For the background to this story please visit:
Dangan (Author who has posted 1/3 of the chapters) - check his news pages
Sarai (Author of another 1/3 of the chapters) - check her news pages!
Mast3rmind (Author of another 1/3 of chapters) - check his news pages
Chapter 6: Part 2: 'An Offer to be considered'
The streets disappeared under my sandaled feet as I made my way out of the vicinity of the fire fight. I blended into the shadows and twisted my way through the crowds of refugees, hawkers and general users until I felt that I was being watched. I instantly ducked into an open doorway that had been left carelessly open by previous occupants. The place was dark and in disarray, evidence of the flight of the occupants in the face of the army approaching the city.
I made my way carefully and quietly through the rooms to the rear of the building where I hoped to find windows or a way out to roof level. As I fiddled with a catch on a window I felt the air-change in the room behind me and I dropped onto my back on the floor, my black clothing hiding my body on in the gloom. Without sound I drew the silk fabric of my mask over my face until just my eyes were visible. Face up on the floor my heart beat faster as I could feel the serious threat that was just nearby... I felt my shifter cold against my chest and I was tempted to reach for it but suppressed the desire by reciting a litany against fear I had been taught during my training. I calmed down and waited.
Footsteps in the hallway and then into the living where I lay. I tensed inside and controlled my muscles. When I could feel the figure near me I moved in a blur of motion and had one of my blades against the neck of the person. They were also dressed in black, although it was loose fitting unlike my tight clothes. I couldn't tell age or even gender...
"Tell me who you are and why you're here", my voice was level and strong and I was pleased that after a few weeks of less than fully capacity work I had stepped back to my natural element.
The stalker didn't say a word but an almost imperceptible movement of their head caused me to push the blade against the exposed neck skin more until a ruby red drop of blood welled up.
"Don't be stupid... Tell me, do you understand?"
They nodded and as they did so some object crashed into the side of my head and shattered. I stumbled to one side letting go of the knife which clattered to the floor. I blocked a kick and two swift punches before my attacker charged into me and lifted me off my fleet. I was slammed into the fridge behind me although I did manage to cut quite deeply my attackers left shoulder and back with a blade in the bracelet I wore on my wrist. As I slid to the ground they darted into the gloom.
Although I was hurt I quickly picked myself up and peered into the kitchen. My vision was slowly unblurring from what must've been a mug that hit me. I saw movement though a doorway and ducked as a brick and then a heavy book flew past me. I couldn't see who was throwing these things but I was determined to catch my stalker and extract answers. If gentle persuasion hadn't worked I could do a lot more. I hadn't even got started.
I saw movement and drew in my breath, a lamp had just appeared in mid-air and a split second later flew towards me at speed, I twisted right and dodged it but something else hit me hard in the thigh from behind and my leg went tingly, I looked down to see a shard of glass sticking out just under my butt. I pulled it out and concentrated to slow my blood pressure and dull the pain, the wound wasn't too deep I hope but in the dark I couldn't see blood that much against the black of my skirt and dark leggings.
Movement again from the stairs and this time I was quicker with a small throwing knife that buried itself into my target. A second later I deflected the same knife with my bracelet as it spun back at me. Whomever my target was they appeared to be able to move objects, or perhaps even create them at will, I'd never heard of something like this before.
As I watched the figure rush up the stairs I rappelled up them using all of my body to grab handholds and pull myself up. I reached the top of the second floor landing before the runner and emerging from the darkness I kicked them hard in the chest sending them tumbling back down the stairs. I leapt after them, a blade in my hand ready to finish them and worry about their method of attacking later however at the last second I had to twist away as a sharp wood stake appeared in their hands. Dodging the impalement I was hit around the head and body with the improvised club before I could respond. Dazed I stumbled backwards and suddenly found myself picked up by an invisible force and thrown over the balcony. I tumbled down and broke my fall on a hall table that collapsed.
I was beaten and running on reserves. My nerves and body screamed at me to get out, but as I struggled to suck air into my lungs I made the decision, I would shift. As I heard footsteps down the stairs I reached below my neck and touched the small pendent in different ways. I knew how it worked by heart, it was unique to me and even I didn't know every secret. My sister had become like ill trying to find them out...
"You've put up a good fight, but you've lost and now you're going to die or submit to us", the person in black stood over me. Assuming the voice wasn't disguised then it was a woman. Around her a couple of other figures crept out of rooms and stood around me.
Blood trickled from my mouth and I licked my lips, tasting the iron.
"Fuck you, I know who you are, you're J..." the woman kicked me in the head stopping me finishing the sentence.
"Fine, choose death. He only needs one woman at his side anyway, but I went to see just like he asked and you came up short."
From somewhere a large brick floated above my head... I felt the power though building inside me and as time slowed down around me and the brick moved in slow motion towards my head I was up and through the pain my first blow connected with the man standing to the right. My hand flickered in and out of existence in his chest and parts of him disappeared as though huge bullets had passed through him. Gore exploded in the missing gaps in his body and he started to crumple. As the woman raised a sword to defend herself my hand was already inside her shoulder, I felt the darkness in my soul creeping towards my core but I pressed on and pulled effortlessly at a bone in her arm which snapped in my grasp.
I wasn't meant to do it like this, the heat from the pendent lanced through my skin, neck and breasts seeking to earth itself anywhere. But there was no earth for this type of power and instead it burned my very existence. Drained I pulled the bone half out of the woman's flesh before I deactivated the field. With my arm around her neck I was in control.
The remaining man pointed his gun at me and I moved my hostage to better protect myself.
"Drop her now"
"No" I responded.
"I've seen your little toy now... you think you're going to keep it, keep your life? Even if you kill me?"
I couldn't stay like this, even though she had a bone broken and sticking out of her shoulder I knew she would try and finish me, I was much weaker than before. So therefore I choose my fate and struck her a blow to the head before throwing her hard at the man who was blocked from shooting me as he had to catch her. By not killing her I risked my life, but I wanted to find out why she had targeted me, who the man she spoke of was and then kill them both.
I disappeared, stumbling through the crowd before eventually finding shelter and tending to my wounds. No one around paid attention, I was just another victim of the war probably...
"I didn't exactly finish her..."
"No it looks like she almost finished you..." Matt Gresa watched as a medic bandaged the woman before him.
"She has one of the devices, it's different to any of the others I've seen, she could phase herself in and out of matter... me in other words... without her own body being destroyed."
"A tool like that is powerful, I require it and will overlook this failure. You say you injured her, I hope enough that you can bring her here. When you do... don't kill her, you know how I like to play with those that keep things from me or hurt those I care about..."
"Yes... my dear Lord. I'll rest and join you after your victory over the other outlaws..."
: Next chapter; see Dangan or Mast3rmind
: Picture (Mindchamber picture of Sarai on the ground...)
I wasn't going to find what I was looking for here. During the night I knew that our time here was becoming more and more limited and as the talk stayed in the past rather than the future I didn't feel that I had found the leader I was searching for.
I knew that I was never going to be a leader myself. I had plans and desires but in the end I always looked for someone to control me and my talents. Some of the men I had known had surrounded themselves with brutes of men, men who were ready to instill terror into those their master commanded. Those were not the men or the minions I associated with.
Some men though desired to be part of the world and blend in while they manipulated and control the masses. It was these men that recognised my talent. They saw beyond my gender and tiny appearance and these men could if they wish bind me to them for a steep price and ensure their own safety. Party bodyguard, part muse to men in power I was content to be a weapon for hire as whenever I had retreated into peace it never lasted very long. Someone always found me.
I was 29 and my skills I believed were at their prime. I still would learn from those around me, both the skills for my art and also social skills as I was still so immature in this. Deep down I would give up my life for love, but that had never happened and so I stayed the tool of the powerful men of the world. I did it for being controlled, but I also did it for my sister whose treatments required further and more expensive medicine and technology everytime. She was all I had as family and friend and I would do anything for her, anything.
A long time hence when I had been younger and foolish I had worked for those that now sought to destroy us. It was a period of danger and betryal and due to my heart had been on the line I had been fired on bad terms... Since then I'd always been wary of any retaliation but as my skills had improved and as I'd become more and more withdrawn into my shell I'd given it less and less thought.
Now though I had put myself back in the firing line by allowing myself to be sought out by allowing some of those who had been involved with the BBS to bring me here. I had put on a social face and talked and talked, I heard plans and feelings and I felt that I was being treated as an equal, I could even feel a few of the men's physical attraction. Neither of those interested me and as the night wore on I feel into deeper silence and my shell closed back up. I had not found someone with the talent or means to lead and command me.
My heart felt the pain coming and as this wasn't a fight I was being commanded to win I turned to BBM, Dangan and MC, "It's time for me to leave... There is a cold war being fought out there and I have not been called"
Everything about the happy woman I had been earlier in the evening had faded away and now I was just the Oriental Mystery that allowed me to stand behind the world's powerful and protect them. Entrusted with secrets I allowed myself to drown out my feelings and needs and became at peace again. I slowed my breathing and allowed my senses to lead. The others questioned me and were obviously in a state of uncertainty. I knew they had strength together, but as individuals I just didn't see it. Never-the-less as their questions washed over me I would give them one last gift.
"You know they're killing down there while we sit here. We should do something about it." BBM interjected.
"Dangan, take this," I handed him the bundle from the village and then pulled out from my jacket a silver tube covered in electronics.
"What is it?"
"The bundle is a customised powerpack, good for maybe 45minutes at the speed and skill you will use it at... The tube is a shifter. It allows you to move in one direction at speed, through obstacles. I'd stay and teach you which button sequences to press, but then I'd really be helping too much... You should watch you don't run out of power in a wall, or speed up too much... or try and shift through the ground or water, all bad ideas.... Anyway I think you know it'll help you with your goal."
I felt it in my skin and dropped to the ground pulling Dangan down ontop of me, a split second later the window shattered and bullets from some distant sniper rifles started to crack into plasterwork. I held him down and reached to my own silver device, smaller and lighter than was attached to my wrist like a bangle, "Press one, on, press two charge, press three project..." my hands flew through other combinations that were secret to my own device.
"See you later... Watch out for the grenades"
I disappeared into the shadows of the roof after running and jumping between walls and gangways. I disappeared through a skylight after a few more seconds and stood on the roof, my black clothing blending in with the night sky. Around me the town was burning and death stole through the night... Part of me hoped the guys I'd left behind would survive it, perhaps through difficulty one of them would find strength and I would serve him. I didn't bet on it though and knew that once I was away from this place I would need to find work again... My sister's treatments were so expensive...
I dived to street level and ran, vaulting and sliding around obstacles, bodies and buildings. I was a blur of speed and this exhilirated my senses and my heart. I let my Shifter stay charged, but I didn't need it... it was a device such as this that had caused my sister to fall ill and I would try and avoid the same fate.
Hey all, just saying hi, I'm still here and reading a few things now and then.
- Sassy Sarai
PS. Link, you're a bad man for never finishing your story!
La, not much to say except that I miss my parents.
And it was too large!
NG, shame on you for not stocking XXS.
WIP writing for GoS's competition
Ignore format and use of '.' to create space. NG hates paragraphs, I'll do my best to fix later!
My duplex apartment is on the fifteenth and sixteenth floor of an exclusive Isle of Dogs development. It has panoramic views over Canary Wharf; the financial heart of London and the United Kingdom. My east balcony shows me the Millennium Dome that squats against the banks of the river Thames. Via the north balcony I have direct views into the HSBC and Reuters building
I get many different pay cheques without being a banker or trader myself. Through these I slowly fill up offshore account after offshore account despite having to change my wardrobe and home furnishings on a regular basis. Clothes, shoes, perfumes, sofas, these all have to be renewed, frequently. One thing in my business: you can't be behind someone else or not Colgate fresh.
What do I do? I 'fix' things. My business card is tastefully done in gold leaf and simply says "Cerulean Nakama, Consultant". If you have my card you've already passed vetting and you can call upon me and my services at any time, day or night. For a price, a hefty price.
Me? Well, I'm 32 and I've got Japanese, Chinese and some Scottish blood in me. My parents when they were alive were a decidedly unusually couple, my mother a petite traditional Japanese and my father a mixed Scottish/Chinese from Hong Kong. I've inherited her physique but his deep green eyes. "Loch Awe" eyes people sometimes joke if they are one of the very few whom I tell about my past.
Sorry for the long introduction, but I wanted to set the scene. After-all it's not every day that what appears to be perfection above can be fatally damaged. The manner in which my walls suffered their own Jericho moment started with a phone call to my Versace mobile from a friend,
"Cerulean, you've got to come over and see this new place at Soho, it's fabulous! The drinks menu is to die for."
In my work, business should be pleasure and pleasure can be business and knowing the best places to wine & dine is essential, so I was interested. My friend, if I was honest was better than me at finding these places and was always hooking me up to new places.
"It's very discrete dear, just what your clients need. I'll have to give you directions; they've not named it yet."
Well she knew my style and hadn't hit things wrong in the past so I found time in my diary, put an appointment in and carried on with my day.
01/05/08 - 10pm "See Yuko in Soho"
Cerulean is a business name, a brand if you like. Most people associate brands with cars, cereals or the like. They assign emotions to a brand and may want to associate with it closely. I had a design company come up with my name and a style consultant come up with suggestions for little mannerisms or behaviours that would help my brand succeed. It makes sense, the person I am is 95% of the finished package I provide to clients and they buy into the exotic and that's why I am Cerulean, nice to meet you hey.
So what exactly do I do?
Well, it's nothing sexual; I hope I didn't give you that idea. As I said, I fix things. I fix things for people who have too much money and too little time and I've carved out a pretty good niche for myself here, somewhere attached, but not on, the corporate ladder. My Clients are generally men and they work for names like Gazprom, UBS or Hedge Funds, Oil outfits and Sovereign Wealth Funds. Maybe they are a Mr, but often as not they're a 'Sir' or a Sheikh. They spend money like water, but they only spend money on the best and if you're not the best you're out with the dregs of that '82 Krug Vintage that the Silver Service clears after every meal.
I organise the parties and events that make their lives and business go around. More importantly however and what sets me apart from the majority of the competition is that I provide their Glamour. Glamour, capital G ok? It's not me, it's a force created to instil magic into any event or occasion and it needs to be nurtured, created and fed. If you give them Glamour it goes to their heads and their heads control their pocket books.
Krug, check. Yo-Yo-Ma or Vanessa Mae on short-notice, check. A Learjet from London City Airport with gifts for your wife hand-picked by myself just waiting for you to sign the "Sorry I missed your birthday card", CHECK. I do it all and keep my smile and perfect makeup.
I won't lie, I have good competitors who are nearly all female but it's true what they say; a little healthy competition never hurt anyone. My clients might try to arrange a function with Grace de Souza or Kathy Jackson but most of the time they come back to me, I'm that little bit of stability in their unpredictable corporate or palatial life.
The week before Yuko had called me had been one of the busiest in the year so far. From Monday to Thursday I was buried deep in the logistics of arranging how ten delegates from the pharmaceutical industry would be entertained by GlaxoSmithKline, a drugs company. The format of the event had been as a luxury stay in a remote castle in Scotland, golf, peace and quiet and obviously fireside business.
By Friday I was tired from the very hectic schedule. But I was pleased as my client had indicated that they had enjoyed the week immensely. As usual I was slightly amazed at the tenacity of senior Executives who seemed to be able to do business, golf and drink all in the same day without much signs of fatigue. But as long as they had fun that was all that mattered.
Sadly, one of the attributes I had inherited from my mother was that I couldn't drink more than a glass of wine without being somewhat the worse for wear. Therefore I was always careful not to drink with clients or their guests, it was a Cerulean-rule and I was respected because of it, but not encouraged to stick to it if that makes any sense.
So with £50k profit from just over a weeks work I was content. A portion of the money would be put to good use by my accountant until I needed it while the rest would service my business's day-to-day debts and outgoings.
From Monday to Wednesday I was concerned with little things that took up a disproportionate amount of my time. I went shopping for a spoiled CEO's daughter, arranged a private concert, that kind of thing.
At around 7pm on Thursday I showered after a workout and changed into a slinky summer's dress from Calvin Klein. Yuko was a flashy dresser and I wasn't going to be upstaged at a new venue. Looks were always important for negotiating access to private rooms for corporate clients or for getting tables at short notice.
Soho is one of my favourite parts of London besides from Canary Wharf. It's vibrant with a little bit of danger. The populace is always busy, to the North above Leicester Square is China Town, which although cheap and cheerful for the most part has some amazing haunts. These are places like Hakkasan, Bar Shu which are culinary delights among the tacky advertising hoarding, there are even Michelin starred places hiding out here. Further into Soho are some of the nightclubs that make London rock at night, Maya is a celebrity haunt where if you don't look the part you probably won't get into the places. Chinawhite is a little less posh, but is pretty beautiful, I've been there before with some Executives before and they had a great time rubbing up close to the B listers I had brought along.
Getting out of the Mercedes at the corner of Dean Street and somewhere little I thanked the driver, adjusted my hem line and made my way to Yuko who was loitering, in what passers by probably considered a 'suggestive' way by a mailbox.
End unfinished WIP as at 04/05/08
: A short poem by Sarai (2006)
I wonder how to ever make it through this Savage Night.
The road goes on with dipped-beams playing on cracked asphalt.
Tears are jerked out from me on every pothole that jars body against metal.
A daisy-petal game in my mind, "She loves me, She loves me not".
Other drivers see tinted Mercedes, going fast, northward-bound.
Bound, ankles and wrists, also, metal devices crush skin and bruise flesh.
I see on my mind-fantasy cinema, my parents, past lived but now no future,
Savage night future though is here-present, and a likely intimate final lover.
Started by betrayal, my own. Folly against heart-sister once loved but now Hollow.
Hollowed out eyes, I wish to weep but blood-tears are just injury, not sweet.
I laugh at this, laughter in the trunk and no one hears but still it is special, holy.
We made our vows not be apart. Friends together and more, always forever,
Taking class and taking the world hand in hand, but then we met Him.
Chao you wanted him, so did I. Tsunami change to us and we didn't share this secret.
Depths of another desire coursed in us and gave passion to our love, but rather,
aimed at another. Another lover. A rude lust from childish women and it broke us.
Chao, driving, driving. But soon, decide a future, because your Sarai sobs blood.
Blood on white sheets when I betrayed you Chao, I'd shared more with another.
I lie here in your car Chao wondering if it was worth it, worth this.
Times ago we drove together, to beaches with sandy shores, lovers' life.
My ears hear surf now, pounding. Cove where we had made our love on warm sand.
I have time to think back as I hear a shovel digging in the saline sand.
Three months have passed since blood betrayed our sister-and-more bond.
I moved out with him and you took it badly with ripples of anger on beautiful face.
I knew my wrong and hurt such caused but wanted it better than I deserved.
Deserving I suppose I became when used and discarded by Him, a bedded trophy.
You found out and hid your true reaction deep in renewed friendship-smiles.
You gave to me again but wound ran deep. Till this night though, I didn't suspect.
We watched a film and I fell asleep on your lap, you murmured my future into my hair;
and threw the pill bottle away.
Away from it all now. Hollowed eyes don't see trunk open when sea-breath intrudes.
Gloved hands grasp me, yours, I know you don't have enough strength to lift me out,
So you drag me, my leg tears on catch, involuntary scream extracted from tired shell.
Then, finally the senses fade painfully, as shovel strikes down; more than once.
Rolled to sandy tomb-rest, then sand ontop, my last intimate lover.
: Credit for the amazing sketch to MindChamber, it fits very well with this poem I wrote.
At least it knows I am Asian :)
You guys try it and let me know :)