The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 7
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 7 An Oath of Blood and Fire
“Ying Sun.” Kitty whispered. She smiled. Ying Sun. That crazy old man. She hadn’t thought of her master for some time. A faint recollection of the island came to her. The taste of Scorpion Stew. It really wasn’t so bad once she’d gotten used to it. Her time on Scorpion Island seemed as if it had been another person’s life. Was she still there? Had it all been a dream?
Kitty, her eyes cleared of sleep looked up at a water stained ceiling. A rough pillow rested under her head. A filthy ceiling fan creaked overhead. Trying in vain to deliver relief from the sweltering heat. Kitty grimaced as she tried to sit up. She found herself in a familiar ramshackle apartment.
“Easy Miss Kitty.” The misleadingly petite face of Misa hovered over her. Holding her down. “Do not rush your healing.”
“Misa…I?” Kitty said, confused.
The man in white. The chase. The water. It came back in a flood of images. The car…They’d gone into the river. Kitty had been sucked down in the cold blackness of the river’s depths. Before blacking out she’d seen an angel descend into the water.
“Your okay now.” Misa reassured her.
“Two days. I stayed with you the whole time.”
Misa and her unwavering loyalty.
“I told you to stay behind.” Kitty said, lying back on the pillow. “Ordered you to stay out of it. My mission is mine alone. I won’t risk your life. And still you followed me.”
“And I have sworn an oath to protect yours after you saved my life in Kobe.”
There was no talking her friend out of it. Kitty could see that, had seen it for some time now. Having the backup out there would make things a little easier. Especially now, with a new player in Starlight. He’d called himself Jupiter. Claimed he’d bring order to the crime syndicates here. Chaos would rain in the streets now with Diamond Bill gone. That was if the river had claimed him as it had almost claimed her.
“Did anybody else make it out of the river.”
Misa shook her head. “I saw none.”
She’d been here two days. There was work to be done. There was this new man in white. The other gangs, with Diamond Bill gone would be fighting for their slice of the pie. Till they were forced to join Jupiter’s group or gunned down. Not to mention something else, her parents. Back only for a few days and already she’d pulled a disappearing act on them.
“I have to get up.” Kitty ordered. “I’ll not hear anything to the contrary.”
She sat up, the terrible bed springs squeaked underneath. Misa had brought Kitty to the cheap apartment she’d rented in Starlight’s “Skid Row.” Kitty had stayed here when she’d returned to the city. Two weeks before she’d gone back to her parents. Staging her preliminary strikes as The Crimson Scorpion from here. Coming and going in disguise.
Kitty stood on shaky legs, pushing past her friend. Her body had been confined to a bed for two days. Movement was painful. She limped to an open window. Feeling a faint breeze come in. Outside the sounds of car horns, the shouts of children playing and police sirens somewhere in the distance. The air smelled of decay and garbage.
“Thank you my friend.” Kitty breathed in foul smelling air. “Without you it would have ended the other night. Your right, I need you out there. But I can’t ask you to risk your life.”
“You need never ask.”
Kitty needed to go home. How would her parents react? What would she tell them? It would be a lie regardless. Kitty resolved herself to seeing the disappointment in their face again. This time it would be for a good cause. One she could not share with them. Donning the disguise of the woman whom rented the apartment. Kitty put on a brown wig, glasses and red dress. Sue Sawyer. A cover she’d created to prevent someone from recognizing socialite Kitty Allenby slumming about in “Skid Row.” Misa left via the fire-escape. They’d meet up at the penthouse. Seeing the two leave might attract attention. The staff of the Golgotha Hotel were a fairly lax group. Adapt at minding their own business as long as the rent was paid. Yet a Japanese woman leaving with one of the tenants might raise some eyebrows.
On the street Kitty let herself be swallowed up by the crowded sidewalks. On the corner a blonde haired young newsie in a crooked cap hawked the day’s paper.
“Gangland executions continue! Ten found dead in East Side garage! Read all about it!” The boy exclaimed.
He saw Kitty approaching. “How about you dame?” He asked. Holding a paper in his outstretched hand. “Ten cents.”
Despite her mood, Kitty couldn’t help but smile at the brash boy. Giving him two dimes for the paper.
The boy smiled, his eyes lit up upon seeing the extra dime. “Thanks sister!”
Kitty took a cab back home. Reading the paper to pass the time. There was indeed another gangland killing. The second in as many nights. The men in white had been busy. After she cleared up things with her parents today, she needed to find a lead on these men. Something to help her track them down. That boy that was working for them would be a good start. At least two of those men in white had died in the warehouse shootout. After that explosion she doubted there would much left to identify them. It was worth a shot perhaps. Seeing if the police had gained any evidence from the wreckage.
Back at the penthouse Kitty found Misa waiting for her. How she’d got here ahead of her was one of the many mysteries Kitty doubted she’d ever have the answer to when it came to her friend.
Misa stood by her side as Kitty lied to her parents. Telling them a story about the pain of Carol’s memory. And how she had needed to drown in it in some gin. Misa had found her, cleaned her up and brought her home. Knowing her past they bought it. Kitty hated telling such a lie. Hated how easy it was. And how good she was at it.
The scorn on their faces cut like a dagger. It was little comfort to her that none of the story she’d told them as true. Kitty hadn’t touched any alcohol since the party on the junk. Nor would she allow herself to give into that temptation.
Her father left for work. Misa went out onto the large balcony to do her daily kata. Leaving Kitty alone with her mother.
Joan Allenby looked pensive. “Are you okay?” She asked Kitty. Touching her daughter’s hand.
“I am.” Kitty squeezed her mother’s hand. “Just all the memories coming back.”
“I’m here for you as is your father...In his way.”
They talked for awhile, remembering old times. Before Joan noticed Misa going through her kata on the balcony.
“I’m glad your friend is so loyal and looks out for you honey, but does she have to be so…Oriental?”
“Mother!” Kitty blushed. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “She’s Japanese.”
“It’s a little overwhelming Kitty.” She motions with her hands towards Misa. “All that she’s doing.”
“It’s a new world mother.”
Joan sighed. “What are your plans today?”
Kitty lied again. “I hadn’t thought about it.”
“Fiona called. She heard you where home.”
Fiona Rembaldi. Her best friend in school. She hadn’t thought about her in a long time. Kitty felt a little ashamed by that fact. Fiona’s father owned the Opal Club. Fiona’s mother used to sing there before she died after a long illness. Fiona had reached out to Kitty after Carol’s death. In her pain Kitty had pushed her away. She regretted that. If there was one person that had understood her loss, it was Fiona.
“She’s still in Starlight?” Kitty said, surprised.
“She’s working for her father. Singing like her mother used to.”
Kitty never realized her friend could sing. Good for her.
“Go to her today Kitty. For me. I think it would be good for the both of you.”
“I will mother. I will.”
Kitty hugged the woman. This would hinder her plans for the day. Yet if it made her mother happy she would do it. Besides she should see Fiona. She’d left her with no explanation back then. She owed Fiona an apology for that. First there was someone else Kitty had to pay a visit.
Blood of the Covenant, an old Gothic church loomed. Casting it’s shadow over the high stone walls of the large cemetery next to it. The last time Kitty had come here was for Carol’s burial. The gravestone sat in the shade of a ancient crooked tree.
Kitty set a bouquet of white roses on the ground. “Morning Carol.”
Misa stood behind her several feet. Watching. Guarding in silence.
Kitty knelt down. A gentle breeze blew through the cemetery. It was peaceful here. A good place for her sister to rest. There would be no rest for Kitty. On the island she’d made a vow to Ying Sun. In return for training her to take revenge on the criminals of Starlight City, Kitty would fight evil wherever she found it. In his youth her master had been a mercenary of a man. Selling his skills for whomever paid. Later teaching his deadly arts to four others besides her. Those four students used his teachings for their own villainous ends. When she’d found him he had been serving out his own self imposed exile. Seeing too late the cost of his indifference through his students actions.
Kitty would seek her own redemption as well as his. One day she would face his students. The old master had foreseen it in a vision. When he didn’t know, just that she would. Thus, when she finished here there was still other battles to be fought. This was her life. A choice she didn’t regret.
“I’m home sister. The criminals, the scum of Starlight will pay in blood. They’ll scream in terror before the flames of Hell claim them. This I swear to you my sister.”
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