Burke & The Wolves

Chapter III

The Pressure Problem

They were sweating. The children of the revolution. The wolves. They couldn’t handle the blood. The large black guy was trying to take some sort of control. He was sweating profusely. As a steady stream of blood flowed out of the short stout man they had saved minutes ago. He lay prostrate, awkwardly on a crate of some sort. The blood dripped onto the naked floor of the van like a leaky tap and splattered around every time it made another high speed corner.

Burke pushed himself up against the far wall of the van. He wasn’t supposed to get involved. He was a newby. So he just watched. In his confusion the large guy had pumped all his vials of morphine into the man. Atleast the poor guy would feel no pain as he bled out.

“Right. We have to stop the bleeding”, the black guy stammered “Everybody, apply pressure on the wound. As hard as you can.”

“That’s not a good idea”, Burke blurted out. Against his instructions. He knew he would regret it. There were two other kids in there with the large black kid. They all stopped. Froze in their places and looked up at Burke. So he continued, “The bullet. It’s still in there. From the blood I would say it’s lodged pretty deep. Probably close to the axillary artery. You put pressure and the bullet will move around. And if it slices the artery, it’s all over. He’ll have about 2 minutes to bleed out.”

The black guy held Burke’s gaze. He wanted to challenge it. But somehow he was relieved that somebody else was calling the shots.

“Fine”, he said “Don’t put pressure.”

“That’s not going to do much good either”, Burke mumbled. “He’s losing blood pretty fast. He has maybe another 15 minutes. After that he would just have lost too much blood. Only way to save him then would be a transfusion.”

The other faces were stunned.

“But we have another 25 minutes atleast till we reach the den.”, said one of the other kids.

He needs medical attention. A hospital”, Burke said softly, almost wishing he hadn’t.

There isn’t going to be a hospital”, came the reply from the black guy.

Burke stood hunched and looked down at floor, avoiding the gaze of the searching eyes. He didn’t want to say it. He dreaded saying it. But he finally did.

“The bullet has to come out. Then the bleeding has to be stopped.”

He knew they would look shocked. So he dared not make eye contact. He hobbled over first aid kit and fumbled a while. He pulled out a pair of forceps, and antiseptic lotion. He went over to the man lying on the crate, almost unconscious. He pulled off the cotton swabs and exposed a gaping hole of a wound on the right shoulder.

He looked up at the black guy.

You have to do this. Put your thumbs on either side of the wound and pull it apart. Like breaking bread. And hold it. Don’t let go until I tell you. You must not. Ready?

The black guy nodded and put his fingers where burke had asked him.


The black guy pulled apart the wound, widening the hole as a fresh spurt of blood gushed out. Burke swabbed the blood away and peered in. He saw a glint. There it was. Lodged exactly where he predicted. Resting against the artery. The bullet itself moved back and forth with every pulse. He would have one shot. A jab the wrong way would cause more damage. Fatal damage. He yanked off the cap from the antiseptic with his teeth. He poured half of it onto the forceps and the rest onto the wound. He didn’t care. Infection could be haldled. Dead people couldn’t. He needed a drink. The black guy was looking away. He gripped the forceps hard. He stared at the bullet. The swaying of the van. The pulsing artery. The spinning lamp. And then for one moment - one fraction of a second – it all stood still. He reached in and pulled it out in one smooth motion. He dropped it onto the floor with a clang.

“Close it. Pressure. Pressure”, he screamed. The kids put large pads of cotton and pressed down on the wound. Within minutes it worked. The dripping slowed down.

Burke clumsily sat down on the floor in a corner. Hugging his knees. His hands shook inconsolably. He shoved them inside his shirt to hide it.


O'Malley's Descent

Chapter VII

continued from chapter VI: breakout

One of the key features of the Poole Street police station was its heritage holding cells. Half submerged below ground level, there were three cells. The walls were built of the toughest granite just like the rest of the building. The gates were made of iron and steel with immense locks. The only new addition was an electronic door to the entrance of the basement. And a uniform who sat just outside.

It was considered to be the most secure holding facility of its kind.

Although new cells had been created at the back of the station, these ancient junctions were still considered to be very useful. It was chiefly maintained to hold high profile criminals as they were undergoing trial. The court house was 7 minutes to the North. Saved them the journey all the way from Raven Woods Correctional Facility. Also minimized the risk of having the convoy blown to bits on the way. Or having key witnesses dying because of one of the sudden and frequent prison riots. So they held them here while they were still worth something to the state. Quite literally, under the arse of the city’s toughest cops.

By the time O’Malley got downstairs, the uniforms had pushed out the truck. The smoke was clearing and they were running around aimlessly, their weapons drawn. Sirens were going off as they found their squad cars. The station was almost empty. He got to the electronic door. What was the code? He was one of the few people who knew it. He scrunched up his face and slammed his forehead and it suddenly came to him. 362432. Perfect dimensions. The door flew open.

The first cell confirmed what O’Malley had been fearing. There was a hole in the back of the cell. Blown apart by a huge charge of explosives. Just about large enough for someone to crawl through. But nobody had been held in the first cell so it hadn’t mattered.

The second cell had held that slimebag Baine. And it was empty as well. The whole looked larger. Somebody had pulled out loose chunks of the wall. Baine was small anyway so he had squirmed through like the snake he was.

The third cell held Eduardo. And it wasn’t empty. Yet.

Eduardo was clawing at the wall like desperate feret. Rumble cascading around him. He was pulling out chunks of stone and throwing it away. The whole got larger as O’Malley watched.

He didn’t know what to do. The cell was locked. The guard would have the keys and he had no idea where the guard had run off to. So O’Malley did the only thing he could. Threaten.

“Freeze. Stop what you are doing right now and move away from that wall.” O’Malley pulled out his gun and pointed it straight through the bars.

Eduardo didn’t stop. He didn’t even care. He pulled out even more chunks of rock.

O’malley cocked his pistol and knelt down, taking aim. This time Eduardo turned.

“It doesn’t matter brother. I am dead either way. Maybe I deserve to be dead. So you can shoot me if you want. At least I will know my baby brother can’t be bullied anymore.” He gave a little laugh. “So I am going to go for it. Just like the guy next door. Maybe you’ll miss. Maybe you’re gun will explode. I got nothing to lose. But I can win my freedom.” He turned around and pulled out a large chunk of granite, which crashed into the floor.

The hole was big enough now. Eduardo pushed himself through it but got caught at the shoulders. He pulled back and tried to claw away some more rubble. Maybe another minute. O’Malley took aim at his thigh. The fleshiest part. He could wound him enough to stop him. But thighs were risky because of the femoral artery. The shoulder then. As long as he missed the lung.

He tightened down on the trigger as Eduardo pushed himself against the hole again. Suddenly his shoulders went through. Chest upwards he was out. Maybe this was right. Maybe this should happen. There was no way Eduardo would make it out of this mess through the legal channels. Maybe this was the only chance he would have at freedom. As a brother, maybe this was the only gift O’Malley could ever give him.

He took his finger off the trigger.

The three shots went off so close to O’Malley head that his ears would ring for days after.
They hit Eduardo in the back. In a neat triangle around his heart. The body jerked with every shot and then went still and slid out from the hole. It left a streak of red on the wall of the cell as it collapsed face down onto the floor. A pool of blood started spreading rapidly over the grey concrete floor.

O’Malley turned around.

The barrel of Quinn’s magnum revolver was still smoking. He was still peering down the sights.

“Dammit O’Malley. What were you waiting for? Christmas?”, he said.

One more episode... till all the questions are answered... all the puzzle pieces fall in place... the finale of "O'Malley's Descent".... you can never guess what happens next!!!!


Burke & the Wolves

Chapter II

Not the Best Laid Plans

continued from Chapter I: Starting with a Bang

Jimmy/Jammy had got what he deserved.
The plan had been working. Manny had crushed the truck into the entrance. He was unscathed. He and Jimmy/Jammy were covering the ground floor windows. A couple of pigs had popped up their heads, but Daka and Manny had discourage them with a few rounds.

Then there was the silence, which got to Jimmy/Jammy. The silence killed the kid. “I am gonna get me some pigs!”, he had yelled and jumped out of cover.

Seconds later his head was blown away.

And that set off panic. They pulled him in and a large sweaty guy went to work. It looked to Burke as though that guy was supposed to be the medic or something. He fumbled with the kid’s clothes tried to steady his jerking body. He took off the mask from the kid’s head and realized that his fingers were covered in blood and brains. And he was shocked. There was another couple of kids, almost clones of Jimmy/Jammy who just stood over the body. One kept mumbling “Ohmygod.! Ohmygod!”. The other was fighting back tears. The large sweaty guy was trying to give him CPR. He was doing it all wrong. Either it was panic or ignorance. But instead of giving a cardiac massage, he was just crushing the kid’s ribs in. Burke would have said something but there was no point. CPR can’t do much good if half your head is splattered over the pavement.

So these were the children of the revolution. The Wolves.

“He’s here”, yelled Manny.

Burke could see a short plump figure standing across the road. Daka fired off a few rounds and beckoned him to make a run for it. Which the man did. He ran as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.

When he was about 10m from them, the shots went off, and the man hit the pavement.

Now even Daka had panic in his eyes.

He poked around and fired wildly with their only automatic rifle. “I see him. I see the pig.”

Manny was barking orders.

“The smokers. Throw the smokers. He’s alive. I can see him move. He have to get him out of here. You. Noob. You don’t have a mask.”

He was talking to Burke. The big guy and the two other kids had given up on the body and they were throwing canisters onto the streets. They exploded when they hit the asphalt releasing thick black smoke. It had an awful odour which burnt Burke’s nostrils. He shook his head. He didn’t have a gas mask.
Manny pulled him up and suddenly pushed him out of the cover of the alley. What was he doing? He didn’t want to end up like Jimmy/Jammy.

But no shots were being fired. The smoke was already thick as a blanket.

“Go get the vans. And don’t breathe.”, ordered Manny.

Burke looked over at Daka and he nodded. The three others had also run out of the cover and were lifting up the short fat man from the road. They were doing it wrong again. If he was shot in the shoulder, they shouldn’t pull him up by the arm like that.

Suddenly Burke swallowed a gulp of the smoke and started coughing violently. It was burning up his insides. He couldn’t stay here. So he ran down the roads, covering his mouth. The vans would be just around the corner. Havelock ave off Poole Street.

Even the best laid plans failed. And this plan hadn't even been half decent.

Something told him, this would be a long night.


O' Malley's Descent
Chapter VI
A Breakout

continued from Chapter V: A shock

O’Malley recovered quickly. The ground had stopped shaking. Plaster was still raining down from the ceiling. For a second he thought the roof might collapse or the walls might cave in. But nothing happened. He crawled out from underneath his desk. At that very moment there was screech of tires and another crash on the streets. He pulled out his desk and turned it upside down. He sorted through the mess find handgun and a handful of bullets. He moved to one of the windows, loading his gun as he walked.

The streets looked. And quiet. Strangely quiet. He quickly took a peek outside. A truck had crashed into the front of the building. Right into the doorway, blocking it off. It was an attack. Somebody was to out to get them. He took another peek looking for the source of the explosion. There was smoke coming from somewhere but he couldn’t be sure. But the building wasn’t on fire.

There were shouts from downstairs. The boys were getting organized. But there weren’t too many of them at this hour. O’Malley felt a slight chill down his spine. He didn’t know what he was up against. He didn’t know what was out there. Maybe they had gone. If they were smart they would have left already. This was just a message. Or maybe they had other plans.

He slowly peeked out again. And that’s when he saw the first one. A skinny young lad, in the alley across the station, poking his head out. The gas masked on his head almost made him look like some baboon. He held a gun his hand. A pistol. O’Malley took aim and fired 4 shots. The boy’s body jerked backwards and the top of his head just disappeared. O’ Malley smiled to himself. Got him.

But then there were return shots. The boy hadn’t been alone.

O’Malley ducked down and started crawling to a window from which he would have a better view. Maybe they hadn’t actually spotted him. Logically they would be covering the downstairs windows. If he was lucky he could maybe get another one. There was banging from downstairs. The uniforms were trying to move the truck so that they could get out. They were brief shots exchanged. O’Malley built up his courage and took another peek.

And that’s when he saw it. A short, round figure wildly running across the street towards the alley. Almost plodding and rolling. Like a circus midget. He would know that shape anywhere. Baine. They had him in holding cell number two in the lockup. And there he was now. Running. O’Malley lined up his sights and took two more shots. One missed. One got him. Knocked him flat on the ground. But it wasn’t a kill shot. Maybe the shoulder. But before he got get another round off, there were return shots. But stronger this time. No longer handguns. Automatic rifles maybe. And they had spotted him. As he ducked, the remains of the window he was at was blasted to shreds. A sliver of glass cut his brow, drawing blood. And there were three more explosions. Bombs. A thick white, acrid smoke filled the air. O’Malley coughed and gasped. The shots subsided and he tried to take another look outside. There was thick smoke everywhere. It looked like Baine was no longer there.

Then it hit him. This wasn’t an attack at all. It was a prison break.

Shit! Edward.

stay tuned.. only a couple of of more chapters till the shocking and dramatic conclusion to "O'Malley's Descent"


Burke & the Wolves

chapter I

Starting with a bang

They were running late. Not just a little late… very late. But Burke couldn’t say or do anything about it. He was just supposed to be an observer. He had been allowed to come along only because he was Daka’s friend.

So he just sat there and observed. The streets were empty. As most streets were in Poison Bay this time of the night. Honest, straight living people knew better. He was sitting crouched uncomfortably in the edge of a little alley. With four other men, uncomfortably close. They were all huddled together in a tiny piece of shadow that gave them a degree of invisibility. But at the same time allowed them to look outside – at the streets, and their target. To his right was the young kid. Jimmy, Jammy… what was his name? He could see the nervousness in his face. Sweat running down his bony face in steady little streams. But his lower jaw moved almost constantly. He was shivering. His hands gone completely white. Drained of blood because he had been clutching the gun so hard. He shifted uncomfortably to keep the circulation going and caught Burke looking at him.

“What ?”, he spat out.

Burke immediately looked away. There were three others somewhere behind him. He didn’t remember the names. But they were all young and fresh faced. Burke didn’t dare turn around to look at them. But the rapid breathing and the sound of constant rustling coming from behind him told Burke that they were nervous too. Probably didn’t look much different from Jimmy or Jammy. Burke didn’t like it. Nervous young men with guns and bombs unsettled him. It was the waiting. That’s what was making them edgy. Daka and Manuel had been gone for over 15 minutes now. This was mismanaged. It was a bad plan. But sometimes even the worst plans worked if you pulled them off quickly and stupidly enough. But they didn’t even have that.

Burke had a bad feeling about this.

At that moment they saw a solitary man in a jacket walking down the streets. The safeties on the guns went off with a click. The man quickly ducked into the alley.

“Easy. It’s me”. It was Daka. “We’re all set. As soon as I blow it, Manny’s going to bring in the truck. Now I want everybody to stay down. No unnecessary shots. Save your ammo. We wait until Mr. Baine makes it out. He should be out in a minute. He knows we’re getting him. He’ll be ready. Hopefully the Pigs will still be too confused. But if any Pig comes out while Mr. Baine is making a run for it, fire at will. Johno, Woolly you have the smokers. Use them if you must. Remember, our prime concern is to cover Mr. Baine and get him to safety. Now. Hoods everybody.”

Everybody nodded. They pulled out gas masks and put them on. Burke didn’t have one.

“Ready?” asked Daka. He pulled out a tiny black box with an antenna on it. He nodded his head and pushed the button.

The explosion almost knocked Burke off his feet. The shockwaves rocked the old stone building to its core. The windows shattered, spitting out glass in every direction.


continued from: Chapter IV: Blood & Water
O'Malley's Descent
Chapter V
A shock

O’Malley read the piece of paper for the 15th time. His hands still trembled. It was almost too good to be true. Almost unreal.

The Poole Street Police Headquarters in Downtown Boisen Bay was a heritage building. It had served as the police station for close to a 150 years. Over the years people had changed it and upgraded it. Some with more imagination than others. But it still had an air of foreboding and gothic horror that loomed over the street. The ground floor was where the uniforms hanged out. Where they brought in people, booked them, harassed them. The basement had the holding cells. The dungeons.

The first floor was where the detectives and higher officer’s sat. Apart from the computers the place was still the same as 50 years ago. Creaking fans, white-washed walls, wooden desks and a red floor. Rows of old desks and swivel chairs spread all over the massive open floor. The walled-off office with horizontal blinds belonged to Quinn. The whole floor was empty, except for O’Malley. The silence was only broken by the constant and reassuring hum of the computers. Every now and then voices from downstairs would come through. The uniforms cracking jokes, or harassing prostitutes and drunks. It was late. Very late.

The last few days had been chaos. They had found solid forensic evidence. The car had prints and DNA from almost every victim. The knife DNA was matched to Eduardo. An orgy of evidence. But then the psych report came out. They knew about Eduardo's mental disablity. Some human rights groups got involved and hired flashy lawyers to defend him. The prosecution wasn’t ready to be beat. So they sent in their best as well. The media was in frenzy. Like jackals at a kill. The city couldn’t get enough of it. The trial was due to start in three days. Poison Bay held its breath.

O’Malley put down the piece of paper and sighed. There was only one thing he could do.

He walked up to Quinn’s office and threw the door open without knocking. Quinn was slurping some noodle soup out of a plastic container. He seemed surprised at the intrusion. O’Malley tossed the piece of paper at him.

“What’s this?”, Quinn asked, squinting at the piece of paper, trying to read it without bothering to put on his glasses.

“I got it from the Maine Street station on the northside”, O’ Malley said. “It says that they arrested one Eduardo Sanchez, the Eduardo Sanchez, for disturbing the peace at 7:13 PM. He was drunk and knocking over garbage cans. They threw him the lockup. Next morning, they realized his…. Err… condition and let him go.”

“So?” Quinn sounded annoyed.

“The date chief. Look at the date. The same day, at 3 AM, the body of Ann Rosenow was found at the docks. The whistler’s third victim.”

Quinn couldn’t hide the shock on his face. He set aside his instant noodles and reached for his spectacles.
“Okay” he said after reading it, “Maybe it wasn’t him. Maybe no. 3 was a copycat.”

“Ah!”, this was just what O’Malley had hoped for, “But the knife. We found the knife with Sanchez’s DNA next to no.3. We even found no. 3’s hair in the boot of the Sanchez’s car.”

The colour started to fade from Quinn’s face. Fast.

“See. This confirms what I have been suggesting all along. He didn’t do it. He’s almost a retard. And this just confirms it."

"But the shrink said he could be violent. He has a history of violence."

"Oh come on! He was in a cell across the town, but the evidence says he did it. The evidence is wrong. He’s being set up.”

“That’s enough!”, Quinn slammed the table, almost knocking over the noodles. “We have worked too hard and too long to let this get away. Now why wasn’t this in the databases?”

“Nobody bothered I suppose. It’s just some drunk. They probably pick up dozens of them every night. Somebody just filed in the report, and forgot about it. I pulled it out of archives in their basement.” O’Malley said.

“So nobody but you have seen it.”, the colour returned to Quinn’s face “Look O’Malley. The evidence is good. It’s clean. It will get him convicted. Get a dangerous man of the streets. However, if the defense get their hands on it, they are going to tear us to shreds. They’ll get him acquitted. Then they’ll sue us just for the heck of it. Damages. After all that, we won’t have a shred credibility left. Every time we submit the results of an investigation, some judge, some lawyer will go ‘You sure?’ We can’t let that happen. We can't.”

O’Malley stood there. Unmoved. He picked up the paper and read it again.

Quinn recognized that look. He had seen O’Malley like this before. Reasoning, arguments, threats – nothing would really work with him now. So he just picked up his cup of noodles and continued eating.
“Listen O’Malley.” Quinn’s tone had changed to steel. “As you can see I am on a break. As much as I have enjoyed this idle banter I must request you to let me enjoy my Udon noodle soup and please leave. I will be back on duty in 15 minutes. At that point you may come back here if you wish to present any new information in regards to a case you have been working. If you don’t come back, or the information has been misplaced, I will not ask you about it again. If you do present me with new evidence, I will be bound submit it as proceedings of our investigation. Which would make it available to everybody, including defense. And I will ensure you get full credit for that. Now go.”

O’Malley was back at his desk. He held the piece of paper tightly. His head was throbbing. Lack of sleep. He looked at the watch again. 2 minutes to go. What if Quinn was right? What if his judgement was clouded? He didn’t know. He didn’t know. Time’s up. He got up and straightened his tie. Show time.

The explosion knocked him off his feet. The schockwaves, shook the ancient stone building to its core. The windows shattered and spat out glass in every direction.


The Path of Xi

Chapter IV: Blind Date

continued from: chapter III: Pillow Talk
It was close to midnight in Chengdu. But that didn’t make much difference to prisoner no.4534. For her there were no days or nights. Just two and a half meals which tasted exactly the same. Suddenly there was a loud buzz and the door to her cell was pulled back and she saw the silhouette of a large man ambling in. The door pulled shut again.
Prisoner no. 4534 was seated on the floor, hugging herself, trying to keep the cold out of her bones. The large man plodded across and sat down on her cot. She was looking away. She didn’t want to make eye contact, but she kept stealing quick glances. The man looked like some inept government official. Fat, balding and burly. There was a an aura of sweetness about him. He smiled almost constantly. A large flashy grin which swelled up his pink rosy cheeks and revealed his slightly discoloured teeth. His shirt, two sizes too small was stretched to its limit. A button was missing. There were ketchup stains on the cheap tie which was loosened around his ruffled collar.He was like your uncle, the one that keeps pulling chocolate pennies out of your ears at Christmas.
“Well well well” the man said, “aren't you pretty”
He reached out and held her chin with his forefinger and thumb and started turning her face towards him. She immediately jerked her head away.
“Ooooh. Fiesty!”, the man laughed. A boisterous, booming laugh. As if he had heard the best dirty joke ever. “I’m Mr. Chong. What’s your name little girl?”
She wouldn’t say.
“Fine then”, the man pressed on. He pulled out a brown folder from inside his coat.
“Nice to meet you Ms. Juan Lei. Age 19. Mother, died at childbirth. Father fought for the People’s Liberation Army. Marine Corps. Impressive. Honourably discharged after a crippling knee injury during training. Owned a drug store in Yangying county, northwest of Beijing. Coached martial arts part time. Was found beaten to death in his store. Only daughter, Juan Lei, aged 13 was missing.”
He licked his fingers and turned the page. Taking a deep breath he continued.
“Shen Wong, the son of a wealthy industrialist and his two friends, Hsien and Lok were questioned over the killing. But the investigation ran dry and the boys were released. Instead it was suspected that the missing daughter probably had something to do with it. Maybe an unkown boyfriend.” He looked up “So what was it? They were drunk? Maybe wanted some cough syrup? Paracetamol? Money? Did you see it?”
The girl sat unmoved. So the man flipped some pages and continued reading.
“Seven months ago. Shen Wong died under mysterious circumstances. He was working late at his office and Wong Industries on the 46th floor. When he was possibly drugged, tied to a computer chair and wheeled out through the glass window behind his desk. A few weeks later, his buddy Hsien was found. He had been pushed out of his car, while returning home after a few drinks at a friend’s place. His tie had been stuck to the door, as somebody had driven around for several minutes. All that was left was a ball of flesh really. They had to identify him from dental records. Lok, had been under investigation for drug trafficking. He was under constant police surveillance. One night, soon after Hsien, they heard a piercing scream coming from his posh hillside retreat. The detectives had rushed in to find him, electrocuted in his spa, and a tiny figure running into the shrubs. They had cordoned off the area and captured a teenage girl.But not before she critically wounded one of the officers in the process. And that’s it! Now she has been tried. For four murders including her father’s. They are still trying to make up their mind. The death sentence? Or worse.”
The fat man held the top of the girl’s head in his hand and slowly but determinedly turned her face towards him.
“There we go. Such a pretty face. Now. I need you . I need people like you. That’s my job. Finding people like you. You’ll work for me. You’ll do whatever I say.”
The girl spat on his face.
The fat man moved with a speed that she couldn’t have imagined. He struck her somewhere in her neck. She felt like she had swallowed a rock. She couldn’t breathe. She flailed her arms around clasped at her neck. Wheezing and heaving. Trying to breathe.
The man slowly wiped the spit off his face. The girl was turning quite blue.
“Don’t ever do that again”, he said, “now stop sighing like a whore. Relax. Let it go. Close your mouth, count to three and breathe in slowly through your nose.”
The girl listened. She fought with her instincts and breathed in the way he said. Her lungs filled with air. Her head started to clear.
“Now. Let me finish. In return for you coming into my employment, your criminal will be expunged. Complete and unconditional. But you must keep up your end of the bargain. Don’t worry. I’m not going to rape you. You’ll be my soldier. Your country’s soldier. Is that clear?”
The girl kept silent. He stood up.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Not like you have a choice anyway. Either way you’re dead. I’ll come get you tomorrow.”

The next morning the warden released a statement. Prisoner 4534, Juan Lei, had died overnight, possibly of cholera. To contain the disease, her body and cell contents had been incinerated immediately.
For the next 4 years she had trained vigorously. Martial arts. Killing with swords, guns or bare hands. Trained in manners and etiquette. The arts, languages, geography and history. She was part of an ultra secret strike team for the Chinese Secret Service. But a more true description would have been – assassin, saboteur and spy. Her first mission had been a debacle. A double cross. Two senior fellow agents were killed. But she had come back alive. All objectives complete. Ever since then she was identified as someone a little special. Over the years she went on over a hundred missions in the farthest corners of the world, doing things most of us only see in our nightmares. Becoming famous without even being known.
And then one day she had broken.
Something had changed. Something was lost. Or maybe found. She wanted out.
But there was no way out. There never would be. Mr. Chong had promised her that a long time ago. So she made her own arrangements. For almost a year.
Then one day, while in a mission in Spain, she was gone. Vanished.
Somewhere along the line, she had found Poison Bay. She had found a mild mannered stock broker called Jeremy Pritchard. And she had found her home. The perfect cover. For the rest of her life.
But she had never stopped looking behind her. The faintest sound in the night would wake her. Cars backfiring would startle her. In the Boisen Bay busport, in deposit box no. 4534 she kept a gym bag stuffed with notes in a dozen currencies, six passports and an address book with the details of some people worth knowing.

Because she knew it would happen one day. Mr. Chong would find her. The man who had given her the name that was nothing more than a curse.


O'Malley's Descent
Chapter IV
Blood & Water

continued from: Chapter III: A dark room

It was his second day at junior high when the Brad Kelly and his gang grabbed him by his collar and shoved him into the boy’s room. They were going to take his lunch money. Then his dignity. But before they could do anything somebody came in.
“You touch him, you die.”
The Kelly gang burst out laughing. It wasn’t the threat, but who it came from. A skinny, short chump. They knew him. Twisted Ed, who sat at the last chair and tried to keep his head down. They didn’t know he could speak.
Which left them completely unprepared for what happened next.
It was as though the little man exploded into a ball of fists and kicks. He attacked Brad like an enraged wildcat. He punched and grabbed and scratched at what he could.
But Brad was about 3 times his size. And there were three of them.
The boys fought back but they could not stop Ed. He was being beaten simultaneously by all three of the Kelly’s but it was as though he didn’t feel a thing. It was suicidal. It was almost comical to watch.
Suddenly, the youngest of the Kelly gang ran in.
“The Princi’s on his way.”
That broke them up. The boys immediately withdrew, rushing out their footsteps echoing in the corridor.
Ed was bleeding quite badly. There were deep bruises in his eyebrow and lips. The left eye had swollen to a bright purple.
But he still managed a smile.
“That’ll be the last of ‘em. Don’t let ‘em ever bother you. If they ever try to get you again, you let me know. Okay? I’m always here. Just remember. I always got your back kiddo. You’re my baby brother. Remember that?”

That was probably the last good memory O’Malley had of his older brother Edward. Soon after things started to change. As Bernard excelled in both the classroom and the playing field, Edward slumped to an all time low. He could not cope with studies. He wasn’t fit enough sports. Almost nothing sustained his interest. He would have wild bouts of anger, with prolonged periods of depression. They took him to the doctor. Things were not right. His IQ was marginally below “normal” levels. He had borderline autism. Traces of manic depression. And a dash of psychosis. Twisted Ed. Bernard had never really liked his brother. He always thought of Ed as an embarrassment, a burden. So he would distance himself. Always had.
Ed came home with tears in his eyes and he confronted their father. The long guarded awful secret was finally out.
Francis O’Malley had been a giant of a man, both in character and build. But there had been a dark night in his life as well. When even he had a made a mistake.
Her name was Gloria Sanchez. He hadn’t seen her after that night. And he had tried to forget about her. But one morning, almost 5 years later, they had received a letter. Gloria had died. But she had a son. Eduardo.
Francis’ son.
The little boy was to be put up for adoption. But she had said in her will that Francis should be informed. Francis’ hands had trembled when he had read the letter as tears ran down his face. He could not turn his back on his family. Eduardo was family.
Glenda O’Malley had been let down by her health all her life. She had always been frail, weak and seriously ill. The doctors had written off any chances of her bearing a child. Her heart wasn’t strong enough. When Francis broke the news to Glenda she had cried. Deeply hurt and disappointed by the an she had worshipped. But even though her heart was weak, it was large. Next week, they had adopted Eduardo and had christened him Edward.
But 2 years later, a miracle happened. They named it Bernard.
But now one of Gloria’s brothers had tracked Eduardo down and contacted him. The secret was out. Eduardo finally had the answer to why he had dark skin and hair when his parents did not.
The last time Bernard had seen Edward, he was sitting on his bed. His cheeks wet from crying. Weeks after his 16th birthday.
The next day he was gone.
Francis had torn apart Boisen Bay looking for Edward. He had found him too. But the son he had brought with love and care was gone. His name was Eduardo Sanchez and he spent time with Gloria’s drug dealing gangster brothers. He had become one of them. A dope pusher and user. A criminal. Menace to society. And there was nothing Francis could do about it. You can repossess your valuables, but you can’t repossess the most valuable thing of all. Your children.
Francis and Glenda O’Malley had died barely 8 years later. Two months between them.
Bernard had met Eduardo some years before. Sitting in a police station. Arrested for DUI. They had seen each other but neither would allow that to show. But things had changed somewhat. Eduardo was no longer a criminal. He was no saint either but he was trying. He had left his gang and taken up a job. Good honest work. And he was working at it. From time to time he would go back to his old ways, but something would again put him back on the straight path. O’Malley secretly kept tabs on him. He would walk by Ed’s apartment late at night, trying to catch a glimpse of him eating dinner. But he never met him. He was still too ashamed of his brother.
But suddenly now he didn’t think of all that. He didn’t think of all those embarrassing moments his retarded, violent brother had caused him. All he could think of was his second day at Junior High. And Brad Kelly. And the promise.
“I always got your back kiddo. You’re my baby brother.”
Ed had been there when he needed him. Now it was Bernard’s turn.

continued chapter V

About me

Last posts



ATOM 0.3