Chapter 19: The Big Boss


At the end of my funeral speech, I sat back down. My heart was thumping as I turned my back toward Kwok. I was almost certain something terrible was bound to happen soon. But as I waited and waited, nothing happened. I listened to two more people say kind words about Kai before I dared to turn around and look at the entrance where Kwok was standing.

Except he wasn’t there anymore. He had left. I felt a chill roll up my spine, and turned back, trying to relax and pay attention to the rest of the service. Continue reading


Chapter 18: Eating With Bloody Hands


“How long has she been asleep?” my mother asked. She had come out of her room after a while and found me at the kitchen table with a pot of strong tea. Lin had fallen to her knees in sobs, crumpling the bag to her stomach, and it was the only then that my mother and I helped her too my room where she laid down next to Bao. They grieved together. I could hear them for a while. Eventually the room fell silent.

The bag with Kai’s hand was on the kitchen counter, as though it were a piece of pork shoulder. Continue reading

Chapter 17: Living by the Sword


I woke up still in my bra and work pants. I no longer had my work shirt so I put on any old shirt. I worked alone in a dark room anyway, what could happen?

I checked my mother’s room before I left, and now in the daytime I noticed a note she had left on her pillow. Staying with the Lais tonight. Be back tomorrow.

I was feeling stressed on my commute and managed to bum a cigarette off another passenger. I leaned against the rail, blowing smoke and staring out at the horizon. I didn’t get sick anymore on my way across the channel. Continue reading

Chapter 16: Blue Lanterns


I took the ferry home with Mars’ phone number penned onto my hand, and my new Walkman in my pocket, the headphones plugged in, and wrapped around my neck. My forehead still felt warm from where he had kissed me goodbye. He had been too afraid of kissing my bruised lips in case he ended up hurting me.

It had started to rain, very lightly, but I ran fast through the widest streets, taking the quickest and most visible route home. I decided I wanted to tell my mother about Mars. It had been about two months since he and I had first met, and she would be the first person I told. I began climbing the stairs with energy, my sore muscles warming up again. I felt beautiful, even if I may have still looked a little ragged from last night. Continue reading

Chapter 15: Tea Leaves


I woke up feeling wrecked. All night I would be on the edge of sleep and then my head would replay the evening all over again–I hadn’t slept well at all. And my clothes were hanging to dry, still covered with what were unmistakably blood stains. I would have to just burn them later. I felt my lip, which was still swollen, but had gone down a little bit in the night. I washed my face and picked up my mother’s hand mirror. I was a mess, and it was only Tuesday. I slid my hand under the mattress and felt for the handle of the gun. I looked at it, debating whether to take it with me. And at the last second, I tucked it into my waistband. Continue reading

Chapter 14: The Edge


I went home, determined to forget about what happened. Leave your work at work, is what my mother used to say when I would come home stressed and upset about my job. She didn’t really say those things anymore. Tonight, the shipment was coming in. Kwok might be there, or the recruit. Maybe both. I didn’t care if the shipment was drugs, or weapons, or money. I just wanted to drive them out of town. And if Kai was right–if the Wo Shing Wo were getting weaker, then maybe it was up to me to break them. Continue reading

Chapter 13: Sacrifice


I started going to the police force trainings pretty regularly after that. In just two trainings, I got to know every member by name, even Chun-Yuen, who Kai had said was usually absent half the time. At any given point, there were between fifteen to twenty-four of us. Twenty-five if you counted me. My attendance didn’t give Kai the excuse to slack off when leading the trainings, even though we weren’t really talking anymore. Continue reading