Revenge, Inc. Part 17: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. I must say that I wasn't sure that I'd get this week's installment done at all. Last night I had dreams about ninja fights, car problems, and Google Adsense while my computer drifted into hibernation and there it stayed until noon or so today (thank goodness for Autosave by the way). I fought my own personal demons whilst constructing this new installment and so, for the love of Maria, I sure do hope you enjoy it. As always, I thank you for your patience, your interest in reading my work, and your friendship. It means a lot to me that you're here reading this right now.
As always, if you are new to this series, I highly suggest that you start with Part 1. Please click on the corresponding link to do so. I hope to hear from you very soon as comments are encouraged and much appreciated. Thank you for reading!
Between Katsuro and Marak
I followed Katsuro to the end of Kyoto and away from Kenji’s on the other side of the city under the cover of night. We passed by the skeletons of store fronts and factories to a district that was long forgotten and was no doubt once a bustling center. Through the top of a building, Katsuro entered through the door of the fire escape and went quickly downstairs to the dark factory floor landing and I followed. Once inside, Katsuro lit a lamp and placed it atop a dusty work table. He then opened a steel closet and began rummaging through with haste until he found what he was looking for: Gauze, alcohol, a needle and some thread which he placed atop the work table. He then tore off his shirt to reveal a long gash right above his heart that hardened over with blood. When I made a move to help him, he stopped me.
“I can do this myself, gai-jin. I don’t need your help.” He then continued wiping away the blood with his torn shirt and began threading the needle. I was amazed by his speed and his surgical precision. Without realizing it, I began to pace the floor while Katsuro tended to his wound. There was so much on my mind. All I could think about was Natsumi. I had so many questions that needed answering: What the fuck just happened? Natsumi and I were supposed to get Katsuro back from the Odas—now Natsumi takes his place? After this went on for a bit, I couldn’t contain myself any longer.
“Why the fuck didn’t you stop Ritsuko? You were right there next to him. You or could’ve killed him easily!” Yes, I was yelling at Katsuro and I didn’t give a shit.
“You better calm down, gai-jin…” Katsuro was giving me a warning. He was unmoved when he spoke and I was anything but calm. He was sewing himself up. “You don’t think I wanted to save my own sister—the last surviving member of my family and of the Watanabe Clan other than myself? An attempt to help Natsumi was too big of risk.” He then took his eyes away from his needlework and looked at me. “There is much more to this than you know.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“Well, to get the things we want, we have to make sacrifices.”
That set me off. I wanted to kill the fucking bastard. I walked over to Katsuro and placed my hands around his neck. But before I could get a solid grip, he tore my hands away and gave me a hard backhand across my face.
“IT WAS THE ONLY WAY!” Katsuro berated. “I risked my life to find them. I knew what they wanted because they told me. It’s no secret. Ritsuko wanted Natsumi all along. He’s wanted her since all of us were children. Anyway, as a whole, they figured that she was more important to them than me and that I was the key to finding her. Just as soon as we arrived in Kyoto, I knew where to look. I knew where they would be. I found them once and I can find them again. Handing over to them Natsumi was the only chance we had and Natsumi knew this.”
After Katsuro said this, I began taking it all in. Katsuro left us at Kenji’s to go and search out the Odas and then goes missing himself in the process. A message from them then insisted that we meet them and then Kenji told us that they had captured Katsuro. Natsumi and I go to meet them, but instead of getting back Katsuro and getting back at the Oda Clan, we end up losing Natsumi in the process and so had to flee from the police which brought us here…I pointed out to her that the meeting was a trap all along, but did Natsumi know her fate all along?
“So why the hell didn’t Natsumi tell me all of this?” I said. Katsuro laughed.
“Right, like you would’ve simply let her go in exchange for me? No, that would’ve never happened, gai-jin, not in a hundred or even a million years! The truth is that she knew this all along, but didn’t want to tell you for exactly that reason. You would’ve let them kill me if you knew the truth!”
“That’s not true.”
“You know it is! Only my sister and I can understand how important it is to get rid of them and my father knew it all too well. How can I expect a foreigner to understand the importance of family? She was willing to sacrifice herself just so I can get back at them. I sacrificed myself first just to find them. So you see? That is the kind of person she is, gai-jin. She is a true ninja, a true Watanabe.”
After hearing this, more thoughts began to invade my mind: The words Katsuro used to describe his sister were the same in which she described herself to me and that she was a true ninja. She herself has said this to me before a long time ago. But was her resolve so strong that she would risk her own life to avenge the passing of her clan and now, her father? I surmised that it was the only way. It was beginning to make a lot of sense. I too had lost loved ones which created uneasiness inside me. Unnatural circumstances created unnatural feelings. And there, somewhere in the middle of it all, balance is restored.
“There is much that has happened since the three of us arrived in Kyoto. You disappeared once we checked in at Kenjis. How did you ever find those bastards in the first place?”
It was then that Katsuro began his tale.
How to Catch a Demon
“First, it must be understood that the Oda Clan are not truly ninjas. Yes, their methods are very much like ours, in their movements and in their training, as it has been passed down through the generations. But the true nature of their training is not to become ninja, but to understand the ninja, because only then would they be able to destroy them, to destroy us. By try as they may, one of the things they could not change was their way of thinking. Their mentality and anguish is that of the aizukotetsu-kai. They are a ‘violence group’ a crime syndicate. They protect those who cannot go to the police, whose dealings are less than legal and take everything that is not given to them.
“Such group feeds off the most desperate of the innocents. Girls from the Philippines and China are promised a good life for want of nothing, but are then bought here to the mainland, including Kyoto and are forced into prostitution. And it’s not just the Philippines and China either; young, attractive girls from Mexico who with strong backgrounds in English, are enticed to come to Japan and teach only to later find that they've become fixtures at strip joints and brothels that are owned and operated by the local gangs. Slavery may have been abolished in your country, gai-jin, but it isn’t so for the rest of the world, especially not here in the Far East. It is still very much a reality here. Girls can be ‘bought’ for about $5,000 easily if one can find the right vendor. I of course knew this and so went looking for it for the purpose of finding these demons.
“There is a saying that decrees that, ‘if you are to catch an animal, you must first know for where it feeds.’ Here in Kyoto, such places are plentiful, as it is a hot-spot for crime and corruption. I first started out looking through some of the arcades. When I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for there, I moved on to a vacant bar which to the passerby looks nothing more than a pure shit hole and so were wise to find one with good lighting and quicken their step. I told the bartender that I was looking for ‘a game and that I had money I was itching to get rid of. The bartender smiled while looking me up and down and then went to the back of the bar while taking his sweet old time. A few moments later, I was patted down and was directed down a corridor which led downwards and into a sub-basement, perhaps one of the many levels of hell. I took in my surroundings as continued walking. I left my effects in a trash bin outside the place where I knew it to be safe.
“Like a good sport and total stranger, I began losing purposely to ease the tension of those around me. ‘Damn!’ I told all of them. ‘I'm having the worst luck today! I have even worse luck with girls!’ When one of them asked me why this was, I began telling them about how my wife and kids ran away from me that morning and that things were going to shit.
‘So why did she leave you?’ One of the goons asked after the laughter died down a bit.
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Maybe it was my cooking.’
'More laughter exploded from the crowd around the smoky round table. It was all in good fun. All of us were having a good time and being sporty about it. One of them slapped me on the back and offered me a glass of Johnny Walker and I was wise to accept. When the conversation died down, I slammed the empty glass down and digressed:
‘I’m not that old yet,’ I told the crowd. ‘I could sure use a young woman, maybe a tight little schoolgirl to teach me a few new things, maybe cheer me up a bit, eh? I’m not from here, you see, a mere stranger to these parts.’ A couple of looks were exchanged and then a silence fell if only just for a moment. I could feel the tension in the room grow stronger. Behind me, a thick muscular thug was reaching into his inner coat pocket. I could feel the shift of the floorboard as I sat as his weight shifted from one foot to the other. It was at that moment that I knew I struck gold.
“With the empty glass that I was still holding, I stood up and shoved it into the only light in the entire room which hung from the ceiling and then kicked over the card table. The guy behind me began firing which in the confusion got everyone else to start firing. Apparently, I caught everyone completely off-guard, as they began firing at one another. I remembered of course where everyone was and so took my pick of the bunch, which was the guy directly behind me. I’m sure that he would have killed me had I not acted in time. These guys aren’t the types that ask you whether or not you’re a cop before they kill you. It’s just a waste of their time.
“I dragged the guy, who was screaming for some reason, up and through the corridor of the bar and when finally there was enough light, I saw why it was that he was screaming. I saw that he was shot in the stomach and so was bleeding all over the place. I looked back and a trail of blood led back to the sub-basement. I had to act fast. I pulled from my back the souvenir tattoo of the Four Demons of Legend I got from Jirai and placed it in front of him.
“‘I’m looking for some demons,’ I said to him.”
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