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Wednesday, December 29, 2010



Welcome to the best time if my life. Alone. All alone in this body with no one else to share it. I was so happy that I could have giggled.

Not that I did, of course.

The train sped through the winter countryside, passing through gray fields under equally gray clouds. The unbroken seas of dead grass was broken by the occasional tree, with its ugly, naked branches clawing at the sky.

I loved the view.

I got off at some station called Hanover Hauptbahnhof. I don't remember why, I think its cause I saw some cute chicks at the platform. The train sped off after its stop, I had already forgotten about it. I had left the station and was now walking into a large square, with some statue of a guy on a horse with its ass faced towards me. Nice way to greet tourists.

I walked on past the square and into the city. This was Hanover (yes, dumbass, the station was named after the city), and I had no idea why the hell I was here. So the first thing I did was hail a cab.

"Wohin?" He asked.

"Ich muss zum Flughafen fahren." I replied. "Schnell."

He nodded, and I sat inside. We got onto the Autobahn, and the driver assured me that we would reach the airport in under twenty minutes, unless of course, I would like to somewhere else.

Why the hell not?

I asked him where the fun places in town were.

He gave a sly smile. "Sie suchen eine Freundin? Ich kann Ihnen die. Guter Preis, Gute Mädchen."

I smiled at that too. German chicks were hot. "Geschehen."

He took the first cut back into the city, taking the cab deeper and deeper back into Hanover. I checked my wallet. Out of the six hundred thousand I had gotten from the fat-fuck, I had just about two hundred left, enough for a couple of nights on the town, at least.

The man finally dropped me off at a three story building, easily as wide as it was tall, if not more. This had to be the place. I knocked on the door, and after a minute, it opened.

A girl stood there, blonde and curious. At that second, I knew I would be banging her. She opened the fully, now smiling slightly at me. Yeah, the bitch knew why I was here. She grabbed me by the hand and lead me into a huge room, easily two stories large with inner balconies lining the walls, all the while chatting gaily in German. I just nodded and looked around, spotting a red head looking coolly down at me from one of the balconies.

Screw the blonde, I wanted this one.

But then I felt someone else by my side, and I turned to see another girl, smiling coyly at me as she twisted her arms with mine, whispering into my ears. I replied by tightly grabbing her ass and whispering back. This was an all-you-can-eat-buffet, and I had no clue where to start.

"Jetzt, jetzt! Lassen Sie ihn sein! Lasst uns mit ihm reden."

I turned to the sound of the voice. Another woman, this one older than the rest, walked into the room, smiling at me as well. But while the others were giving me dirty, naughty looks, this one's smiled was the dirtiest of all glowing brightly in the face of a potential customer.

"Welcome to the 'Mansion der Liebe', sir." She beamed. "We hope you will spend the night."

"Ich habe vor ein paar Ausgaben." I replied.

Her eyebrows went up in surprise. "Pardon me, but your German is very good. Yet I do not think you are from here."

"I'm just passing by. And I'd like a pit stop."

She smiled at that. "Of course you would, you must be tired yes?"

She turned to one of the girls. "Montieren Sie alle schnell! Wir haben einen Gast bei uns heute Abend."

The girl quickly nodded and sped through one of the doors. I stood there, now alone with her. The other girls had disappeared as well. The brothel owner took me by the arm, leading me into another room as well, all the while chatting some bullshit about the place's history.

"... even during the Third Reich, the Manison der Liebe still held its status, and even entertained many officers amongst its halls. But enough of this, as you are obviously interested in something else."

We'd reached a large pair of double doors, which after a quick wink at me, she opened. 

"I hope," She said. "That you will have a good time."

I opened my eyes, and stared at the full moon above me. There were a few clouds in the air, slowly billowing across it. The blonde snuggled against my arm, sleeping deeply. The red head still lay on top of me, asleep as well. I slowly pushed her off me and stood up, staring at the view through massive french windows. Seeing the city lights stretch for miles.

I had booked three and taken them to the best room in the highest hotel. Now I was thinking of how to blow the top three floors off, one for each chick. But you generally don't find high-grade explosives in a hotel penthouse, so it was just a bloody daydream.

Life was good. I was happy. And no one had to die yet. Except for the third girl, I knew I should have taken a brunette instead. 

I had three more weeks before he came back, though I didn't know it at the time. People say that you don't get much free time in life. Until now, I never had it. And as I looked out at the city, I realized that it was probably the best thing in life.

After sex. And explosions. And breaking a neck. And running for your life. And-

Alright, so maybe its not the best thing in life, but it definitely makes top ten.


I'm a little excited cause I get to start it this time. Normally he's the one talking in the beginnings, and I have to stay shut and listen to his crap. But now he's the one stuck in the room and I get to talk about this. 

I had spent the last few weeks doing nothing. Well, there were enough of bitches and booze, but nothing fucking productive. I hadn't even punched a guy in the past five days, let alone slit his throat and throw the body off a building. I needed a bang, something big enough to get the world's attention. This wasn't the first time I had thought about this, I had made so many plans of mass destruction. But no, I didn't want to blow anything yet, I needed something without using C4, but just as effective in sending a message to the world.

And then I saw her face. And I knew what to do.

It'd be perfect, all I needed to do was figure out the details, and that would barely take any time. By the end of the week everything was ready.

The M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System is manufactured by the Knight's Armament Company in Titusville, Florida. The system incorporates a Leupold 3.5–10× variable power daytime optic, Harris swivel bipod, AN/PVS-14 night sight and PALs magazine pouches. The rifle has ambidextrous features such as a double-sided magazine release, safety selector switch, and bolt catch. The magazine can hold 10 or 20 rounds and has an effective range of 800 meters. The bullet will rip through a car door and out the other and. All this made the SASS the second deadliest rifle in 2007.

Heh... So  this is what love feels like. Ma, I'm a gettin' married.

The rifle felt perfect in my arm as I glanced out of the window. The parade had started to drive by, but her carriage was still hidden from sight. A full battalion of special force soldiers marched past, their suits crisp and their boots shining. I resisted the temptation to throw a few grenades into their lot, I had to wait for the mother-load. 

Once again, I glanced out of the window at the buildings around me. I could see the tell-tale signs of others snipers positioned around the street, it was their job to protect. I had chosen well, the twelfth floor of the office building was deserted. Everyone was downstairs, eager to join the celebrations. I was hidden behind the reflective glass, and covered in a layer of camo-foil to hide my heat signature. I had done my research very well.

Only the tiny scope and barrel peered out into the streets below, patiently waiting.

You should have seen how excited I was. This was my fucking moment, and I hated him so much for ruining it.

I didn't have a choice.

Bullshit. You could have let me take the shot, then taken control. Or better still, you should have just let me be. You even did a fucked up job of escaping, and I had to pull our ass outta there. Shit man, you should just crawl back inside and never come back out. You don't even know how to treat this body.

And you do?

Saved our asses every single fucking time I took over, cleaned up every mess you made.


Crap, not this again. Listen, just carry the fuck on, will you. Stop crying over that already. Plus, they already know about Hong Kong, they want to know about now. Tell them.

................. alright.

Thank you.

Fuck off.

I blinked. I could feel my finger already pulling on the trigger, and through the scope, I could see-

Oh shit.

As I realized what was happening, I could feel the trigger pressing backwards. I think he was still controlling that hand, but I'm not sure. So what else could I do? I moved the rifle just as the trigger was pulled back and the 7mm bullet hissed through the air.

Do you know what happens if you move a sniper rifle while trying to fire it? Its not very pleasant. The recoil, which is supposed to be absorbed by your shoulder, instead came down with all its force on my collarbone. It didn't break, but I could swear I heard a slight crack, and for a second was paralyzed by the pain.

As soon as I could, I looked through the scope, frantically trying to see if I had hit her. I breathed a sigh of relief when I could see the Queen, now under the protection of an army of agents, being rushed from her royal carriage to safety.

The next second, the world around me erupted in a shower of glass and plaster as dozens of bullets burst through the window. I gasped in pain as I took two in my left thigh and another that passed straight through the fleshy part of my shoulder. I fell backwards, crashing to the ground, as I could hear even more bullets rush through. Over it I could hear the steady thump of a helicopter, growing closer and closer.

They say that when you're near death, your body automatically blocks out pain and boosts your senses and strength. I can certify that when you're near death, you're pretty much the same, only shitloads more scared.

I pulled myself to my feet. Using the walls as support, I hobbled away from the windows, across the building floor until I came over to the other side. The sound of the chopper was directly above me, and I knew it was only a matter of seconds before the doors burst open to reveal squads of men in black Kevlar with very large guns. I had left the sniper rifle where I had fallen, so painfully with my good hand, I drew out my Colt and shot at the windows on the other side of the building. The glass didn't shatter, but I knew that the bullets would have weakened it considerably.

I rolled a chair through it for good measure, sending it flying out of the window in a shower of glass.

Heh...Déjà vu

I could hear footsteps behind me. The would be here any second now. In front of me was my only escape route, and it didn't look good. This side of the building overlooked the Thames, which at this time of the year had patches of frozen ice floating on top of it. And this jackass had chosen a building which directly overlooked such a patch.

Alright, so my research wasn't perfect.

The wind blew through the opening, and I shivered. The pain in my shoulder and leg were about to make me pass out, and I could barely move. But yeah, I jumped. Fell is more like it. I could feel the wind rushing by, this strange feeling of weighting nothing and a thousand pounds at the same time, and the ice just grew closer and closer until all that I could see was the white...

I was lucky enough for me to break through. I wasn't lucky enough to stay there, as the current sent me swirling away from the hole and under the unbroken sheets. The pain in my limbs wasn't there anymore. And that scared me. I knew that the numbness only meant that I was freezing to death.

Unless the drowning beat me to it.

My lungs were screaming for air. I tried hard to break at the ice, but it was too thick over here, having spent weeks freezing to a solid layer over the water. The current was stronger now, and was pulling me down, away from the surface. Whatever oxygen I had was all but spent, and I resisted the desire to breathe in, forcing myself to calm down. Wasn't working. My senses began to dull, it grew darker, and the cold seemed to wrap itself around me as it grew darker and colder and darker and...

I think... I think I died.

And I was hoping you'd have stayed that way. Do you know what it was like not having you around? It was one of the best fucking times of my life. Scratch that, it was the fucking best time of my life. You were gone, and the second I took over, once again I had to get us out of the mess you'd gotten us into.

I got us into?! Me?! You asshole, you tried to kill the Queen, not me, if you hadn't even been there in the first place, we-

Yeah, yeah. Well as it turns out, God did save the Queen, and left us at the bottom of the Thames to boot. See? I told you he was an jackass.

Just shut up and continue.

Well, now's there's not that much to tell, you got the best part. Unlike this pansy here, I know how to swim properly, and I know that you don't fight the fucking current, you flow with it. I just had to hold on until the water swept us away from the ice to a part of the river that still hadn't frozen over. And while you were locked away inside, I reached the surface, got away safely, broke into a vet clinic, took out the bullets, and bandaged our-self up. And then after three packets of dog biscuits, I passed out.

I woke up to a screaming lady. The nurse had come in to open up all the rooms, and was more than a little surprised to see a bandaged man passed out in Exam Room 3. I quickly snapped her neck, before grabbing my clothes and quickly stepped out. The clinic was still deserted, and I left there, heading down the street. I picked up a newspaper on the way. The Headlines read, "ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON QUEEN FOILED, SUSPECT DISAPPEARED UNDER THAMES. SEARCH CONTINUES."

That was the worst part of the whole damn thing and I hated how he had stopped me from pulling it off. But every cloud has a silver lining, and this one was pure fucking gold. He was dead! Dead, and now this body was mine. I laughed with joy, startling the people walking around me. But I didn't care because now I was free! Free to what I wanted, whenever, however! This was better than sex, better than death.

This was freedom.

That is, of course, until you came back.

I had to.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Before I continue, I need to make a few things clear.

Firstly, I am not a bad person. I'll admit to doing a lot of bad things, but those were acts of necessity, never pleasure. I don't like what I sometimes get involved in, but I have no choice.

Before he continues, I also need to make a few things clear.

Whatever he said? Pretty much the opposite for me.

Secondly, when I look back at everything, there's just so much of the good and bad, that its hard for me to tell which from which. Could working for the Triads be a good thing, if you were part of a family? Would saving a international company be a bad thing if you had to kill a few dozen innocents to do it? There were shades of gray in everything I've done.

Ah, we're just wasting time with this. No matter what I say now, it won't change what happened. And instead of trying to make myself feel better, I might as well just get on with it. When a man takes you into his family, when you have no place to go, no other choice to make, and when you actually make something out of the life he gives you, you know you owe him all that you have, all that you are.

Money was such a man, and I killed him.

Jacinto was also such a man.

I nervously stood at the road side corner. Our hotel was only half a mile away, and I was uncomfortable about doing the trade here. But I had no choice. They chose the exchange point, I could only say yes. Jacinto was still in the shower when I left. By now, he would have found out, which meant I didn't have much time. I'd board a flight today, and get out of this bloody country for good.

Rahid came, alone like he said he would. He had a duffel bag in his left hand, and he handed it towards me, as I pushed forward the box that contained the panel. He knelt to pick it up, bending down on his knees.

My hand whipped out the Colt and slammed the butt of the gun on the back of his head. Rahid crumpled like a pile of bricks as he fell to the floor. I paused for a second, till date I'm still not sure what made me do that. But it was only for a second. I hoisted the duffel bag over my shoulder, picked up the panel, and ran for my life.

I had only made it a few steps, when I heard the car screech around the corner. Two rifle-totting bastards leaned out of the windows, taking aim. I fell to the floor as bullets tore away at the wall behind me, taking aim from the ground. I shot once, twice, thrice. The last two bullets went straight to the driver's chest. Now a dead weight on the gas, I watched as the car kept on speeding.

Right towards me.

Swearing, I leaped to the side to avoid becoming roadkill. The car shot over the pavement and crashed into the building on the other side. The driver was dead, the gunners knocked out from the crash. Wincing as I got up, I quickly hoisted the duffel bag again and looked around for the box containing the panel.

Boy, did you fuck up.

I could see what was left of the box, under the car. One close look told me all I needed to know. The stone tablet was broken, no longer a series of pictures on a slab, but now just some pieces of crushed rock.

Sorry, Jacinto.

I kept on running. I knew how this works, and Abdul wouldn't have sent just one car for back up. I turned corner after corner, trying hard to search for a cab. I needed to get to airport fast. Once inside, I knew that I'd be safe.

This is the part.

I rounded a corner and crashed straight into Jacinto. We both fell sprawling to the ground.

"Lurch, what the devil? The tablet is missing from the hotel. Do you know what happened to- is that a gun in your hand?"

"Jacinto, I don't have time for this. Get out of  my way."

Understanding crept into his eyes. "What did you do with the tablet, Lurch? Where is it?"

"Jacinto, I-"

The first bullet missed me by inches as it crashed into Jacinto's shoulder, sending him spinning to the ground. I whipped around, falling to my knees as I did so, bringing my gun up to my sights as I looked for the shooter. My eyes widened as I saw not one, but two SUVs roaring up the road towards us, gunners popping out of almost every available window.  But my eyes were on the man standing up the forward SUV's sun roof, readying an RPG in his hands. Without hesitating, I fired, clipping the man just as he launched the grenade. Its course veered as it exploded into the building's wall above us, showering Jacinto and me in a rain of plaster and debris. Grabbing Jacinto, I dragged him through a hail of bullets towards the only sign of cover I could find. The door into the building behind us.

We entered a tiny lobby, decorated with a few paintings on the walls and a desk behind which I could see the trembling legs of the receptionist. Leaving him in his hiding place, I dragged Jacinto towards the lift, pressing on the button to open the doors. Thankfully the lift was already on the ground floor, and we got in just as the first of Abdul's lackeys jumped in through the door. I got him in the chest, just as the elevator doors closed, and we began a slow ascent to the top floor.

I took this time to examine Jacinto. It was bad. The shoulder wound was only the first. There was blood leaking from a hole in his leg, and his belly was bathed in blood as well. His face was pale and lined with sweat. The monocle had fallen out of his eye and loosely hung from the golden chain attached to his collar.

"Made... some friends?" he asked, coughing blood across his shirt as he did so.

"Rest now," I said. "Save your energy."

He laughed, bringing about another coughing fit. "What energy? I'm dying... you bloody idiot. And I... I have a feeling you have something to do with it, yes?"

I have never, never in my life felt as guilty as bad as I did at that moment. I still remember it with too much pain.

"Jacinto, I-"

"Spare it, Lurch." He cut me off. "I don't want to hear it. I always knew there was something... hidden about you... didn't expect it to be this though."

I didn't know what to say.

"You probably don't know what to say, do you?" He smiled grimly. "Strange, Lurch. I thought everything gets dark before death. I can still see you clearly. It... makes sense. Right now... right now everything makes perfect sense."

He reached out for my shoulder. "Run. I forgive you."

I blinked. He was gone. The elevator beeped as the doors finally opened.

My turn.

He was too far gone. Bloody fool didn't know what to do. I know he'll deny it if you ever ask him, but he was in fucking shock. Probably why it was so easy for me to take over. I stood up and quickly reloaded. I tightened the strap on my bag, and paused for a moment, just long enough to remove Jacinto's monocle and put it in my pocket. I then ran out of the elevator and burst into the stairwell. I could hear them rushing up the stairs, not waiting for the lift to come back down. I ran up as well, heading for the roof.

The door to the roof was locked. I shot the lock and kicked the door open. Sunlight streamed into the dusty corridor as I ran outside, avoiding a rusty satellite dish that had fallen of its stand and was now useless. I didn't slow down as I reached the end, and then leaped into the the air.

I landed on the next roof, some six feet away and two stories down. I turned around to see Abdul's men on the previous roof. I emptied the full magazine at them as I watched the faggots duck for cover. In the meanwhile, I ran for the roof access door, kicking it open and rushing down the stairs, taking them three at a time. I reached the ground floor and burst out of the building, gun armed and ready.

Turns, out I didn't need it. 

The two SUVs were still there, roughly parked in front of the hotel and untended. I ran to the nearest one and spotted the keys still in the ignition. Talk about fucking lucky. As I was reversing, the first faggot  burst through the hotel door, having doubled back down. My bullet caught him in the eye and he went down without a sound. As the others came out behind them, I tossed a little gift I had found in the back seat.

A pair of grenades.

I did stay long enough to see the effects of my work. Blood and bits all over the sidewalk, and the door to the hotel was now just a few splinters hanging from its hinges. I slammed on the gas and sped down the road. Egypt had finally gotten too hot for me. As I drove down the road, I felt something fall down my cheek. I dabbed at it to find something shining on my fingers.

Tears! The cunt had actually started crying! I laughed to myself as I pulled into the airport, leaving the car in the parking. I headed towards the first airlines counter I could see. My passport and visa were in the duffel bag as well, and I quickly paid for a ticket and quickly walked into the terminal. I still had my gun on me, but this wasn't the first time I was boarding a plane armed. I knew what to do.

As I looked out of the window, Luxor had already shrunk to a small patch of land surrounded by the endless sand. The Nile shone in the evening sun, its waters gleaming in an almost reddish hue. I reached into my pocket as I fingered with Jacinto's mononcle.

Where I was going, I might be needing it.

Monday, December 27, 2010


The ice cubes tinkled as I swallowed the last of my drink. Setting the empty glass on the counter, I gestured for a refill as I glanced around the bar again. The usual crowd surrounded me.

At the end of the counter sat the hopeless drunk, drowning each misery with another shot. Between him and me sat the businessman with his too curvy of an escort. Each of her fake laughs were accompanied by a slight hand on his thigh, and it wasn't too hard to see her eyes continuously darting to the bulge of the wallet on his pant pocket. A group of youngsters were there as well, celebrating someone's promotion. Youngsters. I don't think I was even older than them, but if you went through even half of what I have, you'd be feeling pretty old yourself.

I was still waiting for Jacinto. He had been in the Consul's office for over three hours, without any sign of coming out soon. Fed up with waiting, I left the building, eager for sanctuary in the first pub that I could find. Right down the road, the 'Desert Oasis' seemed like a gift from Heaven. I walked through the door, sat at the counter, and have been with a glass ever since.

The businessman finally got up, and after throwing a few bills on the counter, left with his arm around his escort, his hand lightly resting on her buttocks. I smiled knowingly as I turned back to my drink, knowing I would find solace only in the alcohol.

The bottle was over half empty, when I heard the door swing open. One "By Jove!" told me all I needed to hear.

"Sit down Jacinto," I said. "Have a drink with me. No bars in Karnak, remember?"

"My boy," he roared with glee."Today I will treat you to the entire bottle! Bartender, get us a bottle of your best!"

The bartender looked at him for a moment, before bringing out a dusty bottle and pouring some clear liquid into two glasses. Jacinto took one and handed me the other. "Cheers," he winked, and we downed the shots. I gasped and tried hard not to cough, it tasted like liquid fire in my throat. Jacinto blinked the tears out of his eyes, and then gestured for a refill.

"As much as I enjoy free alcohol," I finally spoke. "Could I be informed of the cause of celebration?"

He stood up and clapped my on the back. "Within the next two months, I will be leading a river expedition through first the Blue, and then the White Nile, in an attempt to find the true burial chambers of King Thutmose III! It took a while at the Consul's office, but after I was able to convince him of the authenticity of the panel, he was jumping out of his skin! Of course, he's mainly interested in the value of whatever treasures would be buried in the tomb. As the Consul authenticating the expedition, he'll get a huge share of whatever profits, some of which would be sent to museums in Egypt, others back home to Queen and Country. But I'll still be rewarded handsomely, and I will be the man who found Thutmose's tomb!"

He downed the next shot and roared, yes roared, in joy. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy, or so drunk. We'd reached the city of Luxor three days ago, having left Karnak earlier as planned. As soon as Jacinto had certified that the panel was real, he readied a jeep to go to Luxor the very next day, determined to get the permission and finances for an expedition to find the tomb. Without even hesitating, I joined his as well, desperate to get back to anything that even remotely looked like a city.

Luxor reminded me a lot of home. Built on the banks of the Nile, the city was hot, sweaty and crowded with people, traversing narrow lanes between closely-cropped houses. A myriad of telephone cables, washing lines and electricity wires crisscrossed between the buildings, with several crows perched on the, cawing down at the crowds that passed by. What was once Thebes, one of the greatest cities of the Egyptian Civilization, is now Luxor, Egypt's biggest open-air museum.

Not exactly Hong Kong, but it'll do.

Yes. He was back. And this time he wouldn't go away. It had started on the journey to Luxor, when for a split second, my mind hurt so badly, that I felt my head was going to burst. It was a white-hot poker of pain, that seared through my brain. It hurt so bad, that I couldn't even think. All I could do was clutch my head in agony and wait and wait and-

Are you done? It wasn't even that bad.

Like the last time, I tried with all my will to block him out, but-

But I don't just waste my time when I'm not around, see. I practice and practice until I know that you can't bock me out. I won't lie, I'm still not strong enough to take control. But I'm getting there, I can feel it. And when I do...

And he did. It wasn't going to happen for a while, but he did it again. And I hated him for what happened. I hated him because I couldn't blame myself for it, even though I wanted to get out of Egypt as badly as he wanted to. I should have stopped him, I should have never given up on trying to block him out. But it was like he was hidden somewhere, and while I could always hear him, I couldn't sense him, couldn't feel him anywhere. How could I stop something that wasn't even there?

He might not have even surfaced again if it wasn't for me. I should have just said no, found another way to leave. But I was desperate, that I was willing to do everything, anything to escape from this bloody desert. And he knew that, he knew that very well. Which is why I'm not the only one to blame for what happened.

The guy was huge, and he looked at me like I was a little bug. I gulped, and if not for the familiar feel of my Colt tucked into my belt, would have probably turned and gone another way. Plus, there was little chance that he had anything to do with-

"Your name Lurch?"

Great. Fucking brilliant.

"Yeah, I'm Lurch. Can I do something for you?"

The man chewed on his fingernail, spitting it out. "My boss would like a word with you. He's interested in your profession."

Kick him in the balls.

"My profession?" Right now the only thing that could define that word was escort to mad Britisher.

"Yeah, your line of work. Follow me, I will take you to him."

"That's sounds interesting, but I'm actually quite busy right now.-Chicken Shit- Perhaps a rain check?" I turned around and began to briskly walk away.

A hand the size of my head fell on my shoulder, stopping me cold. "He would like to see you, now."

The mammoth led me down a series of alleys, until we came to a narrow wooden door set into the wall. the door was painted green, and had something in Arabic written over it. My knowledge of the language still had to go beyond "Where is the toilet?", so I had no idea where I was being led into.

The sight stopped me cold. About twenty children, working in two lines, filling small plastic bags with snow-white cocaine. The dust was everywhere, on the children, some over the floor, I could even smell it in the air. What kind of a man has so much of cocaine that he can just let it lie all over the place.

That man.

He was dressed in traditional Arabic robes, though the gold chains and Ray-Bans dangling from his collar were a stark contrast. His skin was brown, and a neat beard framed his fat face. A belly that looked more at home on a pregnant buffalo bounced with every step he took, as he walked up to me and warmly took my hand.

"Mr. Lurch, I presume? Such as pleasure to finally meet you. I am Abdul Il-Nihas, and I welcome you to my abode. Please, this way, where we may talk in privacy."

He lead me to another room. I took one last longing look at all of that coke, but followed the lion in into his den. There was a huge wooden desk, behind which he sat on a leather chair that had to be modified in order to hold up his fat ass. The giant followed us into the next room as well, always standing right behind me. I didn't really like that, but what can you do?

"Now, Mr. Lurch, to business." He rubbed his palms together. "You and an acquaintance of yours are in the possession of a certain artifact. This artifact has come into the interest of certain... friends of mine, and they would like to acquire this artifact, for a reasonable price, of course."

"You're talking about the panel?"

"Yes, yes I am."

I shrugged my shoulders. "I'd love to work something out, but as you said, the artifact belongs to acquaintance, not me. And I doubt that he would sell it to you."

"Yes, we have already contacted Mr. Ambersworth, who was most... uncooperative."

I froze. The Colt was almost in my hand. "What did you do?"

Abdul smiled. "Nothing at all, Mr. Lurch. In fact I'm sure Mr. Ambersworth is comfortably resting in his hotel room. If anything, he must be curious of where you presently are. Which comes back to our discussion. My friends would be most appreciative if you could somehow procure this artifact and deliver it to us. We would reward you handsomely."

I raised my hands. "Look, I know how this works, and I'll let you know beforehand that-"

"Six hundred thousand USD as well as a new passport and visa to the destination of your choice. All can be ready and delivered to you by tomorrow, if you wish."

I gulped. The man had to be psychic, there is no other way he could have been so spot on.

I like it. I'd go for it in a fucking second. Part of me still wants to go to South Africa.

Abdul continued. "I'm sure a decision of such gravity can not be made in a few seconds, Mr. Lurch. Please take a day or two to think it over. My friends are patient, though not too patient. Rahid will see you out now, and will meet you again at this time in say, two days?"

I nodded, not daring to open my mouth.

"Good!" He warmly smiled. "I will see you then."

Friday, December 24, 2010


"So you really think Tuttu built some massive underground chamber in Karnak, one that is piled to the ceiling with treasure, and guarded by traps, never found till date?"

"Yep, and his name is not 'Tuttu', its 'Thutmose'." The grad student exclaimed, pulling back a stray strand of blond hair from her face. "That's why I came on this expedition, to see if I could find it.Mr. Ambersworth, most of the archeologists and egyptologists are skeptical about it. They think these secret chambers of Thutmose don't exist. But I have a feeling they're wrong, and I want to give it a look."

I stared at her, again distracted by the birthmark on her shoulder-blade. We had met yesterday over the camp dinner. She was cute and she wasn't boring, so I ended up spending the night in her tent. The next morning, she had broken into conversation about this 'mysterious, hidden chamber', and she couldn't stop talking about it after that. She loved this stuff almost as much as Jacinto did.

Figures... you'd have to have an erection for this shit if you come all the way down to this place just to look at some fucking walls and pillars.

I froze at once. The girl sensed my discomfort, but I waved off her questions, claiming I was just a bit sick. She offered to go get me some aspirin and food. I said yes, anything yo make her leave. As soon as she was done, I started focusing with all my will.

Wha-What the hell are you doing?

Stopping you from coming back.

You asshole! You stop that right now! I am not going the fuck back there! Will you... argh! Will you stop with your bloody struggling?

I tried harder and harder, willing him away with everything I could throw at him. But he was just too strong, I finally collapsed to the floor, my head ringing with pain. Everything was spinning, out of focus. And with a white hot poker of pain running through my skull, I finally blacked out.

I woke up to see Jacinto's monocle staring down on me again. My hand rushed out and gripped his arm.

"What day is it? Month? What month is it?"

Jacinto spoke softly. "Calm down, Lurch old boy, calm down. You've just been out for a few minutes. This young girl found you out cold, so she called me for assistance. I've even brought the doctor with me." He pointed to a man behind him. "Let him have a look, will you?"

The pain in my head was already fading away. "No, no I'm alright. Just tired, that's all."

"Young man," The doctor sternly spoke. "The desert is a harsh place to live in, you should not be-"

"I SAID I'M FINE!" My outburst took them all by surprise. Jacinto recovered first.

"He's just a bit tired, doctor, heavy work last night, you see." He said airily, winking once at the girl as well. "Just give him a few minutes, he'll be fine doctor. I promise I'll call you, if otherwise happens."

The doctor paused as though to disagree, but I gave him one look and he nodded in consent. He left, the girl walking out after him, making some excuse to check on some equipment. As soon as they were gone, Jacinto turned to face me.

"You are sure you're alright, aren't you?"

"Yes." I sighed. "I'm just tired."

"Splendid!" He beamed. "Because I was actually hoping if you would do me the honor of accompanying me on my walks today. There is one excavation sit nearby that's relatively new, and I have an educated hunch that there still might be something left in the ground, and I'm going to go take a gander. So? Shall we make it a date?" He jokingly (I hope, jokingly) asked.

It was not hard to decide. "Well its not like I have anyplace to go to? So, yes, I like to come."

"Excellent! We'll leave for the site in an hour, its just under a mile away."

The site was definitely more than a mile away. We'd walked for hours, winding through ruined streets, climbing over fallen building. Every now and then we'd pass some statue or monument, and Jacinto would take a moment to enlighten me about it.

"See that wall there? Right next to the cracked pillar? That is a Depiction of Tuthmoses III holding a Hedj Club and a Sekhem Scepter, while standing before the two obelisks he had erected here, in Karnak. Well, they was cut to shape in his reign, but were erected thirty-five years later."

"Where are the obelisks now?"

"The first, Thutmose's tekhen waty, stands today in Rome as the Lateran obelisk. The move from Egypt to Rome was initiated by the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. The other obelisk was also moved from Karnak to Constantinople under Emperor Theodosius I. Unfortunately, Theodosius had to cut the obelisk into three parts for transportation, and only the top section survived the journey. Both obelisks still stand to today in their new homes."

In time, we reached the dig site. Walking through a massive archway, we entered what seemed like it was once a town square. Ruins of buildings were on our sides, and I could make out what was left of the once stone ground. All around us were holes, perfect cubic depressions into the earth. I could see the overturned rocks and piles of sand around them, evidence that these digs were recent, still relatively fresh. A signboard was placed near each one, providing information about the hole. Ladders were placed in each one, providing an easy way to get in and get out. Without them, climbing out up the smooth, ten foot walls would be near impossible.

Jacinto wasted no time in darting about the place, scanning each part of the site to find the perfect place to start. I just stood there silently, waiting for him to settle down.

Twenty months.

I had no clue of what he had done in all that time. Even now, I still only know parts of it, not the whole picture, not even close. I had spent a lot of time thinking about it. The one memory I had, of running through this hallway, massive paintings on either side of me, was clear now. It was the Louvre, which meant I had spent time in Paris. Alarms were blaring and bright red lights were flashing from the walls, bathing the rooms in a hellish light.

That bastard took me all around the map. Did God only knows what with my body, to my body. I had other memories as well, but those were just hazy images, sounds of shouting and gunfire. With my luck, that could have happened anywhere. And why the hell Paris? What was he doing there, what was he planning? I shuddered, afraid for the first time because of him. He could get me killed, the bastard could be my death. What did he do in the Louvre? What did he do for the twenty months that I-

And that was probably the worst part. In those twenty months, I had no idea of what had happened to me. Hong Kong felt like only a few weeks ago, not over a year. And throughout that entire time, where was I? I had just disappeared, a vanishing act so brilliant that even I didn't know where I had gone.

And why do I keep on remembering a small room?

"Lurch!" Jacinto shouted, jolting me back to reality."Can you come over here?"

I headed towards one of the holes, from where his voice had come. I hurried a bit, curious. There was something off in his voice when he had called for him. He sounded different, not himself.When I came to the edge, I could see him down there, looking up at me. His eyes danced wildly, and I could see his that his hands were shaking.

"What's wrong?"

"Just please come down here. Fast."

I slid down the ladder and walked up to Jacinto, who was now on his knees, staring into the sand wall. I sat down beside him.

"Do you see it?"

I looked at him blankly. "See what?"

"Hold on, let me help." He grabbed my hand and made me touch the sand. Only, it wasn't sand. My fingers were brushing against something hard. And I could feel tiny grooves and rises in it as well. I looked at Jacinto in confusion.

"This isn't sand, its stone."

His eyes gleamed. "Not just stone, brush away the sand and see."

He joined me as pawed at the sand, removing the hardened layers as more and more of the stone became visible. I could now see the grooves and niches clearly, they were carvings of various images drawn into the rock. We were looking at a panel.

"Do you see these symbols? The picture of Thutmose?" He was nearly breathless now. "He's holding the Ankh, and his Ba is still with him. And he's... he's not in the Valley of the Kings!"

Later on Jacinto would proceed to explain me everything.In Egyptian Symbolism, the Ankh is the symbol of eternal life. The gods are often seen holding an ankh to someone's lips this is considered to be an offering of "The Breath of Life". The breath you will need in the afterlife. The Ba is someone's spirit, soul, personality, something like that. It would leave your body at the time of death and live freely. During the day, the Ba would make itself useful to whoever it could assist, and at night it would return to the tomb. At this time, it would look for the person to which it belonged. This would be the mummy.

Jacinto would go on to explain the rest. Firstly, there was the image of Tuttu, who still had his Ba perched on his shoulder during the time of day, which was the first time such a symbol had been seen. But at the same time, he had held an ankh to his chest, which meant that he was dead, yet his Ba had no left him.

But it was the third image that had sent my friend into a frenzy. It showed Thutmose, still with his Ba and ankh now sailing on a grand ship down a river. But as Jacinto went on to explain, the river on which he sailed was huge, with great forests on either side. The Valley of the Kings was a harsh wasteland, with just a few  narrow streams that coursed through it.

"These pictographs, Lurch, do you know what they're depicting? They're showing another location for where the body of Thutmose was taken. Which means they did not send his corpse to the Valley of the Kings. If these panels are correct, then Thutmose's funeral procession sailed to a forested area on a great river. That river can only be the Nile, which means... dammit!"

I looked at him. "What?"

The Nile is actually two rivers meeting into one, Lurch." He explained. "One is the White Nile, which starts in Rwanda, and passes through miles of rain-forest before reaching Egypt. The same can be said for it sister, the Blue Nile, whose source is located in Ethiopia. And if the possibility of this panel being accurate is true, then it the true Tomb of Thutmose III could be anywhere on either of these rivers!"

I was confused. "But I thought you told me they already found his tomb, as well as his mummified remains in the Valley of the Kings?" Isn't it also on display somewhere?"

"There are theories," Jacinto was in his feet now, rushing about in mad circles, his arms flailing about as he continued to explain. "Theories that many of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings are just a facade. That, the Pharaoh's people, fearing for the safety of his mortal coil, would hide it in some secret location, with the knowledge of that location, entrusted to a chosen few. In its place, they would have another mummified body, most probably some devoted followers, placed in the intended tomb in the Valley, thus completing the deception.The true body would be safe in its secrecy, the true tombs supposedly filled with treasures that made the ones recorded in the Valley of the Kings seem like cheap trinkets.  Of course, historians have found enough evidence proving that these theories are false and true, thus reducing the topic to a stalemate in today's discussions. But nothing so far has been like this. A proper, completely preserved panel. This could be the find of the decade. I could end up writing a full book on this, probably even two."

He snapped back to his senses and started to climb up the ladder speaking as he did so. "We need to get a team down here now, Lurch. I need this stone excavated and I need more opinions on this, now. We haven't got a moment to waste!"

And with that, he was over the ladder and out of the ditch, I could hear his footsteps receding as he ran towards the camp, shouting "God save the Queen!" once. I smiled at that, amused by his theatrics by his excitement. I turned around looking at the panel once more, realizing that thousands of years ago, some bugger had carved this out and hidden hit, hoping it would stay safe.Sadly, his plan had not been 'Crazy British Historian' proof, and the cat was finally out of the bag.

I gave the panel one last look before I began to climb out as well. I didn't know it at the time, but that panel would be my ticket out of here.

And it came at a cost that I should never have sacrificed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Karnak -or more specifically, the Karnak Temple Complex- was all of two things to me.

Stone. And sand.

Needless to say, I wasn't a big fan of either of them. On the other hand, Jacinto looked like he was in heaven. When the city finally came into view he gave a whoop of joy, jumping in his seat and accidentally knocking over the cup of tea that Charles was so delicately trying to sip at.

We lost him the first day. As soon as the convoy came to a halt outside the ruins, he leaped off the jeep with nothing more than a backpack and dashes off into the broken down buildings, lost from sight in moments. We didn't see him even once throughout the entire evening, but the sounds of 'By Jove!' and 'Jolly Good!' could be heard non-stop all around us.
Tired from the trip, most of the party began camping for the night.

"There will be an extra tent and bag for you, I'm sure." Charles said as he watched three diggers pitch up his tent. The majority of the convoy consisted of local Arabs, including the drivers and the digging force. Apart from Jacinto and Charles, there were few other foreigners on the expedition, a group of college students from America and a handful of eqyptologists and archeologists from here and there.

"A bag would be fine thank you. If its alright with you, I'd like to sleep in the open."
He snorted. "Go ahead, be my guest. But I must warn you that you'll have Jacinto for company. He enjoys sleeping outside too, you see."

I smiled politely. "I'm sure I can manage. Once again, thank you so much."

"Don't mention it." Charles had already turned around to return to the supervision of his tent.

Night came fast and was colder than expected. The bag kept me snug and warm, and I was only a few feet away from one of the fires they had made, enjoying the warmth tickling at the side of my body. They had given a spare change of clothes as well. Torn and in tatters, mine were useless. All I had from Hong Kong was my passport (a forgery, of course), some money (useless here), and my Colt (which was useless as well, unless I decided to take a shot at Jacinto).

I opened the passport and looked at my face. It was an Indian one, I had requested for an Indian when Money had asked me. He had smiled at that, pleased that I was holding on to my roots in some way, at least.

I can still see him smiling at me. I can still see him flying through the window.

It was difficult to sleep. And I was wide awake, when I heard the footsteps nearby. Instinctively my hand gripped gun, finger scratching at the safety. I slowly turned my head to the side to see a shadow moving about nearby. I relaxed and breathed out when I caught the glint of the monocle in the moonlight.

"Enjoying it so far?" I asked.

Jacinto spun around like a child caught stealing candy. When he saw it was me, he relaxed visibly.

"Ah, Lurch!" He said. "You still awake. Excellent! I was hoping for some company, and I wasn't desperate enough yet to go wake Charles."

He came over and sat down beside me. "All the wonders I've seen in a single day. Now I know why Greaves and Sicard fell in love with this place, there's something bizarre and beautiful about Karnak, yes, indeed there is."

"This is your fist time here?" I asked.

"Oh yes, first trip to Karnak. I mean, we've all been to Giza and I've even been parts of a digs in the Valley of the Kings, but this is my first time to Karnak. And it couldn't have been any later. My research is itching to get on its way again."


"Yes, I'm not here for fun after all, now am I? My work, in fact my life's work, has been the study and documentation of the life of Pharaoh Thutmose III. He was the first Pharaoh to unify North and South Egypt, his conquests brought the lands of Canaan, Syria and Mitanni under Egypt as well. And here, here in Karnak..."

He paused to look once again at the ruins. Bathed white in the glow of the moonlight, the ruins looked far different than in the day. Shadows hid many of the broken pillars and walls, and the buildings seemed to have an almost ethereal look to them. I half expected to see a couple of dark-skinned men in loincloths coming out from around a corner.

"Karnak," Jacinto continued. "Is probably Thutmose III's greatest achievement. Half of these structures were constructed under his reign, the Pylon VI, the Temenos walls, temples, hallways... and you can see scores of panels depicting his military conquests, scenes from his daily life, and of course, his time as Ruler of North and South Egypt. In comparison, he was probably the greatest ruler to come out of the Egyptian Civilization."

"So what are you looking for? Some secret door that will lead to his treasures in a chamber filled with booby traps. And aren't you worried about some kind of curse?"

He impatiently tapped at his knee. "See? This is the damage bloody Hollywood does. Fills everybody's minds with complete rot, until you think that there's an undead mummy waiting for you around every second corner. Booby traps are not uncommon in these places, but most have been disarmed or have broken down, unable to stand the test of time. And despite what you see on the telly, I can assure you that the only mummies you'll see are all dead and harmless. No, we are here for research. To study whatever we can in order to uncover more about Thutmose III. There is still so much that we can only hypothesize about, but I am here to replace that with fact. What once lived thousands of years ago can still exist today."

Before I'd realized it, we'd spoken the entire night till dawn. Well, Jacinto spoke, I mainly listened, living his life over the course of one night. Graduating from Stanford in Law. Earning a fortune through his cases. Marriage to some model and early retirement. Continuing on with his love of Egypt. Running away from home with the maid. Getting caught. Then the divorce, in which he lost too much. And then finally, moving to Egypt.

Which he knew too much about. My mind spun with the different dynasties, who built what, and disturbingly graphic descriptions of mummification. But through all of that one thing was clear. This man was one of the happiest and most humane guys I had met. And after spending a year in the Hong Kong underground, I was genuinely glad for his kind of company.

He stopped when the sun had completely risen, now starting it's slow crawl to the top of the sky.

"Well, its a new day, and I'd like some shut eye before work. I trust I didn't bore you with the conversation, Lurch?"

"No, not at all." I replied. "By the way, what day is it?"

"Why its Wednesday, the Eighteenth of March to be exact."

I paused. No. "I'm sorry did you say March? Isn't it August?"

"August?" He laughed. "Very Funny, Lurch, though I'm not sure I quite well get the joke. Its March, March 2009. Come on now, let's get some shut eye before Charles wakes and starts howling for a cup of tea."

I stood there, rooted in shock as I took this in. Jacinto had said March, March. The last time I remembered anything, during my time in the Triads, it was August. August 2007. I had no memory of almost the last twenty months of my life.

Looking back at that moment right now, its safe to say that I was more than a little concerned about that.


Every single time I see one, A disabled person, I think of one thing. I look at his crutch, his support to walk, an extra leg for the poor bastard who doesn't have a good one, and I think about kicking his 'precious support' from right out under him, and see his arms flail in panic as he falls to the floor. Might just kick him a few times after that. You know, for kicks.

'Kicks'. Heh. I made a funny.

I'm stuck here again. I fucking hate it here. Its dark, so Goddamn dark that I can never see, and if I even think that I can see something, I'll always know it isn't true. The walls are, what, fifteen feet away from each other? That's all I have.

Fifteen feet to live.

It gets cold here sometimes. I like that. The cold helps me think better, help me plan for the next time. Wait till you hear what happened the next time I took control, you'll laugh. By the way, have we reached the part where he tried to kill the Queen? No? 

Crap, I really loved that part.

I guess we still must be in Egypt then... Egypt You know, I'll never admit this to him, but I liked Jacinto as well. The man was mad, fucking bonkers he was, but he knew what he wanted and he was willing to anything to get to it. I can respect that. I sometimes wish he didn't die. Best company we ever found, I'll say that about him.

And I never even wanted to come to Egypt in the first place. We could have been in South Africa, drinking the fine wine and pumping women each night. I had such plans for us, there at the near-bottom of the world, away from most of the crap this shit-hole throws at you.

 But someone had to be rude to me on the flight. Someone who went screaming around like a little girl when I jabbed a fork in his eye. Next thing I knew I had snapped a flight attendant's neck, at one point I had to be in the cockpit as well, I remember the view.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have killed the pilot. 

Why South Africa? Honestly? I was bored with France, and it was the first place I thought of when I realized that I was bored. But the more I thought of it, the more beautiful it started to sound. South Africa was sounding like fucking heaven. Plus, after that little stunt with the painting, I needed to get out of there as soon as possible.

Viva la South Africa. Or at least so I thought. But Egypt wasn't so bad. At first, I'll admit I was pissed, but I got over it, came to like North Africa as well. It would have been nice to have been there longer, but with our kinda luck, it was only a matter of time before we'd have to hit the road again.

I would have asked Jacinto to come with us. The cunt would have never had the balls to, but I know that crazy monocle-lovin' bastard would have jumped at the chance. He would have loved it.

I spend a lot of my time here thinking. That's all I can fucking do. Think. No books to read, no bed to sleep in. No porn on the T.V. Not even a single shot of rum. So I sit down and I think. 

First, there's the 87,564,867 (and counting) ways I'd kill him, if I could. My personal favorites are number 566, where I feed the chop up the carcass and feed it to sharks, and number 919,411, where I tie him to the front of a wrecking ball and then go for a drive through the Grand Canyon.

Secondly, I need to get a T.V. in here. Television is the greatest invention in the history of the human race. One window to infinite crap in infinite flavors. I don't even want some bloody six thousand inch, super micro-fiber plasma yadda yadda yadda crap from the black market in Japan. Just a T.V. Any T.V. I still need to do my Simpsons marathon.

I also think about a lot of other stuff. About what I've done, and how I'd improve on it if I could re-live it. This may sound a but hypocritical, but I look at my work like an artist, and I'm always trying to see how I can outdo my last masterpiece. 

And I've done a lot. The whole world knows me now, somehow or the other, through some face, some name. I've done too much, and I've seen the headlines. It was so much of fucking fun, to do what I wanted. That's all I did. Just whatever I wanted to do. 

Regrets? Why? Would you regret your first blow-job? Your first paycheck? Your vacations? So why would I regret what I love to do? Whether its kicking the crutch of a disabled, or blowing up our company office, it was all good, so good.

Shit, I can't believe you're still stuck on Egypt. We have forever till the end. You might not like what we've done. Well, that makes only one of us. It also tells the other that the first is a fag. So fag, faggot, faggy, whatever you like...

Judge us. Hate us. I want you to.


The first thing I noticed was the sand. It was in my face, in my mouth. My hair was dusty and I could feel sand under my clothes as well, scratching at my skin. Behind me, the heat from the flames was harsh against my back. I turned around to see the roaring inferno.

Or more appropriately, what was left of the plane.

Again, I'm getting too ahead of myself. Or was I supposed to be a few months ahead? I... I'm not really sure sometimes.

We're on track. Stop your wining. 


What? Are you still pissed about that? Oh come on, I got you laid, and I got you out of that dump. You should be thanking me you jackass, not fucking sulking.

I swear to God, somehow I will get rid of you, you sick bastard. I don't know how, but-

Yeah, yeah, sure. Whatever. You don't even know what happened completely, do you? If you'd like I-

I shut him out again. I know that just pisses him off even more, but at that moment I didn't care. What he had made me do, ruin the life I had work so hard to get. All lost in the chaos of a single night.

I sat down on the top of a dune. The plane-crash was far behind me, lost from sight. But I could still see the pillar of smoke, it was visible for miles around. In hindsight, I should have stayed by the crash as that's where any rescue team would have gone first. But at that moment, I didn't care.

All I wanted to do was get as far away from there as possible.

The desert went on for miles all around. All that I could do was walk on forwards, and try hard not to fall. If I did, I wasn't sure if I had the will to get up again. I wanted to die. God, I wanted to die so badly at that time. I had lost everything, and now all I had was the sand.

I screamed in agony. In frustration. In pain. I hated him so much back then. As much as I hated myself. I would have killed myself there and then, the Colt was even still with me. But... but I was just too scared too die. I couldn't do it yet.

In time civilization had to come. In time it did. All I saw first was just a road. Not tracks in the sand, but proper tarmac. I reached it, and then was faced with one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had too face.

Left or Right?

I couldn't choose. Which side was closer to getting me away from this hell? Finally I... I passed out.

I'm very embarrassed to admit this. Not embarrassed- ashamed. When... when he was in control. I was aware, I knew what he was doing. And I swear I tried to stop him but, but I wasn't strong enough.

I wasn't stronger than him. I couldn't stop him, I just couldn't. And if... when he does it again.

What do I do?

I was swimming again. Deep, dark and down underwater, away from the heat, loving the cool feel of water running down my face, until the heat came rushing back in a fierce wave with the light and... the refined words of a British voice.

"Are you awake? Are you alright?"

I blinked. A sky-blue eye was staring at me through a monocle. I blinked again. So did the eye.

"Jolly Good, you're awake!" The eye said. "Thought the heat had got to you. Mighty lucky you are that we ran into you like this, or the vultures would have given you a go. I say, can you hear me? Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"Get off me." I muttered, pushing away at what I could now see was a face.

"Hold on! Hold on! Let me give you a hand." The eye was replaced by a hand, stretched forward, ready to help.

I took it, and with a firm grip I was hoisted to my feet. Blinking away the harsh sunlight, I finally got to take a first look at the man who would become my best friend. Dressed in a safari suit, he stood at six feet, towering over me. A jolly smile with a trim white beard that ran down his face, in sharp contrast to the shoulder-length black hair. Blue eyes twinkled at me from under a safari hat, one framed by that ridiculous monocle.

Ah, Jonathan, you always knew how to make a first impression.

He was saying something to me, but I realized that I had tuned him out. Funny how I could do that so easily now. Funny, in a scary kind of way.

Hell, I should really hear what he's saying.

"... on the road for nearly three days now. And the we'll hit the campsite by the evening. As I said, two months, I'm afraid."

"I'm sorry, what? What campsite? Where are we?"

"Where are we?" He looked startled. "Don't you know where you are? This is the Highway from Luxor, and we're on the way to the campsite at Karnak."

"Luxor? Karnak? I don't understand. Which country is this?"

He looked at me as though I was mad. He wasn't far off. "Egypt m'boy. You're in the south of Egypt."

... How? Egypt? But I was in Hong Kong. And if I was in Hong Kong, then why do I remember running through the Louvre? My head felt like a hammer was doing the can-can on it. The next thing I remember was his hands holding me steady as my legs turned to jelly.

"Easy now. You've suffered serious heatstroke, friend, and that just isn't something you get up and walk away from. You need to sit, come the jeep is right here."

That was the first time I noticed the convoy. Three jeeps and a truck filled with diggers stood in the blazing heat, heads popping out and staring openly at me. A voice rang from one of the jeeps.

"I say, Jacinto, is he alright?"

"He's fine, Charles." The man holding me shouted back. "Heavy case of heatstroke, that's all. He needs to sit, make space in the jeep, hurry!"

He turned back to face me. "Come on now, let's get you seated."

He took me to the nearest seat and sat me down. The person sitting to my side handed me a water bottle. I drank half of it, and poured the rest on my face, each drop bringing me closer back to life. Putting the empty bottle to the side, I finally turned to face my savior.

"Thank you." I said. "I... I don't know how to thank you."

"Nonsense." The man beamed. "Perfectly human thing to do, that's all. After all, what gentleman would not help another. Jonathan Jacinto Amberswoth is the name, and you are?"

"Lurch, Karl Lurch." The first name that popped into my head. It wasn't the best name, but I was desperate.

Jacinto nodded. "Mighty pleased to meat you, Mr. Lurch. Well, we had better be getting on now. It's quite obvious that you have travel with us."

"Travel? Where to?"

His eyes lit up. "To Karnak! Great Karnak of old, land of the great Thutmose III! To find the secrets of the ancients, the wonders of history!"

The man beside me rolled his eyes. "Please ignore his theatrics. He was only recently potty-trained, you see."

Jacinto frowned. "And the extremely sarcastic person sitting to your left is Mr. Charles Brighton, fresh out of London and quite honestly the worst traveling companion since Attila the Hun."

I was still stuck on Karnak.

"Wasn't that in that movie? The one with the mummies coming to life and Brendan Frasier kicking some bald guy's ass?"

Jacinto's cheery disposition vanished as he thundered in fury. "The movie, 'The Mummy' is an insult to Ancient Egypt and all it stands for! Ludicrous to suggest that Imhoteph was having an affair! With the Queen no less! If I ever met the man who directed that movie, I'd hit hit him in the head with 'Diggings Through Egypt', then he might know how to make a bloody movie!"

"By the way," Charles said in a dramatic whisper. "He's very sensitive about Ancient Egypt."

"Oh shut up, Brighton. No one gives a damn you graduated from Oxford. Enough of chit-chat, we must rush! We will beat the setting dun to Karnak!بدء تشغيل المركبات! نحن بحاجة إلى عجل!"

He jumped into the jeep as it started, and before I could even protest, the convoy had already begun to start, kicking a cloud of dust trailing behind it. I sat there in silence, not listening to word either of the Britishers beside me were saying. All I could think of was how the hell I had got here, and how the hell do I get out?

You had somehow got me here, you sick bastard. And I wasn't even sure how. But the plane crash, running through the Museum, Hong Kong... this was all you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love that song.

'The End', by the Doors. As soon as I could, I had bought a huge poster of Jim Morrison and pasted it over one of the walls in my apartment. I still remember how shocked I was when Fanu told me that he had never heard a Doors song before. I made him listen to a few tunes, but he lost interest, saying he liked 'newer music'.

But while I enjoyed listening to many of their songs, something was there about 'The End'. It seemed so much more than a song, as though calling it that was wrong, because then you give something, some basis to define it with, and I'd never want to even try that with this song.

That night, when Fanu was murdered, Tito and I had gone drinking for the first time together. He took me to some sleazy bar at the corner of the end of some alley, I didn't even care then where it was. All I could think of was his smile.

"You and I, we have lost a brother and a friend today." He said, his eyes red and tired. "Monki, tonight we drink in his name. We honor him."

I nodded dumbly, too in shock to say a word. We entered the bar and Tito ordered us two whiskeys. We downed them, and downed the next lot as well. The liquor was tough, and I could feel my chest warm, putting life back into me -Shame we can't say the same for Fanu, hmm?-.

Music was playing in the background, some woman singing some crap. After a while that was all I could think about, that fucking bitch who just kept on going higher and higher and-


The pub fell silent, all staring at me in open astonishment. I didn't care. Fanu had died, you jackasses, and all they could do is look at me. Wordlessly, Tito grabbed me by the arm, and strode me towards the jukebox. I was surprised when I saw the little machine, not expecting to find one here.

"And why not?" Tito said, sensing my surprise. "We listen to good music too, not just Chinese Brittany Spears."

He smiled at me. I couldn't smile back. Instead I shoved in a coin and looked. It was there, it was me. I know he hated it, but I still played it, leaning into the machine as the music took over. I finished my drink, my hand was held loosely by my side. The glass fell from my hand, hitting the carpeted floor with a dull thunk. I could still see his smile.

I began to cry.

That was the first time I had wept tears for a member of the Triad. I was not alone. We killed, robbed, extorted and blackmailed. But we did it as a family. After that, I was alone, on my own for five months, doing the same rounds that Fanu and I once did, but on my own.

Of course, Money objected. "The Triads must always travel together. To travel alone is to die alone."

I looked at him straight in the eye. "Your sister does it."

"Bùyào ràng wǒ kāishǐ zài tā shēnshang,Monki. I let her do so, because I know that she will not die."

"And the fact that she wouldn't listen to you."

Money grimaced. "That too. But you are not my little sister, Monki, you are a Cǎoxié, a Straw Sandal. It is dangerous for your kind to be alone. Take a partner. I insist."

"Half a year." I said. "Give me half a year on my own, and if I'm still alive by the end of it, then you can assign me with whoever you want. I won't care, and I'll accept a partner then."

Money took one long, hard look at me. "Six months." Then he left.

This was the last of those six months. So far I had killed fourteen people, established three new fronts for the gang in the Swu Kon District, and made almost a million dollars. Money was happy with my work, and I moved up the ranks. Still a Straw Sandal, but now I had a car, a bigger apartment in a nicer part of town, and three men under me.

Roll Call:
  1. Han. Spoke eight words a day, but each one would be important enough to hear. Han was a good shot with a gun, maybe even better than Fanu was. He also carried a switchblade with him, that he would play with when he was bored. I saw that blade dance through his fingers with ease. He could also throw lethally as I had once seen it dart across the room and hit his target dead center. An apple on top of  Shui's trembling head.
  2. Shui. My number two guy. Literally. I don't know what it was about me, but from day one the kid held me like a role model in his eyes. Unlike Han, who was in his twenties, Shui couldn't have been more than seventeen, and had joined the Triad because he had nowhere else to go. Almost useless with a gun, but he made up with enthusiasm. Which is why he always ended up as target practice for
  3. Tanki. Tanki was a giant, easily over six-and-a-half feet tall, maybe more. Biggest China-man I have seen in my life. Which was an advantage, because I knew that he had a shotgun taped to his leg. Fuck, he was so big, that he had enough room for an RPG. Plus, two pistols by his waist, and a third one on his ankle. Add a few grenades to the mix, and you got a giant, walking talking arsenal. And he was bald. Very noticeable on a giant China-man.
Money called me into his office at the end of six months. These three stood there silently. I ignored them and walked straight up to Money.

"You called."

He spoke without looking up, eyes scanning through some document. "Your six months are over, Monki. As agreed, these three men will now work under you. Lead them well."

"Hold on, Money!" I exclaimed. "You've seen how good I've been on my own these past months. Do I really need a partner? And you said one, not three! Three is too many, I won't know how to- wait... did you say under me?"

Money finally looked up. He was smiling. "Yes. You have your own crew now, my friend. Far away from living on the streets now, aren't we?"

"Not really, no." I grumbled, but Money could tell I was honored and thrilled by this. Not have someone work with you, but under you. That too, not one but three someones!

First thing I did was take 'em to the nearest Pub, deep in our territory. From the way they behaved, I knew that Han and Tanki had been here before, but Shui looked like this was his first time in a bar. When the bartender came over to ask, the others all knew what to order, but Shui just looked confused.

"Get him a beer." I spoke to the bartender, who politely bowed and went to get our drinks. Han and Tanki looked at me, impressed. They had been here many times as well, but the bartender had never bowed to either of them even once.

"That's because he had a debt problem, and I took care of it. So now for me, and since you're with me now, you as well, drinks are on the house."

Tell a man he's getting free booze, and all the walls come crashing down. Soon, we were all piss drunk and laughing as Tank tried his hand on Karaoke. He could actually sing quite well, but he was so drunk that the words were a slur and there were more abuses in the lyric than I could remember in the original.

After a long time, it was a good night.

My men were a good team. They listened to me, and had enough brains to realize what to do when improvisations were needed, which in our line of work, happens quite often. If anything, Shui was still a lousy shot, but then so was I. Practice makes perfect.

Balls. You're still a lousy shot.

I'd almost forgotten about that.-Forgotten about me?- By now, I was used to the fact that there was a voice in my head -What the fuck do you mean you'd almost forgotten about me?- that was not in my control. But I had come to terms with it -Oh no, don't think I've forgotten about you almost forgetting about me-. I mean, what, else could I do? The funny thing is, once I did that, the voice wasn't a bother anymore -what?-, it had become something like white noise.

All right, now that is pushing it. You want white noise? I'll show you white noise.

That day was one of my worst. Ever.

There is a lesson to be learned  from this. If you have a voice in your head that has its own consciousness, the last thing you should ever do is fucking underestimate it.

Despite the fact that I had spent so long in the Triads, I still hadn't won the respect of the complete gang. I'd done my fair share, heck, probably more than my fair share, but there aren't many people in the Chinese Mafia who are comfortable accepting an Indian into their midst. Money loved me, which meant I wouldn't end up as a corpse due to 'internal politics'. But there was no doubting the look in their eyes.

Which was fine. I wasn't here to be loved. I had been accepted, and that was enough for me. All I cared about was doing the next job. My three were loyal to me, and I had the respect of Tito and a few others. But for the most, I was more an outsider than anything else.

Did you get that? Good, I had to make him say it. It makes whats coming next easier to understand. And I know this cunt would do a bang-ass job of explaining it, so I decided I'd do it instead. Plus, he didn't do any of this.

I did.

And he deserved it. The pussy was trying to be a man. The fucker doesn't even realize it was me who pulled the trigger that day, not him. He never had the balls, and I didn't wanna fuckin' die. And he had taken his own sweet time doing this, he'd gotten too lazy, AND HE'S GIVING ME BULLSHIT ON TOP OF THAT! ME! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT LITTLE SONOFABITCH!

He needs to remember his place.

I woke up that day and smiled. This was gonna be so much of fun. I knew exactly what I was gonna do, and I was gonna take my own time enjoying every single moment of it. I looked to my side. I'd already bought all the shit that I had needed, and now I just had to make a few calls.



"Yeah? Morning, Boss."

"I need to meet all three of you today, fast. Meet me in an hour by the warehouse in the harbor. You remember which one, right?"

"Yeah, Boss, I know the one. See you at Victoria by noon."
"Don't be late."

I love the sea. Everything about it. I could hide a million bodies in the water and they'd never be found. Hell, I'd even drown half of them in it. Some I'll shoot, others I'll beat 'em the fuck to death. Lotta bodies, lotta ways to kill 'em. But I'd drown half of 'em. I'd owe the sea that much.

Behind me, I heard the car come to a halt. I turned around before they could even get out of the car, the M4 in my hands ripping through the cheap Japanese car, tearing the people inside to shreds. I'll admit, I was a bit impressed. Han was actually fast enough to throw his bloody knife at me, the bitch caught me in the arm. But the spray of fire was enough. I pulled the knife out and let it fall to the ground. Walking up to the bullet-riddled car, I then caught my second surprise.

Shui was still alive. He had been sitting at the back, and the huge frame of Tanki in front of him had taken most of the bullets. But the puddle of blood forming in his lap, showed how good a shot I was, not that cunt. I smiled as I could see tears of pain in his eyes. Scratch that, Shui was a little girl, it could have been just tears as well. He looked at him in disbelief, not understanding what his hero was doing.

"Mon- Monki-san... Why... W-Why did y-you..."

I chuckled to myself and opened Tanki's door, leaning over him, fiddling around until the car was back in neutral. Then getting out, I went to the back and heaved, pushing harder and harder until the car rolled down the harbor and tipped over the edge. My chuckling grew louder as I could hear Shui screaming for help as the car filled with water. They stopped when he began to pray. The humor was lost, it always is when some cunt brings religion into the scene.

I turned away, no longer interested and walked to my car. There was still something else I had to do.

The first few were easy. They all knew me well by know, and all had their guards down. Slit one's throat, break the neck of the others, knife the third... I could make a poem on this.

"Oh, the first one's throat became drenched in red,
 The second one's got a broken head,
The third's pinned by a knife to the door,
And what shall I do with number four?"

These corridors were empty, and I walked through them fast. That cunt always took his sweet time here, staring at each crappy painting like it's some work of art.

Art is for pansies.

But I stopped suddenly, right outside her door. I since this bitch only twice since day one, but the boy was right, she was a hot piece of ass... Hmm...
What the hell, why not?

I kicked the door down and marched straight in. She was there on her laptop, and she spun around in shock. Before she could even say a word, I slapped her hard, stunning her. Then grabbing her, I lifted Mei of the chair and threw the both of us on the bed, with me landing on top of her. She was still dazed while I fumbled with her clothes, and by the time she realized what was happening,

It was already too late.

I love the look she had in her eyes, I'll never forget it. Never forget a moment of it, the tears of rage, the furious struggling. She never gave up, not even once throughout the entire thing, I loved that about her as well.

When I was done, I punched her. Hard. Drifting in-and-out of consciousness, she could barely move as I calmly got up and did my pants. I then took out the Colt from its holster and pointed it straight at her head. 

But I then decided against it. She had been fun. And who knows? I may visit Hong Kong again.

As I was at the door, she finally was able to speak.

"Kill you... I'll kill you."

I smiled. That line was enough for me to go for round two. But I had little time left, and I'd already wasted enough having fun. I burst into the corridor and ran down the steps. I pressed the elevator and got in, casually checking my gun to while the time.

The doors opened, and my three shots took out all three of Moni's bodyguards. My fourth hit him in the shoulder, making him drop the gun that would have taken my head off. The force of the bullet sent him staggering back, falling into a chair that rolled  slowly backwards on its wheels until it lightly touched the huge window behind it.

He looked at me in blind rage. "Which one?" He said. "Which Triad bought you over? Or were you always a Pàntú?"

I smiled. "Oh no, Moni, I'm not anyone's bitch. I'm just here to teach someone a lesson. And you'd be the perfect example for him."

My next bullet went into his knee. He howled in pain clutching the wound with his good hand.

"You.. you are a dead man." He whispered through the pain. "Nothing can stop the family from finding you."

I put my hands on each side of his chair, pulling it forward a bit. "I would really like, that Moni, I really would. Otherwise the future would be really fucking boring for me, don't ya think? By, the way, Moni, your sister was an awesome lay."

His face went blank as I pushed with all my strength. I couldn't hear clearly over the sound of breaking glass, but I think he was trying to say something as he flew out of the window. I'm not exactly sure what it was though. I think he said, 'You said my name right."

Goodbye Hong Kong. It was fun.