‘Slow Burn’

I won’t say it out loud, who or rather what, it was I met that night. I’m fed up of people not believing me.

I’d been working the case for about three weeks, on a slow burn. I’m normally juggling a couple at any one time. (I make sure that every client thinks they are the only one of course, the sole focus of my vigorous and honest effort, but at the end of the day I’ve got alimony, child support etc etc so on and fucking forth).

There was plenty strange about this one from the off. My client for starters. He was… odd. The infuriating thing is I can’t tell you exactly why. But I’ve had every stripe of freak and weirdo walk through those doors, high or deranged on every drug or mental deficiency you can think of; my office is a kaleidoscope shit-can of colourful characters. But this one. Something about his eyes, his grin, his smell, it was all off. There was a something that radiated off him, something that washed over you in waves, something that made your eyeballs itch and your scalp sweat. Mr Yong he called himself.

He was paying well though and if you hadn’t got it yet I’ll overlook pretty much anything if the money is right. This Mr Yong was looking for his brother. He said he hadn’t seen in him a long time. I asked long and he said a few hundred years with the aforementioned grin. I can still remember Mr Yong’s smile and every time I do the reaction is the same – the need for something strong and wet out of a bottle.

Then we get down to the particulars. One: he just wants me to deliver a message. Two: a very particular set of locations, dive bars, whore houses and the ilk that I can start looking at. Three: the excessive money I’m being paid.

My gut: this is all some kind of elaborate game and I am a just an overpaid messenger boy.

The way it plays out I’m not wrong. Turns out Mr Yong’s brother leaves a similarly ingrained impression on the people he meets as Mr Yong did on me. Chuck in a penchant for some low grade arson and this punk is literally leaving a big burning trail for me to follow. Like I said: glorified messenger boy.

But that night I finally find him. I see the fire first. I know I should turn back but I’m like the proverbial moth. He’s standing there watching this motel burn. Low grade arson just turned into multiple homicide. And I know I should floor it. Get the hell out of there. But something draws me to him.

He’s shirtless. People tell me it was a trick of the firelight but his skin is like ebony. It’s lizard skin. He turns to me. The message is in my hands. He takes it and his skin brushes mine for a moment. And it’s like I’ve been touched by a hot poker. But I don’t scream. I can’t. He just looks at me with eyes like coals. He reads the message as the paper burns up in his hands. Then he smiles. And then he’s gone.

Like I said I know what I saw. But I’m not going to say it for you.

 

I found this quite challenging – with the suggested theme/topic being ‘a private eye and dragon-kids’. I won’t elaborate on what’s going in, but suffice to say that ‘yong’ is Korean for dragon.

For these 500 word short stories I am working on a theme and topic suggested to me at random, normally through asking friends on Facebook. Feel free to message me with a suggestion of your own. I will consider anything that’s not too gratuitous or explicit.AM.

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