probably wanted more information before acting… everything ok ?? no one ever looks at this section of the documents… why the sudden interest ??

Jeff : Audit approval…. Who approved it ?

Billy : let me see….here… Hiro Hattori….he approved it…. Last week… why are we looking at all these again ??

Jeff : Nothing… just curious….

I went back into my room as the revelations of what I just uncovered slowly sank into me.

Owen’s trying to piggy ride another project on this. Hiro is already dead.

My heart started beating faster. Something is wrong. Very wrong.

I opened my office door and I shouted across to Billy

Jeff : Staff details… how many are Japanese working for the company.. ?

Billy : oooohh…hahaha… there are a few hot ones…hahah… let me see…6… all permanent residents… been here for more than 10 years…with the company for at least 7…

Jeff : ok… thank you…

My mind is in a mess. I don’t know what to make of this.

Owen is trying to pass something off right under our noses.

Billy knocked on the door and I gestured for him to come in.

Billy : Bro… you ok ? … you looked worried…

Jeff : err.. no.. nothing… just… ermm worried about Xuehua that’s all…

Billy : Bro,,,Ricky is 50,… did a double bypass last year… barely survived a heart attack… you would probably scare him to death… don’t worry…

Jeff : Yeah… ok…

Billy was about to close the door when he popped his head back in.

Billy : Oh… if you are interested in the Japanese babes… hahah… ask Dr Lynn for a intro… ahhaa….. she’s close with all of them…

Jeff : what ?

Billy : Yeah… she knows I’m single… ahahah… tried to hook me up… haha… I have my eyes set on one…I mean just in case Xuehua doesn’t work out for you hahaha…

Billy shut the door and I tried to calm my thoughts down.

The puzzle is in pieces.

Nothing fits.

Nothing conclusive so far.

Nothing fucking make sense to me.

As far as I know, Owen is trying to pull something off. He’s trying to get rid of Aiko and I want to know why.

I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on it’s end as I opened the door and walked out so fast that it gave Billy a shock.

Billy : Wah… what’s wrong with you…

Jeff : Does Lynn speak Japanese ?

Billy laughed as if I said something stupid.

Billy : what are you talking about hahha..? ….. Dr Lynn’s mother is Japanese… it’s her mother tongue…

………………………………………

 

………………………………………

I blinked a couple of times before turning away.

The pieces started to fall but they are not falling into place. In fact, it’s all over the place. Something still feels off about this.

Lynn is no terrorist.

Yes, she speaks Japanese, she’s a doctor. If I’m a pregnant woman with a child, she would be the one I would go to. She’s the prime suspect.

Let’s not forget she’s the company’s doctor.

Many staff go to her. Being able to speak Jap is a plus point as well.

I would choose to go to someone who speaks my language as well if I’m working overseas. Hiro was a senior executive with the company, Aiko would have access to the benefits he enjoys in terms of medical care.

No way. Not possible.

The man Lynn married, the people her husband deals with. He would have made sure she is clean. Cleaner than clean.

How else are you going to have the prime minister at your wedding otherwise ?

Lynn just got married. She’s going to go for her honeymoon. She’s rich, practically a modern day version of a princess, Why would she get involved with something like this ? Her views are never on the extreme ends of the spectrum.

She is like a sister to me. If she has any ill intent to anyone, I would have been the first one to detect it. Unless she is really that good at hiding it.

And if it’s true, would her husband be able to see through it ?

If he’s blinded by love and we hurt Lynn, it’s going to be a clash beyond proportion.

Men like him don’t do subtle.

They don’t know the art of being subtle.

They are like bulldozers with big guns. They’ll fucking mow everything down in their path, then shoot you again.

The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced I’m wrong. This cannot be.

I’m looking at this from the wrong angle.

This is fucked up. I could feel the area around my jaws going numb and I massaged it a couple of times as I looked out the window and onto the streets below.

Jeff : Billy… go back to the audit approval…. Only the head of departments are authorise for the final sign off … am I right ? what is the structure like within Audit ?

Billy : I’m pretty sure they covered this during orientation…

Jeff : I’m pretty sure we went through different orientation…

Billy : Ehh… ok….what’s wrong with you today man…. ? yes… only head of departments ….. Finance, Operations and logistics…. They are all within the Audit umbrealla……It’s usually the head of operations that signs off…..A lady call…. Ermm… Ailing… Finance and logistics head, they do it too, very rare, mostly to cover of Ailing if she’s not around…

Billy searched the server for a one page infographic given to new employees during orientation.

Billy : Owen’s own team of operators will submit proposals and information gathered to the Audit team….. then it gets passed through the various departments, clearing each level of checks….

Billy pointed to the chart and say that Operations first make sure of the accuracy of the information, then it goes over to logistics.

Billy : logistics checks through the preliminary proposal Owen submitted and makes sure the movement of resources and manpower are available…. This includes the shortlisted agents like you…. Usually 3… They coordinate not only the clean up crew , they are also the people helping to pull the strings with local law enforcements, so everyone knows when to look the other way if this is an authorised hit.…. If you know what I mean….

Billy told me that the agents Owen proposed for the project are screened before hand to make sure they are not connected to the target.

Billy : Distant relatives…. Same surnames…. clan associations….ex lover…. Puppy love in secondary school….. Logistics make sure agent proposed will not complicate the job….. if project requires travelling, like ours… to Korea…. Logistics team are also the one coordinating with the Embassy staff in Korea…. To let them know there will be a team of operators coming in…..

Jeff : I see….

Billy : Finally… finance has to give the green light of course…. Then we get the sign off to proceed.

Jeff : any of the 3 head of department can sign off ?

Billy : yeah….. as long as it’s been cleared by all 3 departments… just need either one of the 3 signatures….i’ve never been inside the office but I know how it is laid out base on some old construction drawings I’ve seen.

Imagine 3 horizontal lines of work stations, on one end is a meeting table for 6. On the other, is the desk for the head.

Billy : The desks of the HOD are aligned such that they are a couple of meters away from each other. ….. open concept office…. Everything in there is confidential and all staff are cleared even before going in…. there’s no need for more rooms…

Jeff : What if say…. You skip a department…and the head of department still decides to sign off ?

Billy : hahahah… bro… you fever ah… hahaha…. No way la…. Got processes, due diligence … we only short of ISO only ok… hahah..

Jeff : so say Finance clears the last hurdle, why not the finance chief sign off, since it’s already at her side of her desk ? why go back to operations ?

Billy : Bro, by signing, I don’t mean bringing 3 cartons of documents to the boss, it’s all electronic…. Gets routed to the 3 chiefs….. any one of the 3 can sign off… trying to safe paper….. green campaign …

I nodded, getting a clearer picture of how this works.

Jeff : so if I have access to the HOD accounts, I can sign off on projects…

Billy : What the fuck man…. ? are you ok ?? why would you want to do that?? …

Jeff : Nahh… nothing… just thinking out loud…

Jeff : but money…. How does finance know how much budget to approve ??

Billy : Well…. Honestly, I have never seen Finance reject any proposal before…. If you get past Operations who vetted the accuracy of the information…. It’s pretty much a go…. Owen has money… a shitload of it… as long as they keep coming in…. Finance won’t say no… it’s up to Owen how he wants to play it… finance are the people that is stopping us from flying first class and staying at the Ritz….hahaha

Jeff : I see…. Ok…. Ok…

Billy : Look bro….. as long as the facts of the target are real, verified, he’s a fucking asshole….the rest usually gets approved…

Jeff :Yeap I got that….

Billy : anything else you want to know ? …. You want to know how to file your taxi claims ?…

Jeff : You can do that ???

Billy : forget I asked….

Jeff : Do you have access to my past projects ?

Billy : Not projects specifics… but general information including approval… yes… hold on…. 29 projects so far…. 27 approved by Ailing… 2 by Finance head, Cassie, and…. Our Korea holiday this week…. Hiro Hattori…. Head of logistics…

Jeff : Are both Ailing and Cassie on leave ?

Billy : No way of knowing that…. Sorry… Bro… seriously…. Are you sure everything is ok ? anything I should know ?

Jeff : ermm… not at the moment…. I’m just a bit confused with some issues….can we go into the audit department ?

Billy : That’s like sacred ground man…. Mortals like us are not allowed…. Owen has access… but if you really want to kill everyone on the way in….

Jeff : ok… fine… fine… I’m good… no more questions… thanks for the help…

Billy : I’m heading to the money changer…you need to get some Korean won ?

Jeff : help me get 2k, I’ll transfer it over to you later…

Billy : alright…

I left the office and went to the clinic on the 3rd floor.

There is a replacement doctor coming in to cover Lynn while she’s away. I asked the receptionist when will Lynn be coming back.

She will be away for a month. I thought of giving Lynn a call to find out what she knows about Hiro and Aiko but I don’t want to disturb her honeymoon. She would surely press me to reveal the real reason for calling her.

I can picture her on the line saying something like ; “ you fucking called me… to ask if I’m a terrorist ? …. You fucking piece of shit…. I’m going to fucking castrate you… you fuck “

I dismissed the thought. Lynn can wait.

I made my way to the café and I dropped Owen a text.

I’m not going to confront him on this yet, not until I have more information. I sent him a text on the pretext that I have something I wanted to discuss with him when he’s free to talk.

One thing I know for sure, Owen is hiding something. He’s trying to sweep something under the carpet and the first victim is Hiro. He killed him and is currently controlling his account.

Hiro knows something. His wife knows something. Something that Owen don’t want anyone else to know.

I reached the café and I saw Belinda and Xuehua talking to each other. Lala gave me a wave and started to prepare my coffee.

I paid for my drink and saw a reply message from Owen.

He says he will call me in a bit.

I sipped my drink and I saw Eddy coming out from behind the stall. He walked towards me slowly.

I took a deep breath and prepared myself mentally.

When Eddy spoke, I choked on my coffee and spilled ¼ of it on the table.

Eddy : I will kill you….

Jeff : bleruhhhhhhhhgggg!… what ?

Eddy : hurt my niece….. and I will fucking kill you… you hear me ?!!!
I stared at Eddy in shock as he literally said that out loud in the middle of the café.

Xuehua : Eddy !… stop it… you’re scaring him !…

Eddy : Scare what scare…. Your boyfriend no balls meh ? VOICE A BIT LOUDER ONLY WHAT !!….he no balls ??!!!

Xuehua gave me a napkin to wipe my mouth as I composed myself for a reply.

Jeff : Eddy… i.. I will take care of Xuehua….i will… it’s just a short trip…

Eddy looked at me and I could see he was about to say more shit but he saw the look in my eyes.

I’m sincere, I mean what I say. I will take care of Xuehua.

Jeff : I mean it….

Eddy : Zhun bo ?? ( you sure ? ) …. You eh siew buay siew ( literally translation, are you sure you have what it takes )

Xuehua : Eddy !.. enough… stop it…arghhh !… I’m old enough !…

What I did not expect was for our resident security guard to step in.

Leng : Eh… let her go la…. So big girl already… you worry for what… ? scare he eat her meh ? ahhahaha

Jeff : what??

I turned and looked at Xuehua, trying to make sense of what is happening.

Then the cleaner, Annie cut her way into the conversation.

Annie : yah Eddy… Xuehua big girl already…. Don’t always worry about her can or not… she can take care of herself…

Xuehua gave me an awkward smile.

Why the fuck does the whole café including the cleaner and security guard know about our trip ?

Lala bounced over, giggling as he rubbed the side of his thighs as if scratching an itch.

Lala : Jeff…. Can buy face mask for me ? hahah… I like korea face mask… the Innisfree type… Jeju island….

Jeff : wow…. Ermm..yeah… sure…

Xuehua started pushing everyone away from the table and shooing everyone away from me.

Xuehua : go go go… shoo. Shoo…. Shoo…. You all very irritating leh…. Shoo shoo. Shooo….

She gave me a sheepish smile.

Xuehua : Sorry…. i… didn’t expect news to travel this fast….

Jeff : It’s ok….

Eddy : Jeff… I mean it…. I will chop you !!… if you hurt my niece…. !! I will fucking chop you !!

Jeff : No no… don’t chop me… I won’t hurt your niece…

Annie laughed.

Annie : Eddy…. Hahha… I think you better pray your niece don’t hurt him can already… hahaha…

Xuehua : Tsk !…

Xuehua’s hands rest on her hips as she gave Annie an irritated look.

Annie chuckled as she scurried to her cleaning trolley.

Leng chuckled and popped a cigarette into his mouth as he slowly shuffles back to his hideout in the carpark.

Freddy, Lala’s father came out from the drinks stall and half shove and push Eddy back to the chicken rice stall.

Freddy : she’s no longer a little girl…she can take care of herself la… you worry for what… everything also worry…..

Eddy : Her parents entrusted her to me !! of course I need to worry… when I die…. I meet her parents… I need to answer on ok ??!!

Freddy : Please la… your old antique way of thinking….go go… go… got people waiting for you la…

The commotion finally cleared and I could see Xuehua blushing slightly.

Xuehua : sorry… old people like to gossip…. It’s a small café…

Jeff : it’s ok… no problem….

Xuehua told me the flight details have already been made known to her by Belinda.

Xuehua : are you done packing ??

Jeff : ermm.. I have a bag….packed and ready to go… I’m used to travelling….

Xuehua : Nice… so…erm… I guess… I’ll see you at the airport…? Tomorrow ??

Jeff : sounds good…

She turned and I could see she wanted a kiss but there are several pairs of eyes staring at us.

Xuehua : see you tomorrow.

I went back to my coffee and had a short chat with Belinda.

Jeff : all ok ?

Belinda : checked through everything…. Air tickets booked…. All in order….

Jeff : Belinda I have a question for you…

Belinda : Shoot….

I asked her if I’m the only one getting an intern.

Jeff : What about the rest of my colleagues….. are they getting one too ? I’m sure you know the other operators that…. Say work with… Butcher…. Gourmet…?

Belinda : ERmm… we do lunch together sometimes… but we don’t really talk about work….

Jeff : I see… it’s ok… never mind….

Belinda : I’ll text you the flight details…. See you tomorrow….

I went back home after that and Owen called me shortly after.

He sounded different.

Almost cheerful.

A stark difference from the Owen that spoke with us at the zoo.

His voice sounded as if something was resolved.

Owen : What’s up…. Are you packed for your trip ??

Jeff : Nothing urgent…. If you’re busy… this can wait…

Owen : Nah… I’m waiting on the tarmac for air traffic to clear us for takeoff…. What’s the problem…

Jeff : No problem… just erm… want to talk retirement…

Owen : I see… well…. I said it… I won’t stop you guys if you want to…. But Jeff for you… I hope you can consider staying on…..not in current capacity of course…. More of a … mentoring role…. For future…. Employees….

Jeff : I’m thinking of relocating…

Owen : Oh…sigh….ok…. where ?

Jeff: No idea yet…. But… say we finish the last one…I should be packing up and getting ready to leave….

Owen : Alright… I understand… hey..i understand if you don;’t want to give a location…. But at least give me an email address…. In case things come up… just in case…

Jeff : ok…

Owen: anything else ? …. You need a loan or something ? hahahha

Jeff : About the new project….

Owen : What about it… ?

Jeff : nevermind…it’s ok… we’ll talk when you are back…..

Owen : Oh… before I forget…. Your Korea trip…. Belinda has to do it… with her own hands….make sure you see it happen… or else it’s not counted…

Jeff : How long will she be stuck with me ??

Owen : Not long… don’t worry… just need her to clock one before I can move her out to another spot I have in mind….

Jeff : And if she can’t do it ? I’ll do it ?

Owen : no…. get Billy to do it….

Jeff : you’re kidding…

Owen : I don’t joke when it comes to project… will be waiting for your report….

He hung up and I just stared at the ceiling in my flat. It felt like I’m just a cog in a gigantic machine. No one but the person controlling it could see the whole picture.

I went to my storage at chinatown to keep Gwen’s drawing pad in my cabinet.

I’ll look through the rest of the drawings when I retire and relocate.

I was about to shut the cabinet when the familiar sight of my stash brought back a string of memories.

I felt goosebumps rippling across my skin as I stared at the spot where my old HE grenade use to sit.

The pieces started falling again.

My grenade. The meeting with Danzo and Nakamura. The missing Ronins in the country.

Jeff : fuck….

I exclaimed softly to myself as this latest revelation start to hit me.

I shut my cabinet and I drove to the Japanese association when I last met Danzo and Nakamura.

I walked into the association. The receptionist asked me if I needed help.

I hesitated for a moment before telling her I’m looking for Nakamura.

Receptionist : I’m sorry… there is no such person here….

Jeff : I see…. It’s ok then…

I started to walk back to my car.

Before I could get in, I saw a man appear in my path to block my way.

I recognised him. He is one of the men that was in the room with us before Nakamura released them.

I spoke directly to him.

Jeff : I’m looking for Nakamura…

He eyed me with suspicion and I could see a few more men approaching from less than 20m away.

Within seconds, I have 4 men on all my sides.

I shook my head, I can’t believe I need to do this a day before my so call holiday.

Danzo : What do you want ?

That familiar voice made me turn and I saw Danzo standing barely 5 metres away. He waved to his men and they left us alone in the carpark.

Jeff : I’m looking for Nakamura…

Danzo : who do you think you are ??

His aggressive posture and body language is a dead giveaway that I’m not welcome.

I was about to turn and leave but since I’m there, I decided to get some answers.

Jeff : Did my boss get in touch….. ever since the day we last meet… ?

Danzo looked like he was about to curse at me in his native tongue but the longer our eyes remained locked at each other, the more Danzo hesitated.

Jeff : I don’t want any trouble…. I just want answers…

It took another 30 seconds before Danzo made up his decision to answer my question.

Danzo : no.

I asked another.

Jeff : Did you find the men you are looking for ?

Danzo : No….

I could feel a sinking feeling in my stomach. Danzo did not look like he was lying to me. He’s curious. Curious why I would come barging into their turf and asking questions like that.

It’s a bad feeling. I can’t really describe it.

Jeff : How…. How many are missing…. From Japan…

Danzo’s phone rang and he immediately picked it up. From the courteous manner he is answering the call , it is probably his boss. He covered his mouth and spoke quickly in Japanese.

When he hung up 30 seconds later, he tells me Nakamura is not available today.

Jeff : It’s ok then…. I’m travelling for work tomorrow… will pay him a visit when I get back…

Danzo : Japan ?

Jeff : No.. Korea…

I got into my car and started the engine.

Danzo’s men looked like they wanted to stop me from leaving but he waved them away and let me pass.

16 July 2013

Tuesday

5.30am

It’s a morning flight and Billy set up a chat group on whatsapp that includes Xuehua.

I reminded my colleagues not to accidentally reveal any project details in the group chat.

I arrived at the airport early. I’ve always enjoyed the calm at the terminals before the morning peak.

There is something surreal about stepping into the mega structure.

I leaned against the railings and looked up at the massive green wall in front of me. A couple of hot looking air crew walked by on my right with their branded carry on in tow.

A few cleaners milling about. A toddler ran amok on the carpeted floor while his parents gave chase.

The regulated temperature, the unique smell of the airport. This is truly a one of a kind destination. The travel experience for many of us starts right when we step into the terminal.

I could smell the coffee from the café a short walk away. It’s like stepping into a different world. If you have travelled enough, you would surely appreciate the calm of our own airports compared to the others around the world.

I’m travelling for work but it feels like a vacation of sort.

I saw from the reflection of an advertisement the figure of a women stepping into the terminal with a suitcase in tow.

She looked around for a bit before making her way towards me.

As she came closer, I could see her slowing down deliberately.

She tried to keep the noise down but I could hear the wheels of the trolley getting louder as she drags them closer.

Seconds later, I felt a warm pair of sweet smelling hands cover my eyes from behind as my nostrils was filled with the smell of Xuehua.

Xuehua : enjoying the view of hot stewardess ?….

Jeff : hahaha …

I touched her hands and pulled it down to my mouth, kissing them as I turned around.

I must have done something good in my past life as I looked at her in her eyes.

Her hands went around my neck as she said good morning with a peck on my lips.

Her hair smells amazing, freshly shampooed. Xuehua wore a grey singlet underneath her beige long sleeve shirt. Her sleeves are fashionably rolled up to her elbows, the buttons were undone. It’s like that outer blouse is floating on a cushion of air.

A pair of ¾ capris in baby blue contrasted the fairness of her exposed calves.

Her feet disappeared into a pair of white sneakers with laces that are rainbow in colour.

Very casual dressing but she still look amazing.

Jeff : You look amazing…

Xuehua : I know… haha… many had said so… hahaha..

We kissed again before heading to a café for breakfast.

Billy and Belinda joined us shortly after, arriving within 5 minutes of the other.

We were enjoying out breakfast banter when I caught sight of a man when I lifted up my coffee cup for a sip.

The same man from yesterday at the carpark.

Our eyes met and he turned away, speaking into his phone.

I looked around casually as I pretended to stretch. I went to get a refill of my coffee and I saw 2 more of Danzo’s men walking towards the area we were sitting at.

I’m not worried. It’s the airport. A simple shout would bring help faster than you know it.

I went back to my seat with my new coffee and I caught sight of Danzo. He’s standing near the entrance of a bathroom.

Jeff : Alright…. I better go to the toilet before the flight…

Xuehua : Airplane got toilet one ok…

Jeff : I know… but I don’t want to shit in the plane…

Xuehua : hahah.. disgusting la !!… shoo shoo…

I stepped into the bathroom that early Tuesday morning. Danzo’s men were close behind and I knew they will be at the entrance.

I looked at Danzo who was staring at me in the bathroom.

Jeff : What ?

Danzo : My boss sent me… he has questions…. For you…

Jeff : why can’t he ask them himself ?

Danzo : He is not in the country….

I hesitated for a brief moment before replying Danzo.

Jeff : You answered 2 of mine…. I’ll answer 2 of yours….

Danzo nodded as if concluding that is a fair deal.

Danzo : Did Owen send you ?

Jeff : No.

Danzo : Does Owen know you are asking these questions ?

Jeff : No.

Danzo nodded and I could see him reading me. My expression, my body language.

Danzo : 52

Jeff : what 52 ?

Danzo : The question you asked yesterday…..52 men are missing from Japan….but we don’t know how many are in Singapore… At least 40 by our estimates…

I hesitated for close to a minute as i digested what I just heard. I can hear Danzo’s men turning others away from the bathroom, claiming that it’s spoilt.

Danzo waited patiently for me to ask my next question.

It’s as if he knows I have one.

Jeff : Hiro Hattori….

Danzo exhaled, his hands reaching into his pocket.

Danzo : We know Hiro … He is the one bringing the men into Singapore…. And we know he works for Owen… He is also the one hiding them…. If Owen did send you to find out how much we know…go ahead and tell him….we knew all along…

Jeff : Owen did not send me…

Danzo was quiet for a while before saying that Hiro and family are in hiding. The men stopped arriving a couple of weeks back.

Danzo : All movements have stopped…

Jeff : I see…

Danzo : Someone is playing a dangerous game Jeff…

Jeff : These are dangerous times…

Danzo nodded before saying they only want Hiro.

Danzo : We want Hiro….. I can guarantee safe passage home for Aiko and her daughter….

My heart worked doubly hard to pump blood and oxygen into my body as I dealt with the realisation of what is happening.

Danzo checked his watch and he started to make his way out of the bathroom.

As he passed me, Danzo paused for a second.

Danzo : Sometimes…. The hardest part of our job….. is to figure out who is your friend…. And who is your foe……

He gave me a pat on my shoulder before leaving the washroom.

I washed my hands and my face before drying up with the paper towels provided.

Danzo used present tense when talking about Hiro. He does not know he’s dead.

If what he says is true, Owen is building a small army.

All foreigners, with no links back to him and the company.

Hiro is dead, Owen wants Aiko.

Which meant Aiko is the only person what knows what is going on.

Owen’s planning something.

Let’s assuming I take Danzo’s word at face value. The Japs don’t have her, they are not the one protecting her and her child.

Common sense took over and the pieces started to fit.

Aiko is too scared to go to the authorities. No one will believe her if she walk into a police station and say her dead husband’s employer is building an army with men smuggled in from another country.

Owen could easily play on that and have her declared mentally ill and have everything swept under the carpet. A pregnant woman is no threat to the company, unless….

Unless she has proof of what Owen is up to.

Proof compelling enough for whoever that is sheltering Aiko to help her.

I closed my eyes for a brief moment, trying to recall every single conversation I had with Owen for the past 6 months.

My eyelids fluttered and my breathing slowed down as I cycled through the memories I kept filed away in my head. I felt the hair on my body stand on its end as the images in my head started flashing faster and faster with a few terms that seem to repeat itself several times.

Budget cuts, consolidation, accountability, Budget cuts, training interns. Budget cuts.

I opened my eyes as recalled Owen storming off after speaking with the Prime Minister a few days ago.

I know Owen. He loves his country. He is running the company because he is convinced that it’s for the good of the country.

We are the reasons our enemies are afraid of the dark.

The company is everything to him.

He will do anything to protect it, this includes protecting it from the very people that rules the country.

The foreboding feeling of something disastrous is going to happen made my legs go weak for brief moment as I supported myself on the counter top.

I looked at my own reflection in the mirror and I spoke to myself without realising it.

Jeff : Owen…. What have you done……
……………………………………………………………………………..

 

I went back out of the washroom after a while and re-joined the team at the cafe.

Xuehua : You ok ? .

Jeff : Yeah…I’m fine..

We boarded the flight and we landed at Incheon after 6.5 hours of binge-watching in-flight entertainment.

Belinda has arranged for airport pickup and we bundled into the waiting van for our ride to the hotel.

Xuehua had her hands full of brochures and maps.

Xuehua : ok… ok…. Your conference is tomorrow…. You all need to prepare.. so don’t worry about me…..i already mapped out where I want to go…. I know each of us has 20kg of baggage allowance…. But I see that all of you are only bringing carryon luggage…. Which means I don’t need to worry about how much stuff I’m bringing back… hahahahahaha

We all laughed as Xuehua turned her fingers into a claw mimicking some monster as she laughed out loud while raising her them into the air in the vehicle.

The ride is about an hour and I visually took in the neighbourhood as we pulled into the driveway of the small hotel set by the edge of the Han river. The hotel has a good unblocked view of the Dongho bridge.

The heat is offset by the slight breeze coming from the riverside.

We stepped into the hotel reception and waiting for us by the check in counter is a man in his mid-twenties.

He looked engrossed in his mobile phone, tapping away on the screen.

Billy : Hi…. We’re checking in…. we have 2 rooms…

The man looked up from his phone and his eyes immediately skipped Billy and Belinda, focusing on Xuehua within a split second.

Qiang : Hi there…. I’m Qiang…I can tell you are Singaporeans…hahaha.

Billy : Haha… I can tell you are one too..

Qiang : Yeah…. Something about the way we talk right….dead giveaway… haha… can I have your passports please… let me see…..ermm… a twin room and a ….double….non smoking… right…

Billy asked for our documents and handed them over to Qiang.

Xuehua grabbed me and starting taking selfies of the simply furnished lobby.

Xuehua : I promised to send Eddy some photos everyday…

Jeff : Perhaps you should exclude me in them..

Xuehua : Haiyah….please… he’s a nice guy ok… you don’t see him all fierce and what not on the surface,….. he’s actually very nice…

Jeff : He wanted to chop me…

Xuehua laughed as she passed me her phone before heading over to a large beanbag by a wall of hand written postcards and greetings left by other tourists.

She crossed her legs and struck a Instagram worthy post as I took a photo for her.

Xuehua : I’ll protect you… don’t worry….hahah No one will dare to lay a finger on you…

Jeff : Thank you…

Billy : guys… we got the rooms… let’s go…

Qiang : do you need help with the bags ?

Billy : No need… we’re fine.. thank you…

Qiang : See you….

We walked towards the lift and I could see from the reflection of the black mirror finishes of the wall that Qiang is picking up his phone. He dialled while looking at Xuehua from behind. There was no hiding where his eyes were roaming.

They started at the back where her bra straps were, sliding down to the narrow back of he waist, before rolling onto the perkiness of her bottom. There is this healthy juggle in Xuehua’s buttocks that gives me an erection whenever I let my eyes linger for too long.

We got into the lift and I recalled Billy’s note to me before the trip.

There should be no mention of what we are there for right from the moment after stepping into the hotel. We should assumed that all video feeds within the hotel includes audio. They are always listening and watching.

Billy’s guess is correct.

We were assigned the room that neighbours a suspicious looking wall.

Xuehua : ok.. it’s almost going to be dinner time…. How about we meet at the lobby in 10 minutes time ? …. A quick unpack then we go grab some food…. After that I will be ok with my own…. Hohohohohahah….

Belinda : haha… ok…see you all in 10…

I let Xuehua open the room door and we entered the large room with a king size bed in the center of it.

I don’t want to be seen checking out the room as if I’m suspecting something so I reached for Xuehua the moment the door is closed.

I cupped my hands around her waist from behind and pulled her towards me.

Xuehua : aaahhhh…!!! Nooo!…hahaha

I smelled her hair and kissed her on her cheek.

She tapped my arms, begging me to let her go.

Xuehua : no time la…. oei !!… 10 minutes…. Hahah

She laughed as she struggled to walk forward and go about doing her stuff while I remained glued behind her like a Siamese twin.

My eyes went around the room, identifying several spot where I would put a camera if I wanted to.

The room is done up nicely, workmanship is good.

I suspect the feature wall with timber strips on the left of the bed hides a door but there’s no way to tell unless I inspect it up close. That would give us away immediately if they see us on the camera.

Xuehua : I’m going to change out into something more comfortable… let go !!… haha

I was suddenly hit with that sinking feeling in my stomach.

Although I would love to see Xuehua change, I realised that whatever she is doing would also be captured and fed into the camera.

Jeff : Go change in the toilet !

I blurted out so suddenly that Xuehua turned and gave me a raised eyebrow.

She removed her outer blouse and let it drop onto the bed.

Xuehua : Someone trying to pretend to be decent …. Hahah…. Nice…. Brownie points for you… haha

It suddenly dawned on me how stupid that comment was. If they wired up the room, they would surely wire up the bathroom as well.

Xuehua pulled off her singlet and I saw that teasing strap of that cage bra.

3 horizontal thin strips in a seductively shade of pastel pink held onto the bra cups that supported Xuehua’’s breast.

There was no way to tell she is wearing something like that from the outside.

Xuehua : watch where your eyes are roaming Jeff….

I looked away as she turned around and remove her pants.

My cock sprung into attention as I saw a matching pair of panty, the 3 stripe bands of the panty on each side of her waist moved sensually along her skin as she bent forward on purpose to pick out her clothes from her luggage.

If the circumstances were different, I would have pounced on her already but I was feeling a lot more hesitant in that room. I don’t care if someone sees my cock or my butt. I felt a tinge of jealousy knowing that they are going to see Xuehua as well.

Xuehua changed into a casual pair of shorts and t-shirt.

She turned and looked at me as she pulled down her top to cover her breast.

Xuehua : Like what you see so far ? hahah

Jeff : They say…. If a woman is wearing matching lingerie….. that’s because she expects to show them off…. Is that true… ?

Xuehua : hahah…. Wrong…

She put her arms around my neck and we kissed again, my erection reminded once more about that tongue stud inside her mouth.

She whispered softly in my face.

Xuehua : We wear matching lingerie…. Because we expect…. To take them off… ahha

I laughed and we kissed again before she broke away, saying we better hurry.

Xuehua went to the bathroom and washed her face to freshen up.

I opened up my carry on and hung up a couple of tops.

I checked the plastic hanger I used for my shirt. At first glance, it looks like any other of those cheap plastic hanger you get at the dollar store. Sometimes you get them for free when you buy a new top.

The hanger I used is custom made using a hardier version made of denser material. It looks and functions exactly like a hanger. There isn’t anything hidden in it.

However, during the moulding, I requested for additional grooves to be etched into the hanger. Just like when you buy a plastic model toy, you push out certain parts as per the shape you want before fixing it all together into a boat or a car.

The grooves I specified for is in the shape of a small stake.

All I need is a hard surface for support and I can break the hanger into the shape and size I wanted.

It will not be as sharp without some grinding, but I can use it as a stabbing tool easily, all I need was to add a grip, that can be easily done with bits of cloths.

Once I’m done, I can burn it all, plastic, grip and all.

Xuehua : ok I’m done… you ready to go ??

Jeff : Yeah… I need the bathroom too….

Xuehua started to unpack some of her clothes into the wardrobe and I pulled out a few pieces of pencil lead I brought along hidden in my toiletries bag.

I watched as Xuehua used a generic card instead of the hotel keycard for the power slot.

Xuehua : Like that when we come back…the room will be nice and cool. Hahha.

Jeff : You really very Auntie leh…

She opened the door and I could hear Belinda and Billy waiting for us outside the corridor.

I bent down to tie my shoelaces after slipping it on and I discreetly placed the pencil lead by the entrance. I dropped another 2 at different spots by the door.

It’s not a 100% but it’s a easy way to check if anyone has been inside the room while we’re out.

I pretended to apply a layer of lip balm on my lips with my index finger while keeping a layer of the oily balm on my middle finger. When I reached to pull the handle close, I slid it all along the handle, coating it with my lip balm.

We went down to the lobby and I could see Qiang smiling at us from the reception desk.

Qiang : where are you all going ? Need me to help call for a cab ??

Belinda : We’re heading out for dinner … it’s ok we’re fine…

Qiang : There are a few good restaurants across the road if you don’t want to travel far…

Billy : Thank you…

We stepped out of the hotel and saw a car pulling up into the only park lot in front of the hotel entrance.

Xuehua spotted a restaurant selling Jjimdak ( Korean braised chicken ) and suggested we head over.

As the group of us walked to the junction a stone throw away, I saw Belinda attempting to turn back and check out the person coming out of the car.

Jeff : crossing the road… watch out for cars…

Belinda immediately caught onto what I was trying to say.

We went across the road and while the group checked out the menu of the restaurant, I whipped out my phone and asked the lot of them to turn and look at me.

Jeff : Smile !!…

I took a shot before casually turning to face the hotel.

I took a long paranoma shot as I slowly slide the phone horizontally, capturing the hotel owner coming out of the car. Ricky.

Taking a photo in the open is less suspicious than you trying to take one discreetly.

I even orientated myself for a selfie with the hotel as the background, but instead of a shot, I kept it in video mode.

I could see Qiang coming out of the hotel to meet Ricky. They were talking and looking towards our direction.

I kept my phone and went into the restaurant.

Our food was served and while we were all slurping the chewy noodles that came with the spicy braised chicken, Xuehua kept the conversation going.

Belinda’s nervousness is starting to show.

It might sound easy to take a life but not everyone is cut out for work like this.

The very idea will mess with your head. Every second leading up to that very moment is a torture.

Owen once shared with me about 80% of trainees could not make the 1st kill. Most of them ended up as his personal guards or posted to overseas embassies.

Xuehua : so what trade show are you are heading to tomorrow ?

Belinda : It’s a packaging trade show…

Xuehua : Oh… but I thought you guys are in waste disposal…

Billy coughed and took a sip of his water.

Jeff : yes we are… and the type of packaging our clients use for their products…. Affects the method of disposal…everyone is trying to go green …

Xuehua : True… true…. Sounds like a pretty boring job though… haha

Jeff : Hmm.. it’s ok… just to pass days…

Xuehua took the chance to tease me by asking about my character from my so call colleages.

Xuehua : So…. Has Jeff ever lost his temper at work ?? would be good to know if he has anger management issue.

Billy : huh ? …

Belinda : errrr…

Xuehua put down her chopsticks and proudly declared that she will shield both of them from me if they say something incriminating, as long as it’s the truth.

Xuehua : come come… tell all.. haha…. No need to be scare…hahaha…

She gave me a naughty look, as if hoping I would get nervous.

Xuehua : Billy… you first… how… anything ?

Billy : Errr…..no….nothing…

Xuehua : Come on….what about you Belinda ?? ….

Belinda : Errrr….

She looked at me from the corner of her eye and Xuehua immediately caught onto her wrist.

Xuehua : I know that look !!!.. I know… you want to say something but you are worried about saying it !!… hahaha.. it’s ok.. just say it…

Belinda : errmmm.. ok… I …err… I once vomited….when I saw Jeff lose his temper…

Billy coughed and choked on his food as he patted his chest.

Xuehua : really !!… wow !!!… why ??

All eyes were on Belinda and she hesitated, choosing her words carefully.

Belinda : I ermm… I don’t know how to say this…

Xuehua : I know !!! he fired SOMEONE !!! terminated them on the spot… !!

Belinda : Errrrr….. I guess you can say that….

Xuehua : I knew it…I think getting fired abruptly is stressful…. I think I might cry if someone does that to me….

Belinda : ermm… yeah…

Jeff : let’s finish dinner and get to work shall we ??

Xuehua : Yes yes… yes boss….

After we are done with dinner, Xuehua said that she will not get in our way of talking shop, she’s going to grab a taxi to the shopping street at MyeongDong.

Xuehua : I’m going to be there till late… will make my own way back….

Jeff : You sure you will be ok ?

Xuehua : yes yes… don’t worry…

I sent Xuehua off in a taxi and I went back to the restaurant.

Jeff : Belinda you ok ?

Belinda : yeah… just a little nervous…

Billy : Yeah.. I can tell.. you hardly ate…

Jeff : Sitting here won’t help… go out with Billy, pretend you are a couple…. Scout around the perimeter of the hotel…. Check out the shops, cafes, everything.

Billy : ok…

Belinda : what about the body…. We don’t have a clean up crew here…. What if we get discovered…. What’s going to happen !

Jeff : Belinda… calm down… we’ll take it one step at a time… go… go walk it off…

I settled the bill and watched the both of them walk down the street.

I bought a few bottles of soju and water from a convenient stall. Heading to a back street, I found a corner and emptied the alcohol into the drain. Out of the 5 bottles of Soju I bought, I kept only 1 with it’s original content. 3 empty and 1 more bottle with about half left.

I found a nice scenic spot by the river and sat down.

I enjoyed the evening view of the river as the sun sets. There’s a lot on my mind.

Owen’s little coup weighs heavily in my head.

His budget for running the company is being cut. Something he has repeated frequently the past 6 months or so.

He has other sources of income but the biggest parcel no doubt still comes from the taxpayers. Unless there are good reasons to justify the running cost of the company, there is no way more funds will be allocated to us.

Many of us in this country has not seen or experienced war in our lifetime.

All we know are the orderliness and safety the current system has given us.

Those that lived through the Japanese occupation are well into their seventies. There are the only ones that has lived through the atrocities of war. There’s no doubt about it. Owen wants to remind everyone the importance of having people like us around.

Xuehua sent me a few messages to let me know she’s reached her destination and will try to get back by midnight.

Belinda and Billy joined my by at the bench after they are done with their walk and I wanted to know how Belinda plans to do it.

Jeff : Tell me…. How..

Belinda : I err….will suffocate him… with a pillow…

Jeff : He’s going to struggle.. he’s 86 Kg, you are 47 kg …How do you intend to address that ?

Belinda : I… while you all help to hold him down…

Jeff : We are not going to help hold him down… you are the one doing it… not us…

Belinda : Then I will stab him first…

Jeff : You can’t. Blood is messy to clean up…. We’re not back home… come on… I’m sure you’ve thought this through…

Belinda : I….i filled my contact lens case with a sedative…

Jeff : go on…

Belinda : Once he’s calmed down… and asleep… I will do it…

I asked her how she plans to get from where we are, to the point of her administering the sedative.

Jeff : And this has to be before he lays his hands on Xuehua …

Belinda : He’s already shown himself… there’s only 2 of them in the hotel…. If we wanted…

Jeff : Again… this is not about ‘we’…. Assuming we are not here… how are you going to do it…. ?

Belinda hesitated and I could see she was without an answer.

Jeff : If we have to help serve him up to you in a platter, I might as well do it on my own… no ?

Belinda : I ermm..

Jeff : Plans don’t usually go the way you want it to…. But still, you can’t approach this without a plan…

Belinda ; I have a plan…. So far it’s going the way we want it to…. We successfully lured Ricky out…. It’s obvious Qiang and Him are planning something….

Jeff : And ?

Belinda : once they make an attempt to… ermm… to grab Xuehua… we will… I mean… I will…

I exhaled and looked away.

Belinda ; Sorry… I’m… I’m a little nervous…

Billy : Come on Jeff… it’s her first time….don’t be so hard on her…

Jeff : What is the penalty for murder in South Korea ? …

Billy kept quiet after that.

Jeff : I don’t think you are ready for this…

Belinda : I am… I really am… I just need to get over the initial jitters…

I skipped over taking care of Ricky part and I asked Belinda what her plan is to get the girl we are supposed to find over to the embassy.

Belinda : Embassy has transport on standby, once we identified the girl…they will be here to pick her and us up together…. Intel suggest the girl is kept in the basement… once we take care of him… we can easily extract the girl.

Jeff : Then what ? we leave the body here at the hotel ? … how do we leave the country ? …. Our flight back is in 3 days… do we stay here ?

Belinda: We’ll switch hotels, I made reservations at another location… current spot is near our trade show…. After we’re done, there’s no reason why we should not stay closer to the tourist attractions….

I nodded.

Billy : How would you have done it Jeff ? just curious…

Jeff : I won’t do it here…

Belinda : why not ?

Jeff : Why do it here ? when you can have an embassy car bring all the Singaporeans to the embassy ? They know operators are in town… they know why we are here for… I’ll do it inside the embassy….

Belinda : What … !

I checked the time and stood up.

Jeff : Easier to clean up a mess inside your own turf then in the middle of a fucking residential neighbourhood.

Billy : Won’t the staff at the embassy be upset about….

Jeff : What’s there to be upset about ?…. we’re cleaning up a mess left by our own people in our own backyard…. Piece of cake for them to bring the bodies back home.. they do it all the time…

Billy : wow….

Belinda : oh… so…. Can we do it your way then ?? haha

I ignored them and walked towards the hotel.

I want to get back to Singapore fast, and I want to get Belinda off my back as well.

I don’t think she’s ready for this.

Belinda caught up with me with Billy in tow.

Belinda : So how ? what do we do ?

Jeff : take a walk… come back around 10.30pm and ask Qiang to help get a cab to Hongdae for you…say you want to go club…. Alight a few streets down and wait for my call….

I doused my chin and cheeks with the half bottle of soju before taking a large swig of it and held it in my mouth.

Right before I cross the road back to the hotel, I spit it all out into the ground.

Walking into the reception, I saw Qiang looking up from his phone and smiling at me.

Qiang : hi there… back so fast ?

Jeff : Yeah….yeah….

I acted a little tipsy and high as I finished up the last mouthful of drinks in front of him.

Jeff : Come… come… drink with me… hahaha

Qiang : Sure…sure… I’ll bring some snacks…

We sat down at a small lounge by the side and I opened up the brand new bottle of soju. Qiang had brought along 2 glasses.

Qiang ; Where are your friends…. ?

Jeff : erhhooh… shopping I think… walking around… I don’t know…

Qiang : I see.. haha..ermm.. what about… err. Your girlfriend ? … I don’t see her with you…

Jeff : Haiya…. Don’t talk about her… we had a little quarrel… she went off to shop on her own…

I downed a glass of soju and refilled Qiang’s glass.

Jeff : Women ah…. Don’t get it… when we men say …… we need to work… this is a work trip …… bring her along….still expect this and that…

Qiang smiled as he looked at me, nodding in agreement.

I heard the chime of a lift and Ricky walked out of it.

Qiang gestured to Ricky and introduced him to me.

Qiang ; Come I introduce my boss to you…. Ricky…

Jeff : Hey.. hellow.. hi…. Come come… join us…

I shook his hand while Qiang went to get another glass for him.

Ricky : are you ok bro… you look like you’re almost gone… hahaha…

Jeff : hello…I’m still sober ok… haha… only a few bottles…

Ricky looked at the plastic bag and I could see him smiling.

We spent the next 30 minutes talking and bantering about life back in Singapore. I slurred my words on purpose, and reacted slowly to what they say.

10.30pm

Billy and Belinda came back into the hotel and saw me drinking with Qiang and Ricky.

They did as they were told and asked Qiang to help get them a taxi.

Qiang : Jeff.. you not joining them ??

Jeff : arrr…ermmm…later..later… wait for my girlfriend come back first….

10.45pm

Belinda and Billy got into the cab

The lone bottle of soju I brought to the drinking session is long gone, replaced instead by 2 more bottles Ricky brought out.

They did most of the drinking, all i needed to do was to keep up the act of being tipsy and on the edge of passing out.

Qiang : Boss… Jeff.. quarrelled with his girlfriend earlier… let’s do something to help leh…arrange a bottle of wine or something….

Ricky : Can… no problem.. hahaha…

Jeff : No need… no need… is ok…

Ricky : I insist… Qiang…. Go get a bottle of wine and bouquet of flowers , slice of cake maybe… do swee swee la… help a brother out… haha

Jeff : No la.. is ok.. don’t need….

Ricky waved Qiang off and I could see him heading off with a grin on his face. He must be thinking that he will get his turn with Xuehua this evening after his boss is done with her.

11.15 pm.

Xuehua text me to let me know she is on her way back to the hotel.

Jeff : oh… she….she coming back,,, she coming back…. I go up… I go up…

Qiang : here here here…. Take these…

I held onto the basket of wine and flowers and thanked the 2 men before heading up to the room.

I had to keep up my act as I knew the cameras are watching.

I stopped at the room door and pulled out the key card, I peered closely at the handle and acted as if I could not find the spot to tap my card. I held the handle and the oily streak I left is gone.

I unlocked the door and opened it, dropping to my knees as I crawled my way into the room.

A couple of the pencil leads are broken.

They’ve been inside the room.

I shut the door and remained on the floor, trying to fumble my away around like a drunkard.

I saw Xuehua’s luggage in a different position than I remembered. They must have ransacked through her luggage, probably wanked off to her lingerie.

I reckon they’re going to make their move soon. Seeing the boyfriend intoxicated, they would surely not see me as a threat.

11.40pm

Xuehua entered the room to see me sitting dazed on the couch.

She dropped her bags of shopping and came over to me.

Xuehua : Oh my god… what happened to you….ewww… how much have you been drinking….you could have called me to come back earlier dear… tsk !… haizz…

She went to wet a towel for me, when Xuehua came out of the bathroom, she saw the flowers, the wine and the box of cake waiting for her on the bed.

Xuehua : oh….hahaha… somebody has been busy… ahhaha….

Jeff : well…. A little…

Xuehua smiled and went over to the bottle.

She looked at the label before opening it. She poured it into the 2 wine glasses provided and handed me one.

Xuehua : So….. are you going to fall asleep soon ? you look drunk already…

Jeff : I don’t think so…. It’s going to be a long night for me…

………………………………………

Xuehua : hahaha…. Really ? … how so ??

I proposed a toast and Xuehua drained the glass in a heartbeat.

She straddled me on the couch and her hands reached for my face. We kissed and I could taste the wine on her lips.

Xuehua : are you going to undress me ? hahaha

My hands hesitated. I want to undress her but I know Ricky and Qiang are watching.

Xuehua : too shy ? hahah…

Xuehua pulled my top off me before removing hers on her own.

She kissed me again as I ran my hands up her body starting from her waist.

Every inch of her body felt so taut and firm. There’s hardly any fats in her. I pulled Xuehua closer as my tongue felt the tease of her tongue stud.

Xuehua stopped kissing me and slid down from the couch.

My heart started beating faster as I watch her reach for my pants while giving me that sly naughty look.

Before I knew it, I was naked and my erected cock standing at attention in front of Xuehua.

She pulled and threw my pants to the side of the room and spread my legs apart, parking her body in the middle.

Jeff : ernhh… aghhh.. !!

I felt that tight grip of her hand on my cock and I shivered. Xuehua brought her face closer to my dick. She looked at it but did nothing.

I could feel her breathing on my manhood and she just looked at me with a smile.

Xuehua : I expect you reciprocate ok ? hahaha…

She bit her lips for a second and I watch her take a large gulp of wine direct from the bottle.

Jeff : ernhhhgarghg….

Without warning, she went down on me, spilling wine down the sides of my groin as my cock swam in her mouth full of wine.

I could feel her lips, the wetness of her mouth filled with wine but I was keeping my senses awake for something else.

Something I’ve never felt before.

I want to know how that feels.

Suddenly there was a strong slurp and I groaned at the top of my voice.

Jeff : ernghhh !!

My eyes widened as I felt it. I finally felt it.

I moaned out loud in disbelief as I felt that cold metal stud push down onto my pee hole.

I was shaking helplessly as I reached for Xuehua’s head. She held my left wrist and pushed me back into the chair gently.

I watch as her lips sink into her mouth, and all I could manage was another helpless groan.

I can’t believe what I was feeling.

It was such a forceful suck that I could feel all the air in my lungs being extracted out the same time.

I panted as I tried to brace myself for another.

My eyes widened again as I groaned. Xuehua’s lips peeled back my uncircumcised foreskin, somehow as my skin rolled back, it rolled over the stud she had on her tongue.

Jeff : arghhh !!! agngnn !!!

Every little tug and jerk made me moan in orgasmic pleasure. The stud came out from under the skin after a couple of seconds and Xuehua started rimming my exposed and sensitive dick with her tongue.

Jeff : Oh my god…arghhh h h!!!

I felt another forceful suck combed with a cold metal push onto the tip of my cock. I was pretty sure I leaked precum from that. My fingers dug into the soft fabric of the couch as I looked at Xuehua in disbelief.

Jeff : how did you do that… ernghhh.. argnhh !!! arngh !!!

She stopped. I watch her massage her mouth for a bit as she laughed. She reach for the bottle of wine and took another sip.

Xuehua : gosh I feel so thirsty…. Haha… hmmmm…

I felt a tingling sensation in my mouth as I groaned again. I’ve never experienced a blowjob like this before. That tapping and heavy push of the stud into my cock felt like she was tongue raping my pee hole.

The tingling sensation in my spine made my whole body go soft.

Xuehua’s head started to move up and down and I could feel her stroking the base of my cock as she sucked me.

Jeff : argnhhh.. arnghhh ..!!.. arnghh!!

I was really enjoying myself when Xuehua paused.

She took my cock out and patted her own chest for a bit.

Jeff : Are you ok ?

She nodded and patted herself again. She swallowed her saliva a couple of times, much like when you are about to puke and you’re trying to hold it all back.

Jeff : Xuehua .. are you ok ? …

Suddenly she scrambled on her fours as she tried to make it to the bathroom. Before she could get to the toilet bowl, she vomited all over.

Jeff : are you ok ?? Xuehua …

She retched into the toilet bowl like a drunk trying to purge the alcohol out of her system.

I patted her on her back as she vomited. That retching sound made me feel like throwing up as well.

Xuehua : oh god… must be something I ate…

I saw the colour of her puke tinted red by the wine and it immediately connected.

I exhaled and tried to control my breathing.

Fuck this.

I’m going to march right out and end this by breaking Ricky’s neck right there and then.

Before I do that, I will beat the shit out of him.

I got up and I was about to head out when I came face to face with Ricky and Qiang right there in our room.

It happened so fast that the next thing I realised I was on the floor. My muscles tightened and I was going into spasm as I lose control of my body.

I gritted my teeth as my eyes lost focus.

I tried to turn and look but my muscles are not reacting the way I want it to. They used a stun gun on me. Fucking bastards. Qiang held the gun directly pressing it into my torso for almost 5 seconds.

Drool streak down the side of my cheeks as I managed to see Qiang and Ricky drag Xuehua out of the bathroom.

Xuehua is barely conscious.

I watched helplessly as Qiang and Ricky put her onto the bed.

My fingers are curled up, I could not clench them.

My breathing is erratic. One moment I could suck in the oxygen my lungs craved, then for reasons I could not fathom, I could not exhale. I blinked none stop. I was wriggling like a worm.

It was a while before I could make out what Ricky and Qiang were saying.

Ricky : she’s so fucking hot…. I’m having an erection just looking at her… hahaha

Qiang : Boss… I also want leh.. hahah

Ricky : fuck la.. you take the one in the basement… this one is mine…

Qiang : That one so dirty already….she’s barely alive…

Ricky : Bath for her then you fuck her la…like that also need me to teach me is it ? hahahah… fuck man… look at her tits… so soft and supple….argnnnhh… so nice to hold… ahh fuck… hahaha… god I can squeeze her breast whole night… arghh.. arghhh….

Qiang : She smells so good too.. hahaha… I think all pretty girls have their own unique smell…

Ricky : hahaha… where you smell ? …haha… I haven smell who say you can smell hahaha… go and smell that slut in the basement la… hahaha

Ricky laughed as I watch him spread Xuehua’s legs and pressed his nose onto her shorts, taking deep sniffs of her crotch area. He kept rubbing his face around Xuehua’s privates , letting out loud murmurs of approvals.

Ricky started to undress Xuehua. I saw him remove her shorts and immediately pressed his nose onto her panty.

Ricky : arghh… sniffs….. arngghhh… slurpzzz…. Fuck…sniff….. arghhhh !!

I could see the vigorous rubbing motion Ricky was doing with his hands on Xuehua’s vagina. He quickly brought his finger to his mouth, sucking and tasting her cunt juice when he decided he had collected enough of it in his hand.

Qiang : Boss… then now how… take her to the basement or what…?

Ricky : No need… I’ll just fuck her here… hahaha…hahah…

Qiang : what about him…. ?

Ricky : Hit him again with the gun… he’s too fucking drunk… we’ll just dump him by the side of the park later… he won’t remember a thing… He’ll come back and realised his girlfriend is sound asleep in the bed anyway… hahaha… he’ll sleep it off…

Qiang : hahaha.. sound asleep with your cum inside her you mean.. hahaha

Ricky : hhaha… fuck man.. this is gold… she is really the gold standard….

I gritted my teeth and I could feel the veins in my neck bulging to the point of almost bursting. My eyes started to focus and I could breathe better.

My fingers clenched and I formed my first fist in my left hand.

Qiang : Boss sure ar ? hit him again ah… ? will he die or not…. This one you buy from the black market is quite strong one leh…. The amperage is quite high…wait his heart stop how…

Ricky : fuck you la… you want to fuck his girl or not… you want just do it…

Qiang : ok ok….

I heard the click of the stun gun and I could feel myself growling like an animal as I regained control of my body.

Qiang tried to hit me again but I held onto his wrist.

Jeff : argghh !!!!!!!

Qiang : aHHHH!!!

I directed his hand back towards Ricky’s thighs, jamming the spark into the back of his leg. Ricky grunted and he went into a spasm as he collapsed onto Xuehua.

Qiang tried to fight me off but I head butted him in his nose, twisted his arm and jabbed the same gun back into his neck.

I panted for air as I struggled to lift Ricky off Xuehua.

The pain coursing through my body is slowly dissipating but it still fucking hurts like hell.

Xuehua is totally out.

Ricky is no longer moving but Qiang is still kicking about.

I dragged him over to where Ricky is. Grabbing a towel, I position the stun gun back into Qiang’s hand, and I delivered another shock directly into Ricky’s torso.

Ricky’s body jumped a couple of times before he stopped moving.

Jeff : fucking bitch.

I gave Qiang a couple of minutes to sober up before I grabbed him by his neck.

Qiang : arngh h!!! arGHH!!!!agnh !!!

Jeff : Where’s the girl… WHERE !!!

Qiang : basement ….basement !!

Jeff : Show me …

Qiang was slow to react and I slammed his head against the wall, causing a dent immediately on the timber strips.

Qiang reached for a remote in his pocket and activated the concealed sliding door, revealing a staircase.

I half dragged him by his hair as we descended down to a brightly lit basement stacked high with washed bedsheets and towels.

Qiang led me to a corner of the room where I saw a thin and frail girl chained to the bed.

Jeff : remove the chains….

Qiang removed the chains on the girl with trembling hands and I directed for him to put them on.

Jeff : put it on…

Qiang ; No please… I’m just an employee…

I swung a punch so sudden at him that it knocked him off his feet.

Qiang started sobbing and begging me to stop as I checked the naked girl.

She’s still alive but barely.

I called Billy and Belinda, asking them to come back to my room.

I slammed Qiang’s head against the wall before letting him take the place of the girl on the thin mattress.

I carried the unconscious girl back up to my room and put her beside Xuehua.

There was a knock on my door and I looked through the peephole.

It’s Billy.

I opened the door and gestured for them to come inside.

Billy : What the fuck….

Belinda : What happened ?

I lifted up my short to show them the burn mark I had on my chest.

Jeff : They tried to stun gun me twice…

Billy : Is Xuehua ok ?

Jeff : She’s fine… just knocked out…

Belinda checked on Ricky before declaring to the rest of us that he’s dead.

Jeff : Call the embassy… get it over and done with….

Billy : Where’s Qiang ? …..

Jeff : Downstairs…. Follow me…

I led both of them down to the basement after Belinda put in the call to the team at the embassy.

Belinda : They will be here in 45 minutes.

Qiang saw us coming down and he immediately started begging .

Qiang : Please… please… I’m just an employee… please…. Sobzz..sobzz.. please.. I’m sorry… I’m sorry…

I dragged a chair from the side and sat down.

Jeff : 45 minutes right…. Ok… go ahead and do it…

Belinda : what ?

Jeff : you need to do it with your own hands no ? … there he is… I even chained him up for you…. What are you waiting for ?

Belinda : but…but…

Jeff : He saw our faces…. He know who we are… he will talk…

Qiang : NO!!! NO!! NO I won’t…. I won’t…. I won’t fucking say a word… I won’t say anything… please.. please… NO!!..

I could see Belinda hesitating.

Jeff : don’t waste time… go… quick…

Qiang struggled against the bed but it was bolted to the floor. The chains rattled as he tugged at the solid links. The echo of his shout in the basement sounded louder because of the amplification.

He was washing his face with his tears and snot as he begged us to let him go.

Belinda could not bear to look at Qiang. I pulled out a metal pipe from a cabinet in the corner of the basement and handed it to Belinda.

Jeff : take it…. TAKE IT!!

Belinda shivered as she held onto the pipe.

Jeff : Look at him…. Look at him in his eye…

Qiang : NO!!! NO!! FUCK! NO!!!! please… please NO!!!1 fuck please !!!!NO!!!!

Belinda took a step closer to QIang but his voice got louder. His pleas sounded more desperate.

He started telling us about his mother back home. That he’s the sole bread winner. He has a old grandmother to take care off. His only brother is going to the university.

Qiang : FOR FUCK SAKE PLEASE !!! PLEASE!!! NO!!!

Jeff : Very nice story no ? … huh ??

I nudged Belinda forward but her body resisted my push.

Jeff : did he think of the girls’ life when Ricky and him did what they did ? …. Did they… ?

I nudged Belinda again and I could feel her body pushing back harder.

Jeff : Go on…. Do it…

Belinda : I…i…

Jeff : Why ? …. You expect your targets to be all old men…. Half dead…. With a pacer in their heart?? … do you… ?

Belinda : I….i just…

I walked in front of Belinda and I forced her to look at me.

Belinda : I…I…

Jeff ; Look at me…. Look at me when I’m talking to you….

When she raised her head, I could see she was on the verge of tears.

Jeff : Of all the things you can do in the world…. Why the fuck would you want to do something that only sick people like me do….??

Belinda backed away from me and she dropped the metal pole.

I went over to Qiang who started kicking and trashing.

Qiang ; NO!! NO!! please NO!!! NO!!!

He tried to kick me but his reach was limited by the length of the chain.

I pointed to Billy who remained awfully quiet.

Jeff : Billy you do it…. Owen wanted you to try…

Billy ; What the fuck…. Fuck off… no way….

I turned back to Belinda

Jeff : So how Belinda ? …. You going to do it or not….

She was literally shaking where she stood.

I went around Qiang and I put my arms around his head, securing it in a vise like grip in my arms and I slowly exerted my strength. Qiang started crying, he pissed in his pants.

Jeff : Look at him…Belinda… I want you to look at him…. LOOK AT HIM!!!

Tears streak down her cheeks as she forced herself to look at Qiang.

Jeff : Look at him fight for his life…if you can keep your eyes on him until it’s over I’ll tell Owen you did it…. I’ll tell him it’s you… he’ll clear you for the next stage…. So LOOK AT HIM!!!

Qiang : arGHH!!! argUUU!!! UGHH!!!

The choking sound that Qiang was emitting was too much for Billy to stomach.

Billy : I… I can’t look at this…. I’ll go check on the girls…

Qiang’s shoes fell from his feet as I kept up my hold around his neck. His feet pushed and dislodged the bedsheets from the thin mattress.

I could feel the fight in him slowly draining away.

Belinda forced herself to look at us but the tears never stopped flowing from her eyes.

Suddenly her hand went to her mouth and the dinner we had a few hours ago came gushing out in between her fingers.

The acidic smell of her stomach’s content filled the poorly ventilated basement.

I eased up on Qiang and let him go. He gagged as he choked on his own attempt to suck in air, going into a coughing fit immediately.

I walked slowly over to Belinda and asked her to clean up the mess together with the embassy’s team.

I helped Belinda off the floor.

Belinda : I’m… I’m sorry… i.. I can’t…

Jeff : It’s ok…. It’s what make us human…. It’s normal…. Not all of us are cut out for this…

I tapped her twice on her shoulder and went back up to the room.

Billy : I’m going to wipe the hardisk and security footages…

Jeff : ok…

The team at the embassy arrived just before 1am in the morning.

A doctor checked on the frail girl we rescued from the basement and told us she’s fine. Will probably need a few nights stay in the hospital before she can fly back home.

Doctor : she’s pregnant by the way…. Poor girl….

I asked him to take a look at Xuehua and he told me she will sleep it off. Just make sure she hydrates herself when she wakes up.

By 3am. The team wrapped up their work at the hotel. Ricky’s body and Qiang were loaded up and sent away. Billy wiped everything in the security footages.

Belinda’s contact at the embassy told us that they will send someone over in the morning to take over the hotel.

17th July 2013

Wednesday

4.45am

I sat with Billy and Belinda at the lounge with a few cans of beer from the convenient stall down the road.

Everyone was quiet as we waited for the sun to rise.

Belinda : I erm… I’m sorry Jeff….

Jeff : it’s ok… I’m glad you didn’t do it…

Belinda : guess I’m…. I’m better off being an operator…

Jeff : hahaha…

7.30am

A lady from the embassy arrived and she will be taking over the hotel.

Xuehua is still out cold.

We packed up and a car sent us to another hotel closer to town.

10am

By the time Xuehua woke up at 10am, she has a splitting headache and in a really bad mood.

Xuehua : what the fuck happened man…arghhhh… I have a fucking headache…

Jeff : You …ermm.. you were out cold…

Xuehua : don’t give me that bullshit… I almost became a doctor…. The symptoms I’m experiencing… it’s drug induced…. Did you fucking try to date rape me ??

Jeff : What ? … why would I do that ??

Xuehua massaged her head as she buried her face in her hand.

Xuehua : How would I know…? Maybe it’s a fetish of yours or something.. !

I went over and hugged Xuehua and told her it’s not what happened.

Xuehua : then what exactly happened….

I told her a condensed version of what happened, that I realised the wine was spiked and I confronted the hotel owners. It was a gift from them.

Jeff : We discovered cameras in the room… they wanted to take a video of us having sex and sell it on the internet …

Xuehua :what the fuck !…

Jeff : Don’t worry… it’s all taken care off… we called the police.. and everything’s taken care off…

Xuehua : are you sure ?? !!

Jeff : yeah.. yeah… 100%….

Xuehua : Oh god… I can’t imagine a video of me sucking your dick on the internet…

Jeff : hahahah …

It took a bit of coaxing but eventually Xuehua came around. I even told her I’m skipping the trade show just for her. Billy and Belinda will be able to handle what needs to be done.

The next few days were one of the best days of my life.

I dropped everything in my mind and just enjoyed myself with Xuehua.

I have never felt this level of carefreeness in along time.

Not since I was a child and running about in the camp free from the responsibilities of being an adult.

Xuehua and I fucked of course. We fucked like rabbits in heat. We exhausted a box of condoms and on the last day, we went at it raw.

Even right before we left for the airport, we were fucking in front of the mirror with her moaning at the top of her voice.

Xuehua looked visibly embarrassed when Billy commented en route to the airport that the sound proofing in hotel these days are not as good as they used to be.

20th July 2013

Saturday

10pm

We landed in Singapore and instead of heading home, I went direct to Xuehua’s place.

We needed to fuck again.

22nd July 2013

Monday

9.30am

I gave Owen the project report and I told him I wanted to meet.

That I needed to talk to him urgently, but he told me he’s busy.

He said he will get back to me the moment he settles the issues at hand.

I tried to reach Owen everyday.

Everyday.

Every single fucking day for the next 2 weeks. He responded to all my calls, to all my messages but he is too busy to meet me.

He asked if we can do this over the phone and I said I prefer to do it face to face.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, maybe it’s just me missing something, I want to settle this with Owen personally. I will know if he is lying.

I even got Billy and Belinda to try and reach Owen with a variety of reasons, but he’s not free to meet them either.

There are really no new projects for us so I spent my time with Xuehua instead, working out a routine.

I stay over at her place every Wednesday & Friday, Weekends it depends if she’s available.

Sometimes she wants to meet her classmates for drawings and paintings.

Xuehua started to show up less at the chicken rice stall too.

In fact I think I saw her only about twice a week at Eddy’s stall. It’s ok with me.

I don’t mind not seeing her at the stall. I get to see her at her place.

One of the most arousing thing I did was to help Xuehua get panty liners. I did it with a hardon throughout.

Xuehua : you keep shooting inside…. Keep leaking out the whole day !!

9 August 2013

Friday

4pm

I was about to head to the gym before I go meet Xuehua for dinner that Friday when I received the call.

Owen’s call.

Owen : Gear up… location over to you in 5mins.

I felt my heartrate go up several notch.

After a few weeks of doing nothing and just pure fucking with Xuehua, I was not ready for this.

I waited for the location and it arrived on my phone 5 minutes later.

I checked the map for the location and was surprised to see that It’s a construction site opposite a school.

A school in a new estate in the north of the island.

It’s a new estate and surrounded by construction sites.

The school is completed but not occupied yet. Owen wants me to be that at 11pm .

There goes my date with Xuehua.

I dropped her a text to let her know I’m going to be heading to Malaysia for some urgent work meeting and that I would see her tomorrow.

10pm

I geared up and took a slow drive to the meeting spot.

It’s not too late to talk to Owen.

I arrived at the carpark and I was the only one there.

I opened my boot and exhaled.

Slipping on my body armour, I checked my sharpened knife and secured it to the back of my waist.

I took out both pistols I got from the armoury. Looking around the empty carpark, I cocked the weapons and put it to safe mode.

I put the Sig behind me , within reach of my right hand.

I adjusted the position, making sure it was comfortable for me to grab it.

The other on went to a holster under my left arm. I threw on a jacket and checked my balaclava in the car mirror.

I heard footsteps behind me and within a split second, my Sig was out and pointed at that direction. The man had his palms up. He’s one of Owen’s men.

He did not say anything. He passed a earpiece and a small device the size of a lighter to me and told me to tune in to channel 6.

Jeff : Where’s Owen ?

He shrugged his shoulders and backed away after putting the stuff down on the boot of my car.

I put the earpiece on and turned in to Channel 6.

Jeff : Comms check.

Owen’s voice came on almost immediately.

Owen : Hibiki is online…. Procees to south staircase of the school across the road…

Jeff : Boss we need to…

Owen : Not now Hibiki… not now…

I cursed under my breath and I made sure the roads are clear before dashing across the road.

Owen told whoever is listening that his men have blocked off the roads.

Owen : We are 1 man short…. The moment he’s here, we can finish this… Hold position.

My senses are on high alert as I got to the staircase I was assigned to.

I could see staircases on all 4 corners of the building. There’s one more leading up to a hall in the centre.

Suddenly I heard Butcher’s voice in my earpiece.

Butcher : who is late boss ? …. There’s mosquitoes here…

Iron : You have plenty for them to suck on…

Butcher : oh yeah… you can suck on mine if you like….

Iron : hahah… oh boy… I hope you don’t get in my way….

Owen : Shut the fuck up ….. Raptor is online…

Iron : Oh… the fastest one is late …. Maybe he’s getting slow… hahah…

Owen : shut the fuck up Iron or I’m going cut your share…

Iron : oppsie… hahaha

The banter in my ear is just background noises to me.

My eyes scanned the immediate area around me. Owen sounded worried.

Owen : Comms check…Raptor… ?

Raptor : I’m in position… central courtyard…

I could see Raptor walking casually towards the staircase like a boss. He held a large knife in his hand and he rested one foot 2 steps up.

Owen : Iron ?

Iron :Yeah yeah …

Owen : Butcher ?

Butcher : I’m here… I don’t do pregnant woman and kids boss…. But if gourmet gets his hands on them first… I figure it would be an act of mercy if I do…

Owen : Shut up… !

Butcher : hahahha

Owen : Gourmet ?? …

Gourmet : In position…. North stairwell…

The nervousness in Owen’s voice is unsettling.

Owen : Hibiki ?

Jeff : I’m here…

Owen : ok listen up…. Intel suggests that Aiko is hold up on the top floor… she is alone… her daughter is not here….take care of her…make it quick…… don’t listen to anything she might have to say….. we do not negotiate with terrorists….

Another voice joined the channel we were in and instinctively my right hand went behind my back and touched the grip of my knife.

Instead of waiting at the ground floor, I thread slowly upwards to the 2nd floor and peered out into the empty corridor.

It was a low eerie laugh.

Everyone went quiet immediately.

No one spoke.

The laughter continued.

I could not make out whether the laugh belonged to a male or female. The person spoke through something that distorted their true voice.

Voice : haha… lies…. What a bunch of lies…. Your boss…. Is lying…hahhaa…. Are you sure you are following the right man ?…

I backtracked down to the ground floor and did a visual check of the surroundings.

The technology we are using is supposed to be secured. There’s no way you can just hack your way in.

There are no amateurs on site. My colleagues knew better than to communicate with the mysterious voice.

Owen spoke 2 seconds later.

Owen : Switch channel… Bravo 21… out…

I applied the algorithm we committed to heart during training and switched the channel to 35 after applying Owen’s given figure.

Owen : Comms check.

All 5 of us replied one after another. There were no more teasing.

No more bantering.

Owen : Stay focus… Aiko is not alone… there might be other terrorists on site….

The voice appeared again in the same channel we just switched to.

My heart started beating faster.

This is impossible.

Voice : lies….lies…. and more lies…. Haha.. the only terrorist….is you…..Fernando..….

Owen : Comms are not secured, I repeat…. Comms are not secured…. Proceed with caution….

The peace of the night was shattered by the piercing sound of the public announcement system.

It echoed through the school compound.

Voice : All of you …… have been lied to…deceived… and manipulated…. Walk away….. … you’ve been warned…. or I will….. kill you

The silence in my earpiece was suddenly punctuated by Butcher’s laughter.

Butcher : This guy has a sense of humour… hahhaa…

Iron : I agree with you for once hahaha… who the fuck does he think he is… hahaha…

Gourmet : Let’s get this over and done with…. Proceed with sweep from ground up…. We meet at the top….

I was about to put a step forward when I heard the voice declared publicly over the PA system.

I felt a tingle of excitement in my veins.

I felt alive.

I felt aroused. I could almost feel an erection building up in my pants and I am sure my colleagues felt the same way.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I exhaled as my right hand left the grip of my knife and went for that of the Sig.

I could feel the rush of endorphins as my senses peaked in the quiet of the night.

Voice : My name is Jane…… and I look forward…… to meeting all of you….

There was a 5 second break of silence before Butcher’s low growling laughter filled my ears.

Butcher : hahahahahahahahahahahaha……. She’s mine……hahahahahaha … she’s fucking mine…. Hahahahah

My weapon is up as I took 2 steps up the stairs at a time to reach level 2.

I started my sweep of the 1st classroom.

Clear.

There’s no way to know for sure if the person is bluffing his or her way through.

I was about to head back out to the corridor when the tranquillity of the new estate was shattered once again. The unmistakable sound of a high-powered assault rifle opened up on the 3rd floor.

Glass shattered and I could see the stray tracer rounds lighting up the skies. Chunks of concrete chipped off freshly painted walls. The muzzle flashes of the rifle illuminated the dark classrooms momentarily.

Butcher : hahaha.. hahaha… come on baby …come on !!! Hahahaha…

The repetitive screams of the bullets piercing through the air kept coming until Butcher emptied his magazine.

Butcher : hahaha… I have her….. I have her… hahahahahaha !!!

I gripped my gun tighter as I swept my field of vision.

I could hear the metallic grind of Butcher’s cleaver against the metal railings as sparks flew along the path he was running.

Butcher : stop running !! hahaha…hahaha come and meet my cleaver…..hahaha..hahaha…

I skipped my level 2 and ran straight up to level 3 but there were no signs of any actions on that floor. I forced myself to calm down and I moved along the darkened classrooms.

I heard a groan, followed but the choking voice of someone over my comms.

That was a gagging sound. Like someone was choking on something.

“ ergnhh!!! aRGHHK! GREKKK!! KKKEEEEE!!! KERGGGG!!!! aRKGHHHHH!!!!!eRGHH!!!! “

I continued my sweep across the corridor and stopped at the north stairwell.

It was clear.

WHAM !!!!!!!!!

The loud slam felt like someone had thrown a piano off a high-rise building.

I ran to the balcony and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on it’s neck.

I blinked a few times.

I could not believe what I was seeing.

That body mass, that muscled torso.

I could see the twitching body of Butcher on the ground.

I can’t see his face. Not because he’s still wearing his mask, but because his head is gone.

Iron : what ………the ………fuck….

The school went quiet.

There were absolutely no movements at all.

Not a single sound.

Then I heard it.

I heard the only sound my ears could pick up.

And I’m fucking sure my colleagues are hearing the same thing.

The metallic grind of butcher’s cleaver over our earpiece.

……………………………………………………………

 

I pushed myself back from the railing and pointed my weapon back down the dark corridor.

My heart has never beat this fast before. Not when I’m on a project.

I’m feeling something different.

It’s not just the excitement running through my veins.

The anticipation of meeting Jane went up several notch. There is something new I’m feeling as well.

Fear.

It’s weird.

I know I’m afraid but I’m looking forward to it.

Owen : What is going on ?? What is the status ?

Iron : Butcher is dead…

Owen : What the..

Sounds of gunshots rang out from Owen’s side of the intercom. I could hear the muted shots of small calibre weapons being fired from outside the school compound.

3 seconds later Owen told us to bail out.

Owen ; Abort… get yourself out of there…. Get out… !! Our location has been compromise….

Owen wanted everyone to leave and wait for further instructions but none of us moved.

No way.

Our ego is too big to walk away from this.

Not when one of us has been killed.

Not when we have that one chance to proof once and for all who is the best among all of us.

Owen : get out !!… I want all of you to get out !!

Iron : hahaha…alright… see you in a while Owen…

The sound of gunfire got more intense outside the school compound. Jane is not working alone. There’s no way she can be at 2 places at once.

I turned a corner and came face to face with Gourmet. My left hand deflected a stab from his dagger the same time he pushed my gun away from his face.

We gave each other a scare and there is no hiding that.

We could both see it in our eyes.

Gourmet : where is she ?

Jeff : I don’t know…

A series of loud clashes came from 2 floors above us.

Gourmet and I immediately started running up the steps.

I could hear Raptor over the comms.

Raptor : argHHH!! …erghh!!! Fuck !..

This was followed by a loud crash before the labored breath of Raptor came on again.

Gourmet and I arrived at the 5th floor to see Raptor on his fours trying to work his way out from a tangled mess of tables.

Gourmet did not stop, he kept running towards the only direction Jane could have gone.

There is only 1 more staircase at the end of the corridor.

Raptor pulled up part of his balaclava, exposing his bloodied mouth.

He coughed and spit out blood and a chipped piece of his tooth.

I heard him cursed slightly under his breath.

Raptor : Fuck…. She’s fast…

Jeff : Are you ok ?

He nodded as he replaced his mask and climbed onto his feet.

I went after Gourmet , stopping shy of the 90 degree turn into the staircase.

My mind was filled with what I just heard Raptor say.

She’s fast .

The supposedly fastest guy in the company saying that Jane is fast.

I could feel myself on the verge of an orgasm.

If Jane is as good as they say she is, I’m looking forward to meeting her.

I turned and did a sweep of the staircase. There was no one in sight.

I kept my body against the wall and walked sideways down.

There’s no sign of my other colleagues either.

Jane is not stupid. She’s dividing us up and taking us out one by one. It’s the rationale thing to do.

Let’s not forget the selfishness inside each one of us.

All of us want the kill for ourselves. Imagine the bragging rights.

Just imagine being able to declare you are the one that took out Jane.

Another loud commotion pierced the silent night and I could hear Iron grunting on the ground floor.

I saw her.

I saw Jane.

She’s dressed in black, exactly the same manner in which we were dressed.

Her Balaclava alone is enough to leave a permanent scar in the minds of kids if they see it.

The black fabric of her mask is illuminated around the eye sockets. You know those glow in the dark stars you stick in your bedroom for some glow in the dark fun ?

Jane’s mask had a row of stiches glowing in the same manner.

Imagine watching a horror show with a woman that had her eyelid sewn shut, only the string used is glowing in the dark, like 2 monstrous slit.

Her mask extended backwards and I could see a budge that presumably catered for her hair.

There are no loose pony tail flying around. It’s all tied up and hidden within the mask itself.

As if the devil himself had made the mask, 2 spiked horns about 5cm long extended near her forehead.

Unlike the simple construct of the mask I used, Jane’s mask is a work of art.

A work by a very sick individual.

Tapering down her neck is a collar that held the whole mask together.

Iron : aRGHHH !! HEEERRR!!!!

Iron punched hard, driving his knuckle duster and it’s attached dagger in the direction of Jane.

She ducked most of the attempts. She’s really fast.

On her left hand, I could see the butcher’s cleaver.

Iron was punching the air most of the time. With his build and size, it would all be over for Jane if he got his hands on her.

Iron’s brute strength is no match for Jane’s agility.

Within seconds, she broke off the engagement and disappeared down the hallway.

Iron gave chase and he too disappeared into the dark.

I brought my weapon back up and heading in the direction where the action was. Then out of nowhere, I saw a dark figure jump down to the ground floor from the 2nd.

Like a seasoned parkour player, Jane dropped silently onto the ground, rolling to a stop about 30 metres away from me.

Our eyes met and I saw her tilt her head sideways as if saying she has yet to engage me before.

Fuck the knife. This is not a Hollywood show where you need to drag the run time for a physical fight.

I squeezed the trigger, sending lead through the air where Jane is.

Jeff : Fuck me…

I did not remain stationary, with each round I squeezed, I marched forward towards Jane.

Jane literally rolled and did a full somersault in mid air before diving into the back of a concrete column.

My magazine holds 10 rounds, I counted 6 shots which leaves me with 4.

I saw Jane attempt to switch her cover on the right and I sent another round over, the hot lead chipping off a small chunk of concrete and plaster.

3 more rounds in my magazine.

I closed the distance between her and myself to 20 metres.

I saw her foot extend out and I placed another shot, cursing as her foot retracted right before I squeezed off.

2 more rounds.

What happened next took me by surprise.

Jane rolled out from the bottom of the concrete column and started shooting at me.

The whistle of the bullet followed by the cracking sound of it breaking the sound barrier ringed closed to my ears.

I saw 3 muzzle flashes before I fell backwards to the ground.

The 3rd shot hit me by the side of my waist, grazing pass my body armour but the impact was enough to knock me off balance.

I fell and I knew there was no time to lose, I immediately reached for my knife and brought it up in time for the serrated edge of my friend to meet the sharpened cleaver that used to belong to Butcher.

Jane was right in front of me.

Her right hand swung her pistol towards my head but I knocked her off her feet with my right leg.

The speed at which she regained her balance is frightening, almost like a spring wound to it’s limits of tension, bouncing back with each push.

Jane kept her distance and disappeared back into the dark within warning.

Before I could get on my feet I heard footsteps behind me and Gourmet appeared.

He was panting.

Gourmet : you got shot ?

Jeff : I was wearing body armour…

Gourmet : fuck… I should have taken that from the armoury….

Gourmet’s weapon of choice is both a knife and a fork.

Unlike the fork you use for your steak, Gourmet’s fork is a foot long. A mean piece of hardened steel splitting into 2 at the end like the forked tongue of a poisonous serpent. Gourmet’s knife is like a carving blade with 2 colours. The cutting edge is in blood red while the rest of it extending to the handle is made of stone.

He’s the last person you would want to dine with for sure.

Gourmet gave chase into the dark and silence once again filled the school compound.

I went up to level 2 and kept my ears open. I could hear rapid footsteps running about above me.

I spoke into the intercom to warn my colleagues about Jane’s pistol.

Hibiki : Jane is armed…. Fired 3 shots…

There was commotion on the 4th floor again before Gourmet updated the rest of us.

Gourmet : She’s on the 4th floor…. Fired 2 more…

That’s 5.

She’s travelling light, I don’t know her weapon nor it’s magazine capacity but she can’t possibly have unlimited ammunition.

I ran up to the 4th floor only to see Gourmet at the other end.

She’s like a ghost.

Raptor : aRHGHH!!! ERHG!!! EGH!!! Bitch….!!! I’m going to kill you !!! COME ON!!! COME!!!

Raptor’s shout filled the air and stopped as suddenly as it started.

Iron : Where…where is she ??!!

There was no reply from Raptor but everyone made their way towards the direction of the noise.

It’s back on the ground floor.

Jane must know this place by heart, she literally bounced 1 floor to the other.

The terraced corridors allowed her to safely leap off the 4th and grab onto the handrail of the 3rd with plenty of space to spare. It’s one thing to do it in the day, but to do it in the pitch dark of the night, if Jane is a man, he must have balls of steel.

Crashing round of furniture filled compound. The grunts and shouts lasted barely 20 seconds.

Raptor’s grunt was quickly replaced by a hair-raising scream of pain.

Raptor : aegH HHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

It’s not just a short cry of pain when you are hit or slashed.

It’s a long skin crawling cry of pain that is sustained for a long time. It never stopped.

By the time Raptor came into sight, he was on the floor on his back clutching onto his right wrist.

Wrist.

Or what’s left of it.

His fucking hand has been hacked off. I could see it on the ground together with the butcher’s cleaver.

Raptor : aRHGHHHHHH !!!! aRGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

He was literally rolling in his own pool of blood.

I was the 1st to get there and I almost slipped onto the thick pool of blood that is spraying all over the place.

Jeff : fuck…

It’s like stepping into the set of Quentin Tarantino’s work, only this is real.

Iron arrived barely a second later and he bolted off in the direction where he saw Jane ran off to.

I grabbed Raptor’s pants and pulled out his belt.

Hibiki : Don’t move… !! stop moving !!

Raptor : aRGHH!!!! aRGHH!!!!! FUCK!!!!! aRH!!!!!!!

I did a quick tourniquet with his belt around his arm and he bleeding eased up a little but he needs medical help immediately.

Hibiki : Owen are you there !! OWEN !! we need the medical and clean up crew over here NOW!!!

There was no reply from Owen.

He has already disconnected from the channels.

I dragged Raptor away from the open and his own pool of blood.

Raptor : aRGHH!!! aRGHH!!! fCUK!!! aRCHGGG!!!!

Before I could prop Raptor up, I could hear Iron shouting away, cursing with language so coarse and vulgar that it would never have been spoken in a school compound.

I gave Raptor my Sig and tapped him several times on his face.

Hibiki : Hey… hey Raptor… stay with me…hey !…

He nodded and gestured for me to go.

Hibiki : There’s only 2 rounds left….

I could not find his dagger so I grabbed Butcher’s cleaver and brought it to him.

Hibiki : good luck…

I ran off in the direction when I heard Iron grunting his curses with each punch.

Iron : arGH!!! BITCH!!! COME ON!!! ARGHH!!! Oofffeded…

I got to level 3 in time to see Gourmet coming up from the rear.

With me coming up the front, there’s no way she can get out of this.

Iron threw a hard right hook and I saw Jane ducked it easily before delivering a rib cracking kick into his side.

Gourmet and I barely got a few steps in towards Iron when we saw Jane leaping off the side of the railing. Her hands gripped onto the metal railing for less than 1 second before she let go, dropping at least 2.5m before grabbing onto the railing on the 3rd floor with 1 hand.

I pulled out the spare pistol and took aim but she had dropped all the way to the ground floor and disappeared under the cantilevered slabs we were standing on.

Iron got up on his feet and I saw he was bleeding.

He touched his own stomach in disbelief.

Iron : fucking bitch stabbed me….arghh… with my own ..arghhh…

It was not a deep wound but upon closer inspection, he had more than one of them.

One on his stomach, one on his thigh, one under his left arm.

Iron tried to walk but he staggered and collapsed onto a table.

Iron : fuck….fucking bitch….

Raptor’s shout reached our ears as we dashed out into the corridor.

Raptor : aRGHHHHH!!!

I could see Raptor slashing through the air like a mad man.

Jane was well beyond his reach.

She’s holding my gun. With Raptor’s condition, it would be a piece of cake taking it from him if she approached him from his blindspot.

Raptor slashed wildly into the central courtyard.

Gourmet : fuck this shit !!

Gourmet ran towards the staircase and I could hear him jumping down entire thread of steps at a time with his heavy landing.

Jane held her weapon up and levelled it at Raptor.

Raptor laughed.

Raptor : come on!!!.. what are you waiting for !!!

He charged at Jane and she shot him in his knee, causing him to buckle immediately.

Raptor : aRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! FUCK!!!!

Jane relieved Raptor’s of Butcher’s cleaver as he writhed in pain.

Gourmet charged towards Jane haphazardly and she backed away from the courtyard, choosing to disappear once more into the dark.

Iron : argghh… fuck this….i’m losing too much blood…

I could see the pool slowly building up beneath his feet.

Hibiki : Get out of here…. I’ll take care of her…

Iron : hahahah… no way…. I’m not letting you have this score…hahahaha fuck ..a rnghh

I shook my head as I went out of the classroom.

I looked at the classroom across from where I stood. Jane staggered backwards and lost her balance, disappearing for a brief second, probably from sustaining a kick from Gourmet.

Gourmet swung his knife, his posture almost graceful as it sliced dangerously close to Jane’s head. His fork stabbed 45 degree downwards in a forceful thrust and with a well switch of his posture, he hammered both weapons down towards the ground.

Jane managed to duck his hit and I could see her body rolling backwards before she backflipped up onto her feet with the gracefulness of a gymnast.

Gourmet did not let up on his attack and I watch Jane duck stabs and hits rapidly, choosing which one she wants to parry away with the cleaver she was holding onto.

I left Iron alone and I started running along the perimeter of the compound. The large rectangle block is connected only at one end, forming a large U shape.

Gourmet is not one to waste his strength. Once he sees that his attack is not effective, he switched tactics.

He stopped his swings, conserving his energy as he waited for Jane to make her move.

I closed the distance between us and I could see Jane keeping a close eye at me.

She looked like she was about to bolt but I slowed down before stopping eventually.

Gourmet did a quick check and he held up his fork, signalling me to hold my position.

He knows.

He’s also aware that if I get too close, Jane will choose to bolt. She will only engage one of us at a time. I was tempted to shoot but Jane had positioned herself well. She kept her body low, her eyes trailing my every move.

If I shift to get a better angle, she will bolt, and it’s a chase all over again.

I stopped moving and kept my weapon down. Gourmet deserves a chance at this.

Jane, aware that I’m not closing in further, turns her attention away from me.

Seeing that Gourmet is not making his move, Jane shook her wrist a couple of times, not hiding the fact that she’s warming up to make hers.

The sound of hardened steel crashing against each other immediately echoed along the corridor. Jane held the cleaver in one hand while the other held one of Iron’s knuckle duster.

The way she wielded the weapons is amazing. The speed and the ease at which she swings, parries and stab is as if the whole fight is choreographed. There are no fancy moves for the camera.

Each attempt by Gourmet and Jane did nothing to mask the intention to strike a fatal blow.

Gourmet : arGHH!!!erghhhh!!!

Gourmet almost got Jane with his fork but she went in close, sending a hardened elbow up his chin, causing his entire body to stagger backwards. Before Gourmet could recover, Jane dove in with her right knee, going for Gourmet’s right kneecap.

Gourmet : arGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

He swung his knife down and Jane caught it with Iron’s knuckle duster before slashing it away with the cleaver in a heartbeat.

Gourmet grunted as he shook the pain off his leg.

Pointing his fork and knife back at Jane, he readied himself for another attempt.

I kept my eyes peeled on every move.

The moment things are not going well, I’m going to step in.

We’re not trained for extended contact with our target like this.

Yes we can hit and kill, but we depend on the element of surprise most of the time. We hit fast with awe and speed. Not go head to head like this.

Iron : aRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! BITCH!!!!!!!!!

Iron came up from behind Jane. His shout gave him away and Jane turned around in time.

He’s injury affected his body more than he care to admit. He got slow, he made mistakes he should not have made, leaving himself open like this.

Jane blocked off his clumsy attempt to stab her in her back and held onto Iron’s right arm. Her body flew off the floor, her legs gripping onto Iron’s torso as she executed her move, throwing Iron off balance and dislocating his arm from it’s socket before she hit the ground.

Iron : aRHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! aRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Iron tried to swing his good hand with the knuckle duster at Jane but she twisted it easily and sent it back down onto his right cheek.

Iron : aRGHHHH!!!! ARGHH!!!!!

Using the knuckleduster she commandeered from Iron, she hooked the stabbing blade into one of the finger hole of the duster Iron is holding on, Jane swung it outwards, causing Iron to separate the skin holding his top and bottom cheek together.

Iron : arGHH!..argghernghghgegeeg!!!

It all happened so fast. There were no time to think at all.

Gourmet ran up, charging into Jane and she disappeared down the staircase in the blink of an eye.

Gourmet ignored Iron and went straight after Jane.

Gourmet : COME BACK HERE !!!!!

I left Iron where he is and went around the other side.

When I got to the ground floor, I saw Gourmet and Jane going at it again.

Raptor is no longer moving.

I checked him for a pulse, there is none.

He bled out.

Gourmet managed to get a hold of Jane and he managed to get behind her. He was trying to put her in a choke hold but regretted immediately as his flesh met the spikes around Jane’s neck.

He lost his grip and took a kick squarely in his torso, sending him sprawling onto the ground.

Gourmet tried to get up but Jane’s waiting knee connected with his head and he was done.

I could hear Gourmet groaning on the floor.

The hit was hard enough to give him a concussion and he vomited shortly after.

He tried to stand but the moment he did, he staggered and fell back onto his back.

Iron : AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! BITCHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Iron came again, looking like a fiend fresh out of hell with blood all over his face.

Jane ran towards him, blocked his stab before depositing his own weapon into the side of his neck.

Iron collapsed immediately onto the ground like a puppet that had it’s strings severed.

I was about to step up when Gourmet rushed out into the courtyard we were in .

Gourmet : I’m not done with her !!!!

Before I could yell for him to stop. Gourmet threw his fork at Jane. She did not manage to block it in time and it sliced through her arm. It was a minor scratch but I could see the tear in her clothes.

Gourmet charged towards Jane with his knife but he was not fast enough, or rather his reach was not far enough.

Jane went for the same fork that cut her and turned it back towards it’s owner.

The moment I saw it pierce though gourmet’s stomach, I lifted my gun and fired.

I don’t miss at such distance and I hit Jane squarely on her tummy with my first shot but she’s still standing, she’s wearing a body armour as well.

I could see her staggering a little as she used Gourmet’s body as a shield.

Gourmet tried to do what he could with his knife but Jane caught hold of it and sent it back into his own neck.

I saw Gourmet’s eyes. He knew it was over.

I trained my gun at his body and fired away.

He’s a dead man, it’s just a matter of time.

I squeezed off 5 shots, running towards Jane as I did so, the impact of each hit transferred from Gourmet’s body and onto hers, pushing her back.

Jane fired as well, using my own gun against me.

I felt it on my right chest and it immediately knocked the air out of my lungs.

Gourmet’s body dropped and I could see Jane staggering back, I fired again, this time grazing her left shoulder.

I tried to aim but I can’t

My muscles are not listening to me.

I grunted and squeezed another round, this time hitting Jane at the same spot as where she hit me.

She fell, collapsing onto the ground.

I gasped desperately for oxygen. No matter how hard I sucked, I just felt as if my lungs were empty.

I could see Jane going though the same thing as me.

We were both trying to get back up.

I wanted to shout but nothing came out. My throat felt dry.

I turned and I saw Jane crawling away.

She’s heading towards the classroom.

I gasped for air and I got one knee onto the soft grass.

I can do this.

My right hand went behind and I pulled out my knife.

I turned and I could still see Jane.

She was almost on her feet and she was trying to get away from me into the safety of the classroom.

I was shaking as I climbed back up onto my feet, but I barely took 1 step and I collapsed onto my knees again, my hands supporting my body that seemed to have gotten heavier.

I sucked in gasps of air with my mouth and got up.

I could see Jane is up as well, she walked into the darkened classroom.

I took several deep breathes and I walked over to Gourmet’s body.

I pulled out his fork with my left hand and I marched straight into the dark classroom.

I could see Jane up on her feet and looking at me.

Her breathing seemed faster.

She looked damm pissed. Like a bitch about to get a fit.

Her hands were empty.

She’s unarmed.

She’s a dead woman walking.

I put 1 step forward and she gestured to my hands without a word, pointing to both my knife and Gourmet’s fork.

It’s as if she’s trying to ask me to give her one to make this a fair fight.

Are you fucking high on drugs ?

That’s what I would ask her if I wanted to but no.

No way.

We’re talking about life and death here. There is no such thing as being a gentlemen, offering the lady a knife.

Fuck her.

I’m here to kill her.

I ignored Jane’s gesture and I adopted my attacking stance.

Gourmet’s fork is up in front of me, forming a horizontal line in front of Jane parallel to the ground while I tightened the grip on my own knife.

I saw Jane shook her head as she backed off from me slowly. It’s as if she was expressing her disappointment for me not being a gentleman.

I watch her reach for something she kept behind the desk.

Her left hand produced something familiar.

Something I had seen only on pictures.

It’s the black shiny spear tip of the soul spear. It’s wooden staff replaced with a customised grip that allowed Jane to wield it as a short sabre.

From behind her waist, she pulled out her weapon of choice to even the odds.

I cursed silently under my breath as I watch Jane level her Hu Die Dao ( Butterfly knife ) the same manner as I did with Gourmet’s fork.

Fuck.

There’s no telling how this will turn out.

One thing’s for sure.

Only one of us will be walking out of that classroom.

………………………………………………………………….

 

I swung the fork at Jane and timed the slash of my knife. She blocked both with only her spear.

It was not meant to be a fast attack, I wanted to see how she reacts to my attempt.

Her butterfly knife hardly moved.

Her wrist is relaxed, slightly rotating her grip as our positions started to shift.

She’s watching me in the same manner as I was watching her.

Her foot came forward and the sound of metal hitting against each other rang out in the silent classroom.

There are no extended contact.

It was all a quick enter and hit, block and disengage.

I tried to feign an attack but Jane caught it and block the slice of my knife perfectly with her spear again.

Her modified spear has a longer reach than my fork by at least 2 inches by my estimate.

I switch tact and went in with my knife.

Immediately I saw her hudiedao come up in an attempt to disarm me with the weapon itself with it’s extended hook.

I retracted my knife in time and a quick swing of Gourmet’s weapon put the distance between us back to status quo once more.

She was not in a hurry.

Jane paced about the classroom, keeping well away from my kill zone.

She knows and can read how far I can strike.

I’m of a bigger built than her, if push comes to shove, my bigger physique will give me an advantage. As soon as I started deliberately on this train of thought, it disappeared altogether as soon as I thought about Butcher.

He’s so much beefier than me, yet Jane still took care of him.

A short series of quick slash and stabbing attempts played out between us, ending almost immediately after it begin. We were quick to enter and get back to our defensive position.

It felt like 2 wolves prodding each other for weakness rather than a all out brawl.

Jane pounced in, delivering a series of fast strikes with her spear and hudiedao together, I backed off, my body went into overdrive as I blocked off each strike while trying to get a quick hit of mine during the melee.

The ringing of hardened steel sounded 5 times in the dark before the room went quiet again.

Jane made another attempt to strike but I made mine at the same time.

The spear came awfully close to my nose even after I blocked it and I could feel my heart pumping away as my brain digested how close I came to getting my nose ripped off my face.

The sound of Jane’s hudiedao hitting my knife right by my ears was so loud my eardrum hurt. As soon as the sound of metal rang out in the dark, it was quickly replaced by the torturous grinding of steel as it came down to a matter of strength and dexterity.

Our arms were locked in place by the hold of our weapons for a precious 3 second and Jane tried to kick me in my kidney with her knees.

I ducked, angling myself away in an awkward angle and trying to get a kick in as well.

Jane tried to pull herself back from me but I held onto her. Using the momentum of the jerk, I tried to knee her in her stomach. Jane managed to disengag her hands and blocked my knee in time before it connected.

I tried to go in again but I saw the waiting spear and stopped myself in time.

I did not wait for Jane to catch her breath, I sent a table her way and using that as a distraction, I sliced precariously close to her face, hitting the metallic horn on the top of her mask.

Jane ducked her body low choosing to come within my kill zone. Her hudiedao came in too fast for me to block it with my knife so I jumped backwards, arching my body at the same time to avoid the blade.

I plunged Gourmet’s fork downwards, hoping to stab Jane before she could move away but it was as if she had eyes at the back of her head, a clean sweep of her spear tip knocked the fork clean away from my hand.

I blocked Jane’s hudiedao’s 2nd strike with my knife and before I could attempt a kick, she had pulled herself out of range.

I swung Gourmet’s fork in front of me, slashing the air slowly to keep Jane back at her spot.

I flexed my wrist and tried to work on my breathing.

I could feel a spike in my adrenaline.

My heart started racing and I could feel my palms starting to sweat.

It’s not about me being afraid.

It’s just our body’s response.

Fight or flight. Every animal including human will experience this. Our body sends us the signal and waits for a response.

Jane charged towards me and we started to block, stab and slash our way out of this situation. Every blow has the potential to be deadly should it land on it’s intended spot.

I landed an elbow to the side of Janes’ cheeks, it was not a hard hit but a hit nonetheless.

In return, I felt a hard knee to the left of my ribcage.

Within seconds I could feel the soreness of the knee but it faded as fast as it appeared.

I know from past experience that a hit like that will leave a bruise.

Jane came in again and I read her attack before she could attempt a hit and I deflected the swing of her spear and disarming her of it. I would have wanted to land another elbow at her body but that bitch head butted me on my face, narrowly missing my nose.

I grunted as I pushed her back.

She switched her hudiedao to her right hand and put her left foot slightly forward.

My knife and her hudiedao met several times in mid air before a series of wrist grabs and releases accompanied by grunting hard elbows and knees connected with each of our body.

Every blow I mange to land on Jane was met with an equally strong response.

I thought a punch to her chest would sent her back but she grabbed onto my wrist and bounced back with a knee to my kidney.

Her rising knee to my nose was knocked back by my right elbow only for my left cheek to feel the hammer like fist of her hand connect.

Fuck she can hit hard.

I’ve never felt pain like this in a long time.

Her jabs are fast, precise and directed to specific spots of my body.

I could punch harder but she could do it faster.

My mind could not help tallying up the hits I’ve landed and taken. I could almost picture a balance sheet appearing in front of me, crediting each hit I landed, before my credit could even add up, it was debited with a harder response by Jane.

My head started to make the trade off calculations.

It’s telling me that yes sure, you can hit her, but just expect to get hit harder back in return.

If my body could talk, it would probably be screaming at me, asking if it’s worth it to get hit like this when I hit like a pussy.

Jane knocked my knife off my hands first but thankfully I managed to twist her hudiedao off her hands 2 seconds later at the expense of a slash on my left forearm.

I don’t know how deep it is but I could work with the pain. I know my body’s ability to feel pain decreases with the spike in adrenaline. My awareness heightened, my blood vessels contract to re-direct blood to major muscle groups.

My body is doing everything it is programmed to do to help me stay alive.

The burning sensation in my arm and the warm blood flowing down my fingers a painful reminder of what would happen to the rest of my body if I’m not careful with her.

My body is drenched with perspiration and I could see Jane panting for air.

She kicked the scattered chairs and tables further apart, giving us more room to work with.

I know she’s not clearing the space for us to move, she’s clearing it so she has space to execute her kicks.

Judging from what she could do to me in such close distance, it would be safe to assume her legs can do some real damage with a good swing.

When I saw her leg coming towards me, I was suddenly reminded to what Raptor said earlier.

“fuck …. she’s fast”

And Raptor was not lying.

I could duck the 1st kick but the 2nd one came so fast I had to block it.

It came right at my face and even shielding it with my master arm, I could feel the force of that kick slamming into my right shoulder and forearm.

I returned the favour in the same manner, Jane chose to duck both kicks before attempting to land more at me.

When I saw her legs raise up, I charged in like a bull.

I could take her down and put her in submission and it would all be over.

I grabbed her alright but Jane is not a one trick pony.

Before I could wrestle her to the ground , she managed to break herself loose and I was sent to the wall with a hard jab to the side of my neck.

I gasped for air as Jane tried to wrestle me to the ground next. Thankfully my bigger physique and mass tipped the scale in my favour as I broke free before she can trip me.

I swung my fist at her only to have it blocked and answered with an elbow to the left of my cheek.

I grunted in pain and I could taste blood in my mouth.

That hit must have cut my mouth somehow.

I raised my fist and our bodies connected again.

Jane made a mistake and I managed to land 2 hard punches to the side of her head, she blocked them but it’s still a hard hit. I could see her shaking her head, trying to sober up.

Suddenly I could hear Owen’s voice over the intercom.

Owen : This is Owen… !… we’re coming in for extraction….. we’re coming in hot….! Everyone to the carpark now !!! I repeat… this is a hot extract !

Seconds later I could hear the sound of gunfire opening up again a short distance away.

The popping and hollow echo of shells being emptied at each other got closer as Jane and I continued our attempt to kill each other.

She jumped up and grabbed my body with her legs, I could tell she was going to swing herself down and take me down with her but I grunted and I could feel the muscles in ym entire body firing up as I fought the momentum and swung Jane into a tangled mess of tables.

Her legs gripped on and I gritted my teeth and swung her again against the wall, knocking her off my body.

She tried to get up but I landed a knee to the side of her ribcage, sending her flying at least half a metre to the side.

I could feel myself gaining the advantage and I rolled over to where my knife had landed.

Owen was literally screaming through the earpiece.

Owen : We are reaching in 30 seconds !!!! you guys better fucking be at the carpark !!!! FUCK!!!

The sound of gunfire came closer.

The intensity of the fight grew, no one would ever believe something like this is happening on the island.

I felt the familiar grip of the knife and fighting back all the pain in my body, I lunged for Jane who was trying to get up.

She was fast, she literally rolled over my back and went for her hudiedao but she mis-timed her grab of her weapon and missed it by mere centimetres.

I slashed at the spot her fingers were at just seconds ago, depriving her of the chance to arm herself.

She’s unarmed and I have the upper hand.

3 slashes of mine were blocked by Jane’s arm against my wrist and forearm but she’s not going to get lucky all the time. Another headbutt came by way but I ducked it.

I tried to headbutt her but she fucking orientated her spike horns at me.

I literally felt my entire world shake as I registered that fucking bruise that I just put on my own head.

Owen : WHERE IS FUCK!!!IS EVERYONE !!!! someone answer me !!!

I could hear the angry screech of 2 vehicles coming to a stop at the carpark and sporadic gun shots continue to ring out.

I could not risk losing my focus to answer Owen as Jane and I exchanged a series of kicks and blows. I felt her boot land a kick on my finger and I dropped my knife.

Owen : WHERE Is EVERYONE !!!

Owen’s shout was loud enough for me to hear his voice coming from outside the classroom.

Jane charged at me and managed to knock my off my feet this time round.

Our hands and feet immediately tangled up as we attempted to choke each other into submission. I pulled my hand loose, she extracted her leg from my hold. Jane’s arm went around my neck and I quickly inserted my free arm in between.

Both of us grunted as our bodies dragged along the hard concrete floor, kicking and smashing everything out of our way.

At moments like this I was thankful for the amount of time I spent working out at the gym.

I turned the tables around and got behind Jane’s back.

I tried to do the same to her and she fought off my attempt to choke her the same manner as I did. I could feel the spikes around her neck digging a little into my flesh but I shrugged off the pain. The way she moved is amazing. Her core muscles is so strong, she literally lifted her body up and off the ground without her feet.

Jane got loose but we were still tangled up on the floor. I could hear Owen shouting orders to his men. They must be barely 30m away.

I don’t know what happened but Jane and I were thrown against a tangled mess of toppled tables and chairs. She started punching me, and I did the same.

I caught a glimpse of Owen’s men appear at the window. He’s fully equipped in tact gear with a sub machine gun in his hand.

Before he could take another step, I saw his entire body being thrown against the window before he slid out of view.

Another came up and the suffered the same fate, his head slamming against the window frame before disappearing from sight.

Owen : Sniper !! sniper !!! sniper !!! COVER !!! cOVER Now!!!

Within seconds, the sporadic sound of gunfire was replaced by the rapid automatic discharge of weapons.

I could smell the familiar scent of smoke grenades being deployed as a fog of white smoke started to fill the school compound.

Owen : HIBIKI !!! WHERE the FUCK ARE YOU!!!

I could hear Owen trying to direct his men to load up the bodies of my fallen colleagues amidst the chaos. There’s no way he will miss them with their bodies sprawled all over the courtyard.

I broke free from Jane and I grunted a reply.

Jeff :arghh !

Before I could say anything further, I was tangled up with Jane again.

Owen : HIBIKI !! SAY again !!! ….

The boom of a high powered rifle shook the walls of the school and I could feel the scattered furniture on the floor vibrate for half a second before it rang out again.

Owen : Move in move in !!!move !!

Owen’s men must have taken care of the sniper.

I could hear it all happen.

Well, at least if I die, I know Owen came back for me if that’s any consolation.

Jane and I were tangled up and the fight soon grew ugly with a mix of random punches at whatever spots we could hit. Even if it’s a light tap to the side of her face given the small amount of space I could work with, I took it.

The gunshots paused for almost 30 seconds before it started all over again. This time round, it was more intense then before. The popping sound got closer. I could hear the muted shouts of the men outside the classrooms.

I hooked my legs around Jane and I gained a moment of advantage when one of her hold on my left wrist slipped.

I manged to straddle Jane and I pinned her wrist down on the floor in the same position that I would do to my partner when I’m about to fuck her, however that position lasted less than 2 seconds as Jane’s knees hammered onto my back hard enough for me to fall off balance.

We got up and I swung a hard back kick at her torso, even before I could finish executing my kick, I braced my body for the fist to my sternum.

Jane had ducked that swing and came up from the bottom.

I could feel it connect, knocking the air out of my lungs momentarily.

I staggered backwards and I fell, my hands touching the grip of Jane’s modified spear.

I picked it up and was amazed at how balanced it feel in my hand.

Jane rolled over to my right and picked up my knife.

The sides of the spear hit my knife and it was an intense match of blocks and stabs all over again between Jane and me.

The longer I held the spear, the more in love I am with it.

I might just get to keep this if I kill Jane.

I could hear the screech of tyres before a series of crashes happened. More vehicles are arriving.

Jane and I adopted a half crouch position and got ready to have another go at each other’s neck once more.

From the corner of my eye I could see 3 men in tactical position moving and firing steadily towards the direction of the carpark. They are pushing back steadily.

It was not long before I heard men shouting for the others to drop their weapons.

The gunfire stopped and another series of crashes sounded out in the carpark before the screech of tyres fleeing the scene rang out. Everything was over in a couple of minutes.

Jane and I started kicking and blocking each other’s fist and elbows while trying to cut and slash each other. The earlier elegance in our moves if any were all gone.

My ears could pick up snippets of what is happening outside.

Some of Owen’s men were caught. I could hear Jane’s colleagues counting them off.

This is not a good situation for me. I put the thought of having to deal with Jane’s heavily armed colleagues away. I have to deal with Jane first.

Suddenly I felt as if someone had swung a club into my back. I felt the hit before my ears registered the sound of the weapon firing.

I staggered and slashed clumsily through the air towards Jane and she easily stepped aside.

I fell forward onto a toppled table like a toddler just learning to walk.

Some fucker just shot me in the back.

I fell to the ground, and I could hardly summon up enough strength to even groan in pain.

I could barely cursed out as felt paralysed for the longest time. I forced my body to respond, grinding down my molars as I grunted with each muscle I flexed to turn around.

I gasped for air as I turned onto my back, trying to use the pressure of my weight against the new wound to sooth the pain.

I think my vest caught it but it hurts so bad that I doubt I would get back up anytime soon.

So many thoughts flashed through my head. My brain immediately came to the conclusion that this is over.

I wanted to laugh.

At myself that is.

Jane is not alone and I was naïve enough to think that I could have a one on one fight with her without anyone interfering.

My eyes drifted to the entrance of the classroom.

I could see a gathering of men outside the classroom.

About 4 heavily armed men with masks are looking in.

Jane threw my knife like a angry child venting her frustration at a TV remote at one of them and he quickly ducked and ran behind his teammates.

It’s as if she was unhappy that our fight was interrupted.

Jane kicked the spear out of my hand and made sure there were nothing within reach that I could use.

This is it.

End of the line for me. Jane paced about in front of me. She was panting hard.

Well, at least I did not go out without a fight and I’m sure I gave her a much harder time than the rest of my dead colleagues.

I almost wanted to curse at Jane, saying that this is not fair but I stopped and I ended up laughing inside my head.

When is a fight every fair ?

It’s never fair.

Jane had to content with 4 of my colleagues before she met me.

So what if I was shot in the back ?

If it had been Owen’s men who are standing at the windows right now, they wold have shot Jane in her back too.

Ego has no room during a fight for survival .

I grabbed onto the leg of a toppled table and pulled myself up from the ground. I sat up and leaned against the legs of the table for support.

Every muscle in my body was burning, I could feel pain all over no matter what I do. I don’t remember feeling like this before, probably the first time I trained with my instructors back in the jungle many years ago.

I saw one of the armed men handing Jane a phone and she took it.

She did not say anything and hung up after a while.

Jane picked up her hudiedao and kept it behind her back. She picked up her spear and pulled up a chair. She sat down opposite me and she crossed her legs.

Seeing her posture, I thought I felt a slight erection in my cock. Yes I’m aroused. It’s biological. Humans are just animals at the end of the day. We seek something primal in our mates besides looks.

It’s the ability to care for our young. If there truly is a womb worthy of my sperms, it would be the one belonging to the woman sitting in front of me.

I coughed and the laugh I almost let loose was camouflaged within it.

The irony.

My eyes searched the floor of the classroom. I could see my knife and fork a short distance away. I might still have a chance.

I saw 2 of the armed men entering the classroom. The muzzle of their weapons pointing at me while keeping a distance of at least 3m away.

I grunted and tried to get up but I fell back onto my buttocks.

I cursed under my breath and I attempted to stand up again but I can’t. The pain in my back felt worse now. I could feel the burn in my spine as the impact of the hit slowly sets in.

Jane leaned back on her chair, visibly relaxed as she shook her legs.

She’s looking at me, probably amused at my antics of trying to stand up.

I could feel my lungs filling up properly again.

I can still do this.

I know I can but my body is not moving as fast as I want it to. I’m not giving up without a fight. I dropped to the floor, gasping for air as I supported my body with my forearm.

It must have been a pathetic sight as I half crawled and dragged myself towards my knife.

Maybe one of the men would shoot me in my head before I get it and it would all be over.

Surprisingly, no one tried to stop me.

I could hear more commotion from outside the classrooms. I looked up and I could see 3 of Owen’s men with their wrists zip tied behind their backs being half dragged and pulled into the classroom.

They were made to knee down on the floor. I continued crawling towards my knife.

I gripped it but Jane’s boot came down on my hand, pinning it hard against the floor.

It fucking hurts but I refused to acknowledge it.

I’m not granting her the satisfaction of seeing me cry out in pain.

Before I even realised it, my head was slammed against the floor twice.

Fucking bitch. I could feel blood pooling inside my mouth. I think my own teeth scratched a new wound on my tongue.

I choked on my own blood for a bit as I coughed, the mask I was wearing made it hard to spit out the blood. Jane grabbed my hair but I broke free and attempted another jab into the side of her body.

That jab took all I had left within me. I regretted it almost immediately.

Jane moved back in time and I fell onto the floor.

This is embarrassing.

Jane removed both the knife and fork from the floor and passed it to one of the masked men.

I looked up at Jane, her glowing slit at her eyes looking down at me in a menacing way. She went back to her seat and sat back down.

No one did anything.

It’s as if they were waiting for something to happen.

Or rather, someone to arrive.

About 5 minutes later, I heard a tapping on the floor.

A tap, followed by the shuffle of footsteps.

The tap is pretty constant, and a walking stick soon came into view.

The stick preceded the steps of the man holding it.

I could see him limping a little, putting more weight on his left foot.

He wore a hat, and there is no doubt he is the man in charge.

Jane stood up from her chair and offered the seat to this mysterious man.

The classroom is dark, and I could only make out the figures and rough outline of everyone in the room.

The man looked at me and the rest of Owen’s men on the floor.

He spoke with a rather hoarse voice. It doesn’t sound natural, it sounded like someone with a very bad sore throat trying to speak.

Man : What…. Are all of you fighting for ??

No one said a word. The man went on talking as if he expected our silence.

Man : The man you serve…..is lying to you….

Again, this was met with a wall of silence.

He leaned forward on his walking stick for a brief moment before standing up.

Walking slowly to the 3 men on the floor, he went on.

Man : When i…… handed over …… the agency….. to him….

I felt a wave of goosebumps travel down my back as I dealt with the realisation that this is Owen’s predecessor.

The man who founded the agency itself.

Man : I told him…. To never forget….. why we do…. What we do….

He yanked off the mask of the 1st man on the ground and threw the mask in front of him.

Man : We serve…… we protect…. And then we disappear quietly …… into the night…..

The second mask came off and joined the first on the ground.

Man : We need no medals,…… no recognition……. We do what is necessary…..

He paused and the room went quiet for a moment.

Man : I have …. Always warned Owen….. that his love… for the country….. will one day be his downfall….

He went on to say that he has no doubt of Owen’s will to protect the country, but the method he employs is unacceptable.

Man : I told him to imagine the country and most of it’s population…… as a child….. they will never understand how much it takes to keep everyone safe…. They think it’s their god given right………..that the streets they walk on at night is safe…. that…. No one will walk up behind them….. and put a bullet in their head…. Just for that $50 they have in their pocket….

He pulled off the mask of the 3rd man and held it in his hand.

Man : We have enjoyed a few generations of peace…. And prosperity………and it is in times like this…. That people get complacent….

He opened his questions to the floor but no one answered.

Why the need for more money to spend in defence when the streets are safe ?

Why do we need so much resources keeping our borders safe ?

Man : Owen is planning a lesson…..for the country…. One that the country will never forget if we allow it to happen….. he has been seduced….. by an idea… by …. An organisation…. By a man…..and that very idea has taken root in his head….. a idea that promised him power beyond his imagination…..He is no longer the Owen you know….

He threw the 3rd mask on the floor and turned his attention to me.

He carried on talking as he put his walking stick in front of each step he takes.

I could see his approach and Jane noticed the change in my posture. Before I could even plan my next move, I felt the sharp tip of the spear she was holding jabbing into the side of my neck.

If I could take this man hostage, I might stand a chance but I could feel the pointed tip of the spear already drawing blood. There’s no way I will be faster than Jane in that situation.

Man : I am offering….. all of you here…. A chance…..

He stopped right in front of me before turning to face the other 3 men who he unmasked.

Man : A chance to know the truth…..or you would rather die defending a lie….

“ fuck you !! …. I will not listen to your lies !!!, Don’t believe him Hibiki !! “

The man in the middle of the 3 cursed and spat at Owen’s predecessor.

There was a muted bang and the next thing I realised was the smell of a freshly discharge weapon reaching my nostril.

There was no hesitation at all in the man’s part.

He just fucking shot the man in his head.

Man : then I won’t waste my breath on you …..

There was a series of loud clicks outside and I saw the lights in the school coming on.

The courtyard got brighter, the floodlight on the walls illuminating the landscaped field.

A masked man entered and I could hear him say the power’s back up.

Someone hit the switch to the classroom we were in and I blinked several times, my eyes adjusting to the sudden brightness of the classroom.

I was looking down when I felt the mask I was wearing being pulled off my head.

Looking up, I came fast to face with the mysterious man.

Man : You…..

That word came slowly, as if there was a deliberate drag on the ‘u’. A drag of recognition.

That face.

I know that face.

A tsunami of memories came flooding into my head as I looked at that smiling face of a man that is but a shadow of his former self.

I know him.

And from the crooked smile on his face, he recognised me.

Jeff : you……

It’s him.

A face I have not seen in a long time.

Ron.

Santa Claus in green….

I heard the drop of that metallic spear beside me and when I looked up at Jane, she started to back away from me.

I could see the tremble in her hands.

I looked at the slit on her mask that is no longer glowing underneath the white light of the classroom.

Jane’s hand went under her mask and I could hear the release of a click.

She pulled the mask off her head and I felt as if someone had just sucker punch me in the stomach.

Xuehua : you……

……………………………………………………………………

 

A blanket of awkward silence in the room was punctuated by Ron’s throaty laugh. He went back to his chair and I could see him looking at Xuehua and I.

Ron : you… know each other… haha… hahaha….

I did not say a word and I looked away.

Xuehua too remained quiet and she avoided Ron’s gaze.

I hated that look Ron gave me.

His look pierces through your thoughts. You could just tell from the eyes that this is someone who sees everything. Whatever those eyes lay it’s sight upon, it sees beneath the surface.

He knows something is off about Xuehua and me.

There was no hiding the look of astonishment on our faces.

He took a look at his watch and another masked man came in to whisper something in his ears.

Ron : We need to clear this place now….we can’t be seen here….

I was bundled up with my hands tied behind me and dragged into the carpark.

I was thrown into a separate vehicle from Xuehua and there were 2 guns pointing at my chest at all time. A black bag was put over my head so I could not see where we were going.

My heart is beating so hard as I tried to make sense of what is going on.

This is a nightmare. A nightmare that I will soon be waking up from.

It’s the only explanation for this.

It was a quick 20 min drive before I felt the car stop. I was dragged out of the car and led on a short walk.

There’s a distinctive smell to the place I was brought to.

It took a couple of minutes before I recognised that smell.

Rice.

Fragrant raw rice.

The bag was pulled off my head and I looked around the place. It’s a warehouse. Probably belonging to a rice distributor.

Sacks of rice were stacked up high on both sides.

A chair was brought over for Ron and he took it, enjoying the relief it offered from leaning on his good foot.

Somehow we were all back in the same position as we were in the classroom. Just that this time round, I was sitting with my hands behind my back so were the 2 remaining men from Owen’s detail.

Ron chuckled as he leaned back on his chair. He gestured with his head towards my direction, carrying on the conversation from where we left off as if no time has passed in between.

I stole a look at Xuehua, she looked as horrified as I am.

Neither of us could believe what is in front of our eyes. We just tried to kill each other.

I cannot imagine what would it be like if one of us succeeded.

Ron : This…..boy…. sorry…. My apologies…. Hahaha… you are no longer a boy…

Ron looked around at his men and spoke while shaking a finger at me.

Ron : This man here….haha…. he did something…. When he was young…. Something that I suspect no one in this room would have the balls of pulling it off… hahaha…. Of course… at that age… the lines between stupidity and bravery is blurred… but still…. He did something…. Something that earned my respect…. And I assure you…. My respect…. Don’t come cheap… hahaha..

Ron took a deep breath as he look at me.

Ron : This is going to be a tough nut to crack… hahah… he don’t break easy… hahaha…

One of Ron’s man standing behind the guy he shot came forward and he whispered something into his ears.

Ron : oh… really ? …. Let me see it…

That man left the warehouse and Ron directed his attention back to me.

I chose to remain silent. There is nothing I can say that will value add to my situation nor can I think of anything to say that will save my skin. Keeping quiet sometimes might be the best option.

I watch Ron close his eyes for almost a minute as he cycled through his thoughts and when he opened, he smiled.

He smiled and said my name.

Ron : Jeff…. I remember you Jeff… hahaha….

Ron seemed please with himself and he asked me what Owen’s orders were.

Ron : What did he want you to do…

I took a deep breath and answered him.

Jeff : Aiko Hattori….

Ron : ok…. What about Aiko Hattori…..

I thought about how to answer that question and Ron asked me to speak my mind.

Ron : It’s ok… just say it… there’s no right and wrong here… I already said…. You all are being lied to…. What you know…. What you think you know…. Might be very different from the truth…

Jeff : That Aiko is a terrorist…. She needs to be taken care off….

Ron nodded his head and I could see the twitch in his lips.

Ron : ok… ok… fair enough…. But…. Tell me….. does…Aiko…. Strike you as a terrorist… ?

I kept quiet, not willing to reveal more than I know.

I still need to figure out a lot of things here, first of which is to get out of this place alive for one.

Ron : Honestly…. You’ve seen her picture right…. Don’t you think she strikes you more as a AV star hahahah… than a terrorist….hahaha… I’m sorry…. Aiko isn’t here is she ? … she’s hot for a mother…hiak hiak….

No one replied Ron, it’s as if they knew he did not need one for the joke that only he found funny.

Jeff : We do not stereotype people… we follow orders…

Ron : jolly good… but you don’t follow them blindly…

I kept quiet and waited for Ron to go on.

Ron : good… good…..well… I’ll be straightforward about this….Owen Is lying…. And I believe somewhere inside that thick skull of yours you knew…

The remaining 2 of Owen’s men on the floor spoke out.

Man left : Do you have proof….. that Owen is lying…

Man Right : Hard evidence…. And not just base on your words…

Ron : Yes I do…. I wouldn’t have dragged my ass back up here to the surface if I didn’t would I ? ….haha … It’s so hot up here…

The men looked at Ron, puzzled with his words. He is not making any sense.

Ron : Hiro Hattori….. spouse of Aiko…. He is an employee of the company…. And Owen had him killed…..

Ron stood up and told us that Owen is secretly building an army.

An army of foreigners, with no links back to the company.

Ron : these men are mercenaries…. Thugs for hire… they have no loyalty to anyone…. Except to their paymaster….

What Ron had said so far collaborated with what I discovered on my own.

It meant I was on the right track.

Ron : The threat these men posed would have been easily handled…. After all…. A couple of dozen men…well… in a big perspective…. Would not be able to do much damage….without the right tools…..

Ron coughed a couple of times. He stopped and patted his chest. Then he started coughing again, this time round going into a coughing fit.

Someone offered him water and he took a while to settle down.

Ron : things changed….. when Owen took control of the largest drug smuggling operation in the country….. a few months ago…

Yiling immediately popped into my mind.

YIling.

The drug operation. The one I did it with her.

If everything is still running the way it was, it meant Yiling is still the person running the operation now.

Does this mean she is involved in this with Owen ?

Or like the rest of us, she is being manipulated and lied to. ?

Ron : With control of that operation, it gave him the financial muscle….to do more than he ever imagined….. but let me tell you… the biggest take away of taking control of that operation is not money…. Is contacts…. Smuggling routes….the right sources to get things beyond your wildest dream…. Get them… and get them into this country itself…. Without…. Too many people knowing of course…haha

The more Ron revealed, the worse the situation is starting to sound. The pieces start to fall into place.

Ron told us that Owen has been amassing explosives over the past few months.

It is very hard to get things like these onto the mainland no matter how well connected you are but Owen has been successful in getting small quantities of it every week.

He’s saving them for something.

Ron : He’s saving them for a wake up call he thinks the country need…. And…. Hiro….being the head of logistics…. Naturally …. Is aware of what is going on….

Jeff : How can you possibly know all these ??

Ron raised an eyebrow as if I asked something stupid.

Ron : hahah… you really expect me to leave the company I started without keeping a few spare cards up my sleeve ? hahaha….

The man that had left earlier came back into the classroom , I could see him holding a tablet in his hand.

Ron took it and I could see him swiping the tablet.

Ron : I see….

He handed the tablet back to the man and said nothing.

Ron : Hiro thought he was just helping to get men in for some wet works…. Untraceable jobs that we sometimes don’t want to get out hands dirty…. But he stumbled onto something sinister…. Something dark….he got scared…

Jeff : what did he stumble on ?

Ron : Oh… nothing much…. Your boss just wants to blow up a few schools…

Jeff : What…

Ron : schools are the ideal choice…. It’s easy to infiltrate… there’s hardly any security elements in place and it is guaranteed….. guaranteed….. to get the response Owen wanted…. It would put the whole country on edge….

Ron stressed the word guaranteed as if it was a sure thing.

The man on the left vomited. It came without warning.

I could smell the remnants of his dinner.

When he recovered enough to speak, he spoke with a trembling voice.

Man left : I….i… I have been assigned to…. To monitor the activities of…. Of a few teachers…. At a childcare facility in the north of the island….

There was a look of horror on his face. It’s as if it suddenly dawned on him that a catastrophe is about to happen and he is actively contributing to it.

Man left : this is impossible…. No way…. Owen will not do such a thing…

Ron : Everything I just said…so far…… how much of these do you know….

Man left : i…. I don’t know anything… I’m just Owen’s security detail…. i…I was assigned to that childcare facility for the past 2 weeks….

Ron : what about you….

Man right : I…. I know about the men coming into the country…. But…. But….

Ron grinned.

Ron : But there were no mention of ….. of the plans for the schools….? Haha..

Man right : yes… yes.. I … I know the men are here for some…. Covert work… but…but… no way… this is not possible…. Owen would never do anything like this…..what proof do you have ?

Ron sniffed and coughed again. He looked sick, or as if he was battling some infection. I can’t tell. He has surely lost quite a bit of his weight since I last saw him.

He sat upright and told everyone that Hiro had recorded evidence, both video and audio conversations Owen had. Hiro had the detailed plans, he knew the locations of the schools Owen is keeping an eye on right down to where the hired men are staying.

Ron : Hiro ….. was one of my many eyes and ears in the company…. And he was about to blow the whole thing wide open , but he did not get to do it in time…. Aiko was entrusted with some of the information that Hiro manage to sneak out…. She contacted me after her husband went missing…. Using channels that he had established with her if anything…. Unfortunate… were to happen..

Ron explained that while those evidence are not enough to remove Owen once and for all, but it is enough for him.

Ron : I know what I saw…. It’s not enough to convict Owen in a court, but it’s enough to make me come back and try and fix this…especially after he killed Hiro and is now going after his wife and kids…

Jeff : If this is true, why can’t you just stop Owen…. Go straight to the Prime minister… strip him of his right to run the company…. Tell him what is going on…

Ron laughed.

Ron : Oh things are complicated…. These things usually are…. I served during the reign of the previous administration…. Not the current…

Owen is one of the most well-connected man in the island right now.

His network of spies and men working for him goes beyond the magnitude Ron had when he handed the agency over to him.

Ron : I have snippets of information but not enough to end him….no one will believe anything we say unless we have proof…..and I mean something solid…….and besides…. I’m not even suppose to be here right now…. I am no longer in charge of the agency… the important thing now… is to get the plans Hiro stashed away…. Only then we will know the true extent of Owen’s scheme….then we have a chance of stopping him before it happened….

One of the masked men behind Ron came forward and reminded him of the time.

Ron : I got to go soon….i wish I could stay but Jane you have to take care of this…

He turned to Jane and asked if she could get the rest of the evidence.

Ron : they are in Hiro’s office…we need them… it’s encrypted… Aiko has the password…and Hiro has hidden them within his computer…. Among a shitload of files all in japanese…

At this point, I saw a woman being led out with a little girl beside her. I recognised her immediately. She looked like she lost weight base on the photo I saw.

Xuehua nodded.

I could not resist asking Ron why he needed to go.

Jeff : Is there someplace you have to be ??

Ron : yes there is… so do the dozen men I have with me…. I am wasting time up here on the surface…. Hundreds will die if Owen gets his way….but the responsibilities resting on my shoulders is a far greater burden….

Ron coughed a few times before adding without pausing to catch his breath.

Jeff : what the fuck ? …then you are what… just going to go ? … and leave Xuehua…. Sorry I ..err… I meant Jane… to deal with this… ?

Ron looked at me as if I said something silly.

Ron : hahah… why yes of course….you see… the thing about…. Being in management… you have to delegate task out…. You can’t do everything yourself…

Jeff : what the fuck… you want Xuehua… fuck… I mean Jane… to take care of what ?? Owen ? and his mercenaries ? alone ??

Ron : err….. what’s wrong with that ? you don’t think she can do it ?i know she’s retired for a while… but… desperate times call for desperate measures no ? do you doubt her abilities ??

Jeff : what ?

I cast Xuehua a look and I could see she immediately took offence even before I had a chance to explain.

She kicked me on my leg in the same manner she kicked her persistent friend in the carpark.

Jeff : Owww… what the fuck…

Xuehua : Answer him !!… you don’t think I can do it ??

Jeff : there’s no need to kick me like this …

Xuehua : it’s just a kick……you fucking tried to kill me.. !

I could see she was holding this in for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to blow off some steam.

Jeff : You fucking tried to do the same to me too !…

Xuehua : that’s because you started waving knives in front of me in the first place…

Jeff : You shot me…. even before I started waving knives at you…

Xuehua : that’s because you started shooting at me first….

Jeff : You decapitated a colleague of mine….

Xuehua : he tried to do that to me !!… I asked him to stop….he did not…. I was only defending myself…!!!

Jeff : You had to announce to the whole world you are Jane !… every asshole with their ego bigger than their head will want a piece of you….

Xuehua : tell you who I am is not showing off…. It’s a warning…. Just like the warning sign by the side of a river asking you not to swim because there are crocodiles …. And who are you going to blame if you fucking jump inside the river ??

Jeff : You are not a crocodile…

Xuehua : I would have eaten you for lunch…

Jeff : Oh yeah… cut me loose and let’s try it again… your friends shot me in the back !..

Xuehua : why are you losing your temper at me for ?? and what’s with all the vulgarities ??

Jeff : I did not lose my temper…. I am perfectly in control of my temper… ! I’m just stating the facts here…

Xuehua : then state it properly…. No need for the attitude…

Jeff : What attitude….?? There’s nothing I can do if you have a problem with the way I speak and express myself…

There was no hiding the tension in the room and I could see Ron massaging his forehead as he waved his hands at Xuehua asking us to stop squabbling.

Ron : alright… shut up… both of you….

Ron massaged the bottom of his chin and I could see him trying to put the picture together in his head as well.

Everyone just stared at Xuehua and I. I felt embarrassed out of the blue, this is fucking childish and I can only imagine how bad it looks.

We’re behaving like kids.

Ron : Okay…. Well…. It’s been a while since I got an update from you Jane but something tells me Jeff is not your regular Chicken rice stall customer is he… ?

Jane looked like she wanted to fire back a comment and she kept quiet.

It was at this time the man on the right had to blurt out something that made the atmosphere even worse.

Man right : They…. They’re dating right ?? I saw them at the supermarket…

Man left : yes they’re dating…

I saw one of Ron’s men burst out a uncontrolled chuckle for a brief moment before quickly regaining his composure when Ron stared at him.

Somehow his chuckle felt a bit off, it’s not that he finds this situation funny, I think he felt more pity for me to be dating Jane.

It’s as if his chuckle actually meant ‘good luck you poor fuck’

Of all the women you can fuck in the world you had to choose one that can kill you in your sleep. Perhaps even while you are awake.

This is fucking awkward.

Ron : Ohhhhkayyy….. this is…..awkward….

Ron scratched his head a little before turning back to Xuehua.

Ron : errrr….ermmm… tell you what… you … take him…….… and ermm… I don’t know… interrogate him…. Find out what he knows… ?? something like that ?? then bring Aiko back to the office… and get the evidence…

Jeff : What ? interrogate me ? … what the fuck do you think this is…. ?? I’m not getting interrogated by her …!

Xuehua : why are you so defensive ?? do you have something to hide ??!

Jeff : I don’t fucking have anything to hide….

Xuehua : then why are you so afraid of answering some questions ??

Ron stood up abruptly and the chair was knocked over.

The sound of the falling chair silenced the whole warehouse.

Ron : enough…. Don’t make me say it again. …..you guys are giving me a fucking headache….stop…

I could see the glare in Xuehua’s eyes. She’s angry, fucking pissed and she turned away, refusing to even look at me.

This sucks.

I don’t know why but I think I can safely say she won’t be sleeping with me anything soon.

That has to be one of the weirdest thing to cross my mind ever since the start of that intense evening.

Ron : I’ll only ask this once Jeff….. I want to clear things up a bit….why are you talking to the Japanese… ? are you planning something of your own ??

I hesitated for a while and I remembered the man who showed Ron something a while ago.

Someone must have seen me talking to Danzo.

Jeff : I went to Danzo and Nakamura because they knew men are arriving in Singapore and they want to know where they are…

Ron : what made you draw the connection ?

I told Ron about the meeting I had together with Owen a few months ago.

Jeff : men are missing in Japan…. They want to know why…and they know their men are in Singapore…

He nodded as he hobbled a few steps away and turned his back towards me.

Ron : Here’s what going to happen…

Ron spoke to the 2 men and me at the same time.

Ron : As far as the rest of the world is concerned…. All 3 of you are dead….. if not… I assure you….. If Owen knows you are aware of his plans…. You will be in a matter of time…. And I want to know about the Japanese in the country… this might be the start of a diplomatic crisis

Jeff : wait….. you don’t know that for sure..maybe……we should talk to Owen…we should trash things out…

Ron rebutted me without a change in his expression.

Ron : You want to talk….. …. to the man who killed your father ?? and ask if he is serious…. About his plans to teach everyone in the country a lesson ??

I felt as if my whole world just crashed and burned in front of me.

It’s like someone hitting me in the gut.

Xuehua turned back and looked at Ron.

Xuehua : what did you say ??

Ron : do you believe in coincidence Jeff ? …. That the timing just coincides…. The passing of your father…and Owen’s appearance….when he recruited you… ?

He gestured for the same man who showed him the tablet earlier.

Ron : I’m not going to sugar coat this…. I have no time… your father was sick…. Very bad lung issue I think…. Doctor gave him a year max….Owen could have waited…but he didn’t …

He asked his man to find the recruitment archives before throwing the tablet onto my lap.

Jeff : what….. what are you saying…. ?

My mind could not function. I don’t believe what I’m hearing.

Owen killed my father ?

All this so I can work for him ??

Ron : and to think you have been risking your life for him all these years….. well to be fair… your father was in pain… plenty of medication…. But I doubt you knew…. He kept it to himself….

Xuehua came over and cut my ties with her hudiedao but even with my wrist free, I could not move. My whole body went limp and I just stared blankly at the report that hasn’t be auto rotated on the tablet.

Xuehua : enough… stop… don’t go on anymore…

Ron : I plan to… he can read it on his own…

Xuehua took the tablet and put it aside. She shook me and I looked at her but my body was not responding.

Xuehua : let’s get out of here…

Ron : I really got to go but I want to know about the Japanese… Jane…you got this… I’m heading back…. Let me know the specific…. Get your boyfriend to help you bring Aiko to the office… get the evidence and end this…

Xuehua ignored everything Ron said. She just sighed and tried to wipe off some dried blood from the side of my lips. Blood that she put there in the first place.

Ron was about to step out from the room when the man on the right spoke again.

Man right : but…wait a minute….

Everyone turned and look at the man.

He looked confused, lost and there was this incredulous look of disorientation on his face.

Man right : why… why are you all talking about the missing Japanese…. ??

Ron turned his body towards him and asked what did he meant.

Ron : What do you mean ?

When he spoke, it blanketed the room in a thicker shroud of silence.

Everyone froze and stared at the man.

Man right : The men Owen is bringing in…. they’re Indians….

The man on the left turned and looked at his friend.

Man left : no… they’re japs… I overheard Owen talking about it once…

Man right : noooo…. I picked up a group once….. they’re all Indians…

The entire group went quiet.

Xuehua half dragged and pulled me off the floor.

3 seconds later I heard a chuckle from Ron.

He laughed as if he could not believe what he just heard.

Ron : hahaha…… hahahah…..This …. Just got ….. a whole lot more interesting….. hahahhaa.

My legs could not even bear my own weight and I collapsed back onto the floor

Xuehua : dear stand up… let’s get out of here ..!

Ron: hold on…. Hahaha…. Hold on…

He gestured for a phone and he dialled a number.

Putting his finger to his lips, he gestured for all of us to be quiet.

Ron put the phone on speaker mode.

I recognised Owen’s voice immediately when he answered.

Owen : yes ?

Ron : It’s me….

The short greeting was followed by a long silence.

Owen : why…

Ron : Because what you are doing is wrong….

There was a long pause, and Ron waited for Owen to reply him.

Owen : You know …

Ron : I do….. the japs…. The Indians…. I know…

Owen : Then why haven you tried to stop me ? you could have ended it…

Ron had a frown on his face and he kept quiet.

Owen : where are my men…

Ron : They’re dead… you know my style of working….

Owen : There is only 1 other body at the scene…. Where’s the other 3…?

Ron : I got them to talk…. Then I killed them….

Owen : where are their bodies ?

Ron : I don’t leave bodies…

I could hear Owen exhaling on the other end of the phone. He was trying to control his temper.

Owen : thank you then… for getting rid of them for me…. saves me the trouble of cleaning up…

Ron : it’s not too late to stop…

Owen laughed.

Owen : hahahah…. You have no idea what I’m doing do you… ?

Owen took this chance to take a swipe at his predecessor.

Owen : Aiko… is still in the country… there must be a reason why…. I killed a man trying to gain access to the audit department few days ago….he’s your man….again… there must be a reason why….you’re calling me…. to tell me you know of my plans….again… there must be a reason why….hahah

Ron smiled.

Owen : You called because you are trying to suss me out…. Your man wanted something inside the office…. It can only mean Hiro has something hidden in the office…. You have all the time in the world to bring Aiko out… but she remained in the country…. You went as far out as to lay a trap for us tonight…. This brings me to only 1 conclusion….

Owen chuckled, sounding please with himself for besting his predecessor.

Owen : You want something in my office….and you probably need Aiko to get it… hahahha…

Ron exhaled but said nothing.

Owen : You and neither the men nor resources to do this Ron…. Go back to that hole of yours… and leave the surface to me….

Ron : you’ve changed Owen…

Owen : Of course I have changed…. Doing this shit I do for a living changed me…no thanks to you…

Ron : I did not force you to take this up… you had a choice…

Owen : fuck off… I don’t have the time nor the patience to banter over the phone…. You’re right about Indians…. You’re right about the Japanese… and there is nothing… you can do about it….. you want something in my office ??? ….. come and get it…

Ron : last chance Owen…

Owen : I’m not falling for your mind games Ron…. I’m sorry your phone call yielded nothing… save your mind games for the kids… they don’t work on me anymore…

Ron : it yielded more than I could ever hoped for….

Owen : hahaha… goodbye Ron…

Owen hung up and I could see the look of disappointment on the faces of Owen’s men.

Ron looked at me and gave me a casual shrug of his shoulders, as if he was trying to say ‘ I told you so ‘

He closed his eyes and spent some of his time lost in his own thoughts.

Man left : you cannot go to the office….there are operators…. Hiding among the administrative staff of the audit department itself…. That place… that building… it’s a fortress…. You have to be mad to even try….

Ron smiled and got up, leaning heavily on his walking stick.

Ron : I’m not worried about getting in…. I’m just thinking about getting back out..… hahah

He exhaled and asked Jane to make sure I receive medical attention. He will be taking the 2 men with him.

I could hear everything going on around me.

My mind is processing everything but I just couldn’t move.

I can’t

I still cannot believe all these is happening.

Ron : get some rest……… we meet again in the morning……no matter how I see this…. There’s going to be some pretty big trouble in little india soon….

……………………………………………………..

 

I don’t remember what happened next.

I was in a constant daze. My mind could hardly function.

I knew I was half dragged along the warehouse until we got to a flight of stairs leading to the basement.

Xuehua left me on the floor as she unlocked a large blast door with a key pad on the side of the wall.

I could hear the hiss of the hydraulics as it releases the bolts in the solid frame.

I had sank down on my butt with my feet on the ground as I stared blankly at the corridor beyond. I could see a couple of people walking around. They cast us a disinterested look before getting back to what they were doing.

Xuehua took the wall opposite me and she too leaned back before sliding down onto the floor, bring our faces to the same level.

I wanted to speak but I can’t.

There is just so much going on in my head.

I almost killed my girlfriend, and the man I was working for for the past years turns out to be the man that killed my father.

Xuehua did not say anything either. She pulled off her gloves that are soaked with dried blood. I could see the bruises immediately.

The knuckles, the back of her wrist, I could only imagine the amount of burst blood vessels underneath the skin.

She saw me looking at her fingers and she brought them away from my line of sight, as if she’s suddenly aware that she’s no longer Jane in front of me.

Jeff : I…..i….

Xuehua looked at me, waiting for me to finish what I wanted to say.

She bit her lips, and pouted and I could see her holding back her tears.

Jeff : I’m…. I’m sorry…..

Xuehua : I’m sorry too…

She wanted to hug me but I could see she was in pain. The amount of abuse our bodies have been through that night is unimaginable.

I saw a man in white coat approach us from down the corridor.

He’s in his late fifties I reckon and he gave Xuehua a nod as he came closer.

When he knelt down, I could see him checking Xuehua out, shaking his head slightly.

He looked at her, starting from the bottom of her legs to her head. His hands reached out and touched her gently on her head.

Xuehua : Hi… Dr Cheong….

Cheong : You’ve grown prettier….big girl already….

Xuehua smiled.

Cheong : It’s been so many years since I last saw you….

Xuehua : it has… I’m… I’m sorry I didn’t come visit….

Cheong : that is suppose to be a good thing isn’t it…. Never a good thing to visit your doctor…

Xuehua laughed.

Cheong : and who do we have here… ?

Xuehua : Dr Cheong… meet Jeff….. he’s my boyfriend…

Cheong : Hi Jeff…. You look terrible….

Xuehua : We just tried to kill each other today….

There was a moment of silence before Cheong immediately lightened up the mood with a well-timed joke.

Cheong : I can heal the body, that’s covered under the company……….. matters of the heart is a separate charge…..

Xuehua smiled and she tried to stand back up. Cheong offered me a hand and I took it.

Despite his age, I could feel the firmness in his grip as he pulled me off the floor.

Cheong led us to his clinic. Set under the warehouse, Xuehua told me that the location has been actively in used for close to 40 years. Ron inherited it from someone else and he struck a deal with the operator of the warehouse.

No questions asked. Just money changing hands.

The warehouse operator will not bother what is going on in the basement. At the same time, they provided the perimeter security and keep people from poking around.

The heavily tattooed men shaking their legs and eye balling passer-by at the main gate works better than a commercial security guard.

The word is that the site belonged to some local triads that Ron works with.

Jeff : triads ?

Xuehua : It used to be a big group… but over the years it has splintered into many factions…..without a unifying leader… it’s a far cry from it’s former glory…now they just focus on earning money….

Jeff : I never thought they would still exist in today’s day and age…

Cheong asked Xuehua and I to undress and I felt a tinge of jealousy when I realised Xuehua had to undress in front of another man. As we pulled off tops and our vests, the extend of our injuries made Dr Cheong shake his head.

I could see the large bruises underneath the black sports bra she was wearing.

From torsos, to forearms, to shoulders and our backs. There is hardly a spot without a bruise or a scratch. Even our legs, thighs and calves were not spared the swollen reddish and purple plague of bruises.

Cheong made us take a few xrays and we waited in a small lounge.

It was sparsely furnished, a couple of old sofas with a modern looking fridge that looked totally out of place.

Xuehua and I finished a whole 1.5 litres of water each and I opened a packet of almonds to share.

There’s a lot to talk about between us but neither of us know where to start.

Xuehua : How long … have you been working for Owen…. ?

Jeff : 10 years… give and take… I don’t know…right around my enlistment period I think … how long have you worked for Ron ?

Xuehua drew her legs up and hugged them, bringing her chin to her knees.

Xuehua : Since I was 10 i think…. i don’t remember…..

Jeff : What ?!!! you’re shitting me… 10 ?

Xuehua : My parents…. They passed on…. And I was…I was adopted…by my dad’s cousin…..back then….

Jeff : Eddy ?

Xuehua : no… I have no blood relation with Eddy… but he’s the closest person to being a father to me…. My dad’s cousin,…he took me in…. but things didn’t work out…

Jeff : what happened ?

Xuehua : he raped me…

I dropped the packet of almonds on the floor as I watch a drop of tear roll down Xuehua’s cheek.

Jeff : what…

Xuehua : Not only did he raped me….. he got his friends….to…. to do the same…

Jeff : you’re 10….

Xuehua nodded.

I could feel the pick up in my heart rate as I suppressed a animal like growl in my stomach.

Jeff : where are they now… ?

Xuehua chuckled before looking up at me.

Xuehua : I killed my dad’s cousin….i hit his head in with a hammer…. I hit him again and again until his face caved in…..

I got out of my seat and went over to Xuehua. I hugged her and tears continued to flow from her eyes.

Xuehua : I would have kill the rest… but I was just a little girl… I was over powered…. They beat me….and they raped me again….. I wanted to die…I wished I was dead…

I kissed Xuehua on her head and held onto her.

Jeff : It’s all in the past…. It’s all in the past….

Xuehua : Eddy….. finally found me after a few months…. He was my dad’s sworn brother….

Jeff : he saved you…..

Xuehua : He did…. He came with Ron…. And he killed everyone… with his bare hands….sobzz…

Xuehua broke down in my arms and I squeezed my eyes shut tightly. In that moment, I realised we are all broken in one way or another.

If we are not broken, we will not be doing what we do.

Xuehua : i….i tried to kill myself…. I wanted to cut myself…the pain… I just didn’t want it anymore….sobzz… Eddy…..Eddy knelt down and begged me not to….that was the 1st and last time I saw him cry….

Xuehua told me that Eddy blamed himself for being late, he should have found Xuehua earlier.

Xuehua : Ron, cleaned up the scene and covered everything up….and….and I …. I started working for him….

Jeff : oh my god…

Xuehua : I told Ron I never….ever want to feel weak and vulnerable…. Ever again…. That I will do anything…. To make sure no one can hurt me…

Xuehua sniffed and wiped off her tears with the back of her hand, and she chuckled, looking a little embarrassed.

Xuehua : I’m sorry…. I got a little too emotional…. You ok ?..

I nodded.

Jeff : I will be….

We were left alone for a while before Cheong came into the room with a tablet.

Cheong : ok… thankfully… no broken or cracked ribs…. The bruising will take a while to heal though….your bodies took a beating but otherwise…. Both of you are in great shape…. Painkillers….. something to help you sleep… some cream for the cuts….anything else you guys need ?

We shook our head.

Cheong : room 5B is all yours…Ron asks me to pass along a message…. Meeting at 8am…. This gives you….4 hours to catch some quick winks…

Xuehua and I walked almost naked towards the room assigned to us. She was just wearing her black sports bra and I’m in my boxers. No one bat an eyelid when they walk past us.

Xuehua and I showered together in the attached bath. It only comes with cold water and we shared whatever warmth our battered bodies could afford to spare. We kissed, we fondled with each other’s body.

By the time we dried ourselves, we were groaning in pain as we made our way to the bed.

Every position we wanted to adopt came with it’s fair share of pain. I wanted to fuck to numb my mind. Xuehua wanted the same thing but it was too painful for us.

Xuehua :argnnhhh !! god… it hurts…

Jeff : arghhh !! ouch… arguuhh… fuck…

We ended up laughing with Xuehua straddling me. My erected cock entered her vagina and I could feel that familiar gasp of her breathe on my face.

We kissed for a very long time, breathing into each other’s face.

Jeff : I love you dear… I’m sorry… I didn’t know…

Xuehua smile as she caressed my face.

Xuehua : I’m sorry… I didn’t know too…

We kissed for a while longer before Xuehua said she was only brought in onto this situation recently. She sort of recognised Owen from his past visits to the café but she did not know who he is.

Xuehua : I know you work for him…. But… not in this capacity….you… you just don’t look like….

Jeff : don’t look like what ??

Xuehua : hahaha… you don’t look like someone who can do what you can do… haha

I tried to tickle Xuehua but the pain in my arms made my movements slow. Xuehua caught hold of both my wrist and pinned them down above my head and I could feel the squeeze of her vagina walls.

Jeff : ernghhhhhh!!! Ohhh… I didn’t know you are into this… holding me down like that.

Xuehua ; hahhaa….i believe I’ve let you hold me down in more ways imaginable the past few weeks… ahhaa..

Jeff : ernnang…arghhh

Xuehua : erngh… ernhhh….

The gyrating of our bodies lasted less than a minute as Xuehua and I are more satisfied by the touch of our bodies than the thrusting of my cock into her vagina.

Looking at Xuehua in her eyes, I told her I still can’t believe how madly in love I am with her.

Xuehua : Even knowing what I can do to you in your sleep ? hahaha

Jeff : haha… especially…. Knowing what you can do to me in my sleep…

Xuehua : I think I’m madly in love with you too….. Hibiki….

She whispered softly like a seductive siren by my ears as she chuckled.

I could feel the wetness of her tongue in my ear as it slowly drags down the side of my neck.

Then I felt it.

It came without warning.

The tongue stud felt different.

It was then I realised what that stud is hiding all this while.

I froze as I felt that sharp blade on my neck running dangerously close to my artery.

I felt more aroused than ever, my cock getting so hard that I could feel Xuehua’s vagina squirming as her love hole tried to accommodate me.

When she finally got to my lips, the blade is gone, in it’s place is once again that teasing metal stud that made my knees go weak everytime she employs it on my cock.

Jeff : i…. don’t know what to say…..

Xuehua smiled and we kissed again.

When she pulled back , she gave me the sweetest smile ever and she said to me in such a soft soothing voice. It was almost like a coo you use on a baby but there is no hiding the seriousness of her statement.

It was a warning.

A warning that made me want her even more than ever.

Xuehua : If you ever cheat on me…… don’t let me find you…

Jeff : hahahhaa…

I laughed and I hugged onto Xuehua tightly rolling over so that I’m on top.

I blocked off everything in my head, I mentally shut down all the pain and so did Xuehua.

We fucked.

Amidst groans of pain came moans of pleasure.

I remembered I came raw inside Xuehua, depositing my semen deep inside her vagina as her legs griped tightly onto my back.

We felt asleep naked.

I don’t know what time it was but there was that constant knocking on the door.

I had to crawl out of bed with a splitting headache.

When I opened the door, I saw Ron and his men looking at us impatiently.

Ron : get some fucking clothes on….

I could not be bothered with myself and I walked with my cock dangling towards Xuehua. I covered her with a old looking gown before shaking her awake. She woke with a jump and her right hand went straight for my neck, clamping down before I could say anything.

Almost immediately, she regained her composure and apologised.

Xuehua saw the gathering of men outside the room and quickly got dressed while I threw on some old ill fitting pants from the cupboard.

Ron and his men did not wait for us to get ready, they were already in the room and they made themselves at home, sitting and settling down on whatever surfaces they could manage.

I could see their bloodshot eyes. They no longer mask their faces. It’s obvious none of them had any sleep.

Ron : We have to get the evidence from the office……Owen knows what we want… that building will be heavily guarded…. Let’s not forget there will be other civilians in that building as well. ….

Ron’s plan was for Xuehua to stake out the office surrounding in a couple of days time.

Ron : the bruises on your face should heal a little by then, allowing for easier cover with makeup…. You will be our eyes on the inside….. no one knows who you are….

Jeff : No.. it’s too dangerous for her….

Ron : Shut up… I make the plans… not you….

Ron turned to Xuehua, ignoring me totally.

Ron : You’re sleeping with him…. I hope you know what that means…. If he sells us out…. You will be the one to kill him….

Xuehua : Ron stop it…. Don’t say things like that…. Jeff isn’t that kind of people…. Owen killed his father for god sake….

Ron : As far as I’m concern… he is your responsibility …. Did you get anything out of him last night….? Besides the contents of his testicles…

Xuehua grabbed the table lamp and sent it towards Ron but his men caught it without hardly batting an eyelid and put it aside.

Xuehua : you can be such an ass sometimes… !!

Ron took a deep breath, aware that he might have gone a little overboard.

Ron : Owen will be busy… trying to cover up the mess from last night for the next few days…. He lost many good men too….we have a bit of time….

Ron got up and pointed at me with his walking stick.

Ron : I’m only going to ask this once….look at me in the eye and answer me…. Are you going to stop Owen …. ?

I nodded.

Jeff : Yes… whatever it takes…

Ron kept his gaze on me for a while trying to get a read on me. After he was satisfied that I was telling the truth, he nodded his head.

Ron : good….

Ron started to lay out the plan for us.

Ron : There will be questions for Xuehua when she goes back to the café…. If Owen’s people know you guys are dating, you can be sure Owen does too…. Jeff is dead…. As far as the rest of the world is concerned….. everyone will want to know how you are dealing with a missing boyfriend….

Xuehua will resume her daily routine. Owen no doubt will increase the number of people he has guarding the office after this incident. There is no way we can safely get in and out without suffering heavy causalities on both sides.

Ron : We lay low for a while….and I will be making sure Owen stays busy…Owen is aware we know something…. He knows his plan will be compromised if he does not change them…. My take is he will be changing his plans , his hit locations and probably the place he is housing his private army as well….

Ron’s plan is to keep Owen busy by stretching his resources thin.

Ron : I know the kind of jobs Owen has to undertake…. The kind that gets thrown to him…. I’m going to stretch him thin on all fronts….this is the only way….. once I’m sure his resources are stretched…. We will make our move…

Jeff : How long will this take ? a week ? two ?

Ron : No… a month… maybe two ??

Jeff : What ?

Ron : I will not send…. My men….. nor Jane… to their deaths….. storming a fortress that is filled with Owen’s men….we will do it covertly….

Jeff : What do I do in the meantime ??!! play dead ??!!!

Ron gave me a look before turning to look at Xuehua.

Ron : maybe try to be get better…. So you don’t get beaten up by your girlfriend…

Jeff : You !

Xuehua gave an irritated ‘Tsk’ at Ron and held me back.

Ron : I will be thinning out the occupants of the building in the meantime… as many as I can manage… companies not associated with Owen will be made to move…. One way or the other…. Owen cannot keep an army at the office indefinitely….

Xuehua : What about Aiko ?

Ron pointed to me.

Ron : Jeff will stay here…. Aiko’s safety is his responsibility ….

Jeff : what about you… ?

Ron : I’m leaving after this…. I will run this Operation remotely ….

Jeff : wow… you’re serious…

Ron : one day… perhaps you would get the chance to see everything from another perspective….that Owen is just another small problem in a big fucked up world….

Ron asked to speak with Xuehua in private and they left the room.

I turned to the closest man standing behind him. He was trying hard to stay awake.

I could not help but notice his weapon. There is something amiss about it.

There’s a large claw like scratch cutting diagonally across the butt of the weapon. The scratch even cut into the metallic part of the weapon housing.

He saw me looking and he swung his weapon behind his back. I turned my attention to his uniform. There were no names, nothing to identify him but there are 4 hydra like symbol etched to his collar.

It’s round with 4 serpent like lines stretching outwards all contained within a small circumference of a 20 cent coin.

Jeff : what is that ?

He stood up and walked out of the room, ignoring my question totally.

That really made me draw a conclusion of sort with the prerequisites Ron is looking for if you want to work for him.

Have a fucking attitude problem.

Xuehua returned to the room 10 minutes later and Ron left with his men.

Jeff : Everything ok ??

Xuehua : yeah….

Jeff : What’s going to happen now… ?

Xuehua : We have to bid our time….wait for Owen to let his guard down…. It’s the only thing we can do…

I nodded.

Xuehua : you have to stay here…..

Jeff : I know… what about you ?

Xuehua : I’ll be here…. At least for the next few days… hahah…

…………………………………………………………………………………..

Whenever I had time to allow my mind to wander, I would think of what Ron said. What he told me. I read the recruitment brief several times, it was all there. Written and signed off by Owen himself.

I’ve had a few good days of rest spending time with just Xuehua. We fucked so many times that I was doubtful the bruises on our body would ever recover but it did get better.

4 days after the incident she’s gone, leaving me all alone at the stall.

We have our story ready. Xuehua would be contacting Billy asking for my whereabouts. That I stood her up on a date a few days ago and she hasn’t been able to contact me since.

She was busy preparing for some art exhibition the past few days and there’s absolutely no word from me.

I could not help thinking about Billy and Belinda. Whose side are they on ?

If Owen goes to the trouble to lie to us, there’s a high chance he’s keeping them in the dark as well. Well, the way I see it, base on the scale of the operation he is planning, there’s no way he’s doing it on his own.

He will definitely have someone on the inside helping him with various aspects of the planning.

Probably someone lower down the hierarchy. I’m pretty sure he did not tell any of his top 5 operators. I doubt any of my past colleagues is that sick to start blowing up schools. If only their ego did not get better of them, they would still be alive.

No. If it wasn’t for Owen, they would still be alive.

He knew from the start Aiko had help, he just didn’t know from who but he knew. He knew she had help from someone who was good enough to kill an operator of his. That was why he sent in all of us.

He went all in and lost.

I asked around the compound for access to the internet and there was only one terminal available that is secured enough for me to use. Even then it was to be supervised.

I had to tell the staff the site I wanted to go and what I’m looking for. I was not allowed to even touch the terminal.

It was more of a formality. The staff attending to me is close to 50 years old. He typed at the speed of a snail .

When he logged into the surveillance system I had set up for my house, I was surprised to see an empty shell. My house has been cleared out.

Not even a piece of furniture remain.

I directed him to go back in time as I scanned through the archives for the past few days.

We paused when I saw Owen entering my place at 3am in the morning. He walked around my place, looking at the things in the house.

I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to think. Anger. Disappointment. Sadness. Regret. I don’t know.

Owen paced about for a few minutes before grabbing a bottle of whisky from my shelf.

He poured 2 glasses, presumably 1 for me.

I could see his lips were moving. He’s talking, he’s saying something but I have no audio for the footage. I never thought it was necessary.

5 minutes later, he touched my glass and finished his drink then he left.

At 8am on the day of that footage, a team came in and started clearing out my stuff.

I directed the staff to switch to another camera. One I had trained on my front door from opposite my flat.

Owen’s men stripped my place clean.

Cold and surgical, that flat is now a resource that I no longer need from his perspective.

I thanked the staff for his help and told him I’m done.

I walked around the perimeter of the warehouse everyday, there was nothing much I could do.

Eventually I settled down into a routine.

I wake up and I would join Aiko and her daughter Miki for breakfast.

They are very shy and reserved.

They hardly spoke. No matter how I try to engage them, they would just nod shyly and avoided extended conversation.

I don’t blame them.

Imagine being told the man that was initially sent to kill you is now protecting you and your daughter. That’s a pretty fuck up thing to say to a pregnant mother. I gave them space, the only time we meet everyday are during meal times.

All the staff within the small facility eat together at a small canteen.

It was a whole week before Aiko finally allowed me to help her with their dishes after the meal.

2 weeks later, Aiko trust me enough to let me read to her daughter.

Just a short reading session, but I enjoyed it. It helps take my mind of things.

I could only keep in touch with Xuehua via a landline. She would call every alternate nights at 11pm.

Security at office building has been beefed up several notches. With so many additional people, the business at the café is buzzing.

Xuehua : we sold out at 3pm… can you believe that ?

Jeff : well… Eddy must be happy…

Xuehua : he’s not… he’s fucking cursing because it’s so hectic…. Hahaha

I laughed as I played with the cord of the old phone. I felt as if I had travelled back in time. Having to speak with some high school crush on the phone, tethered to the device by that black cord.

Jeff : Eddy……

Xuehua : yeah ?

Jeff : He’s one of the 4 pillars….. isn’t he….

Xuehua laughed.

Xuehua : are you more afraid of him now ? haha

Jeff : hahaha… I’ve always been afraid of him… haha

Xuehua : your girlfriend is Jane… what’s there to be afraid of ? ….

We would end our phone banter at 11.30pm before I go for my run. I can’t leave the compound, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work out. The warehouse sits on a pretty big piece of land. It’s about 80m in length and 30m across.

With a clear perimeter around all sides, it gave me all the space I needed to get my heart pumping. I did 60 rounds every night before I sleep.

It was during this period I got acquainted with the people that ran the warehouse.

The tattooed men with blonde hair, all of them are chain smokers.

They watched in amusement from their small table where they drank their beer when I ran.

I heard one of them commented I was probably crazy.

Far from it actually.

I know my body, I need to get better, faster than I already am.

I know we’re going to the office and I’m sure Owen will be ready for us.

I’m not worried about myself, I’m worried about dragging a heavily pregnant Aiko with me.

How the fuck am I going to do that ?

Would she be covered in blood by the time we get to the office floor ?

It would be a traumatic experience for her if she had to see people die along the way up.

I found a old piece of wood to practice my knife work at the back of the warehouse. The only way I would allow myself to fall asleep every night is from exhaustion.

30th Sep 2013

It’s been more than a month since the night at the school.

Xuehua visited twice in the dead of the night before leaving right before the sun comes up.

The security at the office is still tight, there’s a drop in the number of men posted there but it’s still much higher than normal.

Ron is true to his word. Xuehua told me that 4 companies vacated their office that month.

I wonder what he did.

Owen is kept busy by Ron. He has his bag of tricks that he can employ.

A group of hackers are wreaking havoc in the country, hitting government linked sites and shopping malls. It’s Ron’s doing no doubt.

Owen has his men chasing blind leads that Ron had set up. They would not find anything. Eventually a few fall guys would take the blame so an answer could be given to the public.

31st October 2013

I lost 4kg and I look like a damm hippy with the mop of hair on my head.

It’s been more than 2 months since I had a haircut.

I found new joy being cooped up within the compound with a new friend.

A middle age man. Uncle Ben.

He saw me playing with my knife one night and he walked over with a swagger.

I will never forget the manner he spoke. He reminded me so much of a Hong Kong actor, with his slick hair and gangster like demeanour.

I saw him approaching and I was immediately on guard.

Not only is he walking towards me slowly. He had something in his hands.

He was holding onto 2 metal pole.

Uncle Ben : Xiao Peng You !!!! ( Young man ! ) …..

I looked at him, unsure of what he wanted.

He pointed at me with a metal pole of his.

Uncle Ben : Playing with that piece of wood… you will never get better… whahahahahahahhaha….

His laughter was cut short by his sudden lunge towards me.

He’s fast, and he’s unpredictable. His swings, the way he handled the makeshift weapon. You could tell this is someone who grew up in the streets.

He fought his way up in the streets literally.

I blocked off his initial strikes and by the 3rd time I ducked his swing , I could feel the rush of adrenaline in my body. He moves differently. He counters my attempt to tackle him down in a different way too.

The way of the streets. There are no proper locks or submission with Uncle Ben. He just fucking know where it hurts most.

Just when I thought I had him his hands grabbed onto my head and I felt his thumb sink into the soft side of my temple by my right eye. The pain was instantaneous, I dropped my guard and the next thing I knew, I was sent sprawling onto the ground on my back.

Uncle Ben : hahahahahahaha…. Hwhahahahaha….. again …. !! again !!! whahahhaah….

I have never felt so excited in a long time.

That was the first night with Uncle Ben and it will not be the last.

Once a week, Uncle Ben will join me at the back of the warehouse.

He fights dirty, he bites, he claws and he hit below the belt. He even stormed on my feet, he dug the heel of his shoes into my ankles.

Instead of hard hitting jabs to vital organs, Uncle Ben taught me how to inflict pain on different scale. It does not matter how you hit or how much it hurts, as long as it gives you an advantage over your opponent.

November 2013

Ron was wrong when he thought he could effectively thin out the people at the office to the point it would be easy on us.

Owen had more resources than anyone imagined.

He now has metal detector set up at the entrances of the office.

The side entrances are sealed off on pretext of upgrading works. The only way in are through the front door and the loading/unloading bay or carpark.

Xuehua told me there are a lot more security guards now but they are not from the same company engaged by the company’s management.

They are a mix of Indians and Japanese.

Xuehua : Ah Leng is pretty happy though…. With so many people,… he hardly needs to do anything…. Just watch his hong kong drama on tablet everyday….

Ron made an unexpected visit in November.

20th November 2013

10.20am

Aiko has given birth early to a boy earlier that day.

Dr Cheong delivered the baby within his clinic and no one expected Ron to visit.

After a cursory visit to Aiko and her child, Ron gathered everyone in the dining area for a meeting.

This includes all support staff, even Dr Cheong.

Ron : I’ll go straight to the point….

I could see Ron looking better than the last time I saw him. He was no longer using his walking stick. His voice got better too and there’s no hiding the renew vigour in his eyes.

Ron : I’ve kept Owen pretty busy the past couple of months…. My men… those that I can spare …. Have been trying to prod at the office every now and then….. the security arrangement currently is at it’s lowest….. it’s time for us to act….

Ron paused and searched the room for Aiko. She was sitting on a wheelchair and holding onto her newborn son.

Ron : My men will create a diversion…. At the perimeter of the site…. We are going to seal off the entire neighbourhood……

Jeff : How is that possible ?

Ron : We just need to set things in motion….. Owen will take care of the rest…

Jeff : What do you mean ?

Ron : We have a very short window of opportunity…. Once Owen knows we are there… he will respond immediately…. He will know the temporarily chaos is a diversion… our target is still the office…..

Ron told us that we can expect Owen to close off the entire district.

Ron : He will not let us leave….not with the evidence…. If I were him…. I will bring all public transport to a standstill…..cut off the flow of people in and out of the neighbourhood…..

Ron’s men put up a large map with multiple highlights of the neighbourhood surrounding the office on the notice board.

Ron : We’re right smack in the centre….Hastings road, Campbell Lane….Dunlop street… right up to Dickson road…where the junction meets at Serangoon road…. All these will be sealed off….

Ron took a yellow highlighter and cut across the map to bring attention to the junction he just mentioned.

Ron : On the other end,…. Where the streets meet Perak Road… you can be sure these will be sealed as well…. Our way out… will be by the star shaped junction where multiple roads meet… over here…..

Everyone looked at the unique shape of that cross junction Ron was talking about.

Shaped like a star fish extending it’s reach into the heart of Little India, 5 different streets converge at that point.

Ron : Head to the carpet shop over here…. You can cut through the shophouse to the exit at the back…….where the open air carpark is….Vehicular movements will be near impossible…. But I will have men stationed there to cut off anyone that may be in pursuit….

Ron used a different coloured marker and drew a line towards the HDB estate bordering Little India. The block where Xuehua is staying.

Ron : cut through the estate….. and get to the Rochor river Canal…. A boat will be waiting …. It will be the only way out of the city…. Questions….

I put up my hand immediately.

Jeff : How do you expect Aiko to do this ? She just gave birth….

Ron : Aiko’s job does not involve any heavy lifting…. You just need to get her to the terminal…. And get the evidence….

Jeff : how do you expect her to run out of this mess in her state ??

Ron : don’t underestimate what a determined woman can do….. Aiko ?

All eyes turned to her who was cradling her son close to her chest. Miki was holding onto her mother’s hand.

She spoke in a weak and accented English.

Aiko : yes…. For my husband… I can do this….

Ron nodded his head and looked to Jane and me.

Ron : Jane and you…. Has a good lay of the ground….the 2 of you will bring Aiko in….i’ll leave it to you 2 to find the best way to do it…..

I felt a skip in my heart as it dawned on me that it’s going to just be the 2 of us.

Ron : We will strike on a Sunday…. The office will have minimum occupants….

Ron planned to broadcast the evidence he has currently to all company employees a few days before we hit the office. Not only is he sending the evidence out, he planned to announce our intention.

Ron : it might sound crazy….. , but I’m hoping the smart ones will be able to see what is going on…..I hope it would make some of them think twice about stopping us.

Jeff : this is madness….

Ron : exactly…. And we’ll need someone crazy enough to pull it off….

I turned to look at Xuehua.

She had turned a chair around with it’s backrest facing forward. She sat with her legs open and arms resting on the top of the backrest.

She gave me a smile that turned to a chuckle.

Ron : I have limited resources….but I will do what I can to keep Owen’s men at the perimeter as long as I can….

Jeff : what if they are already within the perimeter itself.

Ron : Then you’re fucked…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I went back to my room with Xuehua after Ron’s briefing.

I saw Xuehua pulling a trolley behind her as we walk down the corridor.

It’s been a while since I saw her and I know we’re definitely going to fuck.

Ron has set the date on 8th December. That’s about 3 weeks away.

It would give him enough time to get things ready and for Aiko to recover a little after her delivery.

Jeff : What’s inside that trolley ?

Xuehua : I made something for you…

Jeff : Really ? … like a… birthday card or something ? … a painting… ?

Xuehua : hahaha…. No…

We shut the door and we kissed immediately.

Xuehua : I missed you….

Jeff : I missed you too…

She pulled herself out of my embrace and brought the trolley case up onto the table.

When the zip was removed and the trolley opened up, I froze.

I was at a lost for words.

Jeff : What… the…what… the fuck….

Xuehua : tsk…. Can’t you say something nice…. I made it for you…

She gave me a playful kick as my hands touched the mask inside the trolley.

It’s a set.

It looked amazing.

Sitting beside Jane’s mask is another.

The curves and lines are a lot more masculine. The jaw lines are more defined. Where Jane’s mask had 2 spikes on the top, mine had none.

I do not have glowing slits for the eye sockets, mine isn’t sewn shut.

The entire construct is just a different texture and gradient of black.

It’s sleek, the eye shape with the expressionless face reminded me of the mask a mime wears. It’s terrifying the longer you look at it.

Jeff : wow….i…I’m speechless….

Xuehua : well…. I don’t think you’re a couple t-shirt kind of guy anyway…. So… hahaha… I made this for you….

Jeff : It’s…it’s amazing…. I love it…thank you…

Xuehua laughed as she asked me to try it on.

I grabbed her towards me and she screamed.

Xuehua : no !! NO!… no!! no way !!.. NO!! arghh.. ernghh !!!

She tried to struggle but I pinned her to the bed effortlessly.

Jeff : why are you pretending to struggle….? Haha

I knew if she really wanted to refuse, she could easily get out of my grip of she wanted to.

Xuehua : Because…… I know you like it….. Hi…..bi…. ki……

She said my call sign out softly like the purr of a seductive kitten. Xuehua chuckled as I removed my clothes.

Jeff : when we fuck…… call me Jeff….

She laughed and the rest is history.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

8th December 2013

Sunday

7am

It was the first time I left the compound in almost 4 months.

And I knew the first place I wanted to go.

Chinatown.

Xuehua had rented a car. I told her I needed to pick up some kit and I drove us to the pawn shop in Chinatown.

It was too early and the door has yet to open but I know they are operational 24 hours a day if I need to get something.

I knocked on the door and looked up at the camera.

10 seconds later the heavy wooden door opened and I could see the staff giving me a nod. His eyes immediately went over to Xuehua.

Jeff : She’s with me….

He said nothing and shut the door behind me.

I could smell the aroma of spices being pounded a few steps away. Stepping into the courtyard I tried to do a mental inventory of what I have. No guns, they make too much noise and we are in the middle of a dense residential and commercial estate.

A stray round could be fatal on passerbys.

Jeff : Don’t talk to anyone…. Don’t touch anything… I’ll just be a minute….

Xuehua : orh…

I entered the courtyard and I was greeted with the familiar sight. It never changed.

The boss is still there playing with his bird.

Someone walking towards him with tea.

There are men huddled in the corner as I walk towards the waiting attendant.

I got to the attendant and waited for him to unlock the door to my locker.

He didn’t move.

He was looking past me.

Jeff : errr…. Are you going to open the door ?

The attendant stepped past me and paused.

When I turned, I felt as if time had stopped in the courtyard.

The old ladies stopped pounding chilli.

The huddled men in the corner stopped talking.

The boss stopped playing with his bird.

Jeff : what the fuck…

Everyone, and I meant everyone in the courtyard looked at Xuehua.

The boss got up off his seat and walked slowly towards my girl. He had a shocked expression on his face.

It’s like he could not believe what he was seeing.

Boss : you… you came back…

Xuehua : hi Uncle Yeo….

My Jaw dropped an inch as I watch the boss embraced Xuehua as he burst into tears.

Boss : I always knew you will be back….

The rest of the staff bowed, and I looked on in sheer astonishment. If there is an overwhelming aura that is to be felt within the courtyard, it’s one of respect.

The respect the older people are giving to Xuehua.

They exited the courtyard without a word as Xuehua smiled at them. Even the attendant left after unlocking the door for me to access my cabinet.

Jeff : fuck me….

I felt like jumping inside a hole as I watch the boss personally unlock the biggest storage unit his facility offered. The door right behind his seat.

Boss : my family owes you a debt…. We can never repay…

Xuehua : don’t say that Uncle Yeo…. That’s all in the past.

I can’t bring myself to look at this. There is nothing left of my ego after this episode.

I opened my cupboard and grabbed my knife.

A situation like this calls for both of them and having spend some time with Uncle Ben.

I started to fall in love with wielding both at the same time.

Clothes, boots, socks, cash, I had everything.

I changed on the spot, throwing aside the old clothes I brought along from the warehouse. Xuehua had gone inside her storage facility. An entire fucking room.

After I was done, I sharpened the edges of my knife on a grinding stone.

I adjusted the sheaths behind my belt and got acquainted with the weight of the knives behind me. My hands reached back and I could easily touch the reassuring grip of my weapon.

I threw on a jacket with a attached hoodie and I was good to go.

Moments later, I saw Xuehua exit her storage room. She’s dressed totally in black with matching boots. The tapered and figure hugging pants accentuated her sexy legs and beneath that windbreaker at the small of her back, I have no doubt she has her hudiedao tucked away.

Those were not the only things she carried. In her right hand held a massive cleaver. Almost 1.5 times the size that butcher wielded.

Jeff : that’s too big for you to wield. ….

Xuehua : that’s not mine…. It’s Eddy’s….

Jeff : alright…. I don’t mind some additional help….

I saw Xuehua checking out my storage cabinet.

Jeff : ok..it’s not as big as yours…. Whatever…

She did not respond. She walked past me towards my cabinet and I immediately felt my testicles shrink in half.

I backed away from my cabinet as I put up both my hands to try and calm Xuehua down.

Jeff : I…. can explain that…

Xuehua took Yiling’s heels off the cabinet with her left hand and gave me a look which told me I better have a good reason for those.

Xuehua : whose heels are these…. ?? ….

She took a look inside and at the bottom before commenting that these are not new.

Xuehua : these have been worn before…

Jeff : dear…. Listen…. I … I can explain that….

She put the heels back with a rather audible thud and accidentally pushed the photo album off the ledge onto the floor.

When the photo album fell, it opened up and that was when I was pretty sure my testicles disappeared.

The fucking wedding photo of Yiling and I took for the project is staring at us on the floor.

Yiling had half her thigh exposed and she was sitting on my lap.

I looked at the photo, back to Xuehua, and then to the massive cleaver she was holding.

Jeff : I….dear…. I can explain this…. I really really can explain this….

Xuehua : you !!! grrrrr !

Jeff : it’s from a old project… I just kept them as memento… !!

Xuehua pointed a warning finger at me and I quickly went over to hug her with only 1 arm.

My right hand immediately held onto the hand that was holding Eddy’s cleaver.

Jeff : dear calm down…. Please calm down…

Xuehua : arghh !.. let me go !!

She pointed a finger at my face and grunted that this is not over before storming out into the courtyard.

Jeff : fuck !…

I closed up and went after Xuehua, trying to cosy up to her with a smattering of apologies and chuckle.

Jeff : dear… that was really just a project… there is nothing… nothing between us… I’ve never seen her since…

Xuehua gave me a irritated look from the corner of her eye as I said the nicest things I could think of while keeping an eye on the knife she was holding onto.

Xuehua : arghhh… don’t come and sweet talk me….

A staff came with a large canvas bag for the cleaver. I took it from him and helped to bag Eddy’s knife. I know she’s not really angry, just throwing a tantrum like all girls do.

When we got to the entrance of the pawn shop, I could see all the staff gathered within the area, including the boss.

Xuehua : We’re in a hurry Uncle Yeo…I’m sorry I can’t stay…

The boss nodded in a understanding manner.

His staff opened the door and Xuehua went straight to the car. Right before I stepped out, the boss held onto me.

He has never spoken to me before.

Boss : If you hurt her….. we will no longer be able to do business together…

My jaws dropped as I looked up into the ceiling of the pawn shop as I squeeze my fist into a ball shaking it in exasperation.

Boss : She buried 14 men…. Beneath the foundation of this very pawn shop…. Before you even had pubic hair you punk….. you hurt her…. I will make sure you join them….

Jeff : wow….ermmm… ok…Uncle Yeo…

Boss : fuck you !…. call me Towkay ( boss in Teochew )

I quickly ran out of the pawnshop and into the waiting car.

What a fuck up Sunday morning.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Xuehua and I went back to the warehouse after taking a quick drive past the office.

I could see the metal detectors set up outside the entrance under temporary tentage.

It’s a Sunday and the guards are just milling about.

There’s not much activity going on for now. We went around the back and there were guards there too.

Back at the warehouse, Ron updated us that the messages and mail he broadcasted out the past few days is working. Some of the people in the company are starting to ask questions and Owen is kept busy trying to fend them off on top of the shit he needs to do on a day to day basis.

There are no exact numbers but Ron believes some operators are adopting a wait and see strategy to see how these play out.

We ate, we rested and we checked on Aiko.

At 8pm, Aiko left her kids with Dr Cheong and the facility staff before hopping into the car with us.

She was shaking in the backseat.

You could see she’s on the verge of breaking down and doing all she could to keep it all together.

8.30pm

It’s a Sunday night and the entire neighbourhood is abuzz with activity.

All the foreign workers are here in little india for their weekend break. There are people getting haircuts in the alleyways, groups of friends having picnic by any open spot they could find. Some just drank openly and peed on the streets as they caught up with friends they haven seen in a week.

We circled the office a few times before parking at the HDB estate a short walk away.

We have to wait for Ron’s signal.

I will be creating a diversion at the front door. That will draw the guards towards me while Jane and Aiko head up to the office. Aiko did a quick check of the access cards Ron had someone delivered and stuffed them deep inside her pocket.

9.00pm

Ron sent us a message, asking Jane and I to get ready.

I got out of the car and pulled the hoodie over my head. I took a slow casual walk towards the entrance of the office, checking out the yawning guards who were busy with their mobile phone.

9.20pm

I heard a loud commotion a few streets away and the noise got louder with each passing second. A couple of minutes later, there were shouting followed by a small explosion.

That’s it.

That’s Ron’s signal.

I walked towards the checkpoint slowly.

My heart was racing.

My palms are sweating. That feeling I was getting is out of this world, impossible to describe.

I could see the bored guard waving me to walk through the metal detector as I flashed him a staff pass to indicate I was an employee of the building.

As I put my foot past the detector, I smiled to myself.

I always wanted to do something like this after watching Neo do it on the matrix.

The alarm went off, the lights flashed angrily as the guard jumped to his feet.

The Indian man gestured to me, speaking in broken English.

Indian : what you have ?? what you have ??!! you carry what ??

I looked up at him and smiled.

I opened up my jacket and I saw the change in his expression as he saw the 2 large knives I was carrying behind me.

Before he could reach for his baton, I garbbed him and sent his head onto the makeshift table he was resting on earlier. I grabbed his hair , pulled him up and kicked his feet off the ground before kicking him in the face.

His friend who was smoking a few steps away came towards me with his baton raised. I ducked, grabbed his hand and threw him off his balance before relieving him of the weapon.

I bitch slap him across the head with it, drawing blood immediately before kicking him in his chest to send him rolling down the gentle slope.

I could hear the clattering of boots as I saw the men from the loading and unloading bay hurry to the entrance.

There were 3 men and they spoke Japanese.

Ok, I can do 3.

At the 1st man ran towards me with his baton raised, I saw Xuehua slipping into the lift with Aiko behind them.

A hard slap on the knuckle was all it took for me to get the 2nd baton and within seconds, I was dual wielding both metal sticks at the 3 poor chap.

It took longer than I expected but I was panting and I took a painful hit on my shoulder, but I had all 3 of them on the ground bleeding at the head and face. They were groaning and hardly moving.

I panted and caught my breath as I stood in the centre of the office lobby.

All was quiet.

Things are looking good so far.

Time seemed to crawl as each second ticked by.

I could see the reddish and orange glow of the chaos that is happening outside right now. It’s a fucking riot. The TV in the lobby is now showing live footages of what is happening.

Utter chaos has descended on little india.

I could see workers shouting and cars being set on fire.

The riot was being kept to the perimeter of the zone Ron drew. My eyes alternated between the TV which was bringing up to date happenings and the exterior of the office.

I felt the hair on the back of my neck stood on it’s end when I saw a group of 3 men running towards the office. They were carrying machetes.

Jeff : fuck…

I got ready as the 3 men charged into the lobby with no hesitation.

Men : arGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They shouted like crazed mad men as they charged at me.

I was about to face them head on when another figure appeared near the entrance.

His massive hands grabbed onto one of them as if he was a rag doll before throwing him into the middle of the road.

I engaged the 1st man to reach me and before the 2nd one could join his friend, Eddy had his head in his massive hands before sending him face first down into the ground.

I could hear a sickening crunch and I could not make out whether is it the marble tile or the skull of the man that caused it.

I whipped my baton into the windpipe of the 1st man and was rewarded with a death bringing croak. Sweeping the baton into the back of his knees, I made sure he never stood up again.

Another man appeared, jumping like a monkey at Eddy but he grabbed him and threw him at his friend that was a few step behind, sending the both of them crashing into each other by the main door.

I could see more men approaching outside. They are smarter this batch. They did not rush into the lobby blindly.

Eddy gave me a nod of acknowledgement. There was no need to say anything.

I checked the temporary phone we got earlier that morning.

It was Xuehua.

They found the files. They need 10 minutes.

I kept the phone and told Eddy.

Jeff : She needs 10 minutes…..

Someone burst through the side entrance by the café and he made a mistake of underestimating Eddy.

Eddy :whuarrr !!!!!!!!!!!!!

His jaw like grip clamped down on the man’s face as he sent him back first towards a column. The fucking cladding snapped and there was a permeant dent. Eddy finished him off with a punch and the lifeless body dropped to the ground.

The entrance on the other side was smashed open and I saw 2 men curing in Japanese with axes kicking away the temporary barrier.

I turned to face them but before they could get close, I saw the glimpse of a trolley in their path and they tripped clumsily over each other in an attempt to avoid the cleaning trolley.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw Auntie Annie roll over the back of one of the man before using his axe and burying it into the left side of his friend’s face.

There was no time even for him to cry out in pain.

The guy she rolled over tried to use his axe on Annie but she ducked with dexterity you seldom see in people her age.

Her hands went to the handle of her trolley, I watched in awe as she tapped the brakes of her customised trolley and in a swift motion, pulled out 2 hudiedao hidden within the handle of her cleaning trolley.

The man did not even see it coming, he could only feel the pain of the 2 hudiedao buried inside his body.

Annie pulled the bloodied weapons out of his body and backed herself slowly towards the centre of the lobby.

Loud shouting was heard from behind us where the loading and unloading bay is.

I turned, I could not see anything.

I could only hear the cries of pain and agony.

Men are dying back there.

The perimeter of the office is getting crowded.

There are now about 2 dozen men loitering outside the lobby. They are all armed.

Watching.

Waiting.

I heard rapid footsteps behind and I saw the blood stained face of a man running towards us with a dagger in his left hand.

Before he could get close, i saw the hard plastic of the carpark barrier arm smash into the right of his face so hard that it sent him into the wall.

Yes the arm. That carpark barrier arm that always needed fixing.

It’s cracked and broken in several spots as I looked at the man holding it.

Leng’s security uniform has been partially torn off, revealing the faded tattoo of a 5 claw dragon on the front of his chest.

He smashed hard onto the hard plastic of the arm, cracking the cover and revealing something within.

I felt the rush of goosebumps in my body as Leng pulled out the dark silhouette of a soul spear in it’s original condition.

“ erGNHHaRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!!! “

The spear tip found it’s way into the stomach of the man on the ground and when it’s pulled out, I could smell the iron in the blood.

The gathered men outside grew in numbers as seconds ticked by.

There was another loud roar and my eyes was greeted with the head of a man being lopped off his shoulder near the side entrance where Eddy was standing at.

The sea of bodies parted ways as men scurried out of the reach of that monster blade Lala’s father was using.

That’s not a knife, it’s not a blade, it’s the fucking cutting edge of a industrial cutter with a handle bolted at it’s end.

Freddy cut a path through the gathering of men outside. Many scurried out of his way. No one in their right mind will want to be within reach of that massive 80cm piece of steel.

As the seconds ticked by I could see more and more men gathering outside.

If they all rushed us at the same time, there’s not doubt we would be dead.

Numbers always win. Period.

I was afraid and aroused at the same time.

Even as the numbers grew to almost 4 dozen men within our line of sight though the glass cladding of the lobby, my companions did not move.

They did not even fidget.

The 4 of them stood, steadfast and unmoving in the face of overwhelming adversity.

They belonged to the generation of men and women that built our nation from the ground up. They are the ones who toiled in the sun and waded through the mud so we have paved roads to walk on.

They are the pillars of strength and support from which the next generation build upon.

There are movements up ahead and I could see someone approaching.

As he came into view, I recognised him immediately.

His face. One that I will never forget.

Owen entered the lobby with 4 men holding Katanas,

Our eyes met and I could see the look on his face. His questioning look, as if I had betrayed him.

Owen : Why…..

Jeff : you need to stop…. Before it’s too late….

I could see the seething anger in his eyes.

Owen : There is no stopping this….you cannot win….. just look outside….. what do you see ??

I did not answer Owen.

He’s right.

He has the numbers.

I heard the chime of the lift to announce the arrival of a car on the ground floor.

From the click of the boots I could tell who it was.

Aiko saw the scene in front of her and I could hear her exclaim in shock.

Aiko : oh…. Oh my god….

I could hear Xuehua panting beside me. There are streaks of blood on her face and she’s holding one of her hudiedao.

Aiko was clutching onto hardisk.

Owen : you…..this explains why….

Owen turned and looked at me in an accusing manner, trying to imply I betrayed him for a girl.

Owen : all for a pussy…..

Aiko : oh my god…. Oh my god… there’s… there’s so many… so many…. Sobzz.. sobzz… oh my god….

Aiko dropped the canvas bag that she was holding onto and Eddy heard the loud clank of his cleaver hitting the floor.

He went to pick it up and spit on the floor in front of him.

Xuehua picked up the mask she made for me that she had packed inside the canvas bag together with her.

Xuehua : you forgot this….

I smiled as i dropped the 2 baton and pulled on the mask.

Xuehua tied up her hair and pulled on hers as well.

Owen had a scowl on his face when he issued the order . I could hear it. Loud and clear like a church bell on a quiet Sunday morning.

Owen : Kill them…… Kill them all…..

He backed off 3 steps before turning and started to disappear into the crowd.

I reached behind my back and pulled out both knives and exhaled slowly, trying to calm my heartrate down.

The men outside started to move.

They started to close in on the lobby where we were at.

The 4 pillars stood, undeterred at the 4 entrances of the office tower.

Aiko : oh my god…oh my god… sobzz… sobzz…

I could hear Aiko starting to cry.

Then she started to pray.

Aiko : Even …. Even though I walk though…. The valley of shadow of death … I will fear no evil…..for you are with me…..

I heard the whirlwind swing of the soul spear behind me. Leng brought his spear up and started to walk towards the loading and unloading bay.

Freddy dragged his massive blade along the tiles as he headed for the side entrance.

Eddy removed the thick steel chain around his neck and connected it to his cleaver and walked towards the main entrance.

Annie had both hudiedao up as she put each foot carefully on front of the other, threading cautiously towards the side entrance on her end.

Jeff : you ready dear ??

I heard a soft chuckle. A very soft one.

I saw the errie glow of Jane’s mask lit up the around the eyes and Xuehua’s reply told me she’s ready.

She’s more than ready.

Xuehua : When we’re working……. Call me Jane….

………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

Xuehua grabbed Aiko onto her feet and started to back away from the centre of the lobby.

We can see a high concentration of men within a 270 degree angle and common sense dictates that we try the back of the building as a means of escape.

Owen issued the command vocally, I reckon that maybe the men within a 5-8 metre radius would have registered his intent. It doesn’t look like the order was communicated throughout the men on the ground.

The first few minutes of chaos are precious. It won’t take long for the message to spread.

A lot of the hired help are looking at each other, as if unsure of what to do. The 4 men with katanas that I flagged as higher threat has retreated into the crowd together with Owen. Those are not your average grunts.

Leng : houarrrrarggg!!!

Leng’s shout was quickly overwhelmed by the sound of crying man with a large machete on his hand. I turned to check out the situation behind us. Even with his stomach pierced by Leng’s spear, he was still trying to swing his weapon at him.

Leng kicked him back and a loud thud was heard as he fell down the 1.2m ht drop down to the loading bay below.

I see a bigger number of men moving towards my left, at the same entrance where Annie is at. There was a lot of hesitation on everyone’s part. Eventually they came to the conclusion that maybe Annie is easier to deal with.

For one she is a female and she’s holding the 2 smallest knives among the group.

Annie did not wait for the men to gather and form up, she went in for the kill the same time I saw Eddy swing his massive cleaver towards the approaching group.

Freddy’s knife remained on the ground and he stood 3m away from the side entrance.

No one wanted to come within range of that monster blade.

Xuehua : the group at the back is smaller…. Less than 10…. We need to hurry…

Seeing that the front is holding, I turned and charged towards the loading and unloading bay. If Leng and I can clear a path out from the back, we can get Aiko and the hardisk out of the site.

I emerged into the loading bay to see Leng swinging his spear into the ribs of a man with a timber baton with nails driven into it’s end. I swung my knives, carving a radius of space as the gathering men retreated, shouting and cursing in languages I do not understand.

I walked briskly, taking the same path that Xuehua and Aiko would take, down the steps by the side of the ramp.

There was so much hesitation on the side of the men on the ground that we manage to cover a bit of ground despite the group surrounding us.

Leng jumped off the 1.2m platform with his spear raised.

I could see passerbys and innocent bystanders on the opposite side of the road scurrying away.

Leng and I did not pause, we kept walking. Towards the exterior of the building.

The moment anyone comes close, the determined swing of our weapons will send them back.

No one wants to die aimlessly, not even if you are paid to.

The men spoke in Hindi and Japanese, many of them sounded like they are urging the others on but no one dared approached us.

Leng and I formed a protective circle of sort as Xuehua held onto Aiko with her left arm while her right hand gripped onto her hudiedao tightly.

Someone was foolish enough to try and test the circle by running towards me with a raised baton.

I saw his approached, and timed my move. Before he could get within striking distance, I charged him, rolling towards him and driving my knife into the side tummy, at the same time my left weapon slicing through the wrist of his weapon holding hand.

“arghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “

His screams sent everyone back a step and I could see the eyes of the men filled with anger and fear on me.

I held onto his struggling body, and tried to use him as a shield for a few steps but he was too heavy to move about. His legs are giving way and I managed less than 2 metres before I had to let him go.

He fell to the ground and I could see he was crying.

No one came forward to help him.

Leng made a few false stabs at the semi-circle of uncertain men, driving them back another 2 steps as we continued making our way out.

We got out into the open, well away from the cantilevered back exit of the office building when we heard some shouts from a distant away.

Japanese.

The handful of Japanese in front of us spoke in broken English, asking the Indians to back off from us.

Leng and I stopped moving.

Something is wrong.

The men are retreating, no, they are getting out of the way, but they are doing so not because they are allowing us to leave.

They did not want to get in the way of someone else that is coming.

I saw 2 figures walking with a swagger towards Leng and I from about 30 metres away.

They approached swiftly with a semi crouch,

My eyes immediately saw the large Katanas that they are holding onto by the side and I adopted a defensive stance.

Xuehua : watch out !!

The men spread out and I could barely see the swing of the knife cutting an arc through the air.

I could only feel the whoosh of the blade ringing by the side of my ears and I engaged one of them.

The man I was entangled with shouted something and the rest of the men started to move towards Xuehua and Aiko while Leng and I were kept occupied by the 2 of them.

Xuehua : focus on your end….. I’ll take care of mine….

My girl did not need a reply given the tone in which she spoke.

Aiko was left sobbing and squatting on the ground and like a spring loaded monster, Xuehua’s slender body attached itself to the nearest chap before swinging to his back with her hudiedao buried in his neck.

Jumping off, she did a low row and blocked off a weak swing of a machete by another that tried to take a shot at Aiko.

I blocked off several strikes by the man in front of me.

His weapon has a longer reach and he knows how to use it. Leng’s advances stopped too as his concentration increased. He’s holding onto the spear with both hands for the first time, keeping the pointed edge at his opponent.

Sparks flew and the angry grind of metal against hardened steel rang out in the chaos of Little India. A distant explosion could be heard and the chanting of an angry mob reached my ears.

Every slice and stab of mine missed by just a fraction of an inch, so did the large swing of the Katana.

I took a risk and went in close, the blade came so close that I was sure the man would have sliced off a few stands of my hair if I was not wearing the mask. Our wrist and forearms locked tightly against each other and he immediately tried to trip me by throwing me down the side of his waist.

I ducked my head low and braced for the pain as I jumped up with my head directed at his face.

I could feel the cracking of his nose cartilage as the insides of my head gets shaken around hard enough to disorient me. As he stagger backwards with blood gushing down his mouth and nose, I sliced through his knuckles , causing him to drop his katana.

Spinning 180 degree in my stooping position, I used the momentum of the turn to drive my weapon into the side of his cheek. I was trying to aim for the neck but I missed.

Instead my knife went through his cheeks. His own bodyweight which was still backing away from me together with the help of gravity, dislodged my knife cleanly 90 degree through the front of his mouth, separating the flesh that held his top and bottom jaw together.

He’s still alive, as he collapsed with blood bubbling above his mouth.

When I turn to look at Leng, he has a large gash on his shoulder and his spear was on the floor, but he was holding onto the katana blade as he sent it 1/3 of the way through the sides of it’s original owner.

Xuehua on the other hand pulled her hudiedao out from the thigh of a man who still had the other lodge in his neck.

I went over to Leng and used what’s left of his old top and helped him tie it around his wound tightly.

Leng : arghh!! CCB ( curse in Hokkien ) …..aeghh…!! CB.

Out of the original group of men that were at the back to stop us, only 3 remained at the peripheral of the semi circle they had formed.

Jeff : Quick…. Let’s go…

Before we could get 5 steps in, we paused.

Xuehua : fuck !..

Another 3 men holding makeshift weapons were running towards us but it was not them that we are worried about.

Our concerns are with the other 3 behind them. The 3 with Katanas who approached at a much slower pace.

Jeff : go… GO!.. I’ll hold them off….

Leng : Ah girl…. Go !! ..

I kept one of my knife and picked up the Katana on the floor. Leng chose to arm himself with the club fill of nails as well after picking up his spear. He must have realised he needed something now for closer range.

Xuehua hesitated for a brief second before dragging Aiko along with the towards a small opening but she cursed loudly barely moving away from us.

I turn and caught a glimpse of another 2 men with Katanas that had arrived with 4 others wielding baseball bats.

The approaching group alone has effectively cut off the exit from the back of the office.

There’s no way we can fight our way through so many.

Leng : back… back… back into the lobby !…

Leng had to help drag a Aiko who was just a weeping mess by then back up the steps of the loading and unloading area.

No one rushed us from the back as they knew they had us cornered. They are slowly closing the noose around their prey.

I shut the door as I retreated into the lobby. There’s no way for me to lock it. I toppled recycle bins in front of the door. A large pot of sad looking office plant joined the bin as well.

I even used the stand which held plastic for wet umbrellas.

A couple of disused queue management stand and a wet floor sign were all added to the pile. Anything that I could use to slow them down even for a few seconds, I threw it all in front of me.

The chaos in the lobby cannot be described. The smell of vapourised blood hung heavy in the air. It’s as if each breath I take is wet and the humidity of the office lobby is now determined by how much blood was spilled.

I could see at least a dozen bodies in total in front of the entrances. Eddy, covered in blood had just send another swing of his massive cleaver on the chain 1m in front of him, driving the men that were trying to get a hit on him back.

Annie had managed to pile at least 4 bodies in front of the small entrance she was guarding by falling them exactly where she wanted them to be.

This created a temporarily barrier for the men who are trying to squeeze in from the outside. Eddy’s entrance is a lot bigger, more men are spilling into the lobby with each passing second.

Freddy’s large blade just found another victim but not without paying a small price of his own. The baseball bat hit him on the side of the face before his blade lodge itself into the side of the man’s face.

Using both hands and the body of the dead man as a tool, Freddy swept the lifeless body towards the few man at the entrance.

I was about to head over to Eddy to help him cover the main entrance when Leng shouted a warning to his friends.

Leng : watch out for those with Katanas !!

A coordinated strike happened at all 3 entrance in front of us. The longer reach of the weapon sent the 3 pillars backing away. The men held the bald in front of them, waving wildly given the limited space they have to wield them .

This coupled with the rest of the more grunt like mercenaries, they managed to force us closer to the centre of the lobby.

The moment we lost the chokepoint at each of the entrance, the men came rushing into the lobby, forcing a smaller and tighter circle.

Eddy : COME….. COME ON!!! You CB Kia ( you cunt ) COME !!! CCB ( curse in dialect )

Freddy : you want a piece of this !!! you want a piece of this…. FUCK YOU… CCB…

Annie was panting hard and I could see she was trying to catch her breath. She had multiple cuts on her forearms and shoulder. I could not tell the extend of the injury but it was obvious she’s slowing down.

I jumped forward, falling another Indian man who was not paying attention to his flank before retreating to the circle we had formed around Aiko.

Xuehua on the other hand had her hudiedao in the thigh of a man who tried to steal a hit at Freddy who managed to block off that attempt.

Our circle got tighter and tighter and the shouts of the men in the lobby grew louder so did Aiko’s scream. Shew as covering her ears and eyes as she cried, screaming in Japanese, calling out for her children.

The door I had blocked to the loading and unloading bay has been opened and I could see men entering the lobby. They moved slow, keeping their bodies tight against the side of the walls.

I swing my Katana in an wide arc, keeping the men at bay so did the rest of my team mates who had tools that allowed for a longer reach.

Still there was no way to fend off the encircling hoard

The amount of space we had left got smaller until the sides of my body were almost touching Eddy on my left and Freddy on my right.

It’s a matter of time before we lose this.

Our weapons kept coming into contact with what the men are using. The shouts rendered our own shouts useless as everyone was cursing and shouting in a different language. Every few second or so, someone would attempt to prod the defensive circle, kicking off another round of saliva spitting curse and taunt.

The shouts and mad swings of our weapons grew more out of control.

Someone tried to stab me with sharpened stake but I held onto it with my right hand after dropping the Katana, pulling him close into the circle, Eddy’s hand yank him by the hair and right into his waiting forehead. As he fell to the ground, the knife in my left hand went cleanly through his stomach as I knelt down to pick up the Katana.

Another poor judgement by a Jap was swiftly cut shot by the swing of Freddy’s knife through his face.

My eyes saw something that made my heart sank.

That’s it. This is probably the end for all of us.

I could see bodies parting on the left as almost 10 men with Katanas ran towards the lobby.

Some of those within the lobby pulled back, making space for their better trained comrades to take care of us.

Leng : fuck…. CCB !! arGHHHHHH!!!

Leng drove his spear 2 inch into the eye of a Indian who could not get away in time.

Annie blocked off an attempt to hit Leng by using her shoulder to butt the man away.

While she fell, 2 more tried to get her but Xuehua was there to make sure they don’t.

The rapid swing of her hudiedao left 1 of them clutching his neck and the other screaming with his hands trying to keep his lips from falling off his face.

More than half of the men in the lobby cleared out as the approaching elites surveyed the situation in the lobby.

Xuehua : watch out for their swings, they are fast….

Freddy : we can’t take them all… it was hard enough taking 3 down earlier….

Leng : my bones are fucking aching….

Annie : hahahah…. You think we are still in our 20s and 30s ??

Eddy : spread them out…. They can’t come at us all at once, there’s not enough space… they will end up hitting themselves…..

The men who were sent to end us spread out like what Eddy said. 3 went to each of the respective side entrance while they gestured for the rest of the ragged crew to fuck off and get out of their way.

The remaining 4 were about to enter the main door when we heard another shout.

A loud cry in a language we do not understand.

Coming down the right flank like a runaway train cutting down everything in their paths, was a 2nd group of men.

I saw Owen’s hired help tried to respond but many fell like twigs in the path of a incoming typhoon.

It was too dark and chaotic to see what is happening. As they got closer and nearer, I could hear them shouting in Japanese as well.

The men at the side entrance ran back to the front to join their original group.

It was absolute chaos. No one knew what was going on.

Then I saw it.

I saw the men that had just arrived.

The eerie glow of the street lamps illuminated their faces. All 8 of them.

Dressed all in black with a hood over their heads, they revealed themselves after their leader did so.

I know those faces.

The men with Katanas shouted and turned to face the new group that spoke the same tongue as theirs.

Standing at the front is Nakamura himself with Danzo and his men. Their own swords were raised and covered in blood.

Nakamura : HITORIMO NOGASUNA !!!!!!!!!! ( don’t let them escape … No exception ! )

Danzo & men : huawarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Swords raised high in the air clashed and the rest of Owen’s hired men rushed back into the office lobby. Nakamura and his men blocked off the access via the main entrance together with the group they are taking care of.

The screams of men being cut down like straw filled the air and another loud explosion shook the neighbourhood a couple of streets down. Loud chants filled the street and I could see rioters passing us by, flinging bottles and stones into the other end of the street.

The men that surrounded us now are a lot more cautious. They kept looking behind them, as if worried Nakamura and his men might break through while trying to keep an eye on the lot of us in the lobby.

They encircled us on all sides.

The Katanas wielding men at left at the exit to the loading and unloading bay deliberated whether to head over to engage Nakamura and his men.

There was a 5 second pause as Owen’s men surrounded us but none of them dared to approach.

That was our opening to get out.

And there was only one way to do it. That is to fucking cut a path through the bodies that is blocking our way.

I too was hesitating.

There are countless sharpened rods, machetes and makeshift weapons of every kind pointed at us in all directions. No one in their right mind will go charging in.

It would be wistful thinking to expect Nakamura and Danzo to save us all. There is only so much they can do in the face of overwhelming numbers.

Everyone is on edge, the tension in the air is indescribable. The nerves of the men still breathing in the lobby are like a tightly stretched wire, ready to snap anytime at the slightest change in pressure.

‘Chime!’

One of the lift chimed and the arrival light lit up.

I could see the lift number coming down from the 3rd floor.

I could not believe there are still people in the office tower.

All eyes turned to the arriving lift and when the doors opened. I could not believe my eyes.

The 2 women standing in the lift had their jaws opened as the stared at the scene in front of them.

No one moved.

Standing right beside Lynn was a familiar figure I had not seen in a few months.

Yiling.

She was holding onto a large brown envelope which looked like it contained xrays and medical reports.

Dressed in a tight white tan top and faded denim jeans, the owner of the pair of heels in my storage had a fitting jacket on as well. Lynn on the other hand was holding onto the phone in her hand with the screen facing up and the speaker potion angled towards her mouth as if she was in the middle of the phone.

She was holding her white jacket in the other hand and there was a horrified look on her face as she looked at the mess in the lobby.

The Indian man closest to the 2 girls in the lift said something in Hindi before saying ‘no witness’ in English.

He ran towards the girls in the lift with his machete the same time I shouted for them to duck.

Jeff : Lynn get down !!!!

I charged into the men in front of me, kicking and slicing in an attempt to get to the lift.

My worries were overdue when I saw Yiling stepped in front of Lynn as her hand reached behind her back the same time I sent a knife into a man’s eye.

I forgot.

Yiling is no longer the twin sister of a pageant winner. She is now the biggest fucking drug lord in the country.

I saw the glimmer of a gun as she pulled the trigger without hesitation.

WHAM!

The echo shook the glass panels in the lobby as both sides engaged once again.

WHAM ! WHAM ! wHAM! …

Yiling pulled Lynn out of the lift with her weapon raised.

No hesitation, no mercy. That’s the characteristics of a fucking drug lord right there.

She went for the centre mass of the man that was a threat to her.

Yiling dropped 4 men including 1 with the Katana before I got close enough.

I twisted the arm of a Jap guy before sending my knee into his face, spinning him around, I kicked him towards the side of a Indian man, toppling both of them onto the ground.

Lynn’s eyes were wide apart as she kicked off her heels and picked up a metal rod.

Lynn : fuck… fuck… fuck …!! Arghhh!!

She raised it towards me and I blocked it with my knife.

Lynn :arghhh … fuck …

Yiling had just fired off another shot, effectively putting a 3m radius around her. She turned and I saw the gun barrel aiming right at my face when I quickly shouted out.

Jeff: It’s me…. JEFF !!!

Yiling’s weapon paused for half a second and immediately turned the other way. It buried itself into the stomach of a man that tried to disarm Yiling when she turned to me.

She emptied her magazine into his stomach before pushing him away.

Lynn : what the fuck is going on Jeff !!

Jeff : I’ll explain later.. !

I pulled Lynn away from the lift and Yiling grabbed a knife off the ground.

Yiling : What the fuck is this !!!! they must have some balls to hit us like this !! do they fucking know who we are.. !!!

I pulled Yiling away and kicked a man away and replied her at the same time.

Jeff : It’s Owen…. Owen did this…

Yiling : what ?? are you mad ? you’re not making sense !!

Jeff: No time now… we’ll talk later…

Lynn saw Aiko on the floor and she went over to her immediately.

Lynn : Aiko… Aiko…. Are you ok ? … where have you been….?

There was no time for explanation and catching up.

It’s as if the emptying of Yiling’s gun triggered another round of offensive by the men in the lobby.

Everything happened so fast.

I blocked the stab coming at me.

Eddy’s cleaver removed the hand that held the knife cleanly from it’s arm.

Freddy suffered a large gnash to his head and I went low, spinning and driving my knife into the stomach of the man that gave Freddy the injury.

Leng’s spear was pulled away from him and he grabbed onto the blade of a machete with his bare hands, stopping it from hitting Annie while her hudiedao split open the stomach of the 2 men closest to them.

Xuehua is on fire. She sprung from men to men, tripping, kicking and stabbing them in any spots she can get her hudiedao in.

Eddy : ergHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I had a chokehold around a man when I saw a Indian guy stab a makeshift dagger into Eddy’s kidney. He pulled it out and stabbed him again 3 more times before Leng got to him and turned the dagger on it’s owner.

Eddy’s suddenly fall sent more men over to attack him and in a mere matter of seconds, Eddy’s body was like a pin cushion with stab wounds and slashes too many to count.

Xuehua : EDDY!!!

I threw them man I was holding after I stab him in the back of his knee in his armpit towards the group attacking Eddy.

I jumped right at them. I lost control of my own body.

I only knew I was blocking at stabbing and slicing at monstrous speed.

I could not see the faces of the men I was killing. I had no time to look in their eyes.

I could only register the parts of their body I was sending my knife into.

Toes, calves, thighs, the stomach in rapid order before a punch to push him back.

An elbow to the nose before a quick crouch and lifting him off the ground and out of my way so I can get to the man behind him.

I lopped 3 fingers off the next man, sent my knife into his balls before slicing him across his face.

I threw my knife hard enough to bruise the face of the men next in line before reaching for my remaining knife and sending it up the bottom of his chin.

I was hit so many times that I could no long tell where the pain was coming from.

I was pulled back by Leng as he sent a stake into the eye of a man as if he was slaying a vampire.

Xuehua was trying to stop the bleeding on Eddy’s body but there were too many wounds.

Lynn had just asked Yiling for her belt as she tried to do a makeshift tourniquet around Eddy’s left thigh.

I could not even afford to catch my breath. I went right back into the fight after picking up a splintered club.

Yiling was waving the knife in her hand trying to keep the men away from the ladies.

I sent the club into the face of another man and I felt the warm gush of blood in my shoulder as another fucker just stabbed me from the side.

A hudiedao went into the side of his neck and I kicked him back into the waiting blade Xuehua was holding onto.

I turned to look at Eddy. He was no longer moving.

Lynn : fuck… fuck.. fuck !!! the whole world’s gone mad !! fuck…

Danzo came crashing into the lobby with his Katana buried in the stomach of his countrymen.

He already had multiple cuts on his body and I could see him cutting a path open for Nakamura.

Only 3 men remained in their group and I could see Nakamura was bleeding on the face. He was missing a ear as well but he is still on his feet.

Xuehua flew into a rage and her kill count kept adding up. She lost it.

She fucking lost it when I saw her smite a man on his knees so hard that his head bounced off the lifeless body of his friend with her knees.

A quick swing of her hudiedao spilled the contents of it’s victim’s stomach. Xuehua followed that up with a hard punch that sent the guts spilling out with the man still alive and crying for his mother.

She disarmed 2 men at once and despite being punched and kicked several times, she bled one of them out by severing the artery on his neck while headbutting the other.

I fought my way towards Danzo, removing a man that was facing me with his back easily from the fight.

By the time Danzo and Nakamura reached us, they were the only 2 left standing. It was obvious they were making their way towards Aiko.

The only good news by then was that no one on Owen’s team were left holding Katanas.

Danzo pulled a dagger out from his back and sent it into the palm of an Indian man. I slide towards him on my knees, my knife rising up in time to block off a machete that came dangerously close to his head.

Danzo turnd and attended to that assailant while I pulled Nakamura onto the floor and took a club on my back.

Jeff :argHH!!

I could feel the rusty nails at the end of the club puncture my body. It was pulled out and I blocked off another attempt to stab Nakamura with my knife and the same club entered the side of my thigh.

Danzo’s Katana went pass my face and into the shoulder of the man that hit me.

Nakamura regained his balance by then and he removed the head of the man and sent a slicing blade of wind right by my face strong enough to penetrate my mask.

2 men charged Danzo and he took a dagger in his left thigh. It was not a deep wound and he returned the same dagger into the guy’s ear while I threw the other onto the ground before Nakamura dispatched him to the after world with his Katana.

I was panting for air by then and half of my mask was hanging off my chin. It had ripped open somehow during the fight. I pulled it off my face and I surveyed the carnage in front of me.

By my count there’s probably about 30 men left scattered around us.

Leng was holding onto his stomach, blood gushed out none stop as he tried to lit up a cigarette with Lynn trying desperately to keep him still.

Lynn : hold still hold still !!!

Leng : fuck,.. fuck it…. I’m done….

A puff of smoke came out together with a waterfall of blood from Leng’s mouth. He was still conscious, but you could see him rapidly slipping away. The blood would not stop coming out from his stomach.

Lynn’s hands were covered with blood up to her wrist and she looked lost and helpless.

Xuehua was crying as she kissed Annie who was kneeling down on the floor. She was no longer moving but her hands still held onto the twin hudiedao, each of them buried into the bodies of the last 2 men she killed while her own body was riddled with stab wounds.

Xuehua : I’m sorry…. I’m sorry Annie…. Sobzz…

Freddy was still standing.

He was gasping for air as he supported himself on his large knife. I could see the exposed flesh and bone beneath his left knuckles. There are several bodies lying near him without their appendages that they came into the lobby with.

There was some commotion outside the office. Someone was shouting for their father.

I felt my heart drop when I saw Lala peering cautiously from the outside.

Lala : papa…? ….. Papa ??

Freddy saw his son outside the lobby. Lala looked like he just woke up form his sleep, his hair all ruffled and messy. He looked barely awake.

He’s calling out for Freddy.

Some bastard took the chance to run out after Lala and Freddy gave chase.

Freddy : arHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! ..

Lala : PAPA…..PAPA !!!

Lala had no time to even grasp what was going on when an Indian man grabbed him by putting his arm around his neck and pointing a dagger at Lala’s face.

He gestured to Freddy, asking him to drop the knife.

Another 3 men immediately went out to surround Freddy.

I gasped for air and I tried to make my way out to Freddy and Lala but 3 men move in and cut me off. My hands are covered in blood as well and the wetness made it hard to grip my knife.

Freddy was shouting at the man to let his son go and he was asking why Lala did not stay in bed as instructed.

Lala looked confused, he did not know what is going on.

Suddenly one of the men rushed Freddy and caught him off guard.

He sent his club hard into Freddy’s head before he could duck or block it off. I could see the white of Freddy’s skull as blood started spurting out near his right eye.

The rest of the men did not wait for Freddy to regain his consciousness. The began attacking Freddy one after another, clubbing and stabbing into his body like they were butchering an animal.

Freddy managed a swing of his large knife but it did not hit anyone. The knife left his hands and landed at Lala’s feet.

Lala watched on in horror as his father was butchered by the men.

I started cutting my way through the men in front of me.

I did not manage to get any of them but I got them out of my way.

I could hear Xuehua close behind me and the screams of one of the trio quickly reached my ear.

I could hear the anguish cry of my girlfriend as she shouted amdist tears and snot before taking out the 2nd man. Lala struggled and the dagger went into his cheeks.

He screamed not in physical pain. He screamed as his heart bled while looking at his father collapsing in front of him. Lala grabbed the man who stabbed him with his hands, he clenched his fingers around his neck and squeeze so hard that the man’s eyes looked like it was on the verge of popping out.

I kicked a man away from Freddy’s body and a swing of my knife sent the other 2 away. Lala smashed the man’s face into his own.

Yes he smashed his face using his own face, not the head. He hit him again and again until the dagger lodged in his cheeks got loose and fell to the floor.

Lala: ARHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHRHHHH!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

HE could not stop, I wanted to run over but someone bulldozed me to the ground.

I completed the roll and grabbed that fucker by his legs with mine, twisting him off balance, I smashed my head into his before slamming his forehead into the ground like a hard bounce of a basketball.

I grabbed his hair and smashed it onto the concrete floor again. The double yellow line by the side of the kerb gained a shade of red as more started to flow him the man’s head.

Another man jumped onto me, I was on my back and he got in a few punch to my head.

I saw the massive swing of Freddy’s knife and it entered the skull about 2 inches deep. Lala was screaming as he let go of the knife after he could not pull it out.

I pushed the body off me as Lala cried, walking around lost and disoriented.

Xuehua called out to Lala, asking him over as she pulled her hudiedao out of a man’s armpit.

Lala suddenly shouted and ran towards Xuehua.

For a moment I thought it was because she was wearing a mask and he did not know who she was but I was wrong.

Lala dashed over and pushed Xuehua onto the floor as a makeshift club was hammered down on his shoulder.

He shouted in pain as the same club went to the side of his face.

Xuehua literally lifted the clubber off his feet and throwing him down onto the hard ground.

Lala was barely conscious when I went over to him.

Xuehua screamed as she slammed both her hudiedao into the sides of the man before twisting it a good 15 degree in opposite direction and pulling it out.

Lala knelt down and looked at me, dazed and bloodied.

Xuehua : get him inside !!

Xuehua got up to clear the way for me when Lala shouted and slapped me.

Lala : AHHHHHHHHH!!!!

He smacked me so hard that I fell to the floor. As soon as I looked back up, I saw Lala’s teeh splintered as his jaw exploded.

His tongue fell out before his left eye went missing and I saw the splatter of blood paint the pavement red behind his body.

I turned and I saw Owen.

He’s shooting at us.

I crawled and ran in a zig zag manner as hot lead sped past me.

Xuehua dove into the office and I saw the full height glass of the lobby shattered with cob web like cracks appearing at several spot.

Owen kept shooting from where he stood until he emptied his magazine.

I ran in and I could see he walked towards us calmly as he reloaded.

Jeff: cover… find cover !!!

The bullets came and everyone hugged the ground, crawling to safety behind columns and reinforced walls.

Owen kept shooting into the lobby, he was not aiming to kill. He just wanted us trapped.

I could hear him shouting at the remainder of his men. He’s gathering everyone for a final push.

I turned to look at Nakamura who was refusing Danzo’s help to stand up.

Nakamura : Owen will not dare kill us…. The repercussions will be severe!!

Danzo wanted to speak but a stern look by his boss was all it took for him to keep quiet for a brief second.

Then I heard him speak rapidly in his language. I don’t know what it means but I could rpetty much guess. He did not agree with his boss and he will do what he can to get him out alive.

Danzo forcibly dragged his boss away from the lobby while shouting for everyone to follow him.

We could get a few seconds head start if we start running.

I don’t think we will make it very far in our state, Owen’s men will easily outrun us.

I grabbed Xuehua who had taken off her mask.

Jeff: look at me dear… look at me !!… take Aiko…. The hardisk and Aiko must make it out… you hear me ??

Xuehua sobbed and she shook her head.

Jeff: DO IT!! … you hear me ?? DO IT!!

I shouted at Nakamura and told him all all be in vain if Aiko did not get out.

Her testimony and her evidence will make all these right.

Jeff: Get Aiko and her family back to Japan !…

Nakamura nodded as he cursed in Japanese. Danzo let him go and he gave me a nod.

A courteous nod.

Danzo : I am sorry…. For the trouble…. My country men had caused….

Jeff : This mess…. Is on Owen…. Go…. I’ll hold them off….

Xuehua sobbed and she shook her head.

Xuehua : no…. no please dear… no… I can’t …. I can’t lose you too….

Jeff : I’ll be fine….please… go… go !!

Xuehua grabbed my by my shirt and made me swear.

She wanted me to swear I will go back to her.

Xuehua : I want to hear you say it !!!

Jeff: I’ll be fine…. I promise…. No one can kill Hibiki…

Xuehua screamed in my face as she suppressed her emotions before giving me a quick kiss and she got up after Aiko.

I pulled Lynn off Leng’s lifeless body and she was cursing and swearing.

Yiling’s face had a deep cut that will definitely leave a scar but other than that she is fine.

She looked at me, unable to believe the state I was in. A far cry from the Jeff she saw me many months ago.

Yiling : who are you Jeff…. ? who are you really …..

I smiled.

Jeff : ….. your colleague….just a little more experienced… that’s all…

Yiling : Hibiki…

Lynn : fuck…fuck !!

I pulled the both girls and sent them towards the loading and unloading bay as I wiped the wet handle of my knife.

I picked up Leng’s soul spear and I stabbed the end of it onto the ground. I needed the support. I was aching in so many spots that it would be easier to name the parts of my body that is not aching.

Owen rallied up the remaining men about 2 dozen or so.

I could hear the fight erupting from the loading and unloading bay behind me. They should be fine.

Most of the men are in front over here with Owen.

The elites are all gone.

Danzo, Xuehua and Nakamura would be able to deal with the rest.

Owen walked into the lobby and looked at the amount of bodies we left for him

Owen : This will be hard for the clean up crew….

I could feel my lungs burning as I gasp for air.

Owen looked at me with a lifeless pair of eyes.

Owen : who the fuck do you think you are……

Jeff : Would you prefer to call me Jeff….. ? or Hibiki ? ..

Owen gave the order for half the men in the lobby to go round back and stop the rest.

Owen : Get them…. They are all hurt.. they cannot make it far….the streets are all blocked off…..no one can get out of Little India today….

I swing the spear and tried to stop the group from splintering away but they were out of range. At least 10 men went out the side entrance and towards my escaping friends.

Owen : I’ll deal with you….. slowly…

Owen handed his weapon to a Japanese man and he pulled out a large knife from behind his back.

Owen : I’ve always wanted to see….if Hibiki…. Is as good as they say he is…..

Before I could get ready for Owen, I had the shit scared out of me when Lynn appeared beside me.

I thought she had gone with the rest. I did not expect her to come back.

Lynn : What the fuck are you doing Owen ?

Jeff : What are you still here ??!!!

Owen : Change is coming…. There is no stopping this….

Lynn : what the fuck is wrong with you… !

Owen : I’m sorry Lynn…. I cannot afford any witness to this…… nothing personal… I’ll deal with you after I’m done with Jeff….

I sighed as I racked my brains for ways to find an opening for Lynn to leave. I could probably distract Owen but Lynn still needs to get away from the rest of the men in the lobby.

I raised Leng’s spear and pointed it at Owen and got ready for his advance when Lynn did something unexpected.

Lynn lifted up her phone and put it to her mouth.

Lynn : You hear that baby….? …. He’s going to kill me…. if you don’t get here in time….

I turned and looked at the phone.

The timer for the call was still running. It has been running for the past 25 minutes or so.

Lynn spat defiantly at Owen.

Lynn : You’re not dealing with me……. you’re dealing with my husband and his men…

Owen looked infuriated as he shouted and came towards us with his knife raised.

I pushed Lynn aside and when Owen’s knife struck and crack the body of the staff holding the spear, I had only one thought in mind.

Where the fuck is Colonel James ?

……………………………………………………

 

Owen landed a kick on my thigh and narrowly missed my face with his knife as I backed away from him.

My hands moved on their own and without even realising, my knife is back up and I was feigning stabs while trying to hit Owen.

He was doing the same thing, faking a stab before attempting a punch. Lynn crawled off the ground and she picked up her phone with it’s screen already cracked in a few places.

I saw an opening and I went for it only to have Owen grab onto my arm and throwing me down the side of his waist. I did not land on my back as I cushioned the fall with my feet planted firmly on the ground and my body arched.

Slicing my knife upwards, I brought it to meet the heavy steel of Owen’s own weapon. Our forearms interlocked and we alternated with a series of knee jabs and attempts to trip the other over.

I could hear Lynn cursing as she could not longer reach her husband on the other line.

Owen got in a hard knee to my left rib before shoving me backwards where I tripped over the leg of a dead man.

I fell but immediately got right back up and into a defensive position as I waited for Owen’s next move.

He’s not fast enough to get me. This will eventually boil down to a play of stamina and see which party gives out first.

You just need to get one fatal strike in and it’s game over.

Owen relaxed and tightened his gripe on his knife. Our eyes locked onto each other.

He is thinking, I could see it in his eyes. If I could come to the conclusion that he is not as fast as I am, he must be thinking about the same thing.

I charged in with a fake left kick before swinging hard to send my right foot into Owen’s back. He staggered forward and before he can regain his balance, I kicked him again while he tried to slice me into 2 from the front.

Our knives met again and I saw the quick spark as my serrated edge dragged along the ends of Owen’s knife.

Owen : arGHHHHHHHHH!!!

Jeff : aRGHHHHHHHH!!!

We held each other’s wrist and forearm, restricting our movements as we headbutted each other.

I could feel the warmth of my bloodied head as blood streaks down from cuts and bruises.

Blood vessels burst from under the skin as we met each other’s head right on. Our hands disengaged and Owen’s right hook caught me in my jaw but it was not hard enough to put me down.

I got in a hard punch to the centre of his undefended chest that would surely knock the air out of his lungs before kicking him back. He staggered and fell, his turn to trip over the head of a man missing his left eye.

Lynn had a club in her hands as a Indian man came for her. She threw the club at him before plunging a dagger she secretly held on the other hand when the man attempted to block off the club.

Lynn : arghhh.. fuck !..

I panted for air as I put myself in between Lynn and Owen.

It was a mistake. Owen saw the weak link in this.

Lynn.

He changed his tact immediately and instead of just coming for me, he went for Lynn. He planned to kill her anyway and if in the attempt of doing so gives him a chance to get me, all the better.

Owen asked his men to get Lynn but before that order could be effectively carried out, a few of them were running back out of the lobby.

Something is happening outside.

I saw someone approaching.

A man, he was dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt. He easily disarmed the 1st Indian man that got to him before using the metal pipe he was carrying on his head. I caught a glimpse of his face. I’ve seen him before.

At Lynn’s wedding.

He’s one of James’ men.

A few seconds later, I saw a man of smaller built literally flying through the air.

He flew like a rag doll being thrown to a dog, sailing almost 2m before landing on the side of his head in an awkward angle. There was no movements from him after that landing.

I saw the mountain of a man walking briskly towards the lobby.

Lynn saw him as well.

Lynn : BOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lynn called out to the giant who just slammed another man into the ground as others waved their weapons madly around him.

James’ men are coming but it was not what I expected.

I got tangled up with Owen again as he tried to get past me to Lynn.

I was hoping James would arrive guns blazing and mowing these fuckers down for his wife but no. His men arrived one at a time, trying to make their way through the perimeter.

It’s a fucking Sunday night. Everyone is probably having dinner or chilling at home.

It’s a miracle James managed to get anyone to even respond, not to forget the whole perimeter of Little India is now cut off.

I got a cut on my shoulder while I managed so slice through Owen’s shirt, missing his flesh by mere millimetres.

Owen : argHHHHHHH!!!

Owen acted as if he was diving for Lynn but turned back and with a quick swing, sliced cleanly across my left knuckles.

I felt the pain only 2 seconds later when I dropped my knife onto the floor.

I had tried to block that swing but I missed.

The good thing about fighting in the lobby by then was there you are never short of a weapon. There are so many just lying around within reach. Lynn backed away closer to the lifts shouting and screaming at her husband’s men.

Another one had arrived and the 3 of them outside is keeping the rest of Owen’s men busy.

I grabbed a club which was essentially served as the leg of a former chair and blocked off Owen’s subsequent series of stabs and jabs.

Grabbing his last jab while his arm was extended, I tripped him onto the floor but before I could deliver a painful blow, he hammered down on my injured knuckles and my grip loosen enough for him to break free.

Jeff :arGHHH fuck!…

I panted as I see Owen’s remaining men thin out.

Owen went for Lynn again and this time round it was not an attempt to distract me.

Lynn’s new metal pipe was easily wrestled out of her hands by Owen, I charged over just in time to put my chair leg in between Owen’s knife and Lynn’s neck.

Despite the block, the speed and strength of the hit by Owen was still hard enough to send her collapsing onto the floor. If I did not get there in time, Lynn’s head would be dangling halfway off her shoulder by then.

Jeff : arghhh!!!

I threw several blows at Owen who blocked it with his armed raised.

Lynn choked and crawled on her fours gasping for air.

I could see her clutching the side of her neck that was hit. She was bleeding, but it did not look serious.

Owen elbowed me to the face and tried to go for Lynn again.

I grabbed onto his waist and tried to lift him off the ground but he was too heavy or perhaps I was too tired. I felt another fist to the side of my head and my grip got loose.

Still, I grabbed onto Owen with my legs, rotating my body and forcing him to bend the knee for a brief moment.

Jeff : Lynn !!… go!!

Lynn got up as Owen broke free from me.

I jumped him before he could grab Lynn on her hair.

Lynn was about to make her way towards the loading bay at the back when 2 lightly injured men entered from the exit. They saw Lynn and started to make their way towards her. Lynn turned right and opened the staircase door.

I could hear her shouting as she scrambled up the stairs. Then men staggered and went after Lynn.

I caught a glimpse of James men from the outside. They are almost through.

The giant Lynn called Boon had the face of a men in each of his hand as he ran towards the glass façade of the ground floor lobby.

I heard the sickening crunched of bone against laminated glass as Boon stuck the men like notices onto a pin up board. Only this time there were no pins holding them up, only the blood from the ruptured blood vessels in the back of their head.

The 2 men slide down to the floor one after the other, their hair leaving a vertical line of blood painted by their sweaty and blood-soaked hair.

I punched Owen, he punched me.

I kicked him, and he did the same.

We threw each other around before Owen broke free. He raised his knife at me and got in a good slash on my left shoulder while I manage to land on diagonally up his chest.

Both of us staggered and lost our balance partly because of the pain our body had just registered with our brain.

Everything happened within a matter of seconds.

Owen clutched his chest and I could see him biting down his teeth to endure the pain. I guess it’s been a while since he felt something like this.

There’s both a stinging and burning feeling in the left side of my body. It fucking hurts and my arm is wet with my own blood but I could still hold this for a while more.

Owen looked at his men slowly reducing in numbers and he decided to go into the same stairwell Lynn went into barely seconds ago.

I dashed in after him and we flew up the stairs 3 steps at a time. Every step we took we left a trail of blood splatters.

I could hear Lynn’s scream from above.

I assumed she’s heading for the clinic on the 3rd floor.

If she gets there, she can barricade herself in.

I arrived at the 3rd floor and I saw Owen grabbing 1 of the 2 indian man that had Lynn pinned to the floor to ask him to hold me back. The 2 fuckers had Lynn struggling on the floor and they were trying to rape her.

Her top was partially torn and I could see a bra strap totally snapped and Lynn was screaming with half her breast exposed.

I did not allow the man time to even get in my way.

I jumped and pushed myself off the wall on the side for added leverage before smashing his face in with my right knuckle while still holding my knife. Swinging my body around like a whirling devilish I slammed the pointed edge of my knife into his neck even before he hit the ground.

The second man saw his dead friend and he froze. I could see the fear in his eyes as he put up his hands trying to indicate that he’s surrendering. He just plastered his body against the wall and crab walked right passed me speaking in a language I don’t understand.

Owen was trying to kill Lynn but she had kicked him in his chest, adding to the pain that he is already experiencing from a cut by my knife.

Lynn cried and tried to crawl towards me and I saw Owen coming in for another attempt.

Lynn : argHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I dropped my knife and I pulled Lynn by her hair and torn clothes towards me with barely a second to spare as Owen’s knife hit the ground where Lynn’s back was at moments before.

I steppe over Lynn and kicked Owen’s knife away from his hand but it did not work. I kicked his hand alright, but he was still holding onto the knife. I jumped back as he swung it at me.

I blocked his stab with both hands, pushing his wrist downwards as our body gets slammed against both side of the narrow corridor.

We were locked in place and our legs never stopped trying to inflict maximum pain on each other.

Lynn got up and saw we were both caught in a deadlock.

She grabbed my knife and ran towards Owen.

Lynn : aRHHHH

Jeff : Lynn !! NO!!! STAY BACK!!!

Owen saw her approached and swung my back against her hard enough to knock Lynn against the wall.

Lynn : arGHH!!

I broke free but Owen pushed me against Lynn again, this time harder and I could feel the back of my head hitting Lynn’s forehead. Sandwiched between Lynn and Owen, I kept my attention on the knife Owen is holding.

He switched hands and he stabbed under my left armpit in an attempt to first get rid of Lynn. My right arm reached behind and yank Lynn to the right and avoided at fatal stab only to feel the blade slice upwards and ripping into the underside of my armpits.

Jeff : aGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

My right hand managed to grab onto Owen wrist before I turned my body 180 degree so my back faced Owen, kicking myself off the wall, I slammed Owen’s back against the dry wall partition of Lynn’s clinic.

Both of us collapsed onto the floor together.

My left arm felt as if I was dipping it into a pot of boiling water as I went over to get my knife from Lynn.

Owen : aRGHHHHHHHHHHH

Jeff ; aRGHHHHHHHHHH!

The grind of steel was drowned by our shouts.

Lynn tried to run towards her clinic but Owen managed to grab hold of the ends of her hair, yanking her back. He had a fistful of her hair and it was enough to jerk Lynn back towards him.

Lynn : erGNHH!!!!!!!

I flipped my knife cutting side up and detached a chunk of Lynn’s lovely locks and set her free in a swift stroke, the suddenly release of the pull sent Lynn tripping forward and onto her knees.

Owen went low and my knee knew what to do. I went for his face.

Owen deflected my right knee and shove me against the wall with his entire bodyweight.

He was still trying to go for Lynn.

I saw an opportunity to get Owen, excuting the same swing I did earlier, I grunted as I sent my knife towards Owen’s kidney.

I felt the plunge of my knife in soft flesh immediately.

Before I could bask in satisfaction, I was hit with a wave of horror.

Owen : ahahhahahaha….

I stared at Lynn who was being held towards me like a human shield. My knife was buried in her stomach just above her belly button.

Owen : ahahahah… hahahahaha !!!!!

Owen made an attempt to grab my wrist but he missed. I held onto Lynn’s body and kicked Owen back while holding onto the knife.

Lynn : uuuhhh…. Ughhhhhhhh!!!

Owen : hahaha…hahaha.. oh boy… oh boy… ahhahaa…. You … are fucked now… hahaha.. hahaha….

I could not speak. Lynn was looking at me. She too could not bring herself to even move.

The body of the Indian man that just surrendered minutes ago flew out from the stairwell and against the wall.

Owen saw that and he started running towards the fire access panel at the end of the corridor with his knife. Smashing through that glass panel, he grinned at me before climbing out and disappearing to the side.

Lynn was shaking as we looked at each other.

Jeff : don’t move… don’t move… don’t take it out… you cannot pull this out…. !!!

Lynn swallowed a gulp of saliva and I could see tears rolling down the side of her cheeks.

Her lips were shivering.

The sound of men fighting their way up from the stairwell got louder.

Jeff : fuck…fuck… no… fuck…I’m sorry… I’m so sorry….

Lynn shook her head gently and it looked like she wanted to say something.

Jeff : You’re clinic is here.. it’s right behind you….it’s right behind… tell me what to do !!.. tell me what to do !!!

More tears rolled down the side of her eyes as I watch the spread of blood starting to appear from the sides of the wound I had just inflicted.

Jeff : no… no!!… help !!! HELP!!! Someone fuckign help!!! arGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Lynn shook her head as I asked her where should I apply pressure.

Jeff : What should I do… tELL ME!!! TELL ME!!! DOC!! Tell me what to do… arGHHHHHHHHH!!!

My fingers were shaking. I’ve never trembled like this before.

Lynn shook her head.

Lynn : I….. I don’t know…..uughh…i… I don’t know….

Jeff : you must know… you must know !!! fuck !!! arghh !!

I have never felt panic like this before in my life.

Lynn slowly sank to the floor and I helped her lean against the wall.

Jeff : I’m going to go call for an ambulance…. Wait here… wait here !!!

Lynn : no… no wait…Jeff.. wait… ugghhh..ughh…

I looked at Lynn struggling with the pain and the first sign of tears started to appear in her eyes.

Lynn : I..i…I don’t think…i…uuuuuuggghhh

Lynn coughed and while there are no blood spurting out of her mouth, I saw the pressure did it’s damage on the wound I inflicted. More blood started spilling out of her wound and onto the floor.

Jeff : …arghh.. I’m sorry…Lynn… I’m sorry… fuck !!!! FUCK!!! GOD!!! FUCK!!! …..stay here… don’t move… don’t fucking move !!!… I’ll use the phone in your clinic….

Lynn grabbed my hand forcefully and held me back. She shook her head at me. I could see she’s afraid.

Lynn : don’t… don’t…. it’s ok… it’s ok…

Jeff : let go Lynn…please… I’ll get help….

I wanted to break myself free but she was gripping onto me too tightly. I’m afraid if I was too rough on her, it might make her injury worse.

Lynn’s bloodied hand touched my face and she shook her head at me.

Lynn : i…..i….. I know my body….. I know….nothing….too deep… it’s too deep….uggg

Blood was fucking bubbling from Lynn’s stomach as I held onto her.

Jeff : aRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! FUCK ….FUCK!!!! Somebody help please.. !!!! aGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Lynn : It hurts …. It …… so painful… it’s so painful….buuurrr.. sobzzz…

Jeff : stop talking… stop….i’ll call for an ambulance… we can save you…. Arghh.. aghhh !!!

Lynn stopped talking altogether.

Her eyes looked at me and I could see a sudden drop in the level of consciousness in her.

She’s still awake but I could see the fight in her was gone. It’s as if she had accepted her fate.

Jeff : Lynn… Lynn please… don’t… don’t… please….Lynn… FUCK NO!!!..

I felt a gentle squeeze in my hand.

The hand that Lynn was holding onto. It’s like she was asking me to listen to her.

I heard her soft whisper.

A soft gentle whisper that was barely there. I saw her look down. She looked down at her own stomach and the way she cradled it, I felt like killing myself.

She held the bottom of her tummy as if she was cradling a baby.

Jeff : oh fu