Revenge, Inc. Part 19: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. As I said in last week's installment, I'm near the point where I originally imagined this story and to reiterate a bit further, I knew what would to be established in the first few installments and the concluding installments, but struggled to come up with the middle section of this series which I had to create and connect the dots in a somewhat timely manner week-in and week-out as you well know. I put a great deal of thought into the next installments, so I hope that I can pace myself well enough to share what I need to share with you, the reader.
With that said, I'd like for you to continue to trust me in what I do in fact share with you. The upcoming installments will not be easy for some of you to read. I of course urge you to read on with the hopes that you do find some semblance as to what you may or may not be hoping for. As always, I appreciate your readership. Thank you for reading.
There is of course a beginning and an end to everything, especially the stories we read, so with that said, if you are indeed new to this series, please click on the link below to get started. Thank you!
The Journey to Hell
Although I didn’t show it, there was a feeling inside me that I couldn’t deny. It was an old feeling—the feeling of fear—which I hadn’t felt in almost two years. So why was I feeling what I was feeling? I couldn’t quite understand it and didn’t want to. The last thing I wanted to be was afraid of getting my panties in a knot for no particular reason while influenced by this “feeling.” The most dangerous of all warriors were fearless and uncompromising, I remembered. It wasn’t simply the numbers of the Oda Clan and its supporters. I didn’t have this feeling before, during, or after the battle for Jirai Island when it seemed that the odds were weighed heavily against us. I believed that victory could be had, that it was indeed possible. I had to believe, as I really did feel that there was no other choice but to. The fact was this and this alone:
Natsumi needed me…Natsumi needed us.
While following Katsuro’s lead that brought us closer and closer to the artery of Kyoto and into the mouth of the Odas, I recalled back to my time of peace and salvation and back to the teaching of my shishou, Master Akira when I was not yet Marak. His words still live inside me like the beating of my heart:
“Such is the weakness of the warrior and the strength of men, Cody-san, who can feel what is inside themselves the urgings of their own hearts. The man whose mind is heavy with concern, who has too much to lose can easily be defeated. I'd rather go to war against this man as victory is nearly certain. However, the man who has nothing to lose, who is willing to sacrifice himself, who does not fear death; I must fear this man, as he is the most formidable of all my opponents. My resolve must somehow be greater than this man’s resolve if I am to somehow defeat him.
“If experience is the greatest teacher, then desperation, his cousin, is the greatest motivator. Be not blind to the possibility of surprise by your opponent, Cody-san. Always overestimate and overcompensate in your preparation before entering the battlefield. I must say, you have surpassed being a mere human. You are now ninja and are like the wind—invisible to the naked eye, yet can make your presence felt. It is the element of surprise that is your greatest advantage, in which you make your enemies fear you. All of us are in fear of what we cannot see as there is no point of attack. This is why the Odas want to eliminate our kind. This is why throughout the years we have been their target…
“We pose a threat to them and have aided their enemies and throughout all these years, we have been forever a thorn in their side. They tried in vain to bribe us with their bloodstained money and properties and have even asked us to join them—only for us to answer with our katanas. It’s tough to defeat an enemy that cannot be bribed…”
At this point, Master Akira laughed at his own words, at his own truth as decreed by him for so many years and through the generations of Watanabe. Although I’ve since lost him—the one man that has taught me more about life and battle than anyone else in this world--he still lives within me through his many teachings. Safe to say, I will never forget him, no matter how any of this was going to end.
Kosuke Fish Market Revisited
It wouldn’t until nearly midnight when we finally got out of
the abandoned office building. I was
sure that Katsuro would’ve loved to have killed me back there, because I would’ve
loved nothing more. Were it not for our
love of Natsumi, we surely would have. I
never liked him and the feeling was mutual.
Perhaps one day the two of us will face off against each other, but that
day was not today. All I could think
about was the imminent danger she was in, because in my mind, I kept on seeing
images of Ritsuko and her and her and Ritsuko.
It made me sick inside but quickened my step. But my mind began to wander...What if Natsumi wasn’t there? What if Ritsuko took her someplace else, like
the other side of the world? What
then? I posed these questions to
Katsuro and he replied with a snort.
Again, I wanted to punch him in the fucking face.
“Gai jin, there is no safer place then that place for the Odas. It is a place to keep the natural world out and their world in. It’s their asylum and there is no safer place in Kyoto than that place. There is no doubt in my mind that Natsumi is there.”
By using a low-noise detonator, Katsuro and I were able to get pass the steel door and inside the Kosuke Lucky Fish Market where two too slow to draw their weapons. We made quick work of them and proceeded to the cooler where two men in business suits were on their way out. Katsuro broke the neck of the guy that was closest to him. His companion tried to flee in vain because I tripped him and so sent him flying; he collided against the outer steel door of the cooler, face first.
“Do you know this building?” I asked the guy as he was wiping blood from his nose while sitting on the floor. When he didn’t answer me I punched him in the face, making a sick fleshy sound. The guy screamed out in horror. His nose became a faucet.
“YES!” He said, letting out a blood-gurgle. Katsuro monitored the door just in case anyone out.
“Good. Now tell me everything you know.”
Setting the World on Fire
I learned a long time ago through Master Akira that the ninja’s greatest attributes, besides invisibility, is the penchant for creating a diversion, such as the use of smoke bombs to aid in escape. Our plan to penetrate the Oda compound and to make our escape with Natsumi was no different. But at the same time we wanted to make our “presence” felt by all. With the help of our bloody friend, we were able to quickly find the six-gas tanks that were housed inside the complex which was believe it or not, an upside-down high-rise. Their complex was just like any other four-story building you’d see in any city, except it was built from the street-level and down, directly below the Kosuke Lucky Fish Market. Both Katsuro and I went around when checking all of the possible escape doors and made them impossible for escape by jamming the locking mechanisms, but left just one escape route for ourselves. Katsuro set the timers on the detonators and placed them upon the gas tanks in the basement of the fish market or the would be attic of the complex. The two of us made haste.
Although our friend didn’t know exactly where it was that she was being held, it only made sense that she would be in the sub-fourth floor of the complex as that was where Ritsuko, his father, and the other oyabans kept their court—the notorious Four Demons. Although the two of us did our best to silently hack and pound our way while descending into Hell, the alarm that there were intruders inside could not have been avoided under the circumstances. Through the hallways inside the complex, clan members rush out to us and opened fire. It seemed that none of the Odas carried with them the traditional katana as they were lazily replaced with automatic weapons of sorts—most of which were from America. I used the bodies of my adversaries as human shields in moving from one passageway to the next. I compensated my lack of not having a gun with shurikens and so never had to worry about getting “jammed.”
Katsuro and I broke through to the main hall that was just as elegant as it was high. All throughout, cherry and sandal wood decorated the landscape. We were met by dozens upon dozens of katana-wielding members from each corner. All sorts of limbs littered the floor everywhere you looked. Atop the landing and up the double-helix staircases on either side were four rooms and in one of them, Natsumi was being held. We had to take our chances with each but had to first get past the members. So side-by-side, the two of us plowed our way through to the foot of each staircase and then made our way upwards. With each step we took we were met by more and more members who were relentless in their pursuit. I checked both rooms on my side and found nothing but traces of some that someone was in fact there very recently but the food and drink that was hastily left atop the low tables in which diners would have to kneel when sitting down. Just as I came out of the second room, both Natsumi and Katsuro appeared from the room next door. Her clothes were changed into a flowery red and white kimono which she was clutching to keep from falling from her body. She was barefooted and completely naked underneath. She blushed when she saw me while her brother was trailing her. She only glanced at me once and then took her eyes away from me and said nothing.
“Why the fuck are you standing there?” Katsuro said to me. “We only have four minutes before this place explodes!”
I just had so many questions that I wanted to ask but would have to wait.
So with myself the watching the blind-side of our group and Katsuro up front we made our ascent as fast as we could. I had to bite down on my lip to keep from asking Natsumi the obvious question. Twice she turned to see if I was watching her and of course I was. There were a few of the remnants of members on the way up, who had no clue that they were about to be victims of a cataclysmic explosion. By the time the three of us reached the landing of the third floor, the first of the explosion went off, followed by the second and third and so on, of such that the entire building rocked in response and we had to hold on to the railing to keep from losing our balance. The heat that was rising beneath us was tremendous.
It was then that I would never forget, for as long as I was alive, what took place next at the mouth of that ominous gray door:
Katsuro pushes open the heavy gray door and Natsumi screams out in her defense,”No!” She then pushes Katsuro out of the way and I hear the sound that continues to haunt me to this very day. It’s the unmistakable sound of a gunshot.
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