6. Hide and Seek (6)

“Come in,” she responded gaily to Ryu’s knock on the frame of the rag-draped lintel.

“So, you have found me, Ryu,” she guffawed when the yakuza stepped gingerly inside, careful not to let his clothes brush up against the filth in the kitchen. It stank. It smelled like death. Ryu sniffed and forced himself to look away from the pig.

The big woman was beaming at him. She had short frizzy hair, a broad face peppered with tiny black moles, two missing front teeth, and breath that could, and should, clear a room. Still there was something disturbingly familiar about her.

“Oooh, you are a smart one,” she cooed. “You track me all the way to Arnotine Ferucand. Witch doctor, you see. Arnotine is a bokor, a witch doctor, and he helped me. Old Ronan, he wouldn’t help me. But Arnotine, he did. He gave me the recipe I was looking for. But he’s dead. Old Ronan don’t know that. He don’t know nothing. Arnotine been dead for a long time. And now I am dead, too. That old fraud couldn’t save me. But that’s OK. I got Arnotine’s secrets, my secrets now . . . and you, you got me.”

She babbled along in Creole. Of course, Ryu did not understand a word that she said. He just stared at her, trying to decide what to do, his jet brows knitted, his dark-lashed eyes narrow and observant.

She laughed again. “Haw, haw, haw, Ryu-san. You don’t recognize me, do you? But I know you, and I know why you’re here. You want to take me back. That’s your mission. Me and the chip. And I know who sent you. Those yakuza, yeah? OK, I’m ready,” she added holding out her arms; hands palm upward, wrists and fat pinkies touching. “Take me home, Ryu-san. I’m all yours.” And she said it in Japanese.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 6.6/Hide and Seek

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  • boldlow

    Enjoy the fact that each excerpt is self-contained…the story pulls me through them without necessarily knowing what the previous one was about, so I can bounce around and read them in any order. Masterful storytelling – once again looking forward to the next one! Thanks!

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