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Kungfu Masters, chapter 2 (1 Viewer)

xlwoo

Senior Member
Chapter Two
Charles Pan was a security officer at some warehouse. There were a few warehouses in this area, but some were deserted. The one next to the warehouse where Charles was working looked very old, on the verge of crumbling, somewhat like the leaning Tower of Pisa, only not so tall. Because three warehouses belonged to the same company, Charles must patrol at intervals around the buildings to make sure that everything was secure; most of his time on duty, he just sat in his office, watching the monitors. Sometimes he heard some noise coming from the forlorn warehouse next door when he was patrolling, but that was not his responsibility. It was very probable that some rodents moved in. They needed shelter, too. The warehouses he worked in were close to his home. If he strolled, it took him only fifteen minutes; so he didn't drive, saving a bit of gas money.
It was Friday. He was off duty at midnight and got home fifteen minutes later. He went inside the house through the front door, using a key to unlock it.
His daughter Alida, ten years of age, with big brown eyes and long jet-black hair hanging down her back, was watching TV in the living room. “I think Dad's finished watching monsters by now,” said the girl.
“Monitors, Alida. Monitors,” corrected the babysitter. “You have read too many monster stories.” The girl was allowed to stay up late on weekend nights when there would be no school the next day.
His wife died of a lethal disease when Alida was only three, so he had to pay for a babysitter. A neighbor, a middle-aged brunette by the name of Susan, offered to look after Alida when he was away. The living room, which consisted of a TV set on a stand against the wall opposite the windows, a sofa under the windows with two end tables on either side, and a row of old leather armchairs along another wall, didn't have enough furniture. All these he had bought from the garage sale. The space in the middle was reserved for Alida to practice karate on rainy days.
A cricket, or two, was chirping somewhere among the bushes in the backyard. Somewhere in the distance, an owl hooted. Inside, the TV was on, and their dog, Little White, seemed a bit restless that night, often running from the living room to the kitchen, back and forth, barking all the time. All these sounds mixed up into a quaint nocturnal concert.
“I'm home!” Charles sang out when he entered by the front door. Alida ran toward him and jumped up into his embrace. He carried her into the living room and let her slide down onto the floor. Alida wore a T-shirt and hot pants, a braid hanging down behind the nape of her neck, with little bare feet treading on the half threadbare blue carpet, which stretched from wall to wall.
Since Charles returned, Susan was about to leave. But their dog, Little White, was still barking in the kitchen. Charles went into the kitchen to see what was wrong with the dog while Susan stopped at the front door, one hand on the knob.
“Charles, come out,” someone called in the backyard.
Charles opened the back door and stepped out, followed by the dog. He was still wearing his security uniform, having no time to change it yet.
Who are you?” he asked the stranger, while glancing sideways at the dog, which was not barking at the stranger, but at an old, big tall tree with dense foliage a few yards away near the corner of the house. It was a sullen cloudy moonless night, promising a thunderstorm. The electric bulb in the street lamp was broken and not replaced yet. So the stranger's face was not discernible.
“I am kungfu master, Richard Chang. You may have heard of me,” the stranger declared.
“Yeah, I've heard of you, but what's the reason you come to my house at such late hours, if I may ask?” Charles asked in polite mockery.
“I come to ask a favor of you.”
“What is it?” Charles wondered.
Could you teach me a thing or two in kungfu performance?” said Richard Chang modestly. He had on a black kungfu suit.
“Sorry. This is not a favor I'd like to bestow right now. Besides, since you are a famous master, I am really not qualified to teach you anything.”
Charles wore a serious expression on his face. But these words just betrayed that he knew kungfu.
“So, maybe, you can learn something from me.” His fake modesty had turned into haughtiness now.
“Sorry. I am not interested in kungfu.”
He was about to turn around and go into the house when the move of air stopped him. He knew what it meant. Richard was emitting chi towards him. He had to throw out his chi in defense, or he would be hurt. That's instinct. The two gusts of chi collided in midair, making some kind of noise like a hollow “bang”. Both men stood their ground. It meant that the strength of their chi was equal, hence they were on the same kungfu master level, but even on the same level, one would be a little better than the other, depending on their martial arts skills. So Richard raised his right hand anew and issued chi from his index finger at Charles’s chest. He thought that Charles would defend himself, but to his great surprise and unexpectedness, Charles went limp. Before he fell on the ground, Richard’s chi hit his chest. Richard suspected that something was wrong. He didn't intend to kill Charles. How could it happen? He was bewildered for just a second, then as if awakened from a dire nightmare, he turned to flee under the cover of night, afraid to be involved in a murder case. He made three big bounds and disappeared into the darkness. The dog had ceased barking and rolled over on his back, never to stir again. After Richard was gone, a shadow slipped down from the tree the dog had barked at and vanished like a wisp of smoke into the thin night air.


***


The whole thing happened so fast, within a couple of minutes, that the neighbors didn’t suspect anything, their attention occupied with their own business. But Alida hid behind the kitchen window and saw the whole process between the stranger and her father, though she could not hear anything said between them. When she saw her father collapse on the ground, she rushed out of the back door and flung herself over her father's body, crying bitterly. Her shriek “Daddee-- Daddee--” pierced the night air. She shook the body, but her father didn't stir.
Pictures flashed across her mind of how her father had taken her to the beach some weekends, the sky so ocean-blue and the ocean so sky-blue. If she could have swum across the ocean to the horizon so far away, she would have been able to swim into the sky, since the water on the horizon looked like it was flowing into the sky, and pick some sparkling stars to hang on the ceiling of her bedroom so that when she was lying in bed she could have stared at them. And how she had played to her heart's content in the amusement parks such as Great Adventure and Action Park. How, in the zoos, she had fed the animals furtively to the delight of both herself and the animals. She remembered the gifts she had received on her birthdays from her father: Barbies, teddy bears and other stuffed animals and electrical toys. The ice-cream cakes had been specially ordered from Carvel with different designs on the top for every year's birthday. She had invited a few of her best friends and gone to different places for the celebration, once in a skating ring, once in a gym to play games, and sometimes in restaurants or in a park for a picnic. Since her mom died, her dad had taken both roles: father as well as mother. She had lost her mother at three, and now she lost her father at ten. What could she do? She was alone now, an orphan in every sense of the word. She wanted to cry her heart out.
Susan came out to the girl's side, saying softly, “I really feel sorry, honey. I called the police.” She made no attempt to stop the girl from crying. She knew that it was no use under the circumstances. It's human nature for anyone to cry over a dear one's sudden death--so sudden that no one had any mental preparation. The situation was lamentable and grievous. Some neighbors heard the bitter crying of the child and came out of their houses to see what the matter was. When they became aware of the situation, they stood there speechless and motionless in consternation as if mesmerized in a magic show.
The police arrived. Susan hugged the girl and carried her into the house. The police routine began, photographing, drawing an outline around the body and searching for any evidence or clues, and so on and so forth. Then the body in a body bag was carried away in an ambulance. The yellow warning tapes were set up around the spot. The dead dog was removed, too.
Detective Sam Dawson entered the house by the back door, followed by his assistant, Pedro Ginsberg, while other policemen were working outside. Susan and Alida were now in the living room, sitting on the sofa before the TV. The TV was still on with the news program, but no one paid any attention. Susan was consoling the girl, holding her against her bosom. The crying subsided into sobbing now. As the detectives appeared in the doorway of the living room, Susan looked up, still hugging the girl. Sam sat down on the chair nearest the sofa.
“What's your name?” Sam asked the woman. Pedro was sitting beside him with a notepad and a ballpoint pen ready to jot down whatever he could get.
“Susan, Susan Merson. Their babysitter, and also next door neighbor.” She liked to elaborate. “Will be forty-three on this coming July fourth. Divorced. Living now with my sister's family. Have two children, but living with their father in--” She was interrupted with a gesture from the detective.
Alida stopped sniveling now and dried her tears, remembering what her father often said to her. “Never show tears, especially before strangers. You will become a kungfu mistress some day. Always be firm and strong.”
“I saw a stranger, a man, kill my dad,” she told the detective.
“Where were you when it happened?” inquired Sam.
“I was behind the kitchen window, watching.” She dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
“If you saw the man, could you identify him?”
“I'm not sure. It's so dark outside. It happened so fast and then he was gone.”
“Did your father have any enemies?”
“I don't know. He never talked to me about such things.”
“Do you have any close relatives?”
“Uncle Bob and Auntie Louise often come to see us.”
“Can you call your uncle and have him come here?”
Alida picked up the receiver from the phone on the end table by her side. She dialed the number. After two rings, someone picked up the receiver on the other end of the line. “Hello?
Hi, Auntie Louise, this is Alida. Dad--Dad--” She faltered, tears swelling afresh in her eyes.
“Calm down, Alida, you are a special girl. Tell me what happened.” Auntie Louise sounded very anxious over the phone.
Susan took the receiver from Alida and talked into the mouthpiece. “Mrs. Lin, this is Susan. Mr. Pan was killed just a little while ago.”
Silence fell on both sides as if the phone went dead. After a good full minute, Louise found her voice. “We'll come over soon.” Then a click came. Susan returned the receiver to its cradle. She felt that it was her responsibility to stay with the girl until Louise and her husband came. Alida had wiped off her tears again. No one said anything. The very air in the room seemed frozen.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Hi Xlwoo,
To tell the truth this is not my usual reading matter. You may also experience a low response from other passing readers.

It is your choice, but altering the layout would help. Put a space between paragraphs, and the dialogue. You could consider keeping the posted word count down to about 1500.

The story itself is intriguing. Why did Richard Chang pick a fight? What (of course) happens next?

I don't know if the style you have chosen to write in or possibly the redundant words, made me struggle to read this. Is it an early edit?
 

mukesh

Senior Member
Please sort your writing in a manner that we can read easily, it seems too odd to read through the way you have presented. Cheers mate!!!
 

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