I ran barefoot down the nearest alleyway, my left leg throbbing, pain jolting up from my ankle. My back was stiff and the headache I was experiencing, made the incoming sirens in the distance ring in my ears.
Yokohama, the Harbor of the Future…
It was all coming back to me quickly, I was in the Minato Mirai Chuo district, and I realize in the distance, I could see the Queen’s Towers. This was once an old shipyard, but massive developments over several decades has seen it rise to become the city center, if I could get to the bullet train I might stand the slightest bit of a chance.
And a chance is all I’d need…
You give a woman like me a chance, and it was over for you, I think even my father knew that, a fact which likely provoke the severity of his pursuit of me. He could have given up years ago, letting me run away to never return, but the Truth of it all was too awful to risk that kind of freedom.
My freedom, my life, my very existence was an affront to his bloodline, a dishonor of the highest accord. Death to Dishonor was a mantra in our family, one my father took in a literal sense; Even though he wanted me captured alive, he surely meant to secure the death of me. I honestly think, at this point, he needed to commit the act with his own hands for solace to come to his poisonous heart.
From my view of the skyline, I could see I was closer now, close enough to see the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel and the time of this ungodly hour, which was about a quarter past midnight. I still had enough time to catch the last train, then I could finally reach the US Embassy in Tokyo.
The pale full moon shone bright in the dark sky, casting an eerie luminous glow upon the city. There was movement in the shadows of the alleyway up ahead, causing me to slow from my lumbering sprint into an abrupt stop, I caught glimpse of a figure in the distance.
It was a woman, one I’ve developed an unfathomable fondness for despite our unconventional introduction, it was my sister standing there, half coated in darkness and shadow, with assassin like precision. Though before I could get my hopes up, I notice the glaring warning in her eyes, someone else was there behind her.. stepping from the shadows was disgraced former Agent Vance.
“Screw me once, shame on me, fool me twice..”
With those words repeated, and before she could even finish that ominous warning she gave me less than an hour ago, she pulled the trigger.
My name is Yurika Ymoja… and I just need another chance to make things right.
《 2 months ago 》
“What do you want Agent Vance?”
“Damn Darlin’, that anyway to speak to the gracious bitch that just save your life?”
“Nobody asked you to, but thanks anyway.”
“It was all in good faith, honest to Betsy, I swear it.”
“Who is this woman?” Jerry asked me, looking as confused as I did, something was off about her today.
“I know I sure acted a damn certifiable mess, last we mingle, but suga’ I swear on mah life I ain’t here to cause not an ounce ah’ trouble.”
“Where did this new accent come from, forgive me if I don’t recall so much gumbo in your dialect from our prior visits.” I asked, almost not able to recognize her as the same woman, the striking sophisticated beauty of her appearance was still there but the character was off.
“Oh, I’m sorry, forgive me. I was just entertaining a Texan oil tycoon you might be privy to, so I won’t say his name, we suspect him of involvement with Mexican cartels, of course you know that’s classified. I’m here because I believe we can find mutual benefit in our cooperation, information is the most valuable currency these days, and we just need to break some change.”
It scared me how she could change up at any second, she wasn’t like other girls, who might settle on being an actress who sometimes played a spy, cause this girl sure had the chops for it, but she really went out and became a secret agent of the government. I would probably never really know who this woman was, because she could always be in character at any moment, concealment of her identity was her job.
“That depends on what kind of information you want.”
“Tread lightly Yurika.. this woman, she’s a walking danger sign.” Jerry interjected, unable to hold his opinion to himself, I couldn’t deny the accuracy no matter how annoyed I was at his butting in.
“If we’re done pointing out obvious observations, I can tell you my information is more valuable than what I want to know from you.”
“Fair enough, how about I make this easy and give you a little taste, the assassin that’s after you has been traced back to someone.” She paused, smirking at me as if she was only stopping for dramatic effect, I hated to admit her success when she spread her lips to form HIS name. “Our sources have lead us to KyotoMax Corp, and its founder, Maximo Kyoto.”
“He found me..”
“What was that?” She asked, causing me to realize I’d whispered that out loud, Jerry immediately spoke up, covering for me.
“She said, how did you find them?”
“Well now, you should know that’s classified.”
I sat in silence, admittedly shook by this news, Jerry gave me an odd look. Which I expected, because he was definitely in close enough proximity to hear the words that mistakenly escape my lips. It was a task not to think back to the last fiery moments I been in the presence of my biological father, billionaire Maximo Kyoto.
I’m surprised Agent Vance and her team didn’t make the connection, but to their calculations, there was probably less than a five percent chance I’d be related to anyone close to that family, especially since I had such a rich dark complexion. My inner turmoil was interrupted by the car screeching to a stop, Valissa turned in her seat to face me in the eye, the bright bold blue mixed with the calm cold seriousness in her eyes unnerved me. She was so calculated, yet she had a spastic spontaneity, like she thrived in the chaos of the world.
“I’m willing to share everything we currently have concerning your little problem with Kyoto, in return I just need the itinerary on Ellison’s where abouts for the month of June last year, the entire month.”
“I would never turn on Jynx Ellison, I didn’t gain the family trust to spill the secrets of those I care about.”
“I was referring to his Father.”
“In that case, I’ll have that to you tomorrow morning, digital or paper? I hear you government types are nostalgic.”
“Both if you can handle it, expect a courier with an unmarked package to arrive at the front desk of your hotel tomorrow at noon, he is credentialed to act as liaison for this deal.”
“Perfect, now that we settled all that, how about a ride to my hotel, you seem well aware of where we’re staying.”
“Sure, no problem at all, but just one last thing.. and this is only to ensure we are clear. While we are fully aware of your plot to save the boy, that is not our concern in regards to the father, it’s paramount we all stay out of each other’s way, especially when we got such a good thing going.”
Jerry and I just nod in the affirmative, knowing a threat disguised as a warning when we heard one, Valissa Vance was no one to fuck with.
I had barely closed my eyes, when the sun rose on a new morning, there was a knock to the door, and a deep baritone hollered that the coffee was ready. I knew it was Ti’Hatcha, who had probably woken up just after I’d fallen asleep, already making the rounds. There was work that needed to be done, and like Mother Ellison used to say..
*** “We’d have plenty of time to rest when we’re dead.” ***
Walking into the living room of our suite, I found Jerry making himself comfortable on the sofa, watching some children’s cartoon. Looking to the dining table, Hatch was face deep in the paper, ignoring his coffee, while Umpelo made himself useful in the kitchen.
“I would have let you sleep in, but there are new developments, after my meeting with this mysterious source.” Hatch greeted me, moving straight into business mode, he didn’t notice I wasn’t exactly myself.
Yurika Ymoja was always on, no matter how few fluttering winks of sleeps she survived on, she was disciplined like a soldier of polished perfection. Though now I sat understanding how many people woke up dreading the next day, hoping in vain that the horrid night before was but a dream, if only.
“Her name is Farrah Davis, she’s a lobbyist for Astor Corporation, working closely with Madeleine Astor herself on manipulating politicians with monetary persuasions.”
“You mean bribes?” I asked, because that’s what it all sounded like.
“No, I mean campaign and political party donations, but essentially that’s what campaign financing has devolved into. Miss Davis is our inside track to find out who is pulling the strings, and helping Father Ellison carry out his schemes.”
“Can we trust her?”
“About as much as we can trust him..” He replied, referring to the bespectacled weasel I had likey saved from sexual slavery, at the hands of Guiseppe the Puppetmaster. “We have about two hours before we rendezvous with her, so you have time to get ready. Plus, you never told me what happened last night, it couldn’t have been easy getting him out of that place, especially since that CIA operative was the one that dropped you guys off.”
“It was nothing, I just had to bargain with another incarnation of the Devil in this world.. Giuseppe is a sick man.”
“Or is he a genius?” Jerry interjected, as he sat down to the table, taking Ti’Hatcha’s untouched coffee. “He controls the underworld of DC politics, these people chose to come to him of their own free will, now he owns them.”
Hatch put down his paper as his brother, Umpelo, brought a bunch of food over on a platter. There were pancakes, crepes, french toast, bacon, and eggs, of which Jerry immediately began serve himself. He was starting to annoy the guys, so I continued to fill them in on the details of my time in The Playroom.
“The game I was forced to play was sadistic and degrading, so I’ve sworn Jerry to secrecy on the gory details, but as always, I’m Yurika Ymoja and I’m that girl, so I won and saved this fool’s behind from debt slavery. Everything was going great until I caught sight of the assassin again, she killed someone and chased us down.”
“We have to find out who she is, and be prepared to do whatever it takes to get rid of her, was that all that happened?”
“No, the Agent dropped us off and left.” I replied, averting my eyes, only to catch the odd curious side eye Jerry gave me.
“Are you sure? I find it almost hard to believe that woman would help anyone without demanding something in return.”
I just cleared my throat, and turned up the volume on the TV, switching the channel to the morning news.
▪▪▪ “Hello, this is your morning hour with ‘Vern and Nance’, I’m Vernon Jones…” ▪▪▪
▪▪▪ “And I’m Nancy Hope Van..” ▪▪▪
▪▪▪ “We bring you breaking news this morning of an American tragedy that will go into the history books..” Vance, the wizened older news anchor, look shaken this morning and not up for entertaining the young bubbly blonde’s antics. “I’m saddened to report the death of freshman Congressman Julío Peréz.” ▪▪▪
▪▪▪ “You might recall the breakout political maverick’s showdown with Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Minerva Rockefeller, who had introduced an environmental preservation bill some experts described as systematic cannibalism that feasted on the already shrinking middle class and an already overwhelmed working class or anyone below the poverty level.” ▪▪▪
▪▪▪ “His death is being ruled a suicide, and no foul play is considered, though the investigation is still pending. Speaker Rockefeller has already issued a statement in regard to her deep condolence to his family..” ▪▪▪
“Holy fucking shit.” Jerry was the first to say it, as my mouth sat hanging open, Hatch and Umpelo look at us in confusion. “That man was at the club, he was the one murdered in front of us, they are covering it up! The congressman was murdered in The Playroom, it was no suicide.”
I’m horrified at the reality of what the powerful and connected were capable of, when it came to covering up their lies and treacherous deeds. Not even our government officials were safe on American soil, this had to reach higher than I ever could have anticipated.
“We need to work harder, time isn’t on our side, these people are setting their plans into motion, and whatever it is, we can be sure Father Ellison is involved.” I stated, rising from my seat, skipping breakfast, as I’d suddenly lost my appetite.
I left the men at the table, ready to wash away my ills and start anew for the day, I had to make it quick as I wanted to be on time for the meeting with the source, she could have all these answers I’d need to bring down Father Ellison and free Jynx. It was hard not to be distracted from my mission, as proved evident, by the ringing of my phone as I enter my bedroom once leaving the shower.
“Hello, it’s Yurika, who may I ask is this? Your number isn’t coming up on my caller ID.”
“Sorry Ms Ymoja, it’s the new secured lines ordered by the House last quarter, I’m Roselyn, deputy assistant to Senator Rockefeller. He wishes to lunch with you today if possible, as he has a rare opening for twelve thirty this afternoon.”
“Oh wow, um.. yes, I can make it.”
“A courier and agent will be picking you up for transport, just text your location, and wherever you are a car will arrive shortly. Have a wonderful day, and do enjoy the lunch, I’ll update the senator.”
I was about to reply a farewell, but she had already hung up the line, leaving me in unease. I was at a familiar crossroad when it came to my love life, or more likely the reason for my lack of one. I couldn’t blame Ti’Hatcha for his proclivity to be overprotective, I was in literal and very real danger, every time I had to reveal my truth to a potential suitor. I wasn’t a regular girl, I was special, and sometimes that wasn’t so easily understood.
I paused mid stroke of my makeup brush, as I stare into the vanity mirror, the reflection of what some would worship as perfection. Supple deep ebony skin with a natural luster and glow, full lips and defined cheekbones, accentuated by sparkling dark angular eyes.
I tried to shake destructive thoughts from my mind, as the truth was, once every so often I found myself feeling like the ugliest thing in all existence, unsure if I was even deserved of the love in the world I so long for. Over the years, I passed the blame from my father, to Jynx, to his Father, then on to men period. It wasn’t till I realize, my number one job on this earth, was to love and respect myself first.
Then the reality check would kick in, and snap back in the game, bringing a creeping smile to my lips, like now, as I remembered just who the hell I was.
I’m Yurika Ymoja… and everything was going to be alright.
“Hatch, where is this woman?” I asked, checking the display on my phone, to measure the time wasted. “It’s almost ten, She was supposed to meet us here twenty minutes ago.”
“I know, I know, she promised she’d be here, we can wait a little longer.”
I sighed, and sat back in my seat folding my arms, wondering how much more of our time Ms Davis would waste. It was just the two of us, as she requested, and the silence was uneasy. It was like he could feel I was hiding something, Hatch just knew me too well, I didn’t even have to do anything, and the energy around us feel off if either one of us was in anyway holding a secret.
There was a part of me that was thankful to hear that void filled with the terrified scream of a woman, from the sound of it, she was under attack. Hatch got out of the car, drawing his firearm, I moved to follow but he put up a hand to signal me.
“You know that isn’t happening.”
“Okay, if you insist, just stay behind me.” He reply with a sigh, coming around the car, to lead us down the alley.
Two roaring gunshots rang out, and Hatch burst into a sprint, there was the assassin again, she had on a deep emerald green trench coat over a pristine white dress. The pistol in her hand was still smoking, as another woman on the ground, tried desperately to crawl away.
“Stop right there!” Hatch called out to her, but she turn and ran, the woman shot was dying fast, too fast for an ambulance to arrive.
Hatch gave chase, as I dialed for emergency services, crouching down over her to see what I could do. Sirens could be heard in the distance, giving me hope there was a chance to help her hold on. I put pressure to the wound her stomach, as she sob with terrified tearful blue eyes, that shook me to my core.
“You, it’s really you.”
“Please honey, save your strength, an ambulance will be here in a moment.”
“You are the key to fixing it all..” She seem to be in shock, I tried to hold her still but she started rummaging through her pocket, eventually pulling out a small data chip that she curled up in my hands shakily. “Take it.. it’s all there.”
“You’re the source.. Farrah?” I asked in shock, and she smiled, using her last dying breath for one final word.