Random Short Fiction #03
The door slammed shut, dusts fell from the ceiling, the walls shaken, the windows rattled from the force. I drew a breath and pulled the cigarettes away from my lips. White smoke plumed over my sight, rising into everywhere. I exhaled and watched the two smokes merged with one another. The shop felt dark. The light from outside shone too bright. I squint when I looked at the door. The sound still rang in my ears. I sighed.
Maybe I was too harsh to her, I thought. I placed the cigarette between my lips again and inhaled. The end of the cigarette burns bright red, closing in on me like a small, puny fire, trying to engulf over a titan. I exhaled and watched the white smokes danced in front of me again. I placed the cigarette on the table and scratched my forehead. The bowl of leftover noodles sat cold in front of me, its bottom revealed between the thick yellow sauces. I sighed.
The shop felt cold. And silence with her voice. I clicked my tongue and drowned the cigarette into the bowl of noodles in front of me. She's going to hate it when she gets back, but whatever. She was the one who started it. I stood, pushed the chair back with my legs and went for the door. I grabbed my coat from the coat rack near the door and wrapped the white muffler I got for our tenth anniversary around my neck. It felt warm. And comfortable. Better than cigarettes, at least. I slipped my hand into the pockets of my coat and glanced at the empty shop before turning the sign on the door to "CLOSE" and walking out into the streets.
I locked the door behind me and made my way down the streets towards Abbey Road. The sun was high, but winter has this thing about the light and heat that somehow got the senses mixed up. But whatever. I watched passerby walked up and down the sidewalk, across the streets and around the park. They looked happy and ignorance. Which is good. If you want to survive in this kind of a harsh world.
Then I saw the group of gangs. Young boys mostly, with tattoos all over their arms and necks. Wearing those so-called "blingblings" around their necks and fingers. Looking at people with angry faces. Something I could not comprehend what the need was for. Maybe it was for power? Or just fear? I don't know. I don't even think I care. I looked at them and saw fear behind their eyes. Fear of losing friends, of losing power, of losing authority. Kids, they are like that nowadays. Power, Money and Fame. That was all in their minds. I shrugged when I saw them and continued down the path towards Sally street.
I knew where she was heading for and I knew how many of those Red Hawk gangs will be waiting for her. We had their "invitation" for a confrontation a few days ago. She insisted on going after them, but I objected. It wasn't out of fear, just out of necessity. There was no need for confrontation. They could try everything and they will still fail to take the shop from us. It was destined so. The only problem was, she could not see it that way. And I could not force her see otherwise. So I let her do what she wants. And deafened myself to her insult.
You don't marry someone out of love. It is a factor, but it won't last long. Respect lasts longer.
I looked around Sally street. It was empty save for the two lines of cars, one of each side of the streets. Shutters were down and curtains closed. Even the birds evaded the area. Thick white smokes hung low over the streets, creating a somewhat fantastical feeling. Like the ones we see in the tvs. Only this one is real.
I looked around. High rise buildings. Fifty-years old at least, but still sturdy. Red brick walls covered the outside, while small staircase leads to the front door of each shops and apartment buildings. Fences covered the side of the staircases, protecting whatever living under the ground. I took out a cigarette and lit its end with my lighter. I inhaled and felt the heat seeped into my mouth and expands into my throat, merging with the heat from my muffler. I exhaled and let the white smoke disappeared into the air as I scanned the rooftops.
I raise an eyebrow. It's a surprise how those gangsters could still survive in this day and age without taking the advantage of modern technology. Maybe they're just too stubborn or too stupid to use it. Or maybe they have too much dignity to use something as lowly as a sniper rifle. I don't know. But it was a big help to me. I lowered my hips and pushed down on the ground. My body soar into the air, silence like the wind itself.
I landed on one of the rooftops and looked down below. I saw my wife, the head of the Dragon Clan and the head of the Bustling Wok gang.
Yeah, we named our gang the Bustling Wok. Because we're a bunch of chefs, so whatever.
I sat on the edge of the ledge looking down on the streets. Across from where I stood I noticed someone was watching from being a slightly pulled curtain. It was a little girl. I flashed a smile at her and watched her pulled the curtain to a close. Good girl. She was smart. I turned my attention back to the streets and saw the Red Hawk gang converging on my wife. Alone. That was the condition. I have to admit, it was cowardly of them, but hey, being coward is also a tactic. One needs to survive and survival has no dignity in it.
I walked along the ledge and proceed forward, past my wife and stopped at what I assumed to be the center where all the action would happen. I sat down and let my feet dangled. I inhaled the cigarette and threw it down to the streets.
And like a starting signal, the clash begin. I raised an eyebrow when one young boy from the Red Hawk gang rushed forward with an axe in his hand, charging blindly, screaming like wild dog towards my wife. I grinned. It's been awhile since I last saw such determination. I would have liked that boy if he was a chef. I shrugged. Too bad, I said when I saw my wife broke the boy's nose and slammed his face to the ground, cracking the tarmac. The boy no longer moved.
More followed when they saw one of their's had been taken down. Some had axes in their hands, others metal pipes. There was one with a machine gun, but I took care of him before he could even come close to the battleground. Silently, that is. I doubt anyone could see it.
I watched as the clash turns ugly and more of the Red Hawk gangs began to fall. I'm not saying my wife was doing any better either, she was still drenched in blood. Though it was not as fatal as when we were fighting that war back in Malaysia. That was something else entirely. I watch her struggled for her footing and shot the man who tried to axe her from behind. I made it look like he slipped and had his pipe fell to his face, knocking him unconscious. When I saw her regained herself, I stopped helping and continued watching.
I have to admit, there is beauty in seeing how she brought herself between her assailants. It was like watching a ballerina nailing that hard to balance act on top of a six-foot pole with only one leg. She was gorgeous. Which is why I couldn't let her come alone. I put down more of the men, mostly on the outer side of the large ring they're creating, making their demise looked like accidents.
"I knew you're behind all of this"
A voice caught me from behind. I couldn't say I wasn't surprise. I was too much in trance with helping my wife I forgot to watch my own back. But whatever. I glanced over my shoulder and saw who it was standing behind me.
"Hey inspector. Care for a seat?" I said.
I heard the policeman grunted and his footsteps coming closer. I readied a finger to attack, just in case. You never know. But pulled it back when I saw him took a seat next to me and sat with his feet dangling.
"How many you took down?" he asked. He pulled a cigarette from the inner pocket of his jacket and lit its end with a giraffe-etched zippo.
I smirked when I saw that zippo. "Don't know, thirty maybe. They're like hundreds of them though" I said. "Nice zippo" I commented and heard the man sniggered.
"Yeah, my daughter made it for me. Birthday, you know" he said.
"Nice" I said and took down ten more who were trying to hack their way into the inner crowd. I watch my wife took down at least twenty more of the men and used one of them as her shield. That was a quick one, I said to myself.
"How long you think this will last?" the old inspector asked.
I shrugged. "No idea. Any deadline to meet?" I asked him back without looking. I took down ten more in the process.
"Well" the inspector slapped his hands on his knees and pushed himself up. He pulled out a book from the inner pocket of his jacket and read its content. "If you can finish it before midnight, it'll be a lot of help for the paramedics" he said. He closed the small notebook and replaced it back into his inner pocket.
I made a duck face and looked around. The number of men from the Red Hawk gang had been drastically reduced from hundreds to just hundred. I calculated time needed and turned my attention to the inspector. "I'd say you can call them in like... an hour or two" I said. I shift my head, gesturing "I guess" to him.
The old inspector nodded. "Okay, call me when you're back home. I'll get the paramedic in an hour or two" he said and walked away.
"Sure" I said and returned my attention to the battlefield below. To be honest, it would take us just half an hour, but I like to give those guys a chance to get themselves away. Fear is a mysterious thing. Too much of it and it can cripple you, but just enough can earn you respect and respect, lasts longer.
I watched my wife took down the last of the gang members and stood heaving for air. For a master in martial arts, she had done well, very well indeed, if I have to say so myself. I only managed to take down like what, sixty of those guys? But hey, I'm perfectly fine with it. It would be even bad for those guys if I was down there instead.
I got back to my feet and jumped down. My feet touched the ground, silence as the drop of a leave. Winds whipped around me, holding me steady as I placed my feet on the cement sidewalk. I looked around and saw some of the were open and there were eyes coming from the darkness behind them. I smiled and waved at them before making my way towards my wife.
"You okay?" I said. I placed a hand on her shoulder and held her close.
"Where were you, dammit?" she said. Her voice was quite weak and her breathing was rather shallow.
"I was... watching" I said and carried her on my arms.
"Put me down" she said.
I smiled and shook my head. "No, you have done much today, it's time for you to rest" I said and began to walk away from the now silent battlefield. I stepped light and slow, careful as to not step on any of the bodies of the gang members lying on the tarmac. I skipped, hopped and jumped over the last few men and looked back. From a normal person point of view, this was horrible. But to me, it was a job well done. Somebody needed to teach these guys a lesson and my wife did. I was proud of her.
"Sorry I said you were a coward back then" my wife said as we walked back down Abbey Road. Some of the passerby looked at me and my wife I was carrying with horrified face, to which I simply smiled and say she's okay.
"It's okay. You know I can't fight them" I said.
"Yeah" she said and smiled. "Thanks for helping me out" she whispered before falling to sleep.
I smiled, brighter this time. "My pleasure" I said and saw in the distance, the signboard of our shop.
The Boiling Wok.