The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 17
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 17 Backup
They sat in Doc Roberts’ waiting room. Kitty still in her Crimson Scorpion guise. Jenkins the private investigator sat across from her, flipping through one of the doctor’s many dogeared magazines. Roberts was still tending to Misa. The waiting was making the both of them impatient.
Jenkins threw the magazine back on the table. “Damn. How long is he gonna take?”
She studied his face. He was generally troubled about Misa. More then that of a concerned citizen. Why had he appeared to save the day?
“I want to thank you, for what you did.” Kitty said. Her words spoken with the Crimson Scorpion’s voice. “I’m curious though, what brought you to be there?”
Jenkins stood. “I could just a stiff drink.” Avoiding the question. “How about you?”
Yes. Yes she could. Worrying about her friend. The beating she took. It was gnawing at her. The soothing bliss of alcohol would be welcome.
“No.” She answered. “You didn’t answer my question.” She pressed.
“If I answer, you gotta answer one of mine.”
She mulled it over a second. “Fair enough. I agree.”
“I was following her. Part of a case I’m working on. Saw her get ambushed by some goons. Taken to the club. I was waiting nearby. Heard the commotion. Kind of borrowed someone’s car. The rest is history.”
Kitty tried to keep the anger from her voice. “You saw them attack her and did nothing?”
She could see the words, their meaning strike him harder then any blow could.
“Look, I didn’t know her from Adam. For all I know she’s just a crooked as the rest of them. Okay? I feel guilty enough as it is buddy.”
He sat back down. Slouching on the old couch. “Now I really could use a drink.” He hunched forward. The spring creaking under his weight. “Now. My turn. What’s this girl to you?”
“Nobody.” She lied. “I came across her being held there, when I was investigating the club.”
Jenkins smiled. “You’re a bad liar. You were quite upset back in the car about her condition.”
“Why shouldn’t I be? I don’t want to see this poor girl suffer. Besides, she might have information that could prove helpful.” She said coldly. Surprising herself.
Jenkins bit his lip. Appearing to buy it. “Yeah. Sure. Okay.”
Information. Yes. Kitty remembered the handful of papers she’d taken from the Jaguar club’s files. Taking them out of her coat, she spread them out on the small coffee table between them.
“I found some files there. They might prove useful.” She looked him in the eye. “Interested?”
The Private investigator scratched his stubble covered chin. “Your not how that Wilbur White fella on the radio figures you.”
She smiled. “And how is that?”
“He thinks your just some flashy gangster.” Said Jenkins. “My gut says your in this for something else.”
“And what is that?” She asked, curious about the man across from her.
“You want to do away with all the crooks running this town. The ones on the wrong side of the law and the ones on the other side. Hiding behind the law. You want justice just like I do.”
“Well your gut has pretty good instincts.” This man could be an ally. Kitty thought. But how much could she trust him with?
Reaching into her coat pocket, she pulled out his pistol. “Here’s your gun.” She said, setting it on the table. “It’s a good weapon.”
Jenkins picked it up. Holding it like a prized heirloom. “Thanks, she’s pulled me out of some tough spots.” Done, the P.I. pocketed the weapon.
“Let’s see what we can figure out about these.” Jenkins said, bending over the table eyeing the papers. “Some deeds here. Some city planning documents. Most of it deals with various businesses in Starlight.”
“What could they want with these?” Asked Kitty. Picking up on one the pieces of paper. “What kind of gentleman’s club is this?”
“Excuse me.” Doc Roberts stood in the door. Cleaning his glasses with an old cloth. “I’m not disturbing anything?”
“No Doc, we’re just talking shop.” Jenkins said. Leaning back on the couch, rubbing his bloodshot eyes.
Doc Roberts perched his newly cleaned glasses back on his nose. Clasping his hands together. “Your friend is resting now. She took quite a beating. Thankfully most of it superficial. I’d advise she stay here for the night at least.”
Jenkins looked at Kitty who nodded in approval. “Sounds good Doc. I should be hitting the trails.” Jenkins stood, cracking his neck. “Been a long night.”
Kitty looked at Doc Roberts. “She’ll be alright here?”
“She will.” Jenkins answered. “You can trust Doc.”
The doctor stroked his beard. “Indeed, you can. Phil and I have an understanding. Extending back to when he walked a beat. Your friend will be safe here.”
“Thank you. If there’s anything I can do for you.” She offered.
“Maybe, someday you can help my clinic out. The Depression left a lot of folks with nothing. Through no fault of their own. I’m trying to help as many as I can.”
“A noble cause.” She said. “The city needs more men like you.”
Back at the apartment. Kitty shed her Crimson Scorpion persona. Tonight she’d faced Jupiter. Saved Misa. And met two men who could be potential allies in the war to save Starlight City. When she snuck back into the penthouse her body was beyond weary. She went to sleep feeling a great peace inside. She was no longer alone in her war. For the first time she could recall, Kitty’s sleep was blissful.
The next morning she mad a customary appearance before dodging her parents’ questions and ducking out after having some toast and jam.
Emerson the butler greeted Kitty as she was leaving. “Morning Miss Allenby. You look rested.”
“Good morning.” Kitty answered. “I feel rested.”
“That’s good to hear madam. If I may be candid for a moment.”
Kitty wanted to get right over to the apartment and change. Before going to see Misa. But Emerson was a close friend, family even. She’d make time for anything he requested.
“No need to ask. What’s no your mind?”
“Thank you.” The butler replied. Looking fatherly as he smiled at her. “You appear to be going about in a hurry all the time. Morning, noon and night. You come back late. Barely getting any sleep. I’m worried about your well-being.” He took a deep breath before finishing. “I still grieve for Miss Carol as well. The thought of something befalling you as well. It’s too much to bare.”
Kitty felt her face redden with emotion. Tears at the corners of her eyes. “Thank you. It means more then you know, to have you worrying about me. I’m all right. You needn’t worry.”
“I shall regardless.” Emerson assured her. “Take care of yourself out there Miss Allenby.”
She kissed him on the cheek before going. “I will.”
The sky was overcast. The sun sneaking an occasional ray or two through the blockade of clouds. As Kitty made her way to the apartment. She turned over the events of the night. In particular her meeting with Jupiter. The man claimed to have the same mission as she did. Saving Starlight City from the sickness that ran through it’s veins.
If he succeeded overcoming the remaining crime lords, there’d be no more gang wars. No more innocents caught in the crossfire. It was a nice dream to think that would be enough. That crime would be regulated under one ruler. Even if this Jupiter manged that, how long would it last? How long before one of his lieutenants wanted more? Then war would return to the streets once again. For Kitty that wasn’t enough. To simply have them there, yet under some manner of control. No. They needed to be destroyed altogether. No trace left. It was a battle she could never win. But one she’d fight to her last breath.
Under a lose floorboard in the bedroom closet of the apartment, Kitty lifted a small wooden box up. Inside it rested her back up pistol. She’d have to replace the ones she’d lost last night. Till then Kitty had the Mauser C96 "Broomhandle.” The gun she’d trained with on the merchant ship that rescued her.
Loading the Mauser, squinting one eye Kitty looked down the sight. She could remember the breathless exhilaration she’d felt seeing that ship in the distance. Kitty had been atop Scorpion Hill as she’d called it. On that island she’d given everything the word Scorpion as part of it’s name. Scorpion Hill. Scorpion Lagoon. Scorpion Forest.
Climbing the rocky hill then practicing her kata had become part of her daily life there. By then the dress she’d been wearing when getting washed onto the island was nothing more the rags, held together with some vines and leaves. Kitty must have looked like some kind of female Tarzan, running down the beach. Waving her hands like a lunatic.
Kitty could never forget that day. Not just because of being rescued. When the she took the landing party to the cave, the one she’d shared with her master Ying Sun. It was empty. The old man was nowhere to be found. There was no trace of him, save for the items he’d given Kitty. A search of the area yielded nothing.
The ship’s doctor attributed it to all the time she’s spent alone on that rock. Kitty would have been inclined to believe him if it wasn’t for everything the old man had thought her. Perhaps she’d reasoned on the boat trip, he didn’t want to return to the civilized world. Knowing she’d try to force him to come with her. Content to live out the rest of his life on the island in exile. Or maybe the man who’d thought her how to fight. Thought her how to live to that island. Thought her how to wage war on the criminals of Starlight. Maybe he’d merely been a phantom. Reaching out from beyond as a form of redemption.
Kitty didn’t believe in ghosts. If there was such a thing, her sister would unquestionably be haunting her.
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