Monday, February 16, 2009

What Do You Noir?

Act 8: Witch Way?

When I came to, Hanna was checking my heart with her stethoscope. I was lying on a gurney in her office.

"Well now, how are we feeling?" Hanna asked.

"Hi Hanna. Kinda sore, but not bad," I answered, trying to sit up.

"No you don't!" Hanna scolded, pushing me back down. I winced. My left side, where Kane had skewered me protested and added several exclamation points to Hanna's scolding words.

"Your heartbeat is very strong, considering the amount of blood you lost. And your x-rays showed no damage to any organs or your intestines, but it was very close. It's difficult to know for sure, however, without a CT scan or exploratory surgery. So you need to be absolutely honest with me, you understand, Mack? No tough guy bullsh*t! I know you are tough. And welcome back!" She said, hugging me.

"Um...okay Hanna," I replied, hoarsely, my throat and mouth were dry.

"Here, let me get you some water," she said, wiping her eyes.

Why is she cryin'? I wondered. I looked around and saw I was hooked up to a blood bag. I had a blood pressure cuff attached to my other arm. I didn't see anyone else in the room.

"Here you go, Mack. Don't drink too fast," Hanna said, handing me a cup of iced water. She helped tilt my head up enough to drink from the straw.

"Thanks," I said, feelin' much better. "Got any whiskey?"

"What?! No whiskey for you mister!" Hanna said, pointing her finger at me. You almost died, and if it wasn't for daddy, you would've!" She continued, teary eyed.

"But I thought you said I was okay?" I replied, puzzled.

"NOW you're okay. You do know your body only contains so much blood, right? Unfortunately, I didn't have any blood on hand. Thankfully, daddy has the same blood type you do. After giving what he could, he sent one of his men to get some more. Looks like he stole it from UCSD Hospital. You had a nicked artery. I was able to repair it, with Annie's assistance. It was close. Too close!" Hanna exclaimed, huggin' me again.

"Hey now..," I said, patting her on the back as she sobbed. "Thank you, Hanna. I'm in your debt."

"You sure are," she said, then she planted a big kiss on my lips before turning away to blow her nose and wipe her eyes.

Needless to say I had conflicting emotions about this. I liked Hanna, a lot, but she really was too young for me. But what could I say? She did make me feel younger, and I was flattered she liked me so much, but still...this was just...wrong.

Maybe I'm over-reacting, I thought. Afterall, it was just a kiss. Yeah right, you just keep tellin' yourself that. That wasn't just a kiss. No way no how. Face it Mack, she digs you. Swell. What could I say? I owed her my life.

Hanna turned around and looked into my eyes, as she bent down. I thought she was gonna kiss me again, but she stopped, about an inch or two from my face. She sure smells good, I thought. Not sterile, like most doctors I had seen. She smelled like sandalwood and cherry blossoms, and...too young.

"Mack, I...I think I..." Hanna said, then she kissed me again, longer this time, grabbing my face with her tender hands.

Okay, maybe she ain't too young, I thought. What am I sayin'? What's my problem? She's too young for me!

When she stopped kissing me, she looked me in the eyes again, still holding my face in her hands.

"Mack...I think I love you," she said softly. "Shh," she said, putting a finger to my lips when I tried to reply. "But I know it'll never work out...I know you love Annie, and you are kind of old. It's obvious she loves you too. I just wanted to kiss you once...okay, see. I'm sorry I took advantage of you, Mack. We can be friends though, right?" She asked, smiling.

"Of course," I replied. "I'll always be there for you if you ever need me. And not just because I owe you my life," I said, smiling. "C'mere and give me another hug!"

What a relief! I thought, huggin' her as a friend. Waitaminnit! Why does Hanna think I love Annie? Do I? I don't know. I wasn't so sure Annie loved me. Man, I sure could use some whiskey right now! What does she mean, kinda old?

"Hanna, I know this is your office and all, but since I can't have whiskey right now, could I please have a coffin nail?" I asked with my best puppy dog eyes look.

"Coffin nail? Oh, you mean a cigarette?" She asked. "Sure. You know, these are bad for you, don't you? Here, have one of mine," she said, opening her desk drawer and taking out a pack.

"Thanks!" I said, as she lit it. "It's been over a day since I had one. Wait, you smoke?" I asked.

"Yeah, sometimes. When I'm stressed out and stuff. Usually I go days without them, though. I bought this pack three weeks ago. Don't tell daddy, okay?" She asked, lighting up one for herself.

"My lips are sealed," I replied. I bet daddy knows, I thought. "How long have I been out?" I asked.

"About 12 hours," Hanna replied, looking at her watch. "It's 9:30 AM."

"12 hours? Geez, I was really out of it then," I said. I looked under the sheet and blanket at my wounds. "Nice stitchin' job, Hanna," I said.

"I'm getting a lot of practice since you have been here," she said, giggling.

"Well, hopefully that will be the extent of it," I replied, laughing. "Have you heard anything about Yukio?" I asked.

"Yes, he got back around midnight," Hanna said. "He checked in on you a few times and asked me when you would be ready to go back to work," she frowned.

"He wasn't...angry?" I asked. I felt I could trust Hanna, but I still had to be careful what I said. This room could be bugged.

"No, not at all. In fact, he looked happier than I have ever seen him," Hanna replied.

Huh. Wasn't expectin' that, I thought. Then again, the last few days had been one crazy moment after another. And last night...that dream, that stuff Kane was doin'...was that really magic? Dark arcanna? I never believed that stuff was real, but now...well, I had experienced it, seen it with my own eyes. That woman...I shuddered. Part excitement and part fear. She...controlled me. I was ashamed, because I...I liked it. Was my mind that weak? My will nothin' more than a sham? I was disgusted with myself.

"What's wrong?" Hanna asked, holding out a bed pan for an ash tray.

"Last night..." I said, "Hanna, I need to speak with Akira."

"Okaaay, no problem, but why are you so upset? Because you killed Kane? You did it in self defense, so don't feel guilty," Hanna said, handing me her cigarettes and lighter.

"Thanks, Hanna," I replied. I decided to keep my thoughts to myself, for now. Akira had seen the darkness, the red eyes. Maybe he could shed some light on it. And I had other questions to ask.

"Oh alright," Hanna said, going to a cabinent and bringing out a bottle. "One drink, two tops," she said, smiling, when she saw my smile.

"You, my dear, are a life saver!" I exclaimed, holding out my cup.

Two drinks and another smoke later, Hanna returned with Akira. Akira nodded and motioned to Hanna, who then left us alone.

"Akira, I...thank you for giving me a fightin' chance last night," I said.

"It was my duty and honor to do so, sir," Akira replied, bowing.

I tried to bow back, but it's pretty much impossible when your lyin' on a gurney.

"Kane," I said, "was he using...magic?" I asked, hesitantly.

Akira looked at me a long time before replying, "yes. I have only seen magic like that twice before. Ancient black magic," Akira said solemnly.

Twice before? Does Yukio know this? I wondered.

"Perhaps it is...renxing fengshu, which uses an effigy," Akira said. "For sympathetic magic uses. Most use it for healing or beneficial actions. But, it can be used to curse, or inflict harm or damage. It began in China thousands of years ago and the knowledge migrated to Japan. There are many variations, of course. It's somewhat like voodoo, in some regards. I did some research after seeing it the first time. Or...maybe Kane was psychic."

I took it all in, and tried to keep an open mind. It seemed so farfetched, but I was there. It wasn't my imagination. I didn't believe it was hypnotism, else I would've lost the fight, and my life.

" it over? I mean, if it was black magic, do I need to do anything else, now that Kane is dead?" I asked.

Akira rubbed his chin with his forefinger and thumb, deeply in thought as he paced the room.

"You should be okay, if Kane was acting alone. It wouldn't hurt to pray, if your religious. Let me know if anything else happens," Akira said. "I know a holy man, a hermit, that may be able to help."

"Thanks," I said. "Akira, how is Yukio?" I asked. I had, afterall killed his father.

"He is in...good spirits," Akira replied. "Don't worry, he isn't angry at you."

"You said, you videotaped the fight?" I asked.

"Yes...Master Yukio will explain everything," he answered sheepishly. Akira moved to within a few inches of me and bent his face down and whispered, "do not repeat Kane's dying words." So faint I barely heard.

I nodded. What kinda game was Akira playin'? Is Yukio testing my loyalty, or is Akira helping me? And if Akira is helping me, how much so? What should I do? At any rate, I at least knew the room was in fact bugged. Oh sh*t! I hope Akira didn't hear Hanna say she loved me! I tried to read his eyes, but it was damn near impossible to get anything outta his eyes.

"I must go, Mack. If you need anything at all and no one is here, press this button on the railing," Akira said. "And don't you ever kiss my daughter again!" Then he grinned, bowed, and left.

Damn! I wanted to ask him more questions. Maybe later, I thought, shutting my eyes. I'm so tired. Almost immediately I was fast asleep and dreaming.

It's her! The Japanese lady with the white hair. I tried to run, but no matter where I ran, she appeared in front of me. I tried to change the dream. I usually was successful doin' that, or at least guiding dreams in directions I wanted to go. But it didn't work. No matter what I did she was there.

"Who are you?" I asked, "what do you want?"

She made a pouty expression with her lips, and drew close. She was so beautiful I could hardly think straight.

"I thought you liked me," she said in a sultry voice. "You have nothing to fear from me," she purred, wrapping her arms around me. "come me," she whispered, kissing me.

Like before, the fire within me grew, my lust becoming quickly dominant. I struggled, but it seemed futile. Her mere presence made me high, and it had been so long. I found myself not caring about all my questions, reasons, magic, no magic, Yukio, Kane, only she filled my thoughts. Only her and my lust for her. Then I saw my wedding ring.

"No!" I pulled back, but she held on, sapping my strength. "No," I said, getting weaker.

Gotta...gotta do somethin' thoughts were like molasses. Gotta ring...I clenched my left hand into a fist, staring at my ring.

But the white haired lady pulled my hands down, and continued to kiss me. She made moaning sounds that broke my concentration, and I fell prey to her spell. I knew this was wrong, but I didn't care. Only my animal lust mattered now.

"Leave him be, YOU WITCH!" And suddenly, Master Toshiro was there, shining brightly, although I couldn't see the source of the light. It seemed to be coming from within him.

The witch hissed, but refused to let me go.

"He is mine!" She screamed indignantly.

"Mack! Fight her!" Master said.

"Master Toshiro?" I replied. "Where are you?" I asked, losing my desire to get it on with the witch.

"The sword, Mack, find my sword! Now pray!" Master said. "Pray!"

I closed my eyes and prayed, "Father, please help me," I prayed. At the moment I prayed I felt so dirty and vile for the thoughts I had just seconds before. I was repulsed by myself. "Please, forgive me Lord," I prayed. "Please forgive me," I said to my dead wife, tears streaming down my face. I heard the witch scream and I awoke.

I shook my head, and wiped my eyes. I really had been cryin'. Where is Master's sword? I wondered. His house? I didn't see it last time I was there. Maybe there was a secret compartment or somethin', I thought. I'll hafta check it out as soon as I can.

Then I saw her. The witch! She had a dagger in her hand and she leapt on top of me! What the hell? This was like some Nightmare On Elm Street thing! I grabbed the hand that held the dagger but I missed her other hand. She grabbed my throat as she landed on me, and I felt her long nails digging into my flesh! I grabbed her arm and tried to pull it away, but she wouldn't let go.

She tried to knee me in my cajones but I trapped her knee between my thighs just in time.

"Rotsa ruck, witchy!" I rasped. She snarled in response. Witches don't appear to have a sense of humor, I observed.

I stopped tryin' to pull her hand from my throat and hit her as hard as I could square in the face. She almost released her grip as blood dripped from her nose, then she squeezed harder and the dagger inched closer!

Daamn! This bitch is strong! I thought. I hit her again and rolled to my left. We both smacked into the rail and the gurney fell. "Crash!" "Ow!" I shouted, pain lancing throughout my body. Hanna is gonna be pissed! I thought, feelin' a bunch of stitches breaking.

I hope someone hears that, I thought. At least the crash made the witch let go, but I lost my grip on her as well.

I tried to get up but the witch was faster. She took the IV pole and threw it at me knocking me down again before I could fully get up. I also slipped on my own blood that was leaking from my left arm and dripping from my neck. I tried to get back up and felt the dagger nick my right arm. Damnit! It felt like fire shootin' into my arm!

"Does this mean you don't love me no more?" I asked, gritting my teeth.

"You will die a slow and painful death for killing my father!" The witch yelled.

"Ahh!" I shouted, as the burnin' in my arm got worse. I grabbed the IV pole and swung it back and forth, but she wasn't there. Where did she go? I quickly scanned the room but she was gone. Nobody is that fast!

"Mack!" Hanna shouted behind me. "What's wrong?"

"Ahh!" I shouted, fear gripping me. I quickly turned, still holding the pole like a weapon.

"Stay back!" I shouted. Could I believe my eyes? Was the witch tricking me?

"Okay, okay, it's me, Hanna, remember?" Hanna said, showing her empty hands.

Annie came in next, her eyes wide and her face concerned.

"Mack! Are you okay?" Annie asked runnin' up to me and kneeling beside me, hugging me.

I dropped the pole. I didn't think the witch could pretend to be two people at once. And I knew inside, this was really Annie. That was dumb, I wanted to say, I could've hit you, thinkin' you were the witch! I was glad to see her though.

"Your arm! What happened?" Annie asked, helpin' me up.

Hanna picked up the gurney and lowered the rail, then she helped Annie get me back in it. My IV line had been torn from my arm in the fight and Hannah quickly got some gauze pads to put on it and stop the bleeding. Annie applied direct pressure.

Next, Hanna went to work on my right arm, near the shoulder where I had been nicked. It was a shallow wound, perhaps no more than half an inch deep. The burning sensation was fading and it was replaced by numbness.

"I...I can't...feel my arm," I said, trying to move it, to no avail. "I don't feel so good."

Akira came running in next. "What happened?" He asked.

"W-witch," I replied. "Attacked" It was becoming a real effort to talk.

"P...poi...son," I managed to get out.

"Oh my God!" Annie shouted, holding my left arm in one hand, and my left hand with the other. "Don't you die on me, Mack! You hear?" She said, tears filling her eyes.
"Stay with me!"

I could see Akira quickly searching the room. Hanna was cleansing my wound, but I no longer felt anything. I tried to talk but nothing came out. Hanna checked my pulse.

"She got in and left from the window," I heard Akira say. "There'll be hell to pay from the guard!"

"He's crashing!" Hanna exclaimed.

I'm what? I thought, as everything went black.


walt said...

"I'm what? I thought, as everything went black..."
Hey, wait a minute! Is this some sort of coonspiracy?

And when Hanna said, "We can still be friends, though" -- that's when you know the lovin' is over!

Not that it matters! Obviously, Mack is the resilient sort -- despite his age --
and can have his pick of women!

I mean, who besides Mack would be just plain lucky enough to get a doctress that would hand him some smokes and a bottle of whiskey between long kisses -- and just before leavin' the room? Purr-fect!

It's late, Ben. I mean, it's early, and I gotta go do my own ju-ju. As I practice my medicine, I'll watch carefully, and perhaps other comments shall arise!

(You're cranking these out purty good -- I think the sex and violence genre suits you!)

sensei said...

Akira said, "I know a holy man, a hermit, that may be able to help."

To Akira, my old friend, whose devotion to our master I never doubted, I say:

1- Of course I will help; you know I am here to serve.
2- And, good price for you, my friend!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Walt,

Um, thanks pal. I think. :^) Hopefully, it's not too gratuitous though. I would like to think I'm a little bit deeper than Quentin Tarantino. Ha ha!

Yes, I wrote this before I saw Dojo's latest. How cool is that? I also had no idea the story would take this kind of turn.
We're pullin' out all the stops here at Kung Fu Noir!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


It's like yer readin' my mind!
Looks like Sensei got a peachy role in this saga.

Oh boy! I just had a cool idea!
I can't let the bag outta the cat just yet, but let's just say Sensei is gonna be more in-evolved than it seems. :^)

sensei said...

Will it involve ... the women, Ben-san?

One hopes!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'm always open for negotiations, Sensei.
Now Hanna, she just might click with you. The witch...not so much, but she is hot...literally.

julie said...

So, Hannah is into older men. Sensei, you lucky dog ;)

Robin Starfish said...

You do something to me,
something that simply mystifies me.
Tell me, why should it be
you have the power to hypnotize me?
Let me live 'neath your spell,
Do do that voodoo
that you do so well.
-Cole Porter

Jimmy J. said...

What the??? I go off line for a cupla days and.......Wham - two more chapters! The words are flowing like the mighty Columbia.

And two more "Bond girls" in the mix. Yes the fighting is Chow Mein Fu, but the sex is strictly Kung Pao. Just the way I like it.

Jimmy J. said...

Sorry about the multiple comments. I didn't do anything different - I don't think.

mushroom said...

Finally catching up. More great stuff, Ben. Just keep it coming.

Bogie said...

Now lookee here, Mack
Youse is up to yer ears in dames now, and while that can be rishky it sure beats bein up to yer ears in them yakoozers. An 'at poisen ain't no good fer yez. I had some mug slip me a Mickey Finn oncet- made me so damn groggy, I got to like 'em. But as far these here witches I'll tell yez what to do, Mack. You gotta throw water on 'em. That makes 'em melt right down ta nothin'. And I know it works cause I sheen it in a movie oncet. But that's about all the advice I can give yer, cause I'm on th' late shift. Watch yer back


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Those Sensei hermits don't have many dates. As a rule. :^)
Of course, Hanna may have other plans...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Cole understands mystified voodoo stuff, alright. Ha ha!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yes, I'm tryin' to ratchet things up here. Put in a bit of OT and beat the deadline. Plus, I couldn't wait to find out what happened. :^)

Glad yer enjoying the jib of the saga.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Mushroom,
Thanks! I'll be burnin' electricity to supply you with even more noir soon. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Um, thanks. Got it, poison n' witches are bad. I wrote it down so I won't forget. :^)