The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 12
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 12 Misa Trapped
Grim resolution set in on Rocky Burke’s face as he listened to his mother’s breathless words. She laid out a tale of horror. That devil the Crimson Scorpion had invaded their home last night. Terrifying his sister and mother. Rocky clenched his fist. He wanted to lash out, hit something. Not in front of his mother though. She was upset enough as it was.
How did that bastard know where his family lived? And why come after him? The papers had said the Scorpion had gone after Hally. Had that weasel given him up? If he had, he’d pay for that. First this Scorpion needed to be dealt with. Rocky hoped he could sway the boss into giving him some soldiers to take him out.
“Easy mama, I’ll take care of it.” He took his sobbing mother’s hand.
A stack of plates slammed down on the kitchen counter. His sister Becky shot him an angry look. “It wouldn’t have happened if not for you and your shady friends!”
“Blast it Becky! Who pays the bills? Who kept a roof over our heads when dad got hurt?” He bolted up, sending the chair crashing to the floor. “It’ll never happen again mamma.”
“What are you gonna do Rocky? Get your gangster friends to hurt somebody?” Becky said. Trying to provoke him. “You don’t see our brother paling around with mobsters.”
“Please! Please!” Their mother begged. Her pleas unheard. “Don’t fight.”
“You got no idea what it’s really like on the streets!” Rocky fired back at his sister.
“I don’t? I don’t?” She sighed. Leaning on the kitchen counter, fatigued.
He went to the door without looking back. His mother calling after him. Trying to dissuaded his course of action.
“Let him go mamma!” His sister taunted. “Let him run to his hooligan friends.”
Rocky hurried down the steps two at a time. The Scorpion wanted to meet him tonight. He needed to see Jupiter as soon as possible. The trouble was, he didn’t know how to reach him. Rocky would have to go to their hideout and hope he was there, or at least one of the others. One of them might know how to contact him.
He pushed through a crowd of people loitering on the sidewalk. A few protested until they got a look at Rocky and shut their mouths. They were scared of him, the people in the neighborhood knew who he was. Knew what he did. Rocky wasn’t ashamed of his reputation. It meant a couple young hoods hanging out on the street would get out of his way when they saw him coming. Knowing it wasn’t wise to hassle him. Storekeepers gave him free stuff when he went to a shop. The diner gave him free burgers.
Soon they’d run this city. Jupiter was trouncing the other gangs. The smaller ones were jokes. Vic Hally and South Side Johnny could be threats. If they weren’t so weakened from recent attacks. No, this Crimson Scorpion was the real danger.
How dare that monster frighten his family like that! Not even one of the rival gangs would do that. They knew family was off limits. You never threaten family. That’s a clear violation. This Scorpion though. He’d stepped over the line.
He felt the gun under his jacket. What he would give to be face to face with the Scorpion this very minute. Maybe he were watching him this very minute. Let ‘em. Rocky would blast him to hell and back.
Rocky was being watched. But not by the Scorpion. Misa watched him from the shadows of a nearby factory. The boy would lead them to the enemy’s den. Then they could end this threat. The ninja knew it would be just one battle in a never ending war. One she’d pledged her very life too without regret.
When she’d crossed paths with Mistress Kitty, Misa had been on the run from her former clan in Kobe. An exile, Kitty had saved her from a team of assassins sent to kill her or take her back.
Misha was ten when the clan bought her from the orphanage that had been her home. She’d never known her parents nor if they were still alive. Thus she never missed them. The clan had been her family. Master Sukesada the man who trained her became a surrogate father. It was his indiscretion that led to her exile. He’d been caught having an affair with the clan leader’s mistress. He was executed for this affront. Seeing the closest thing she had to a father killed led Misa to a rash action. Killing the clan leader in revenge. Forcing her to flee. Leaving the clan behind, her home. With Master Sukesada gone, it was no longer a place she wished to be.
She’d never met a more determined fighter then Kitty before. They’d barely survived the battle with the assassins. The battle had been bloody and fierce. After she pledged her life to the woman who’d saved her life.
And now she was in Starlight City. The city was unlike any she’d seen before. At first she’d hated it. It was noisy and smelled. The people were rude and wrapped up in themselves. Yet this city offered many dark places. To hide. To stalk. There were many here to kill. Enemies in her mistress’ war. Her blades hungery for blood.
Misa did not feel as if she belonged here. Of course she had yet to find a place where she did. The orphanage had been miserable and cruel. She was overjoyed the day they’d sold her. Her former clan had been the closest to being such a place. Kitty’s home was close. Misa got the sense Kitty’s parents didn’t trust her or want her there. Only begrudgingly allowing her to stay because Misa had helped their daughter.
Misa followed as he walked a few blocks, the neighborhoods getting considerably nicer as they went. He stopped in front of a ornate three story building. The buildings entrance was guarded by two large jaguar statues at the top steep stone steps. After he went in, Misa crossed the street. Inspecting the metal plaque.
Watching the club from across the street for a couple hours. Not seeing Burke leave, she took the opportunity to call Kitty. Using the payphone in a small diner just down the street. Her mistress was waiting at the apartment.
She quickly informed Kitty of where she was and her suspicion of the club being the base of their enemy. Kitty congratulated Misa for a job well done. Telling her she was on her way there and to stay put.
Putting the phone back in it’s cradle, Misa exited the booth. She noticed the diner staff had gone. Turning to see man in a white mask and trench coat standing in the doorway. She dove behind the counter as the machine gun in his hands spewed hot lead. Ripping through everything in their path.
She cursed under her breath. He’d seen her! She’d slipped up somewhere. Outside the club perhaps. She’d lingered too long at the doorstep, looking at the plaque and someone had spotted her.
She heard the bullets tear through the counter. Her hiding place wouldn’t remain safe for much longer.
Then as suddenly as the attack started, it ceased.
“Who sent you?” The man asked. His voice muffled by the mask. “Who do you work for? The Crimson Scorpion?”
Misa unsheathed her dagger. At this range she couldn’t get close enough to him with that machine gun in his hands.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”
Water started to puddle next to her. Dripping from a ruptured pipe. Over the sound of dripping, She heard him, walking over broken glass. Getting closer.
“I could do this all afternoon. Reduce the place to toothpicks. But I ain’t got all day.”
As Misa prepared to spring out. Blade ready to slice the man open, there was a sudden rush of movement. He was retreating. When he had the upper hand, something was wrong.
The small canister landed a few feet from the crouching young warrior. White gas spraying out. She felt her eyes start to water and breathing became harder. She needed to escape the diner. The enemy was no doubt waiting in the entrance. Hoping to flush her towards him with the gas attack.
The gas made it hard to see. It also made it hard for her opponent to see her as well. If Misa couldn’t go out the front way, she’d go out the rear. Keeping low, Misa scrambled towards the rear of the diner. The gas filling the room rapidly.
She stopped briefly, retching up mucus. The gas was getting the better of her. Escape was imperative.
Staggering past past the last booth Misa found the rear entrance. Slamming into the door, she stumbled out into the rear alley and fresh air. Breathing it in deep.
“Well, lookie here boys!”
Five men waited there in the alley. Two blocking each way, another his back to the wall, arms crossed. Their attire was different then the all white the others wore. These five wore everyday clothes. Their faces’ hidden by crude cloth masks.
It was a trap. One she’d fallen for.
“Looks like our first catch of the day.” One of them chuckled.
The man against the wall straightened. “Take her in one piece.”
None of them had firearms. Instead, they held chains and rusty pipes. They weren’t there to kill her, nevertheless they’d no doubt take great joy in dishing out painful punishment.
The one with the chain attacked first. Lashing out whip like. Even in her weakened state, Misa was able to dodge the clumsy attack. Another rushed her with a pipe. She skirted the attack. Making the man pay with her dagger. Slicing open his neck. A jet of blood sprayed forth, shocking and angering his allies.
His body had no more then hit the ground when the one with the chain swung again. This time scoring a hit. The chain smacking her in the back. Misa fought on. Taking out another with her dagger. But the gas had weakened her and their numbers overtook her. Blow after blow landed. Forcing the young woman to her knees, then the ground. She tasted blood on her teeth as her vision blurred. An overwhelming sense of peace flooded her being. She’d fallen in battle. What more could one wish for.
She’d failed her mistress. A prayer on her lips that her friend would avenge her.
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