Chapter 26: The Return


We didn’t take the ferry, or even go across the water. Instead, I was ushered into a cop car, and they drove in an entirely different direction. I looked out of the window from the back seat, trying to remember the last time I had been in a car, and not being able to. Every so often, the car would lurch, or go over a bump, and I worried we were going to crash. Continue reading


Chapter 25: Outside Noisy Inside Empty


It had been five and a half months since the overtaking of the Triad building, which made it the Year of the Rat. The informal police force had been renamed the Walled City Police. I had decided to inhabit a room in one of the middle floors. I tore a wall down and combined two offices. We scrounged for supplies to create an apartment out of it. Spring came, unstable, and wet. The humidity made everything feel slow, and I had a hard time knowing how time was passing. I measured time only by what successes the city had. Continue reading

Chapter 23: The Overtaking Part 1


A fog had conveniently descended on the city that Saturday. We met in our usual training area near the Triad building, so nothing looked suspicious. The only thing a little out of the ordinary was that Lin and I were now wearing empty backpacks provided by a couple members of the force. My gun was still in my waistband as always, but Lin was unarmed.

“Do I have to take the Hello Kitty one?” she groaned.

I snatched up the plainer looking backpack. “You do now!” Continue reading

Chapter 22: Goodbyes


We buried my mother the next day. The funeral was attended by only Jolie, Lin, and me. Jolie was in tears the whole time. I had cried all of mine earlier. Lin was stony faced.

I went back into our apartment to get my belongings–the gun, the Walkman, my mother’s compact mirror, her altar, the tin can of money, and some of my clothes. The blood had dried into a dark sticky mess, that blanketed the room, and when I went in to get my things, a number of flies were hovering around it. Continue reading

Chapter 21: The Debt


The Triads used an old number system of ranking. Each rank came with its own antiquated name like Dragon or Straw Sandal. I didn’t remember what new recruits like Kai were called, but White Paper Fan sounded more familiar. It seemed ironic, now, that kids like Kai and me would play mafia when we were children, fighting over who would get to be the Dragonhead. Continue reading

Chapter 20: White Paper Fan


It was Sunday morning. I woke up anxious because it took me a second to remember where I was. Mars was still asleep. I sat up and looked around the room. The sun came through the blinds, leaving long patches on the bed. The apartment was actually pretty bright and homey in the daytime. You just couldn’t tell when the lights were off and you could only see things by the glow of the TV. Mars seemed to really favor blues and grays, all of which had looked like the same color in the evening. I stood up and turned off the television. I tried to creep quietly around the room, but I stepped on a video case and yelped. Continue reading