Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Number One Under Heaven (58)

The pair had hotfooted it back through the market square and were now scouring the street for a taxi. There was no thought of checking out of Blake’s hotel: instead, they would make directly for the railway station, to take the next available train South, in the direction of Qinzhou. At some point in their dash Elle turned her head towards him and was about to yell something, when someone emerged suddenly from a side street and shouldered into her, heavily. Twisting away almost instantaneously the man grunted, indicating his intention to move off without further delay. Blake pounced on him in a flash, however: not to demand an apology, but after recognising what was in fact a classic sleight-of-hand manoeuvre. “Check your bag!” he yelled out to his companion. Rummaging around inside, Elle found herself bereft of her purse. A Gucci, at that. “Shit! My fucking purse is gone!” she cried, an exclamation that was followed by a shy grimace, as she realised that it was the first real time she had sworn in front of him.

By now, Blake had the pickpocket in an arm lock and was pushing him up against a nearby wall. Then flipping him round aggressively, he was forced to share the lowlife’s pungent breath as he fixed him squarely in the eye. “Where’s the purse, you cunt?” he spat, from inches away. Blake’s bile flecked the smaller man’s lips, causing him to lick them, involuntarily. “Where is it? Eh?” he further demanded, as Elle came up behind him. “Adam–” she began, but Blake cut her off. “I’ll deal with this,” he snapped. “No, Adam,” she persisted, a little crossly. “I mean, look at his face. The scratch marks. He’s–”

And suddenly there it was – so obvious, so close before his eyes that until Elle pointed it out, he had not noticed it. From the orbit of the man’s left eye all the way down his cheek were four deep scratch marks. Scars that were so narrowly spaced, they could only have been made by a child. “Talk to him,” Blake said, without removing his glare from the man’s now terrified expression. Elle babbled away for a few moments, producing only the odd grunt in response. Then clearly agitated, she yelled something at him, harshly, to which he silently nodded, while casting his eyes down. “My God, Adam,” she gasped. “Oh my God…! I think he’s one of the gang… the gang that snatched Sophie!” Blake closed his eyes, drawing in a deep breath. His grip on the man’s arm tightened. He felt like smashing the crook’s head in, but knew instinctively that he was far more useful to them alive, and conscious.

“We’re taking him with us,” he said, after a lengthy pause. “Tell him he’s going to fucking well show us where he and those bastards took Sophie. Or I’ll kill him.” Once again, Elle rattled off Blake’s instructions in Mandarin, this time at length. But it was clear from the man’s body language that his response was negative. “He says he can’t,” she said, finally. “Won’t say why – just keeps on saying ‘no’.” “Tell him I’ll pay him,” replied Blake, swallowing hard. I can’t believe I’m doing this, he thought. I should just take the cunt out, right here and now. But Blake knew in his heart that their chance encounter with the gang member was an amazing stroke of good fortune – and a significant breakthrough in the search for his daughter. He needed to make the fullest use of what the scumbag knew. And if paying for it were necessary, then so be it. Exacting his revenge could follow, once his little girl was back, safe and sound.

On learning of the potential for reward, the petty thief in Blake’s grip could scarcely believe his luck. His demeanour changed dramatically, such that he was now nodding so enthusiastically it appeared his head might fall off. Blake relaxed his hold a little, allowing him to dig out Elle’s purse from a pocket. Opening it to check the contents, she then carefully counted out some notes and offered them to him. “I’m giving him a down payment,” she advised. “Don’t be too generous,” Blake countered, without mirth.

“OK, let’s go,” Blake said a little later, as a taxi eventually responded to their beckoning, coming to an untidy halt at the roadside. “And tell this cunt that if he makes a wrong move – tries to trick us – escape – whatever – I will rip his bollocks off with my bare hands and feed them to his wife. Watch her choke on them.”

Despite her evident disgust at his choice of phrase, it was clear from the look on the man’s expression as the taxi pulled out into the traffic that Elle had faithfully translated every word of Blake’s threat. Silently, and within an atmosphere of considerable tension, the unlikely trio then began their journey towards the station.

posted by Kirk at 10:40 pm  

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