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by Terry L. Vinson
Description: Amid the sweltering summer heat of nineteen eighties South Korea, a trio of bar girls are found brutally murdered mere miles from the main gate of Sunyon Air Force Base, their mutilated bodies discovered near a red-light district known as the 'The Ville', infamous for the inebriate behavior of the American soldiers who frequent its many watering holes and back-alley pleasure palaces. Meanwhile, plying her ultra-specialized trade halfway around the world is Lei Park, a Korean-born, self-trained 'killer of serial killers' who possesses the power to 'read evil' within the very eyes of those she stalks and subsequently eliminates. Captured by a secretive agency that had monitored her self-proclaimed 'eradication of evil' spree through several U.S States, Lei is transported to her home country and placed undercover as an exotic dancer at one of The Ville's most popular clubs in hopes that she might ID the culprit, media-dubbed The Ville Ripper. As political pressure builds from two governments desperate for closure, Lei finds herself lost in a nightmarish realm of inhuman misery; a sinful netherworld that thrives on lust, hopelessness and despair, all the while unable to effectively track a maniacal killer who just might be much closer than she'd ever expect?
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2008 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: March 2008
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [418 KB]
Reading time: 242-339 min.
Prelude: Preordained Vigilance
The Date: Late summer, Nineteen Eighty-Four
The Place: Just outside Fort Worth, Texas
Strategically crouched with her shapely rear end facing the roadway, she secretly wishes her skin-tight blue-jeans were a size or two larger, though not to dramatically alter the desired effect. She peers at the rented Jeep Wrangler's flattened rear tire with a pinky finger lodged seductively between pouting, ruby lips, reaching with a free hand to push the narrow-framed Raybans up onto the upper edge of her forehead. If duly accused, she would argue a charge of entrapment. Her marks needed little in the way of enticement, though it clearly never hurt to 'sweeten the pot', in a manner of speaking.
Her gold-banded wristwatch reads six-twenty-six PM. Approximately an hour of daylight remaining, ninety minutes tops. Nearly choking from a mouthful of blowing dust, she comes to the conclusion that the next mark will definitely be the last of the evening. Despite its obvious advantages, foremost being the cloaking factor, she has never liked working in the dark. There is a layer of comfort in the daylight; a sense of security that the night air wilts away. As far as production goes, it has not been a good day.
Thus far, sixteen candidates since nine AM has equaled sixteen strikes. In truth, she cannot recall the last such day, especially with weather conditions so favorable for 'good Samaritans', be they sincere or inherently evil, to ply their merciful (or merciless) trade. As is the ritual whenever such an anomaly occurs, she allows just a flicker of hope within her fevered mind that perhaps ... just perhaps, the good Lord above has deemed fit to place a permanent 'out of order' sign within her inner circuitry, thus eliminating the very source of her 'power'. Grunting aloud as an 'oversized load' blows by like a cloud of rolling thunder, she quickly voids such whimsical thinking. She knows better, as there have been numerous such 'false alarms' before. If nothing else, at least the weather has been accommodating. At just over eighty-five degrees with relatively low humidity, it wasn't your typical late summer day in West Texas. Certainly a pleasant change from Seattle's constant rains just a week earlier, or Miami's stifling heat and humidity from a month ago.
Bending down with a groan, she feels the vehicle's presence even before actually seeing it pull forward and park less than a half dozen feet away. She hears the truck's engine shut off just before a trio of semi's blow by in a thundering wave.
"Need some help there, sweetie?" a man's voice bellows, the word 'sweetie' drawn out into two separate syllables ('Sweee-teeee') in a husky Texas drawl. Before turning about and standing, she hears not one but two car doors slam shut. An adrenaline rush of epic proportions ensues, to be quickly dashed by a wave of soothing calm that reduces her pulse to near coma-status. Through the years and countless such encounters, her ability to both control the change and subsequently harness the effects has become almost second-nature. Still, she understands the importance of ensuring that both men fit the specific criteria. Strange as it seems, this is not always assured. Scum is indeed scum as a rule, but there are varying degrees and levels involved. Such cases are few and quite unusual, but like a rare archeological find, do exist.
"Bucky's road service, m'am," he continues, strolling over with a wide, toothy grin from which a well-gnawed toothpick protrudes, "pretty girl like you shouldn't outta frown like that. It might end up freezin' that'a way, am I right, Douglas?"
"Right as rain, Buck," the other man replies in a nasally tone, walking around the side of the massive truck to join his partner until they stand posed elbow to elbow less than five feet from the Wrangler's back bumper, "that would indeed be a heckuva shame."
Allowing herself a single step forward, she performs the equivalent of a body-scan of sorts, essentially inhaling both men's auras until they are distinctly separate entities. Sighing heavily, she is inwardly relived to have confirmed that both are indeed ripe for the picking.
"Might've been low when I left Arlington," she coos, still focusing on the tire but consciously aware of the men's roving, roaming eyes as they take in the whole of her.
As is the ritual, she instantly records two distinct mental notes that might well come in handy as things progress. First, mark number one keeps his hands tucked into his back pockets, thereby hinting of a concealed weapon of some type. Secondly, mark number two walks with a decided limp, favoring the right leg and hip.
"You got a spare, darlin'?" mark one asks, having finally removed his hands from the hind pockets of his jeans in order to lean back on the truck's massive grille.
As the initial stage of change shifts into first gear, she casually reaches up to replace the tinted Raybans. Other than the waves of intense heat her flesh will soon emit, an occurrence for which there is no precautionary measure to take, her self-checklist is now complete.
"Only one of those tiny ones ... you know, the donut kind. I think it's flat too," she concedes with a girlish giggle. As always, she allows her natural accent to flourish, having found this especially alluring to such boorish, uncouth types.
Mark number two laughs hardily, revealing several missing front teeth. Both appear the stereotypical thirty-something West Texas 'shit-kicker' types, what with soiled baseball caps, muscle tees (though neither actually possess the build necessary to accent such a fashion choice), faded blue jeans and cowboy boots (mark number two's appearing to be of the imitation snakeskin variety). She finds this amusing, though in a decidedly sickening fashion. She'd run across dozens of such men of all ages, from the plains of Kansas to the rolling hills of Tennessee. Though many had seemed sincerely helpful and the majority harmless in terms of setting off her inner alarm, such an appearance was hardly conspicuous if one did possess the evil seed.
"Tell you what, gorgeous. There's a Firestone garage 'bout three miles up the road off the Hicksville exit. We'll be more'n happy to get you set up with a new wheel or at least have 'em tow in your ride."
Mark number one nods in agreement while staring a hole through her bosom and exposed midriff.
Besides the aforementioned painted-on jeans, she sports a short-sleeved
"Dallas Cowboys' halter that ends midway up her finely toned abdomen and two inch heels that leave her red-shaded toenails exposed while also increasing the natural curvature of her rear end. Her hair, pitch black and luminous, is tied into a tight bun at the back of her skull, held into place by a pair of tiny, mostly submerged hair-clips.
"Well, I don't ... know if that's ... I mean," she babbles, staring into the mostly clear skies with a hand poised atop each hip, "I really shouldn't..."
Mark number one steps over and past her, kneeling as to properly inspect the damaged tire.
"Don't see where ya got much choice, beautiful," he chides, squinting into the sun as he glances back up at her with the toothpick bobbing wildly between yellow-stained teeth, "sides, don't judge a book by its worn-out old cover now. We're basically harmless, right Doug?"
The other man replies while turned away to view the passing traffic.
"Right as rain once again, Buck-a-roo."
Pausing to again nibble a pinky finger, she then crosses her arms across her chest and sighs.
"All right then. I ... um ... sure appreciate it."
Mark number two claps his hands cheerfully while rising, shooting his partner a sly wink.
"No problem, little lady. We'll get 'er back on the road for ya."
"Just let me grab my purse," she says, ducking inside the Honda's minuscule interior and retrieving a tiny brown hand bag.
Moments later, she sits with her hands tucked tightly between her thighs with marks positioned on either side. While in such close proximity, as her shoulders and upper arms brush against both men, the increased body heat becomes a concern. She hopes neither questions or makes an issue of it until it's too late in the game to matter.
Mark number one pulls out onto the highway, spitting gravel as the truck's comically oversized tires spin out in a weaving lurch.
"Just hang on, cutie, ol' Buck'll get ya there in one piece," he howls, the pungent aroma of spilt beer and recently smoked marijuana permeating inside the cab's cramped confines. * * * *
"Don' t fret, sweet thang. The Buck-Master don't go back on his word. We'll get ya to the auto mall soon enuff," mark number one pants, reaching over to fondle her left shoulder, "what's your hurry, anyhow? 'afraid you've already missed whatever appointment ya had."
Leaning in the opposite direction, she finds precious little room to maneuver as a result of mark number two's broad-shouldered body-block.
"Buck speaks the truth, lady. I see it as a might fair trade, really. Tit for tat, ya might say," he blubbers, and she feels a light misting of spittle coat the back of her neck, "more tit than tat though."
"You mean ... both of you ... at once?" she asks, careful to maintain a tone that rides the middle ground between startled and slightly aroused. As the men force their bodies ever closer, essentially forming a fleshy perimeter on either side, she welcomes a series of inner shutters akin to multiple orgasms.
"Well, a'course both of us, babe. Why, me an' the Doug-meister do everything together. We're really into sharing, right partner?" mark one blurts, his hand slowly working its way towards her left breast, the nipple of which grows instantly erect through the relatively thin cotton tee.
"Damn tootin', Buck," Mark two agrees with a looping nod, reaching over to rub the back of her neck.
"Seems only fair, honey buns. A little nookie in return for this here roadside rescue. Hell, every hero deserves a reward (pronounced 'ray-ward')."
"How about.... just a ... well.... you know..." she mutters through rapidly moistening eyes, through which the overall scope of her vision has not only widened to twice its normal parameters, but views everything in a deep shade of crimson despite the sunglasses' darkroom effect.
Mark one's voice grows husky with lust.
"How's about what, cutie?' We're open for suggestion. The kinkier the better."
"Well, how about oral ... I mean ... a ... blowjob instead?"
The two men look past her at one another, giggling like schoolboys after a particularly amusing fart joke.
"What ya think, partner?" m ark one asks with a mischievous wink.
"Truthfully, Buck-o, I was kinda hopin' for a slab of something a bit more substantial, buuuutt, what the hell? I've heard tell these oriental gals can suck the chrome off'n a trailer hitch. I' m game."
Mark one's right hand shoots out and snatches her lower jaw even as his left increases the pressure on her breast. Miraculously, her sunglasses remain fitted despite the abrupt jarring.
"Seems we've struck a deal, girl," he whispers harshly through a tight-lipped grimace, "course, don't be offended if we change our minds half-way through the deed."
Mark two tosses his head back and howls like a baying wolf, his hand having departed her neck for the back of her jeans.
"Damn straight, Buck-O! It's a man's prerogative to change his mind!"
As their fondling grows increasingly frenzied, the girl flashes a seductive pout, running the tip of her tongue over each ruby-shaded lip.
"In here? Not enough room, fellas. You've got to give this girl some space to work her ... magic."
"Not to worry, cutie," mark two says, twisting around to open the passenger side door, "we keep a nice, clean pad in the bed for just such a special occasion."
Exiting the cab, the girl rotates her head in a circular spin. She then executes a similar stretch for each arm and shoulder as both marks study her with comical bemusement.
"Damn, girl, this ain't the Olympic trails," mark two blurts, and she can clearly see the building erection at his crotch.
"You one of them gymnasts?" mark one adds, openly massaging his own swollen manhood through his khakis while propping a booted foot atop the lowered cab door.
The girl flashes a brief smirk while scanning their isolated surroundings, realizing she'd have been hard-pressed to discover a more suitable spot herself.
"No, but I used to be a dancer."
Mark one cackles gleefully while extending a hand to his cohort and heaving him onto the bed, where a wide, cushioned pad awaits.
"Oh, I'm sure you were, cutie. Bet you could slide that greased pole like nobody's business."
Both men squat down to remove their boots, then quickly stand up and begin unhitching their belts.
"Well, c'mon up, woman. Don't get all shy on us now," mark two says, pulling his trousers and underwear to his ankles while giving the area a final scan and resembling every bit the nervous prairie dog.
By her calculations, they'd driven at least three miles since exiting the main highway onto the narrow dirt/gravel path. The clearing mark one had chosen was cloaked in shoulder-high weeds and a line of equally overgrown, horribly gnarled shrubbery. The West Texas landscape, the girl muses, was the textbook definition of 'eye sore.' These two had definitely used this sport before, possibly several times, she decides, reaching back to remove tiny, twin hair-clips and thus allowing her shoulder-length locks to fall free.
In response, mark two practically moans in girlish delight.
"God damn, but yore a pretty one. Ain't never had me no slant-eye before. Hope yore as good as advertised, hon."
Both men fell to their knees as to some silent cadence while stroking their respective man-hoods.
"You boys ready for me?" she teases with still another tantalizing lick of each lip.
The marks nod like a pair of famished hounds over an overfilled food dish.
"Yeah, cutie. Question is, are you ready for a twin injection of only the finest Southwestern beef?"
"Oh, don't worry, boys. I think you're in for more than you bargained for."
She crawls slowly atop the truck bed on her elbows and knees with both fists clinched tight, all the while taking note of the multitude of terror-filled eyes swirling like cascading waves of misery behind each man's faux visage. The final confirmation complete, the girl sighs as a powerful surge of adrenaline fills her veins.
"Baby, I'm afraid I gotta make an early amendment to our original agreement," mark one croons, scooting forward on his knees with his swollen member leading the way, "I just gotta have a piece of that sweet caboose 'a yours.
Hope ya don't mind the lack of lubrication," he concludes as mark two laughs in the background while holding his position, "but just to be polite, I'll make sure I spit on it a couple'a times."
"By all means, big boy," the girl replies in a barely audible whisper, rising to her feet to allow the mark to scoot past her, "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, correct?"
"Damn straight, you slant-eyed whore, and what I'm about to do is plant about eight inches of West Texas' finest right up your fine little poop shoo-.."
Her movements are frenzied yet amazingly fluid; machine-like in their preciseness, they appear calculated yet also wildly spontaneous. Having taken but a single step forward, she uses full extension of her left arm to shove the first hair-clip forward in a straight jab that travels the length of mark two's prone body and penetrates his left eye with a sickening pop. Twisting about on her right heel, she executes a full about-face while simultaneously whipping her right arm around in a horizontal blur. Mark one has time but to widen his eyes before the second clip slashes his throat just below the Adam's Apple.
Gagging up a mouthful of his own bodily fluid, mark one reaches up and clamps a hand across the spewing wound as the girl briefly balances on her left heel, ballerina-style. Like a human funnel, her body twists but once, spinning the right heel around like a battering ram to impact at the center of mark one's breastbone, sending him pin-wheeling from the bed of the truck and onto the hard, dusty terrain.
Whirling back towards mark two, who rolls and squirms about the now blood-soaked bed with both hands covering his wounded eye, she lunges forward and lands three vicious, lightning-quick blows to the man's throat, forehead, and finally the bridge of his nose, which implodes with a resounding crunch.
Mark two's arms fall limp by his side as a final huff of air escapes his blood-smeared lips. His remaining eye rolls into the back of his head as spasms wrack his torso and legs before falling motionless.
The girl exits the truck bed with a graceful hop and looms over mark one's still frame. Laying flat on his stomach, she can hear his muted gargles.
"(IN KOREAN) How you like them apples, you sick asshole..." she whispers between tightly-clinched teeth while raising her right food and tilting the arch slightly upward. The foot remains suspended for a full five seconds as the attached calf and thigh tremble with the building tension of an over-wound metal coil.
"(IN ENGLISH) Burn in hell, fucker..."
The heel descends like a red-hot piston, cracking the skull beneath like an egg shell. Death-spasms ensue as the girl casually removes her shoe and wipes bone fragments and brain tissue onto the back of the deceased man's shirt.
Less than ten minutes later, having used a strip of the same shirt as a fuse and packing one corner into the truck's gas tank, she crouches down on her haunches and watches the yellow and blue flame absorb metal, rubber, flesh and bone as the sky is enveloped in clouds of blackish smoke. A package of 'Wet-Ones' pulled from her hand bag had served nicely to remove the few streaks of blood on her hand and neck, while a fresh tee sporting the 'Dallas Mavericks' logo replaced the stained one, tossed unceremoniously into the raging fire. Similarly, the specially designed hair-clips, a bit elongated at three plus inches with syringe-like tips, had also been sacrificed to the god of fire and replaced by a simple rubber-band.
Realizing a fire-truck or ambulance is more than likely on the way, she soon rises with a stifled yawn, removes her heels and performs a quick series of leg stretches before sprinting off in an easterly direction. At the five-minute mile pace she normally maintains, she figures her vehicle to be less than a half-hour away at most. As is normally the case, she'll steer clear of the highway for the first twenty minutes or so, even if forced to double-back later on.
While navigating a steep, rock-infested hill less than a hundred yards from the clearing, she hears the truck's gas tank explode in a single, ear-piercing shriek. Her pace remaining steady despite any and all obstacles, she begins calculating and approximating the mental checklist that is mandatory for successful mission follow-up. All told, she hopes to see Texas in her rearview mirror by no later than eight PM. Having dedicated a full month between its spacious borders, the impending exodus can't come soon enough. Arkansas awaits for a three week tour, followed by a similar agenda for both Tennessee and Alabama. Working her way east, the trek she has labeled 'The Eradication Tour' is now nearing a full year in duration. There are times she feels she has aged at least five winters in that same span. If such a thing were possible, she feels an 'old' twenty-four.
Though she neither visualizes nor hears anything tangible, she abruptly slows her pace to a casual jog. Turning about while jogging backwards, a brief but thorough scan of her surroundings reveals nothing out of the ordinary. As she turns about, the jagged terrain flattens and she descends a final hilltop leading into a wide clearing. She spots a series of what might be farmhouses a few hundred yards to the North, and immediately decides to veer hard to the left and thus a bit closer to the still hidden highway.
A sharp, whooshing sound ensues from her left, and she executes a textbook tuck and roll. Rising to her knees behind a grouping of gnarled shrubs, she reaches up with her left hand. Her forefinger and thumb find the prickly object wedged just behind her left earlobe. Pulling it free with a single tug, she studies the striped dart's sleek, aero-dynamic design even as her vision grows blurry and her ears fill with the rumblings of a nearby chopper.
Collapsing onto her back, she becomes acutely aware of the thumping of heavy combat boots rushing in from seemingly all directions. Thick clumps of dust coat her face, lips and drooping eye-lids as typhoon winds blister about and the engine's hum grows ever louder. As consciousness betrays her, a single line of dialogue is heard, though the words are partially muffled and sound like a tape recording played back at a purposely slow speed.
"Lock and load 'er, boys,' it roars, the pronunciation of each word stretched to comical proportions, 'we got us a long flight ahead." * * * *