Assassin Ch. 02bycckuay©
She came to in a dark room. They had cut her down and chained her ankles to the legs of a cold metallic chair. Her wrists were handcuffed behind her, with twisted barbed wire forcing her elbows together.
The thin nylon fabric of her slip clung to her waist, soiled by dried blood and stale male perspiration. Both her bare breasts were crisscrossed with welts, which would leave permanent marks on her. Better than tattoos, these scars all over her body would earn her street credibility anywhere in the world.
She half opened the remaining eye, the other eye too swollen to be useful, and saw the camera mounted on the wall. With only a single low-wattage bulb hanging high above her, the room was not well lit. She hoped that whoever was watching her through the camera did not notice she was awake.
She closed her eye and slowly adjusted her sitting position. She leaned against the back of the chair, allowing the barbed wire to eat into the bare skin on her back. She needed to stay wide awake to craft a reasonable story of who she was and what she had done. They already knew her name and address. Her story would need to be based on true events and credible enough for her next round of interrogation. She could only lie about events and places they could not easily verify.
2 Days Ago
Hong Kong, China
She hated the long flight from Dallas to Hong Kong. It had been twenty-two hours since her last shower. She slept most of the time, waking up only for meals and trips to the cramped restrooms.
But the money made it worthwhile. As usual, it was half upfront, and the other half when the job was done. In the last five years, her account in the Bahamas had grown to the point she was seriously considering retirement.
"Ma'am, would you like breakfast?" The short flight attendant with a round face and thick makeup asked about one hour from landing. Megan Rock thought it strange that the airline would serve breakfast, even though the video screen in front of her indicated it was almost nine-thirty in the evening in Hong Kong.
"Are you from the Deep South?" Megan asked as she unfolded the small tray.
"Yes, ma'am. I grew up in Alabama." She placed a plastic tray with scrambled eggs, two sausages, and biscuit on her tray. "How would you like your coffee?"
"Black, no sugar." She sipped her coffee, wondering when exactly flight attendants had stopped calling her Miss and started addressing her formally as Madam. At twenty-nine, she was fit, tanned, toned, and thought of herself as young.
Swallowing the last bite quickly, Megan put on her stilettos and went to the restroom. She brushed her teeth, touched up her makeup, and pulled back her dark blonde hair into a ponytail. Removing her leather jacket, she adjusted her silver halter dress and retied the straps that ran across her back below the shoulder blades. She rotated her five-foot-nine frame, lifted up her arms, and checked herself in the mirror.
When she returned to her seat, she noticed the usual raised eyebrows and a couple of winks from the men in business suits sitting next to the aisle. The man next to her tried again to say something to her, but she ignored him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts for the remainder of the journey. All electronics, including mobile phones, laptops, and computer games, must be turned off until we are at the gates in about fifteen minutes. We will be arriving at Terminal One of the Hong Kong International Airport in Chek Lap Kok. Welcome to Hong Kong."
As soon as the wheels touched the runway, Megan quietly switched on her cell phone and touched a button. Ten thousand miles away, Fabian Long saw her coded message and smiled. Working with Megan had been the best part of his life. He thought of her as a sister rather than work partners. He loved her specialty, taking an assignment only when the target was a foreign man. She would not touch women or children. Her favorite kill zones were nightclubs and hotel bedrooms.
Because she had no luggage, Megan was one of the first to clear immigration and customs. At 2300 hours, she walked directly to a man holding a sign with three Chinese characters, describing Tsim Sha Tsui, the tourist hub of Hong Kong chockfull of nightclubs, hotels and restaurants. The man walked her to a waiting van and pulled back the sliding door. She entered the back of the van. He rode shotgun.
Once the van started moving, the man turned around and spoke in a British accent. "The target is a money launderer," he pointed to a high resolution picture on his iPad. The man in the JPEG picture was bald, his head was egg-shaped, and his eyebrows almost touched. He had pale skin, double chins, small ears, and a large gap between his front teeth.
"Does he have a name?"
"Our client told us only that his first name is Ian. His recent client base included members of several terrorist organizations. After passing through Ian, the untraceable money is wired to sleeper cell groups in North America and Europe."
"Where's the kill zone?"
"A large nightclub in Nathan Road. The club attracts hundreds of business clients every night, perfect cover for you. Ian is being entertained tonight."
"What's my cover story?"
"Tonight, your name is Honey. A group of women will dance in front of Ian at midnight. He will be encouraged to pick one of them to go to a private room. Make sure he picks you."
"Does it need to look like an accident?"
"No. Just get it done quickly, and get out of there. There will be a team to clean up." The man spoke quickly without taking a breath. "Take a taxi to the airport, lie low, and catch the six o'clock flight out. Questions?"
"When will the rest of the money be wired?"
"As soon as the client receives confirmation that he is dead. By the way, he likes blondes with their hair down. He also likes to be punished."
Megan let her hair flow down her back. Her heartbeat gradually increased as she saw the skyline of Hong Kong. No matter how many times she had been to Hong Kong, the sight of it took her breath away. The van dived into the famous Nathan Road, three miles full of neon and flashing English and Chinese signs that emerged from the sides of buildings and crisscrossed over the traffic below.
Passing the main entrance, the van turned and stopped in a narrow back alley. Megan stepped out on the uneven street, balancing herself on her five inch stilettos and climbing the steep stairs that led to the side entrance. A burly man with a shaved head patted her down, lingering longer than he needed on her chest and butt. He poured out the contents of her purse, checked it carefully, and gave it back to her.
Entering the main hall, she paused to let her eyes adjust. Hip hop music emanated from the giant speakers mounted on the high ceiling. She could see dozens of low tables surrounded by leather seats, the men in suits and women in club wear. Some of the women sat on the laps of the men.
A rotating crystal ball, disco style, hung from the center. Below it was a circular stage. On the stage were two vertical stainless steel poles, three feet apart. The two poles were joined together by a horizontal bar about sex feet in the air. The entire setup reminded Megan of the chin-up bars in army camps. The scenes of basic military training flashed through her mind.
She spotted Ian, sitting front and center next to the stage, two women on his arms, a brunette and a redhead. Two serious looking Chinese men sat to his right and left. He did not seem to have a bodyguard.
Her thoughts were rudely interrupted. "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we have the best of the best competing." The DJ spoke in an accent that sounded Australian. He mentioned a couple of Chinese names, and then he mentioned Honey. "All three ladies are yours for the right price."
The first girl took to the stage. She was petite, no more than five-foot-two and possibly less than one hundred pounds. She ran around both poles, making the figure eight over and over. At the end of the song, she removed her tube top and shorts. She stood on the stage only with her bra, panties, and heels.
"One hundred dollars, do I hear more? Two hundred. Any more?" The bidding continued until it stopped at nine hundred Hong Kong dollars, which was about one hundred and fifteen dollars stateside. Ian was too busy with the brunette next to him to notice the auction.
Megan untied the straps behind her and retied the knot so it was easy to remove. She did not expect this job to include a meat market auction. But she was a professional and would go through with it.
The second girl was bigger and stronger, around five-foot-six. She used the two poles creatively, dancing on one and then another. At one point, she inverted herself, hooked her ankles together and slid down the pole. Her miniskirt flew up to her chest, exposing red lacy panties. The crowd went wild with delight. Ian nodded his head and applauded.
Megan's heart skipped a beat when Ian raised his hand and opened the bid at one thousand Hong Kong dollars. "Do I hear more?" The DJ hollered.
"Two thousand dollars," the Chinese man in the table next to Ian stood up. He pointed his middle finger at Ian.
"Ah, a banking rivalry," the DJ was giddy. "Which bank is going to win?"
"Three thousand," Ian was not giving up without a fight.
"Ten thousand," the Chinese man showed all ten digits of his fingers. He stood up in victory, knowing Ian could not match him. The girl snuggled up to his shoulder and they both disappeared.
"Let's give it up for Honey," the DJ was having a good night. He would pocket from the girls a ten percent commission. The club would extract another sixty percent, leaving only thirty percent for the girls.
Megan climbed up to the stage as the DJ started playing Eminem's Lose Yourself. She twirled around the pole with one hand, shaking her hips as hard as she could. Moving to the other pole, she hiked up her skirt and high kicked with right leg, winking at Ian. Ian winked back. She went down on all fours and crawled to Ian, giving a generous view of her cleavage. At the edge of the stage, close to Ian's table, she licked her lips and parted her mouth.
She stood up suddenly and swayed to the beat. With her back to Ian, she pulled the knot behind her. When the music stopped, there was a blur of motion. She swung on the horizontal bar like a gymnast, inverting herself and hooking the front of her ankles on the corners, her legs spread apart and her halter dress bunched around her neck. Her chest was completely bare and her crotch covered only with a string bikini bottom.
She maintained her inverted position as the auction kicked off.
"Five thousand," a man in the back row shouted.
"Ten thousand," another man shouted.
The serious man sitting next to Ian suddenly stood up. "Fifty thousand dollars." Anyone listening carefully could tell he was American. Ian had a broad smile on his face, his ego had been restored. He would have her for tonight.
Ian had one arm around Megan; his other hand carried a laptop bag. He led her to a room off the main floor. The room had a king-sized bed, satin sheets, and a dozen pillows.
"Take off all your fucking clothes," Megan said as she stepped out of her outfit.
Ian had more items to remove, but was only a second slower than her.
"You naughty boy, you need to be whipped," Megan picked up Ian's own belt from the floor. "Spread yourself on the bed," she tried to sound authoritative.
Ian was on his stomach, his arms holding the metal bars of the bed, his legs spread as wide as they can go. Megan stood on the bed and swung the belt on his buttocks, his waist, and his shoulders. Each time she hit him, he giggled. The man was a pain slut, fusing the concepts of pain and sexual pleasure.
After about a dozen whips, Megan jumped and landed her knees on his back, breaking a couple of ribs. She coiled the belt around his neck and twisted hard. He tried to turn over, but she kept her knee firmly on his back, giving him no chance. He tried to scream, but the music was loud outside, the crowd roaring as another group of girls danced and was auctioned off. He gradually became weaker, his body twitching in its final moments. Grasping his head and locking it with her muscled arms, she gave it a sharp twist and broke the spinal cord.
When she was sure he was dead, she put on her dress and shoes and left the room with his laptop. She walked through the crowd and left by the main entrance. The bouncer opened the door of the taxi for her.
Satisfied that she had a story in her head that would work, she shifted her position and relaxed. She found a position that minimized the aches and pain tearing her up from the inside, and fell asleep. Her head hung down on her chest, her chaotic hair tumbling forward, just long enough for the tips to cover her exposed nipples.
*** To be continued in Ch. 3 ***