4. Pachinko Palace (3)

It was a dance, a tango over ice in a midnight-blue sea. In this, as in many things, Ryu was an artist, his satisfaction apparent in the performance of the act. Ryu used various methods to take his partners to the very brink of annihilation and drown them in sweltering salvation.

“Ryu, that was amazing,” I murmured, collapsed upon the tatami mats, my dress a violet puddle beside me.

We were in the private room of a teahouse; our forms, wicked by candlelight, almost phosphorescent in the darkness; the rice paper screens broken from the force of his body and mine.

Ryu pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows, and silently buttoned his shirt.

After that we were inseparable, my bodyguard and I. He was very good at his job. And I was happy at last. I thought nothing could disrupt the mad paradise I had stumbled into. But one night, an odd incident disturbed my reckless tumble into the watery world of pleasure. I mark it for you and for myself as the beginning of the end …

We were in Shinjuku at one of Ryu’s favorite clubs. I was chatting with Lou Lou, a very pretty, young, platinum-blonde cocktail waitress and an acquaintance of Ryu’s. Ryu was smoking, drinking whisky, and playing liars’ dice with the owner of the establishment. The two men were preoccupied with their game and paid little attention to their surroundings.

I actually noticed Miura while he was still on the stairs that led from the street down to the dungeon-deep interior of the club. I’d never met him before, but he was hard to miss. He was extremely tall—around six foot six—and would have been very handsome, but his nose, it seemed, had been severely broken and never properly set. This man, who could have looked like a prince, had the fearsome appearance of an ogre. Like Ryu, he was yakuza; but where Ryu was particular and precise, Miura was slovenly, his shirt rumpled, jacket open, skinny tie askew. He swaggered, almost staggered, across the dance floor, bumping into dancers without apology. And he was loud.

“Ryu,” he shouted over the music. “Ryu.”

  • Lowry McFerrin

    and then? and then? These cliff-hangers are killing me…deliciously of course. I want more – can’t wait for the book to be a welcome weight in my hands…a beacon of distraction on my desk – a trigger of imagination in my mind…

    keep those excerpts coming! and your other posts too. They are amazing…

  • Thanks,zombies generally don’t care what people think. Sadly, I do, so lack of interest kills me … if you know what I mean.