Friday, March 27, 2009

My Bloody Noir-In-Time

Act 14: Warrior, Heal Thyself

Alune and I made good time. We must've put at least 3 miles between us and the giant lizards. I kept checkin' my arm, but although the fang marks from the rattler were still there, there was no swelling, and my heartbeat was fine. I felt no effects from the snakebite. Perhaps it was a warning bite, I thought. Vipers don't always release their venom when they bite.

How do I know this? I pondered. Just who in tarnation am I? Does Alune know me? She acted as if she did, and she trusts me. I still can't understand why we can't communicate by talking, but be that as it may, we could communicate to a lesser extent.

I stopped and drank some water from one of the canteens. Alune also stopped and drank. She offered me a smoke and I accepted. It wasn't until I took a drag that I wondered if I smoked or not. I was inclined to say yes, since I didn't cough from the smoke.

Alune nudged me to show how she was cupping her cigarette to prevent it's light from giving away our position. Good idea. Who knows what the hell is out here. She didn't hafta explain why it was important, I quickly recognized why by watching her smoke.
Therefore I must know that for a reason. Either I was paranoid or I had a job where I wouldn't wanna give myself away. I still didn't know what my profession was but at least I was narrowing it down.


A twig snapped and I quickly looked in the direction I thought it came from and raised my hand, in case Alune hadn't heard it. But she had. She already had her rifle in the ready position, after burying her smoke. We both got down low, crouching.

The night was clear and there was a half moon in the sky. Not very bright, however, we could still see shadows, and I saw one obscure a sagebrush I was looking at as it moved by. As I tracked it's movement, it seemed apparent it hadn't noticed us, but that could change if the low breeze shifted, and it smelled the cigarettes.

I decided to follow it, and I tried to indicate that to Alune by pointing to myself and the shadow. She nodded. I silently moved to intercept the shadow. Occasionally, it would stop, and I would lose track of it. At those moments I crouched down and froze. Thankfully, it wasn't very nimble in the dark.

"Ot! Gand Fevstrem!" It cursed after stumbling into a small barrel cactus. It wasn't loud, but loud enough.

"Gan. Ni Poingpon!" another voice said, perhaps berating the first voice.

They talked for a bit and then my cover was blown when one of them lit a coleman lantern.
They both froze in surprise when they saw me. And I almost did too. It's not everyday you see talking hyenas with lanterns and rifles on shoulders.
I quickly raced towards them, drawing my sword in the process. They were no more than 15-20 feet away.

"Aaaa!" One of them barked, which was an odd noise coming from a hyena. But that's all it got out before I slit it's throat, following through and depriving the other hyena of it's head.
I furtively looked around before extinguishing the lantern, but I saw no other hyenas.

Behind me I sensed Alune before I heard her barely audible feet running across the desert floor. I held up two fingers when she reached my side. She nodded, I think. I'm not sure since it would take some time for my eyes to readjust to the dark.

"Mapo? Sheenk!" Damn! I froze and looked in the direction of the new voice. I heard a hammer click behind me and then a gurgling noise. I ducked down and kicked towards the sound, only to see Alune duck my kick as she let the hyena fall.

How did she move so quickly and detect the hyena before me? I wondered. Granted she could see better, but still, she is very good, I thought. We heard more voices in the distance, and we both got down. I indicated to Alune to take the lead, and she did. I grabbed a bag I had seen near one of the slain hyenas and followed her. We moved behind a juniper tree and waited.

There seemed to be several voices talking in whispers as they proceeded to where the dead dogs lay. We were approximately fifty yards away. It wouldn't be long until they discovered the bodies. I pulled out my revolver. The sword would be useless from this distance.

Alune tapped me on the shoulder and showed me her rifle. She pointed to the scope and offered it to me. I took the rifle and looked through the scope. Night vision!
Yeah! I quickly found the pack of hyenas we had heard. There were seven of them but none of them had scopes on their weapons so I assumed they had no night vision scopes or goggles. At least not on their weapons, which consisted of uzi's, shotguns, and a few AK-47's.

I nodded and smiled but not for long. Were there anymore? I wondered. And why were they out here? What kind of dogs carry weapons anyway? Was the world goin' mad or just me? Alune tapped my shoulder and requested her rifle. I gave it to her. She had trusted me, and I figured I could trust her. I decided to look behind us. We didn't need any surprises.

"Kpow! Pow, pow! Pow!" And the remaining hyenas opened up. They couldn't see exactly where we were but they did shoot in our direction. Amazingly, Alune's rifle was fairly quiet, and had a very small muzzle flash.

"Braaaap! Brraaap! Boom! Boom! Braap! Boom!" The hyenas were scared as hell, and their undisciplined shooting and screaming, confirmed that fear.

"Pow! Pow.......Pow! Pow....pow!" And that was that. Eight shots, seven kills. Damn fine shootin', I thought, patting Alune on the shoulder. I wonder where she got that kind of training? She smiled and gave me a nice kiss. This we didn't need words for.
That perfume! I...I know it! I remembered. I have smelled it before. Alune must know me.

It was a pretty long kiss and reluctantly...very reluctantly, we both stopped and got out of there. If there were anymore of those things out there, they would be headin' this way.
But first, I wanted to check somethin'. I went and searched some of the things we had killed...well, that mostly Alune killed. I was lookin' for anything that might be helpful. I found an earpiece in one. A pretty sophisticated communications device, I reckoned. I wiped it off and put it in my ear.

"Slentor zee borane? Woonchi lax portev yan loken." The receiver, or maybe it was a transceiver, transmitted.

Aw hell, why did I think I could understand their language? And this means there's more of 'em. I gave it to Alune. Perhaps she could decipher their language.
She put it in her ear and listened.

Meanwhile, I shined a small penlight into the bag I had picked up earlier. C-4! Several bricks of it and detonator cord with caps. This could be useful, I thought.

A minute or so later, she indicated we should vamoose, so we did. Must mean that hyena reinforcements was comin', based on Alune's urgency. She took off double time, and I followed, after grabbing an AK-47 and some clips. Not my weapon of choice for accuracy, but it was a reliable weapon and although a shotgun was tempting, I already had two weapons for short range.

As we ran the pain resurged throughout my body. It wasn't long before I could feel my energy waning fast. We got about two miles before I collasped face first in the sand.

"You what?" Hanna shouted, angrily.

"We didn't have any choice," Akira said, tryin' to calm Hanna down. "He saw us as enemies. To stop him, I would have needed to hurt him more or kill him."

"But daddy! He won't last long in his condition. And with those thugs out there..." Hanna shook her head and put her hands over her face to hide her tears.

"He has Annie with him," Sensei said, entering the room.

"How will she help? She might be able to fight a bit, but really, against an organized gang of killers like that? They do not have a chance," Hanna sobbed, no longer trying to hide her emotions.

"She is more than she appears," Sensei said.

"What do you mean, Gramps?" Hanna asked, sniffling.

"I mean...she has been trained to fight, and to get through situations like this. She does hide it well, but she cannot fool me," Sensei replied.

"R-really? You think Mack...and Annie will survive?" Hanna asked.

"Hanna that much for him?" Akira asked, his eyes wide with surprise. Up to this point, he hadn't seen that look on Hanna's face. An expression that betrayed far more than just a doctor's care.

"I love him, okay? Is that so wrong, Daddy?" Hanna asked, crying again.

"You just met him!" Akira protested, harsher than he intended.

"How long did you know mom before you loved her?" Hanna countered. "You both were always talking about love at first sight. Did you think you were the only people capable of feeling that?" Hanna asked.

Akira didn't reply. What could he say? I am going to have...a talk with Mack, if he survives, Akira thought, clenching his fists in frustration.

Later, they all heard the gunfire in the distance. Akira and Hanna looked at Sensei.

"What?" Sensei asked.

"It sounds like a war out there!" Hanna exclaimed. "Who is winning?"

Sensei raised his hand. Soon the shooting stopped.

"Annie or Mack fired the last shot," Sensei said, smiling. Hanna smiled back, looking more hopeful.

"Shall we go find them now?" She asked.

"We have company," Akira said. "Show them no mercy."

Hanna took her position, bracing the winchester on the overturned sofa. Akira took position on the other side of the room behind the dresser. He looked around for Sensei who had disappeared. Where did he go? Akira wondered.

It didn't take long for the front door to get kicked down, and the first ninja entered the house. There was sounds of glass breaking in the back of the house and then a scream, cut short.

Ah, that is where he went, Akira thought. Two more ninjas rushed inside the front, before Hanna and Akira opened fire, efficiently taking all three ninjas down.
More glass breaking in the kitchen, and then a thump of dead weight.

A smoke cannister was thrown in through the front door, and Akira unsheathed his sword. Idiots, he thought. Smoke will not protect them. Akira made his way to the door, covered by the smoke and stood to the side. The next ninja who came through did so without a head...which none of his fellow ninjas saw. Two more entered the same way, and met the same grisly demise. Akira heard another scream, this time outside, in the desert. Then total bedlam and chaotic gunfire.

Akira peeked outside, in time to see one ninja shoot another by mistake. Sensei has them spooked out of their senses, Akira thought, smiling. There were shouts of "retreat!" and "ghosts!" as utter chaos struck throughout the ranks of the enemy.
Akira picked off a few more with his shotgun. Soon, the shouts and the screams were silenced. Sensei appeared with some communications devices and one live ninja, unmasked, bound, and shaking with fear.

"How many?" Akira asked.

"Eight," Sensei replied.

"That makes seventeen," Akira said, "including this one."

"I could have helped more," Hanna protested.

"Yes, Hanna. I know. But I work better knowing you are safe, so please understand," Akira replied.

"I-I understand, Daddy," Hanna said, her voice softening.

"Now...who sent you and why?" Akira asked the prisoner, who said nothing but was beside himself with fear.

"Talk," Sensei said, which caused the prisoner to cower and cry.

"Hei! Anything! B-but please...get him away f-from me!" The ninja begged, nodding towards Sensei and sobbing.

Akira nodded and Sensei left the room, motioning Hanna to join him.

"I will not ask again," Akira said. "And if you lie, he will be back. I do not have to tell you that there are worse things than death."

"It was the GrandMaster, by proxy," the ninja said. "We were sent to eliminate Mack Westphal."

"Why?" Akira asked.

"Because...because the GrandMaster knows what he did to Kane and his bodyguard. I guess he thought this Mack would eventually come for him," ninja guy said.

"Why would he think that?" Akira asked.

The ninja sat there on the floor, shaking his head. "I do not know. The rumor going around is that the GrandMaster murdered this man's family or ordered it done."

"Did he order Master Yukio's death?" Akira asked.

"Not that I am aware. Yukio has too many ties to men of power in Yakuza, so the GrandMaster is unlikely to call a hit on him directly. In addition, Yukio is useful because of his connections in the Triad and several gangs in California. Once the GrandMaster learned you had moved the target..." he said.

"How did he know?" Akira asked.

"Kane's daughter," he said.

"How did she know?" Akira asked.

"I do not know, truly. It is said she uses witchcraft, since she knows many things she should not know," he replied.

"How many were sent?" Akira asked.

"Forty," he said.

"Forty? Are you sure?" Akira asked.

"Hei! The GrandMaster wanted to be certain. And...he knew you would be here," he replied.

"My driver?" Akira asked.

"He...fought honorably," the prisoner said, bowing his head.

"You have been most cooperative," Akira said. "Now, if you remain cooperative, and quiet, you shall keep your life."

"You have my word," the prisoner replied.

Akira opened his cell phone and dialed a number he had memorized, but there was no answer. I will call him later, Akira thought.

Annie poured some water in her hand and splashed it on Mack's face, but he was too groggy to respond.

"C'mon Mack, get up," Annie said, washing the sand off of his face. "My God, you are burning up!"

I don't know how, but the remaining ninjas are after us, Annie thought, listening to the earpiece. How do they know where to go? No way could they track that fast at night without dogs and search lights.

"Oh Mack, you're bleeding," Annie whispered, checking his wounds. All that runnng had torn some of the stiches.

Annie checked the area out with her nightvision scope but saw no sign of their pursuers...yet. Then she glanced at her watch: still a few hours before sunrise. Annie looked around some more for some possible places they might hole up. About a hundred yards away she saw a wash. Perhaps there? But first she had to get Mack awake and moving.

"Mack! Wake up!" Mack mumbled something incomprehensable and tryed to move but couldn't get up.

"On your feet sailor! Now!" Annie ordered as loud as she dared, pulling on Mack's arm.

Mack groaned from the pain, and slowly got up, leaning on Annie.

"Yes, that's it! One more step, sailor! You can do it! Keep moving!" She ordered, using all her strength to help.

Mack gasped and sweat drenched his face as he struggled to follow Annie's orders. She wasn't sure if he understood the words or the tone, but he was doing his best.
She fought back tears as his face contorted in obviously excruciating pain.

It took five minutes to reach the draw. Annie looked left and then right. To her right there was a black hole in the bank of the draw as it rose up. A small cave or indentation? Only one way to know for sure. She steered Mack in that direction, and half carried him there. She carefully lowered Mack to the ground and retrieved a flashlight, shining it on the dark spot.

It was a small cave! It went about fifteen feet in before turning. Before exploring it she gave Mack some more water, which he drank thirstily before choking. She raised him up and patted his back, trying to cover his mouth as he coughed.

"Quiet, they'll hear us, Mack," she whispered, trying to cool his fever by splashing more water on his brow with her hand.

Next, she poured some on his hair while holding him. The cold water got on Annie too, but she was too worried about Mack to mind. Then it occured to her to use radio Sensei had given them.

"Hello? Sensei? Do you read me?" Annie said in a low voice. She tried a few more times and was just about to switch it off when she got a reply.

"Annie? It's Hanna! Are you both okay?" Hanna asked.

"Mack is burning with a fever and we got more hostiles heading our way," Annie replied.

"Where are you?" Hanna asked.

"Approximately five miles east of Sensei's house. Hanna? Mack is delusional from the fever. What should I do?" Annie asked, her voice breaking.

"Oh Annie...try to cool him down as much as you can and pray. There may be thirteen more bad guys left. We are on our way so hold on, okay?" Hanna said.

"Okay," Annie said, switching the radio off.

Funny, my voice sounds like a little girls voice, Annie thought. The CIA had prepared her for a lot of things, but not everything. Most of her undercover work wasn't supposed to be like this. She would feel better if Mack's life didn't hang in the balance.

"I won't let you die, do you hear me mack? So you better fight! Don't leave me alone...please," Annie whispered.

She gently laid Mack down on his back and quickly searched the cave. She crawled in holding the flashlight in one hand. At the end where it turned left she saw another twenty feet of cave where it appeared to stop. Seeing how it narrowed she decided not to investigate further. There was no way to turn around down there and it would take to long. She quickly returned to Mack and helped drag him to the bank of the wash near the cave.

She hadn't heard anything over the earpiece for quite some time. Had they caught on? She saw a tree above the wash and made her way up. Mack must really be out of it, she thought, or he wouldn't miss this opportunity to look up her dress. She smiled at the thought. Too bad I didn't have time to change before we left.

Annie checked the area with her night vision scope. Nothing. Wait! Over there, about 500 yards back she saw something. Yes, there they are. She counted only ten hostiles though. Hanna said there were thirteen. Where were the other three? No Matter. She kept them in her sights until they got to within a few hundred yards and opened up on them.

"Pow, pow, pow!" And three fell before they scattered. "Pow! Pow!"

Braap! Boom! Bang! Zing! Came the response.

"Pow! Pow!" Bang! "Ohh!" Annie said in surprise as a bullet missed her head by half an inch and a plume of bark went flying.

She ducked behind the tree. Dammit! Someone over there has a night vision scope too!

The shooting died down as Annie caught her breath. Three more in that group and three missing, Annie thought. If Hanna's information is good. Annie peeked out on the other side of the tree in a kneeling position and reoriented her scope.

"Pow!...Pow!" Bang! Bang! Annie ducked behind the tree again, as dirt flew up at her from the enemy sniper's bullet.

She rolled off the bank and entered the wash again, ran up it for twenty yards and crawled up on the bank, searching for the sniper.

"There you are. Pow!" Bang! Bang! It was a trap! The sniper had never been in that group! Annie discovered, rolling back into the wash.

Annie took a breath and calmed down. Let's see...the bullets were still coming from the same general direction, Annie thought, give or take probably thirty degrees. When Annie resurfaced on the other side of the wash she quickly scanned within those parameters.

Bang! "No!" Annie shouted, her rifle shot from her hands, struck by the sniper's bullet.

Once again, Annie rolled off the bank and back into the safety of the wash, her weapon back up on the bank, no doubt targetted by the sniper who was waiting for her to get it. And Annie had no way to know if it was operational or not. At any rate, she didn't think she could move fast enough to get it without getting shot. All the sniper had to do was send the others ahead while waiting for Annie to make a move.

Annie ran back to Mack and poured more water on him, then she offered more for him to drink. Mack guzzled as before and Annie tried her best to slow him down but he still coughed as before. Not that it mattered much, since the enemy sniper knew where she was, within fifty yards or so, and had told the two other assassins. Again, if hanna's info was accurate.

"I'm sorry sweetie, I really screwed this one up," Annie whispered to Mack. "Any ideas?"

Annie grabbed the AK-47 and checked to see if it was ready. Then she rumaged through the bags.

"C-4? Good haul, Mack. Let's see what I have time to rig up," Annie said, smiling grimly.

"But first," Annie said, turning on the radio. "Hanna, anyone, you there?" Annie asked, pressing the transmit button.

"Akira here," Akira replied.

"Be advised, pinned down by sniper. Possibly two more bogies as well. They have night vision," Annie said.

"Understood," Akira replied.

"Be careful," Annie said.

"You too," Akira replied, apparently running.

"You know it," Annie said, clicking the radio off.

Annie went to work, checking over her shoulder constantly. Thankfully, it didn't take long.

"Let's go Mack. Hurry! Please! We don't have much time!" Annie whispered in Mack's ear, trying to drag him towards the cave. "I need you, Mack! I love you."


Mack kept fading in and out of awareness as his energy faded. It felt like his very soul was on fire. So tired. Just wanna sleep.

"Don't you die on me! On your feet Sailor! Never surender. Never give in to the darkness. You must fight...Please! I love you, Mack. Trust me, my friend, hang in there, I love...don't you die...on your feet, Sailor!" Said all the voices swirling around in my mind.

Were they recent? Old? Some merged into others, different voices and all. I had no way of knowing when or where, but one voice seemed more urgent than the others.

"Don't you die on me! Please! I need you, Mack!"

I know that voice. Am I Mack? Are these my thoughts?

"Miss me, beloved?" An enchanting, white haired lady asked, walking towards me. "Don't tell me you forgot who I was? Me, your loving wife?"

My wife? I wondered, looking at my left hand. Sure enough I had a wedding ring on.
But her voice, although I had heard it before, didn't sound right. No, it wasn't just that. I felt no love from that voice. Not like the other one I heard earlier.

"Come to me, my love. Come and hold me," she said, holding her arms out.

I walked slowly towards her and stopped. That other voice also beckoned. The one that...stirred love within me.

"Come, I will help you. One embrace and your mind will clear and all this confusion will end. All your pain will vanish," she said.

On your feet, Sailor! Don't you die on me! I love you. Please!

Flames erupted around me, except between me and the lady with the white hair. She winked and smiled in a come thither fashion.

Don't you die on me! On your feet, Sailor!

I shook my head and tried to speak but only nonsense came out. The fire appeared to be getting hotter and closer. Above the white haired lady I saw a face...she was my wife. My real wife. My dead wife. I fell to my knees and wept.

"I'm sorry," I said, surprised to hear any coherent words coming from my lips.

"I forgive you, Mack," my wife said as the white haired lady disappeared and she took form before me, her arms outstretched.

I stood up and smiled. My I stepped forward.

Yes! My name is mack! I am Mack! Everything made sense now.

It's not your fault, Mack a voice from the past resurfaced.

"Jim?" I asked, looking around.

"Jim isn't here, Mack," my wife said.

My God, she's gorgeous! I thought. Beautiful!
I took one step closer...and the flames got higher.

Beautiful! I heard my own voice say.

"Don't you die on me!"


"Mack..." my wife said.

The flames grew closer, hotter, higher. The only way out was to take that last step towards my wife.

Beautiful. Alune. Annie. Annie!

"On your feet, Sailor! Please! I love you!" Annie whispered.

"You...forgive me?" I asked.

"Why of course I do!" My wife exclaimed.

"For what?" I asked.

"What do you mean, for what?" My wife asked, obviously confused.

"My wife would never say that," I said. "You see, I sought her forgiveness, true enough, after she was murdered, but my wife knows it wasn't my fault and she would never blame me for that. Therefore she would never forgive me. Witch!"

The image of my wife morphed into the white haired witch. Man, is she pissed, I thought. Good.

"You're still too late to save your soul. You will never see your family where you are going," she spat.

The flames enclosed me and burned. I awoke, screaming. It took me a second to realize I wasn't actually on fire.

"Mack! Your awake! Shh!" Annie said, hugging me.

"Thank you, Annie, for saving my life," I said, hugging her back.

"Listen, there are still three left. Three bad guys. We have to get to the end of this cave," Annie said.

"Bad guys?" I asked.

"I'll explain later. Go on. Here's a flashlight. Go! Take a left and keep going," Annie said.

"Okay, I'm going," I said, crawling into the cave. Annie followed me in. I turned left and kept going.

"Let me know when you reach the end," Annie said.

"Okay, but why don't we just wait for them?" I asked.

"Because one has a sniper rifle and mine is gone," Annie replied.

"Ookay. I must've been really out of it," I said.

"To put it mildly," Annie replied.

"Alright, I'm at the end, Annie," I said.

"Good. Now, as i recall I put this in here, and...let's see how long this cord is," Annie said.

"What?" I asked.

"Nothing. Just our last chance. No quiet. I need to hear when they get near," Annie said. I saw her light getting nearer.

Finally, I saw her round the corner. She put her finger to her lips and I nodded.

Soon we heard voices. I strained to hear. It sounded like two men. They both talked for awhile and then it was quiet. Annie had turned around and was peeking around the corner that led outside.

Not much later we heard voices again. This time I heard a female voice as well. The witch!

"We know you are in there, Mack, with your slutty little friend. Come out now, and I promise you she will live," the Witch said.

Neither Annie nor I said a word.

"This is your last chance. There is no way out of there. Do the bitch a favor and give yourselves up," the Witch said.

Annie heard a click from Annie's direction. What the?

"Do you promise you won't hurt Mack?" Annie asked.

"I promise I won't kill him," the Witch replied.

"Okay, but I'll need some help dragging him out. He's unconcious," Annie said, "and he's losing blood. His stiches have tore open."

We heard the Witch yell something in Japanese, and then we heard both men as they crawled inside.

"This better not be a trick or all promises are null and void," the Witch said.

Annie had turned around and was holding her fingers in her ears. She motioned for me to do the same. I stuck my fingers in my ears and I heard one of the men shouting.

KBOOM! It was still a very loud explosion. I felt the concussion as well, as dirt rained in through cracks in the ceiling. For awhile I heard nothing but a lound ringing. I backed up towards Annie. She was lying there, motionless. When I had room I turned around.

Oh God! Please, let her be alright, I prayed, as I reached her. No wonder she wanted me to go first.
I took her hand and rubbed her face with my other hand. No response. Next, I opened a canteen and poured some water into my cupped hand, splashing it on Annie's face.

"Don't you die on me!" I shouted. "Wake up, Annie! I love you!" I said, kissing her dirty face.

Annie coughed, and opened her eyes and I laughed, kissing her again.

"I heard that," she said, smiling. "Let's see if there is still a way out, before we get to lovey-dovey."

Annie turned around and I followed her. I could see a faint light as I rounded the corner.

"Eww!" Annie shouted in disgust.

"What's wrong?" I asked, alarmed.

"There's ninja parts all over the place," Annie replied.

"I'll buy you a new dress," I said, laughing. "By the way, the view from back here is great."

"You better not ne looking up my dress!" Annie exclaimed, laughing.

Soon, we were out, after a little digging at the entrance of the cave. The Witch was lying on the ground, her face a bloody mess. The sun was just beginning to rise, and it matched the hue of red on the Witch.

Annie hugged me and we kissed, long and deeply. I still hurt. Not just the stitches tearing or the bruises, but inside, I still felt a burning sensation. I didn't say anything though. No use ruining the moment.

"I better call Akira and let him know the coast is clear," Annie said, pulling away reluctantly.

"Okay, but make it fast," I said, smiling.

"Akira, you there?" Annie asked into the radio.

"Hei!" Akira said, huffing into the radio.

"You can slow down old man. We are both okay, and the bad guys are dead, including the wicked Witch of the east," Annie said.

"Good! Hey! Who are you calling old?" Akira replied. "Daddy! Let me talk!" Hanna said. "What? I thought I told you to stay with Sensei!" Akira shouted.

Annie and I laughed as father and daughter argued.

"Okay fine! But you are in so much trouble!" Akira said.

"Are you sure you are both fine?" Hanna asked, ignoring Akira.

"Yes, Hanna. Other than ringing ears, but I'm sure we can both use some rest and a shower. I just crawled through two dead ninjas," Annie said.

"Eww! That is gross!" Hanna replied.

"That was my reaction too," Annie said, laughing.

I loved her laugh, I mused. So melodic and infectious. I smiled, trying to shake off the pain. I focused on Annie's voice and laughter. And then all hell broke loose. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the Witch turn over, with a gun in her hand, and she was aiming for Annie's back.

No! I ran towards the Witch drawing my sword. But she was too far away. No matter, I thought, as she fired the gun.

Just as I Annie...the bullet ripped into my chest...that's all that matters. I threw my sword and it struck the Witch in the heart, killing her for good.

Annie screamed. It's okay Annie, I tried to say. It's okay.

"Annie? Annie! What was that? Annie?!" Hanna's voice said over the radio.

"Mack! No! Oh God! No!" I heard Annie weep.

Somehow she had managed to catch me before I fell. Something symbolic in that, I thought, as Annie cradled me in her arms. The fire, that hellish fire is gone, Annie, I tried to say. But only blood came out of my mouth.

I love you, I said with my eyes, before the sun set again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kung Fu Illusionoir

Act 13: Nothin' Like The Real Thing, Baby!

"Akira!" Sensei shouted, rummaging through his desk drawers.

"What is it? Explain what is happening, Sensei," I said, before convulsing in more burnin' pain.

"Your soul is poisoned. Your senses will soon see everything differently, as your conciousness and unconciousness merge. You will not be able to see reality as you normally would, until your soul is cleansed. Don't believe everything you see and hear. You must extomition donce gooberloo..." Sensei said, and then I couldn't understand his words.

It was like he was speakin' another language.

"Whoa, speak english, Sensei," I said, as Akira rushed into the room.

Sennsei looked at me with incomprehension and spoke again. And now everything he said was in another language I didn't know. What gives? I wondered.
Akira spoke and like Sensei, I couldn't understand him.

"What in the hell is goin' on?" I asked, gritting my teeth and sweating from the pain.

Nothin'. Blank looks. Why can't they understand me? I pondered, as Sensei spoke to Akira in that odd language.


"Sensei, what is it?" Akira said.

"We must restrain Mack," Sensei said. "His soul is poisoned. Hurry! I have some rope here."

"What language is he speaking?" Akira asked.

"I don't know. He doesn't understand me any longer either. It has begun. Hurry!" Sensei commanded.

"Hai!" Akira replied, taking some rope and unravelling it. "Why are we restraining Mack? Isn't he paralyzed?"

"At the moment, yes. But I do not want to take needless chances in his present condition," Sensei said, beginning to tie the rope around Mack's arm.


Fear crept in as Sensei and Akira approached me. What's he doin' with that rattler? I wondered. Akira also had one as he approached me. Sensei began to wrap the rattlesnake around my arm and it bit me!

"Damnit What the f*ck are you doin'?!" I said, jumping up and backing away from the snake.

I looked at my arm and there were two fang marks where the rattler bit me. Damnit! Then it hit me. I can move! I realized. The pain was still there but I could finally move.

Sensei said something in that strange language and moved closer to me, as did Akira. Only it wasn't them. There eyes glowed an ominous red, and they both morphed into evil looking lizards with claws, and funky lizard eyes, kinda like that giant Gorn lizard on the original Star Trek, except they moved faster.
What happened to Sensei and Akira? I wondered.

"Stay back! I'm warning you!" I shouted. Whatever had happened, I wasn't gonna let them and their rattlers get me.

Gornkira grabbed my left arm and I punched him square in the face hard! Blood gushed from his lizard nose, and he looked shocked. I followed through with a solid kick to his gut and he went flyin' to the deck, landing hard on a desk and smashing it. Crash!

The other lizard, Gornsei, quickly grabbed my other arm and tried to take me down, but I was expecting that move. I drew him in and threw him, unceremoniously across the room with all my strength, sparked by fear and adrenaline. He landed on Gornkira, who was holding it's nose and just getting up. Gornkira's eyes opened wide as Gornsei landed on him, and it attempted to catch Gornsei, but it was too late, as they both went down among the ruins of the desk, rattlers and all. Crash!

I saw a sword on a pedestal near me and grabbed it. It was a Marasume sword, and it was beautiful! This sword belongs in my hand, I thought, hefting it and swinging it a few times in the air. It was perfectly balanced and I knew without checking it was razor sharp.

"God! It's good to be free!" I shouted, exhilarated that I could move and swishing my exquisite sword. What a fine work of art! I marvelled, admiring the superior craftsmanship.

Gornsei and Gornkira slowly got up and both shook their heads when they saw me with the sword. Gornkira talked quickly to Gornsei and Gornsei said one word. They both held their hands out, presumably showing they were unarmed and didn't wish to fight.
Except they were still holdin' the rattlers.

"Do you think I'm stupid or somethin'?" I asked, backing towards the door and keeping my sword pointing at them. Words were not needed to get my point across.

"I'm leavin' chumps, and you better not try to stop me if you value your scaley hides," I growled.

"Hwit doxal rabop?" A female voice said, behind me.

I whipped around quickly to see another work of art. A gorgeous lady with a golden-white skin that softly glowed and gama that wouldn't stop. She looked familiar but I couldn't recall who she is. I was certain she was an Angel, perhaps sent by God Himself to help me.

"Are you a captive here milady?" I asked, bowing, but keeping one eye on the giant lizards.

She spoke but I couldn't understand her. However, I could see that she liked me. Maybe that's a Heavenly language, I thought, in awe at her beauty and grace. Perhaps it is possible she isn't an Angel, I mused, but whatever she was, I was in love.

"Come with me, Beautiful," I said, grabbing her hand. "I'll protect you. Trust me."

She gazed at me with curiosity and smiled hesitantly. Gornsei said something but neither he nor Gornkira advanced.
Her hand! So warm, and the touch of her hand shot a thrilling force into me, causing my heart to do somersaults and heartwheels. As I gazed back into those golden brown eyes I was smitten! I knew without a doubt I loved this beautiful lady!

She was dressed in a soft pink dress that accentuated her already spectacular beauty. It really enhanced her ample breasts. It was extremely difficult to take my eyes off of her. I had to get her out of here, away from these monsters.

I gently pulled on her hand and she followed me as we exited the room. I furtively glanced around and saw what looked like an exit. I opened the door to nighttime, and a comfortably cool desert air.

Beautiful stopped and put on her shoes. I followed suit, reluctantly releasing her hand. It took longer than I wanted to find a pair of shoes that fit. After getting them on I stood up and again, and took the most wonderful hand I had ever held. So smooth and feminine. And she smelled better than anything I have ever sniffed. I couldn't recall everything I had sniffed but I was pretty sure about this, regardless.

Gornsei and Gornkira appeared at the entrance of the room I had escaped from and stopped. I shook my head and swished my sword a few times. The sign language of a warrior.

"If you follow me you will die," I said, ominously.

Gornsei said something and Beautiful nodded. Then it spoke some more. She understands his language? I pondered. Or maybe she just knows a few words, bein' a slave and all. Well, no matter. I'll rescue this fair princess, I decided. I couldn't leave her here with these disgusting creatures, and besides, I wanted to be with her. My heart leapt with a joy and a love I don't recal ever having at the mere sight of her!

I grew impatient with Gornsei's chatter, and gently pulled on Beautiful's hand.
She looked at me a long time, said something, and finally nodded and smiled again.

Then Gornsei shouted something and I stopped. He opened a concealed panel in the wall and pulled out a MK 11, 7.62mm semi-auto sniper rifle and several clips. He tossed the rifle to Beautiful and she caught it deftly and checked it out. Then he tossed several clips at our feet.

What the? Where did he get one of those? The SEAL's use them, and they ain't been around long. How do I know that? I mused. What's this mean? I wondered, picking up the clips and sticking them in all my pockets.

Man, Beautiful is stunning! I thought, looking at her holding the rifle. I wish I knew her name. Hell, I wish I knew mine. I couldn't remember anything past the rattlesnake bite. Odd, it ain't swelling up.

Everytime I looked at Beautiful, her dress looked a bit different. I wonder how that works? I wondered. Must be new technology or somethin'.

Then Gornsei tossed a back pack. I looked inside and there was survival gear. Knives, lighters, a first aid kit, some MRE's, duct tape, a few thermal blankets, and axe, a two-way radio, a flashlight, a .44 mag revolver with ammo, a water treatment kit, and other useful items. I didn't have time to go through it all.

Gornsei tossed five canteens of water and jackets, then said somethin' else. I gave a slight bow. I had no idea why lizard breath would help us, but I still couldn't trust it after that rattlenake bite. Plus, I didn't even know what in the hell it was! Some kind of alien? A genetic freakoid experiment gone bad or on purpose? That sounded more plausable. I squeezed Beautiful's hand, and she nodded, then we left, after donning the jackets, melting into the desert night.

There were fireflys flitting about in the distance. I looked up at the stars and saw Beautiful's face, arranged in a constellation. I stopped and hugged her then pointed to myself.

"I don't remember my name. Who are you?" I asked, pointing at her.

"She replied with what sounded like "Alune". Then she pointed to me and said "Bobo."

What? Bobo? What kinda name is that? I wondered.

I pointed to her ans said "Alune," then pointed to myself, "Bobo," I winced. Still, it's more mannerly to use her language, I thought.

Alune nodded and kissed me, then she hugged me. It was extremely difficult to pull away and get going, but I reluctantly did so. I found it odd that there were fireflys here, but I didn't know why. No matter, I thought, putting it outta my mind. No need to fret over it.

Mack said something, his voice tinged with betrayal, fear and anger.

"Mack, you must fight this illusion. We mean you no harm," Sensei said.

With anger, astonishment and fear Mack replied. It was obvious he wasn't going to lay back down and accept being restrained. His paralysis was gone.

Akira grabbed Mack by the arm but Mack punched him in the face and then kicked him across the room for good measure, demolishing Sensei's desk.

My desk! Sensei thought, upset about it's demise. Sensei grabbed Mack's other arm but soon realized Mack had anticipated that move, and was suddenly airborne, flying into Akira and what was left of his desk.

As Sensei and Akira slowly got up, they saw Mack grab Sensei's sword. They both shook their heads.

"This is not good," Akira said. "Has he gone mad? Looks like I have to shoot him."

"No!" Sensei said, adamantly. "He cannot see reality at this time. Show him we mean no harm, like this, Sensei said, spreading his arms out. Akira did the same.

Mack shouted triumphantly and swung the sword a few times, looking very pleased.

"Okay Sensei, I won't shoot him...unless he gets near my daughter. I'm sorry, but I cannot take that chance," Akira whispered.

"He won't hurt Hanna or Annie," Sensei whispered back.

"Are you sure?" Akira asked. Sensei didn't answer.

Mack said something sarcastically and backed towards the exit, pointing the sword at Sensei and Akira. Then he growled something else, threatening any interference.

"You can take him, Sensei," Akira whispered.

"Perhaps in his normal state of mind, but right now? No, I don't believe I can. Not without one of us getting seriously hurt or killed. He is confident and sure. He is not being hindered by all his uncertainties at this time," Sensei whispered the reply. "And he seems to have forgotten everything I told him."

"What's going on?" Annie asked, as she entered the room, looking in surprise at the smashed desk, and Akira's bloody face.

Then she saw that Mack was up and about, and smiled. He must be practicing, she thought, happy to see him moving again.

"Annie, the poison in Mack's soul has affected his mind and senses. I don't believe he will hurt you, but be careful and don't do anything he might construe as a threat," Sensei said. "He may not remember who you are, so don't get upset over that. Do not speak to us. We don't want Mack to think you are in league with us. He must believe that you are on his side. The way you are dressed, my dear will help convince him of that," Sensei said, raising an eyebrow. "Dang it! Now who will I find to cook dinner? Akira, where's Hanna? Can she cook yet?"


Annie blushed at the compliment, and poured on the charm, starting with pulling her shoulders back and thrusting her fine breasts out as she smiled at Mack.
Predictibly, Mack ogled her which caused annie to smile again. This won't be too difficult, Annie thought, realizing she had already forgiven Mack for his indescretion earlier with Hanna. Besides, he was paralyzed, mostly, at the time, so it's not like he initiated it.

Mack pulled on her hand and she followed, stopping at the door to put her shoes on.
Mack did the same, cautiously looking out.
After mack got his shoes on, he took Annie's hand again, obviously enraptured by annie.

Annie felt a jolt at Mack's touch, his rough and calloused strong and sure. She knew Mack would die defending her if need be, and that reassured Annie.
He lost his memory but still, she knew he would do this. It was part of his very being. She was more than a little turned on by Mack's rock hard muscles and tough guy looks.

He was like some knight, a hero, come to save her and treating her like a princess.
And Annie knew he would never intentially hurt her. Chilvalry was not dead. Sure, Mack had flaws but she could live with those flaws. One of those flaws recently caused her pain, but she dealt with that already, and had forgiven Mack after her fight with Hanna.

She had loved mack since the day she laid eyes on him. She couldn't explain it and it didn't make sense. She just knew. Never before had she believed in love at first sight...until she met Mack.

Her man-hating feminist acquaintences at the hospital and more recently, at the CIA would be in a tizzy if they could see her now, wearing a dress and perfume, shaving her legs and armpits, plucking her eyebrows, wearing a bit of make-up and lipstick, and dressing like a lady and not a like a man. Often, Annie had wondered how anyone could live with that kind of bitterness and the total, mistrustful hate those feministas projected on every man was ridiculous.

She felt pity that those women would never know the touch or relationship of a real man.
They didn't know what they were missing. How anyone could stand the soft, limp-wristed and clammy touch of those metrosexuals was beyond her. They creeped her out.
That's why she refused to be a bureaucrat. Well, one very big reason.

Annie had been a nurse, and was recruited by her now divorced husband to be a CIA operative. This was the toughest undercover work she had done yet. Without Mack she wouldn't be getting anywhere close to the head of the Yakuza.

Oh how she wanted to tell him. She had come so close at times. And she had disobeyed orders. Instead of getting close to Yukio, she had gotten close to Mack. But this was working out better than the stupid ass bureaucrat's plan.

Her "sister" was another CIA agent, and she had already escaped, thankfully. Of course, Yukio would never admit that. She would have to tell Mack, when he got over this poison thing.

I...I love him, Annie realized, smiling fondly at Mack. Will he love me when he learns the truth? God, I hope so. If he does, I'm quitting the CIA. I can't do this kind of work, no, I won't, if I have a man like Mack in my life. Why would I want to? If I have to, I'll be a nurse again.

But down deep, Annie wanted children. And she wanted to be a full time wife and mom, like her grandma was. But first, I have to help Mack take down these Yakuza thugs, she thought.

What about Akira and Hanna? They seemed like good people...not Yakuza. Why were they here working for Yukio? I'm sure Hanna hasn't murdered anyone, but what about Akira? Why was he so nice? So many mysteries to unravel, and she was running out of time.

"Wait!" Sensei shouted, opening a secret panel. He pulled out a cool looking rifle and through it to Annie.

"Thanks!" Annie said, looking closely at the sniper rifle. She had heard of these, but had never tried it out. Not only was it a sniper rifle but it could be used effectively in close combat as well.

"Expecting trouble?" She asked, worriedly.

"Yes," Sensei replied. "Be careful."

Annie nodded as Sensei threw the rest of the supplies over.

"You are more than a cook and a pretty face, aren't you?" Sensei asked.

Annie looked up at Sensei and didn't say anything. What does he know? She wondered. Akira pretended not to hear but she knew he did. Crap. Now what?

"Don't worry about Akira," Sensei said, reading the situation perfectly.

Annie studied Akira carefully. Did he just grin?

"We all need to have a long talk after your little hike," Sensei said. "Mack is going to need you like never before. But don't worry, he will not hurt you, I am certain of it."

Mack squeezed her hand and she nodded. Then Annie the princess, and her knight melted into the desert night.


"You're letting him go?" Akira asked, frustrated.

"Yes I am. You know we will never get that sword from him without someone getting hurt or killed," Sensei said.

"Yes, I know. But did you have to give them guns?" Akira asked.

"The desert can be very dangerous," Sensei said, putting a hand on Akira's shoulder. "And...I sense there is more in the desert tonight than just coyotes and rattlesnakes. We better get prepared."

"Company?" Akira asked. "How did they find us? The GrandMaster must have sent them."

"Quite a few," Sensei said. "Go...tell Hanna. I call dibbs on the shotgun. You can have the M-14. It's old but it works okay. Give Hanna the Winchester. I miss my sword already," Sensei said, frowning.

"I'll extinguish the lights," Akira said. "You got more swords, Sensei."

"Yes, but none like that one Mack-san took. Did you see that? The sword chose him! Well, he will need it more than I. Tonight the desert will be soaked with blood."

"What's goin' on gramps?" Hanna asked, walking in from the kitchen and looking around with eyebrows raised. "Where is Mack and Annie? What's with all the guns?"

"And swords," Akira said, bringing some swords from the kitchen. "There are bad men coming, dear," Akira said, hugging Hanna. "And they are sent to murder all of us. But their main target is Mack, I think."

"How do you know?" Hanna asked.

"Sensei knows, and you know he is never wrong when he senses these things," Akira said.

"Because, little one. Because I listen," Sensei said, hugging Hanna. "Now, you do exactly as I say, you hear?"

"Oh gramps! You really do care," Hanna said, smiling. "But someone better tell me where Mack and Annie is!"

"Your father knows," Sensei said, walking into the living room and sitting on the floor.

"Ahem. Yes, well Hanna, you see, it is like this," Akira said nervously, handing her a sword and the winchester 30-30.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Catscratch Fever Fu

Act 12: Hot N' Sweaty Noir

Reality is like the ultimate repo man. You miss too many payments and you will soon discover that everything you were paying on is gone and you no longer have a good credit rating. And not only is your credit ruined, but so is your credibility.
So basically, you're screwed and you hafta walk. A lot.
Not too mention you're no longer the cool kid with the nice ride. Make you're payments, kids. Don't be a fool like uncle Mack.

"You know what? I sure could use a glass of whiskey," I said, tryin' to interrupt.

"Melodramatic? Are you kidding me? Why don't you go do the dishes? I'm sure you could use the break!" Annie said, shoving Hanna aside.

Oh sh*t, I thought. Must have been Annie I heard at the door earlier.

"Why you...bitch!" Hanna exclaimed, slapping Annie. Then it was on.

"So is that a no?" I mumbled, a sinking feeling in my heart.

"Slut!" Annie shouted, tackling Hanna and pulling her hair.

"Sensei!" I exclaimed. "You must stop them!" But Sensei ignored me, and was intently watching the brawl that had developed. Was that a smile? He's smiling! I can't believe this!

I heard the girls fighting, but I had lost visual. I still couldn't move, and my eyes were straining to catch a glimpse.

"Ow! Let's see how you like it!" Hanna said.

"Ahh! Why you!" Annie said. Then I heard a ripping noise. Rip!

"No way!" Hanna exclaimed. "Take this!" Rip!

"I don't know're so upset," Annie grunted, as I saw them both roll into view, still wrestling and pulling hair. "It's not like you haven't...flaunted them recently."

They both struggled to get up, and then I noticed their blouses were torn. As were their bras. Sensei looked...enchanted, his head moving ever so slightly as if in response to the swaying of Annie and Hanna's breasts. I almost said something, but I too became entranced. Both ladies were beginning to sweat profusely, and were breathing hard.

"You've done nothing...but throw...yourself at Mack...since he arrived," Hanna said, between breaths.

"At least I...didn't throw myself...on him!" Annie countered.

Hanna tripped Annie but Annie pulled her down too, and soon they were rolling around again, trying to gain leverage on each other. It almost seemed like a dance to me. As they rolled closer, their blouses in tatters, their bodies pressed firmly together. I tried to think...unsuccessfully, I might add.

"Oof!" I said, involuntarily, as they both rolled over me, causing the nerves around my wounds to protest.

"That is none...of your business!" Hanna shouted, struggling, as she was pinned by Annie.

"Since it screw your patients?!" Annie asked, using gravity to help her hold Hanna's wrists down.
"Or is that...part of the...treatment? Huh?" Annie continued, her ample breasts swaying as Hanna tried to rock her off.

"!" Hanna protested.

They both struggled for a few more minutes, both soaked with sweat, and gasping for breath. Their chests heaving. Hanna flipped Annie with her legs, quickly getting to her feet.

Annie also scrambled to get up as Hanna rushed her with a flying kick. Annie ducked and Hanna landed like a cat, on her feet. Annie threw a jab and Hanna deflected, countering with an elbow that Annie blocked. Up until this moment I had no idea Annie could fight.

Then the gams started flyin'. From my vantage point, it was difficult to keep up, but I gave it the old college try.
There's somethin' to be said about gam fu. Especially when the gams are so exquisitely beautiful. Some would say this is poetry in art form that admittedly appeals much more to dicks, and sensei's, than to dames. Unless the sensei or dick is a dame. But I digress.

Hanna charged Annie, who grabbed Hanna by the arms, sidestepped, and using Hanna's momentum pressed her against the wall, holding her arms out. Again they both struggled, but Annie held her there, their bare, sweaty breasts touching, heaving together.

At this point I may have been drooling. Yes, I know, dicks are pigs. What can I say? I tried not to think about it. Yeah...right.

Annie and Hanna finally ran out of steam. As mad as they were neither one was seriously hurt. There were some bruises and lot's of sweat, but no blood, thankfully.

"Why? I thought...we were friends," Annie said softly, releasing Hanna. Tears welled in her eyes.

"Annie, I...oh, I'm sorry!" Hanna replied, hugging her. "I don't know what...came over me," she continued, crying now as well. "I didn't want to hurt you."

Annie looked surprised, but she hugged Hanna back. I felt pretty low at that point, and somewhat disturbed that the catscratch fever fu had seemed so...incredibly sexy, a moment ago. Before the tears started flowing that is. Okay, it was still sexy. I mean, both dames were knockouts and they were huggin'. Breast to breast...sweatin'.
I tried not to think about it.

"I understand...I guess. There's something about him that...I don't know. I thought..." Annie said, not finishing.

When they finally released each other it was still difficult not to look at their breasts, glistening with sweat. As if on cue both women finally seemed to notice their breasts were exposed...just as Akira rushed into the room.

Akira froze. His expression was that of surprise, or perhaps mortified, as he tried to make sense of the scene. The bra's on the floor, the tattered blouses...and the heaving breasts, glistening with sweat.

Both ladies covered themselves with their arms and Akira put his hands over his eyes. Apparently the shock had wore off and his brain was once again functioning.
Annie and Hanna hastily left the room, no doubt looking for some shirts that were a bit less revealing. And probably a shower. I tried not to think about it.

"What happened?" Akira asked, as he lowered his hands, red with embarrassment.

"A disagreement," Sensei replied, disappointedly.

"What about?" Akira asked.

"Who cares?" Sensei replied. "Ah, do you hear that? That's the shower. Can you here the music? For decades that shower sounded the same, but today, it is a symphony."

They're BOTH in the shower? I wondered, tryin' not to think about it. Or their breasts, glistening with soap n' water.

Akira sighed, shaking his head.

"Want me to go ask what the disagreement is about?" Sensei asked.

"No!" Akira exclaimed. "I'm sure Hanna will tell me if it's important. How much longer until Mack can move, Sensei?"

"It's going to take all night if you keep interrupting me," Sensei replied.

Akira bowed and left the room. Sensei got up, walked over, and picked up the bra's.

"Finders keepers," Sensei said, chuckling.

"You are going to return them, aren't you?" I asked.

"No, they are broken. Yes, see? They are broken," Sensei said, flashing them so quickly I couldn't see.

"They can probably repair them," I said.

"No...they are beyond repair," Sensei replied.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Of course I am sure, what kind of question is that? They cannot be worn. Too bad," Sensei replied, smiling.

"You are repeating yourself," I said, smiling.

"And you think too much," Sensei replied. "Remember, loose lips sink ships."

"I...understand," I said. "My lips are sealed."

"That is an improvement. There is hope for you yet. Unless Akira finds out the truth, then...not so much," Sensei said, smiling.

"In the unfortunate event that happens I would prefer to be, oh, I don't know, not paralyzed. Any idea's as to why...aah!" I yelled. My body was on fire again, and it was all I could do to remain concious.

"This is very bad," Sensei said, looking into my eyes. "Your is poisoned!"

"What? My...soul?" I grunted, from the pain.

"Mack-san...there are poisons that go beyond flesh and blood. Soon you may not be capable of discerning reality from illusion or understanding anything I say. You won't be able to trust your eyes or ears. Search for truth within yourself only. The pain you feel will get worse. Much worse. You must not give up, do you understand? You must fight for your very soul!" Sensei said. "Akira!" Sensei shouted.

Worse than this? Much worse? Good God! I could barely stand it as it was!

"About...that...whiskey," I quipped, through clenched teeth.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Doctor Doctor Noir

Act 11: Hannatized Bedside Manners

I woke up and Hanna was still sitting by me. I tried to move but I was still paralyzed.

"How long until this wears off?" I asked.

"Oh, your awake! How do you feel?" Hanna asked, checking my heart with her stethoscope.

"Okay, I guess. Except I can't move," I said.

"Well, your heart sounds good. You only slept for about an hour. I'll go ask Gramps about the paralysis," Hanna said, jumping to her feet.

"Wait!" I exclaimed. "I'd rather you stay. Just in case there are more scorpions, snakes or who knows what else is crawlin' around here."

"Right, no problem, Mack," Hanna replied, sitting back down. "Gramps is eating right now. Annie has to stay in the kitchen until he is finished so she can serve him seconds if need be and refill his tea. I think that's a rule Gramps made up so he could eat dinner with her, if you ask me," she said, smiling.

"I'm not surprised," I said, chuckling. "Although he's a hermit, I'm sure he must get lonely."

"Yes, much like you, right Mack? You can only be alone so long, and you aren't a hermit, are you?" Hanna asked, stroking my forehead.

"Um...well,, I reckon I ain't," I replied, nervously.

"But you have your reasons, I know. Still, a guy like you..," she said, trailing off and kissing me.

Since the only thing I can move is my lips, I can't very well push her away, now can I? I thought. Besides, she knows I don't love her, I reasoned as the kiss continued.
Funny thing about kisses, they can...change...your perspective. And turn your mind into a omelet. A bacon and cheddar cheese omelet with fresh chives, mushrooms and a light sprinkle of garlic.

As Hanna continued to kiss me, things...started heating up. Those things heated up more as her hand slid down my body. Apparently, there was one other spot, besides my lips and eyelids that wasn't paralyzed. Hanna smiled as she touched...the three amigos.

"Umph." I said, as Hanna continued her long, and very hot kiss. Translated, that would be "wait," but there certainly was a disconnect between my brain and the three amigos. To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I would have pushed her away at this point, even if I hadn't been mostly paralyzed.

Hanna deftly undid my belt buckle, and I felt a shiver of fear and excitement. Fear that we would be caught, and the subsequent fear that Akira would kill me, not to mention how Annie and Sensei would react. But at the same time I grew more excited nevertheless...or allthemore, I reckon you can say.

What in the hell is wrong with me? I wondered, before the three amigos beat the question into submission. Self control was nowhere to be found, and the three amigos couldn't be more happy. Good sense was also out to lunch, as Hanna undid her own pants.

Now, I could say I had only awoke minutes earlier, and that this affected my self control and good sense, such as it was, but that was no excuse for what happened next. Neither was the fact that I was mostly paralyzed.

I can say Hanna seduced me, I thought, as fear almost...almost put a damper on the three amigos, but they would have none of that. No, excitement was their game, and they were only too happy to oblige. Controlled fear actually fed my excitement and desire.

I was very disappointed with myself, on some level...deep inside. I could've shouted, but I didn't. I could've protested more. But I didn't. And now, it was too late as Hanna moaned softly, which made me burn with desire.

It had been three years since my wife had been killed, so within ten minutes it was over. Hanna gasped as I exploded and shook, visibly tryin' to supress her moaning, which mingled with mine. She collasped on top of me, and held me, kissing me often.

Along with the intense pleasure, I felt guilt circling on the periphery of my thoughts like a hungry lion, waiting to pounce on it's prey. But I soon managed to banish that thought. Or so I thought.

"I love you, Mack," Hanna whispered, kissing me again.

"Hanna, are...incredible," I said, as she finally disengaged, pulling her pants up and redressing me. The three amigos were ready to go another round, and that didn't escape Hanna's notice.

"Later," she whispered, smiling and kissing me tenderly, again.

I heard a noise by the door and my heart skipped. Who? Hanna looked in the direction of the door and I tried to read her eyes, but they didn't change.

"Did you hear something?" I asked.

"Yes, hold on a minute," she said, getting up and walking to the doorway, looking to her right and left. Then she returned, kneeling down and kissing me again. "Don't worry, there's no one there," Hanna said.

But I felt uneasy. I was certain someone had been there. I sensed it. Did they see us? Did they know? Why should I care? I was a widower, and I was single. But I didn't feel any better just the same.

Oh God...I just cheated on my wife! I thought. No, she wouldn't expect me to be alone. No, but still...and Hanna is at least twenty years younger than me! I scolded myself. Fool! I'm such a fool!
Is it possible to love Hanna, given our age difference? I wondered. Were all these negative feelings I had legitimate or hang-ups? What about Annie?

"Hey, it's okay," Hanna whispered, stroking my troubled brow. "It's okay, Mack. I'll take good care of you."

I pushed all those questions and more back beneath the surface of my thoughts and smiled at Hanna. It was all too much to think about at the moment, so I chose not to.
Instead I tried to enjoy the moment.

"What do you think is wrong? Why am I still paralyzed...mostly? I asked.

"I don't know, mack, but I'll find out when Gramps returns," Hanna said, kissing me again.

All these kisses made it easier not to worry. I'm sure that antidote will work...any minute, I thought. Any minute.

"You were just, wow!" Hanna giggled, kissing me. She literally glowed and was so vibrant and happy.

"So were you, Hanna. You are amazing!" I said, getting lost in the moment, and remembering...savoring each moment we had spent together.

"Do you feel any pain?" Hanna asked.

"No, none at all," I said, smiling. Could I love Hanna completely?

"Good. I'm so glad you are not going to die," she said, kissing me intimately. "I was so scared," she continued, tears forming in her eyes.

"Hey now, I'm gonna be fine," I said, wishing I could wipe her tears away and hold her.

Sensei entered and Hanna sat up straight. He waked over and looked at me, and his brows furrowed. He looked at Hanna and his eyes furrowed more.

"Why Hanna, you are glowing," Sensei said, smiling.

Hanna blushed and looked away. Then, realizing she was giving information she didn't want to share she composed herself.

"Gramps, Mack is still paralyzed. How long will this last?" She asked.

Sensei looked at me again and his eyes bore into my soul. I felt extremely uncomfortable and...naked.

"Not completely paralyzed, eh?" Sensei said, cheerily.

"No, I can talk, Sensei and my pain is gone," I said, wishing I could turn my head away. How much did he see? I wondered, nervously.

"Hmmm," Sensei said, looking back and forth at Hanna and me mischieviously. "Someone has been very naughty," he said, laughing. It wasn't a mocking laugh. He seemed to be of good cheer, and this was a good natured laugh. He just wanted us to know that he knew.

You sneaky bastard, I thought, smiling.

Sensei crouched and touched my temples lightly for several seconds, closing his eyes.
Then he put a hand just below my ribcage, over my belly button for several more seconds. I could feel the intense yet calm energy flowing within Sensei. I was in awe at the power he had mastered. It was like being in Master Toshiro's presence, but a bit different. More...mystical and mysterious. Master was also mystical and mysterious but in a different way.

"Hmmm," he said again, getting up. "Who is your Master?" He asked, as he walked over to the bookshelf.

"Master Toshiro," I replied. "Do you know him?" I asked, hopefully.

"Yes, that makes sense. I know Master Toshiro, yes. He stopped by here before leaving to Hong Kong," Sensei said.

"When? When was this?" I asked, urgently.

"Hmmm...that would be, three years ago. I warned him not to go, but Toshiro said he had to go. No choice, he said. He left something for you. He didn't give your name, but when you mentioned his name, I knew it was you," Sensei said.

"My I see it, please?" I asked, getting excited.

"Yes, but first you must healed completely, spirit, soul, mind and body. Then we will see if you survive the test," Sensei said, smiling.

"Survive the test?" Hanna and I asked in unison. Hanna blushed again.

"Come child, you can hide your emotions better than that. Akira must not know," Sensei said.

"Gramps, I...thank you Gramps," she said, hugging him.

"Yeah yeah, fine. I'm only helping because it's so funny," Sensei said, smiling.
"As for surviving, you will see for yourself. After you are healed. Must I continually waste my time repeating myself? Listen!" He continued, sternly, but still amused.

Sensei selected a book and began reading. Hanna stayed by my side, periodically checking my heart and sneaking kisses, which was now terrifying but still fun. Especially for Hanna.

Annie entered and approached me. "Sensei sure can eat a lot. You should have seen him packing it away. He loves my cooking," she said, smiling, kneeling down beside me.

Hanna looked a bit peeved but she smiled politely.

"Are you feeling better?" Annie asked.

"Yes, but I still can't move," I replied.

"Why? What's wrong?" She asked, putting a hand on my forehead. Now Hanna didn't look happy.

"We don't know. Gramps is working on it. Now, if you will excuse me," Hanna said, crowding in between Annie and I and checking my chest with her stethoscope.

Uh oh. This doesn't bode well, I thought.

"Well excuuussse me!" Annie said loudly, moving back, visibly getting angry.

"Ladies, I know this is a stressful time, but I'm sure Sensei will discover the cure," I said, tryin' to nip this newborn rivalry in the bud.

"Don't you have dishes to wash or desert to make?" Hanna asked. "I don't mean to be rude, but it's important we find a way to heal Mack. Distractions we don't need."

"Distractions?!" Annie shouted. "Is that what you think I am? You didn't say that when Mack crashed. I helped you save him. You couldn't have done it alone."

"No need to get so melodramic," Hanna countered, sarcastically.

It was like watching a tidal wave approach. You know it's gonna crash! Hard! But there's nothin' you can do to stop it.

Oh great. I sense this is gonna get ugly. Damn! I thought.