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Mr. Nordquist brings us a tale of a hard charging working girl saddled with some baggage she didn’t even know she had…


Ghost Girl Blue


Carlos Nordquist

            “Miss Baines?”


            “I need you to kill my brother.”

            “Thank you for the drink- but I think I’ll pass.” She said while quickly glancing out of the corner of her eye at the man on the barstool next to her. My, he was attractive. The glance was a look she knew all women gave men. When it was obvious there was a dark head or blonde head of hair with pretty eyes within gazing distance. Her sister had demonstrated it once. You line yourself up in their path, walk by them and look while not turning your head. Not like men who are most of the time, not discreet about it.

            “Let me show you something.” The young man said. She still did not look at him, but while giving his presence recognition, she did not see the other person sitting on her left.

            The old man placed his small, cold, nearly transparent hand with visible blue veins, on top of hers. He squeezed tightly bringing her fingers painfully together. She winced, gritting her teeth and tried to reclaim her hand that burned with discomfort. Her trepidation and fear quickly mounted and her insides twisted up in to uncomfortable knots and cramps.

            It nearly doubled her over, but she kept her back as straight as possible. “Hey- don’t.” Is all she could get out before the room opened up. Her eyes glazed over with moisture and she searched for the immediate changes. They came with the thick, nauseating smell of burnt orange peels. She struggled to maintain her composure, to look like a commonplace girl in a sea of normality.

Chairs with numerous families and partygoers slowly disappeared from her view. The blue mi-ties with umbrellas leaned up against their crystal interiors vanished. The bar with the pretty girl with the pink bare midriff shirt, spinning and catching bottles went away. The sound of hard rain on a tin roof replaced the content conversations of island vacationers. Her world darkened, the ocean scenery with children playing on the beach in baby blue water was replaced with four bamboo walls. There were a circle of people on the ground in front of her with jet-black hair.

They seemed to be struggling and the bonds of something were preventing movement. Thunder resounded and close lightning flickered outside, brightening the room in shock-like bursts. She squinted looking harder. She could see rusted metal wire tied around their hands and ankles; each person connected to the other. As one pulled on another while pleading with their captors- the person’s on either side would cry out.

They cried in a language she did not understand- some obvious teenagers. Furious gunmen charged in and the panic became worse. Blood splattered their white clothes as their wrists were cut deep from tugging on their razor sharp restraints; she could hear the bones of their wrists snapping like twigs. One of the gunmen in uniform put a rifle to a woman’s head and watched her for a full minute with great curiosity as she tried to duck out of the way. The man to her right, perhaps a member of her family- maybe even her husband, pleaded with the man- screaming in anguish.

A single shot from the gun popped off and the woman’s head fell forward, body limp. The man next to her leaned over the top of her crying as if to give her one last hug and his body went limp as the rifle popped off again.

As the world faded back to noon she heard a barrage of rapidly fired artillery aimed at the small band of suffering people.

            The old man loosened his white handed grip on her hand and she clenched it in to a fist holding it tight against her body. “Jesus Christ. Why did you show this to me?” She said, leaning her face close the man with dark hair. She grabbed the gift of Bacardi 151 and Coke and drank it quickly, neglecting the ice. Its uneven mixture of 75% alcohol and 25% not, was harsh and it washed through her, giving her the chills, numbing her.

            Kwan scooted to the edge of his seat and leaned on his elbows with his hands folded together. “These are the atrocities of war.”

            “Obviously.” She said, lifting up the glass with ice to smell the residue of alcohol.        “This was the past... Koreans?”


            “The mass killing of communist suspects?”


            “What does this have to do with your brother?” But scenarios flooded her mind- reasons why and she struggled to keep the flood of information back. “He’s trying to restore your families honor?”

            “Yes- he desires the abatement of those responsible.”

            She smiled and pushed her glass to the bartender nodding to the young women with the pink top to fill it up.”

            “Will you do it?” He asked eagerly.

            “Same thing babe?” The redhead behind the short counter asked.

            “Tequila this time.”

            “I prefer you begin sober Miss Barnes." He said under his breath.

            “I didn’t say I was going to do it.” She snapped. A crystal shot glass filled with gold liquid was placed in front of her. Its contents glistened in the sun and she stared at its warmth thinking. She needed to pick her guard back up and put it on again; the images she had received left her momentarily defenseless- a near emotional roller coaster of feelings. “If we’re going to do this- we’re going do it my way- understand?”

            “On the contrary- I have researched your methods and you do not have the equipment available for this task.”

            “Hey, who does.” She looked over at him sizing him up. He looked like he came from money and that was the important part; attire didn’t lie. His shoes were shiny black

                                                                        Carlos Nordquist/Ghost Girl Blue     5

wingtips, khaki pants from Neiman Marcus and his blue dress shirt with rolled up sleeves had been sized and measure. It was obvious because it fit too well. There was not a seam or wrinkle that didn’t match his flawless looking body. “Why? What have you got that’s so special?”

            He pulled a folded white envelope out of his shirt pocket and handed it to her. She felt something inside it shift and she unfolded it, using a red nail to slice it open. “A key?” She pulled it out and a black horse emerged. It was raised up on two legs surrounded by red on a yellow shield. She felt breathless as she rolled the ball of her thumb over its smooth logo; the key looked long and sharp like a weapon. She turned her head to the vehicle parked 50 feet away- “I hope you didn’t spend all of that money just to impress me?”

            “No Missy, it’s just a rental.”

            “Even better.” She said greedily, hopping out of her barstool, advancing towards its sophisticated yet dangerous presence. “Nobody calls me Missy by the way, but if you have lots more surprises like this- you can call me anything you want.” She said changing her tone from business-like too sexy. “You don’t mind if I treat her a little rough do you? I like girls.”


            She laid down in the tan leather bucket seat and the waft of its new car smell excited her senses. She turned it on and revved up the cherry red convertible’s V12.

The engine seemed to purr and growl at the same time; then it made an entirely different high pitch revving sound as they sped off. The street was lined on either side with palm trees. Waikiki’s islanders and well-dressed tourists passed in their equally uneconomical, gas frenzied expensive vehicles.

Their car came to a stop and she glanced in her rear view mirror at the oncoming traffic she had just bulleted by. The light turned green, and the Ferrari 550 Barchetta’s engine made that high pitched whining sound again as she floored it.

            “Was it your idea to pamper the help?”

            “No, it was the only thing I could find on the island fast enough.”

            “Fast enough for what?”

            “You might want to go a little faster.”

            “What?” She laughed- “why?”

            “Because the occupant in the vehicle next to us just flashed a gun.”

            They came to another one of the numerous stoplights that littered the road. She turned her head to the left and a silver car came to an abrupt stop next to them. She turned her head to the right and another with the same speed and agility wound its engine down coming to a complete stop. She sank in to the seat; barely able to see over the leather wrapped steering wheel. Her hands felt damp, sweaty and slippery, and she wiped them off on her white Capri’s. The final car in the intersection passed through. Both vehicles on either side looked like precision streamlined silver harbingers of intense speed. She hoped they did not equal the Ferrari’s nimble velocity.

            She glanced over once more. It was amazing how their foe’s chassis reflected everything in sight. “We’re good.” And her smile faded.

            “How do you figure?”

            “They’re drivers in each- no passenger. Even if they do have weapons, their use will be limited.”

            He was about to say- “How do you figure?”- Again, but it never came. The green light came first.

            All tires briefly screeched and then bit in to the pavement with high performance steel belted radials for teeth. The engines whined with speed with their gears on high. They were to the next green light in 4 seconds, already passing 60 mph. The glossy silver ornaments with low, sleek profiles and pointed noses kept up with the red novelty with ease.

            Sweat began to bead on her forehead as she pushed it a little faster. “It won’t be long now. It won’t be-“

            “Till what!” And he gripped on to the edge of his leather seat and the door handle as the wind whipped through his hair. “Till we’re dead from your driving?”

            “I think they’re just trying to follow us!”

            “You think?”

            “Right now would be a good time to tell me the next destination-“

            “Not yet!”

            She knew the client would not tell her. It was a failsafe for if they were caught, a condition of indemnity. She wouldn’t be able to divulge any information if she didn’t know anything. “How about your brother!” She yelled as she put the car in to 5th, while looking in to the rear view mirror. The logo on the front of one of the enemies was large and unmistakable- that of a Mercedes-Benz. “These are the people who oppose your communist beliefs I suppose!” She looked over at him and he looked paralyzed with fear.     “Are they?”

            “I’m not a communist!”

            “Oh.” She said meekly feeling slightly stupid. The light in front of her turned red and she put it in to sixth. The car made it to 140 mph before she had to downshift to 90. The occupants of other vehicles looked on in bewilderment and dazed wonder as the three vehicles whooshed on by- nearly out of sight by the time they had a chance to look. She heard two abrupt tings of metal. Through her left side-view mirror, she could see one of them with their arm out, gun in hand. Another red light came up and she ripped across the four-lane highway, tires squealing. She came inches from the fenders of three other cars and exited to a small access road. It paralleled the one they were just on and she could see both drivers stretching their necks to see where they went. She came to an abrupt halt.

            “What are you stopping for?”

            “There was nothing in the message about getting shot at!”

            “We have to go- we have to go now!”

            “Go where! I don’t even know where in the fuck we’re going because you won’t tell me!” She ran a shaking finger over the Ferrari's logo on the steering wheel. She had never driven that fast before or with such desperation. “Look, I can find out anything I want- I can find out EVERYTHING, right now. But, by the time I do they will be here.” She lowered her voice to the softest yet- “I’m going to need more money.”

            “What?” He said, not hearing her.

            “I did not plan on getting shot at- I’m going to need more money!”

            “We need to go.” He said swiftly, partially turning in his seat, looking behind them.

            “No. More money and the next destination please. Quickly- I can see them coming back around- they’re discreet, but they’re fast.”

            “Okay, okay!” He broke- “just go!”

            “And the next destination?”

            “The air force base ok!”

            “That’s better”- and they were back to 60 in 4 seconds again.

            The twin Mercedes-Benz SLR Mclarens trailed them down the tiny access road like heat seeking missiles. She floored it but had to immediately slow down because of people complacently crossing the road ahead. The needle on the odometer passed 70 mph and then decreased to 30. She ripped a tight left u-turn through a red light intersection.

They passed beneath the darkness of one of Oahu’s main interstates again and headed pedal to the metal to a rapidly oncoming fork in the road. The two Mclaren’s were back on track again on a green arrow, u-turned and back up to 100 mph in 7.6 seconds- bright silver object in the rearview mirror getting larger as her speed neared 125.

            A thought came to mind that was unusual, because she always thought everything through. “You do have this planned out right? This instillation will not let us by without proper I.D!”

            “No, there is no contingency plan!”

            “There isn’t supposed to be one- proper protocol would be to provide identification!”

            “That’s just it! We have no identity and this car was stolen!”

            “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me! That’s a great idea. Now all we have to due is barrel through a military guard shack full of armed personnel!”

            The gate guard relaxed on the Saturday afternoon drinking a 20oz’er of Mountain Dew. He casually waved on an attractive middle aged female in a white mini van full of kids. The security guard turned his back to step in to the tinted office in the center of the road as a red blur rushed by.

The Mercedes gave up chase before the fork but were replaced by something else just as fast. As the man, rifle around his right shoulder turned back to the road to check for more vanloads of Holiday Shoppers two sleek black sports bikes rushed by exceeding 100. He ran back in to his bulletproof office to call his headquarters and sound the alarm.

            Missy had glanced at a map of this base once. She knew if you head to the right there was a Commissary and McDonalds; and if you headed to the general direction of left, there was an airfield. She let out a breath- a sigh of relief- open road and smooth sailing. “I take it you know a pilot right?” She said turning to him. He was looking in his rearview mirror, inching his face closer to it- studying it.

            “We’ve got company again! Here- cut through the grass!”

            The thick tires of the high performance sports car flailed up grass and dirt, and screeched when it hit pavement leaving behind the smell of rubber from the blue smoke.       “Motorcycles? Your friends thought of everything!”

            “They’re not my friends!”

            “What are we after? What are we looking for?” She scanned the area full of military aircraft. A massive plane came out from behind the blanket of a huge hanger that looked like it had been designed for the Hindenburg. “That’s it I take it! You can’t tell them to slow down or anything?”

            “No! Go, go! Hurry!”

            She lined them up behind the distant craft and floored it, but noticed she wasn’t gaining any distance. “How are we supposed to get on it if they don’t slow down!” A massive hatch lowered down the back of the plane’s body- exposing an area large enough to fit a tank. “Oh, no fucking way! I did not sign up for this shit!” And she slowed down slightly.

            “It’s either that, the military catches us, or they catch us.” He said referring to the henchmen that had cleared the grass and were directly behind them on BMW K 1200 S’s. They leaned forward on their black bottle rockets free from all limitations of speed. “This plane is capable of short takeoffs and landings! You need to hurry!” He persisted.

            “Okay already! I got it!” She put the Ferrari in to 6th and for a second she thought she felt the vehicle lift of the ground. Passing objects were a blur again as the car topped out at 186mph. The distance between the motorcycles increased slightly and the C-130’s cargo hold loomed ominously in the distance- “This is not sane.” She mumbled while her passenger cowered down in the seat with his eyes closed. The car hit the ramp, she hit the brakes and the vehicle ran over tracks with small steel wheels. Both front tires burst and an elastic net caught it from tagging the inside of the plane like a piece of shrapnel. A motorcycle followed in like a stone skipping over water- it hit the net and then bounced back out.

The planes massive airframe and 100ft top-wing majestically lifted off the ground and headed east.


            She slowly lifted head off the steering wheel; the yellow of the logo in the center of it was slick with blood and she put her hand to her forehead and winced in pain. She looked in the rear view mirror. It wasn‘t as bad as it looked, it was only a minor cut.

 “Hey? Are you ok?” He did not respond. She opened up the car door, but it would not budge. Something seemed to be in the way. She leaned over to see what it was- “Oh no.” She said groggily.

            The massive planes four turboprops drowned out all sound. The sound was all the more deafening because the cargo door was still open while the plane climbed to its cruising altitude of 22,000 ft. She heard a funny metal pop. Then another. Then a complaint came from the henchman on the ground next to her door. The car slid backwards a few feet. “Oh no.” She said again. There were more metal popping sounds and then a ripping sound came from the net that entangled the car; it caught the front windshield and tore it off. She froze and uselessly clutched the steering wheel. The car slid backward ten feet directly on top of the cargo bay door. Her blonde hair stung her face, whipping it. Her face felt icy cold and spit involuntarily came forth from her mouth. “Hey!” She screamed. “Heeeyyy! You’ve got to get up!” She grabbed Kwan’s arm and his shoulder and shook him. “Wake up! Wake the fuck up!”

            A black leather glove slapped the top of the hood. Then another. The Henchman moved with zombie-like speed wearing a black one-piece motorcycle suit. She watched in horror as the leather of the second skin folded and creased with each determined move. She leaned over Kwan, opened up the passenger car door and pushed at him. His body fell over, halfway out. She used him as a ladder and wiped her face with her left hand as a little blood got in to her eye.

The henchman's fingers latched on to her arm and shepanicked. She shoved his wrist down on to the Ferrari’s broken front windshield. Blood jettisoned from the wound through the air out the back of the plane. Missy slid completely over Kwan‘s body and turned around. She put her arms under his pulling him out with a grunt.

His feet cleared the car, as there was one final rip. The cargo net gave way and the vehicle shot out the back of the plane. His eyes fluttered open- looking past her. “What?” She said. A hand grabbed her left foot and she shook her leg violently. She kicked her tennis shoe off and the henchman grabbed on to her pants. Her white Capri pants slid down as his body flailed precariously in the open air over the ramp. She kicked at his face-shield as hard as she could and he released. She thought she heard a muffled scream come from the dark of the helmet as two strong arms pulled her up the ramp’s rollers. The cargo bay’s door shut and all light was removed from the room as they reached their cruising altitude.


            They both slumped in to passenger seats and had opted for the jump seats; but due to their location near the cargo bay door and their desire to get away from its ominous presence, they now propped one shoe up on an armrest- putting their backs to windows.

            “So, who’s flying this pig- or are you going to tell me.”

            “No.” He said shortly.

            “C’mon- we’ve broken the ice already.”


“Whatever.” She said, and she looked at her hands. Surprisingly enough she hadn’t broken a nail. “I wonder if there's any Cokes on this thing- I’m thirsty.” She paused again- “Thanks for saving my life. That would’ve sucked, you know, if I fell.” She looked at him and he did not respond.

            He looked past her out the window- daylight would be leaving soon as they headed east. He liked looking out the window. If you looked hard enough you could see the solid line of the next time zone- where the day got slightly darker. “I saw your thong.”

            “What?” She said.

            He shifted in his seat. One leg seemed to be falling asleep from the way he was sitting so he propped both feet up just like hers. “When your pants came down slightly. It was blue.” He looked down in the back of the netting of one of the backseats facing him and pulled out a small random receipt from the bases PX. “For me- that broke the ice.”

            For the first time she detected broken English, though he looked very American. He was one of the more beautiful men she had seen in a long time: light brown eyes, long black hair, thin and wiry yet muscular. “Well, I hope you got an eyeful, because that’s all your ever gonna see.”

            “You’re not a real contract killer are you?”

            “No, I’m just a girl with an IQ of 212 who can write kickass WebPages.”

            “You’re just doing this for the money?”

            “I don’t know, you tell me something about yourself and I’ll tell you something about myself.” She said coldly with an attitude.

            “I can’t.”

            “Then I’m not going to tell you why I need the money.”

            “I once sank a small watercraft with a quarter stick of dynamite. I intended to kill the fish with the blast, not the boat.”

            “I hope you got the Darwin award for that one.”

            “Ya, my uncle was pretty pissed when I shoved him in the water.”

            She sat up for a second to look down the rest of the plane. All of the seats were backwards, while they were going forwards. It was an odd sensation and she glanced out the window; the long wings of the plane wobbled whenever they hit turbulence.

            “That’s a pretty interesting website you created.” He said.

            “Ya, I made sure it was only accessible by either a random blogger who wouldn’t take my sight seriously or by someone who was really looking for the real deal. I just had to watch out for the F.B.I. They’re like leaches. They’ll follow you for the rest of you life if you even hint at some sort of suspicious behavior. Especially after 911 and all.”

            “Tell me about your military experience- or do you have any?”

            “Why. You haven’t told me anything.”

            “I told you about the M-250 explosive sinking my boat.”

            “Oh, that doesn’t even count.” She said laughing. “Okay, fine. I was on a boat with some buddies. Actually we were on watch. I remember that day, I was freezing. They don’t provide you with jackets with some uniforms- like the fatigues. They give you winter ones, but they aren’t that much thicker than the summer ones. I was being retarded fumbling around for a lifejacket.”


            “Hey! You found that thing yet?”

            “No, where in the hell are they?”

            “Here.” He said frustrated. “Let me get this for you too. God you’re helpless.”

            A frustrated tear formed in the crease of her eye but she pretended to gratefully take the lifejacket and smiled. The token gesture somehow came out wrong.

            “I don’t need your attitude today Baines. You know what, when watch is over I want to come and see me.”

            What a dick, she said to herself and tear freed itself from its restraints. She wiped it away and the real tears began while her face grew hot. It was the 24th and she had Christmas shopping to do still. She wanted to get to the mall before it closed, but she wouldn’t be able to now. He was long winded and she would be stuck in his office for hours getting lectured while he gave her his own version of a psych eval.

            She shut the door to the small cabin and sat in the passenger seat while the boat driver dodged another buoy. “Why don’t you slow it down a little?” She said while looking straight ahead. She didn’t want him to see the tears streaming down her face.

She had wanted to get those golf clubs for her dad so bad now that his cancer was under remission- he might be able to actually use them.

            “I got this- I’m the best driver out here.” He said rounding another buoy at top speed. She grabbed on to a handrail next to the seat, holding on for dear life as the boat nearly ended up on its side. She looked out her window and could see nothing but white water rushing by.

            “I’m serious- slow the fuck down!” McDaniels had enough time to bitch at her so called attitude, but not enough time to poke his head in to the cabin to tell Thompson to slow the hell down.

            Thompson rounded one more buoy and the tip of the nose of the boat bit in to the water. The back of it came up with its twin outboard motors spinning. McDaniels cleared the side to safety as it flipped upside down, crashing back in to the icy water. Baines hung upside-down from her lap belt as the blood rushed to her head. The buckle's release was generally hard to function but now it was flipped around backwards. She squirmed and kicked to get enough leeway to turn it around. Water rushed in through Thompson's open window and he was already under the black of it, legs exposed. He didn’t seem to be struggling. He didn’t seem to be moving at all. “Thompson! Oh, shit. Oh, shit!” She said as she fought with her buckle. “Thompson!” She screamed.

            Her head submersed under the water and it went up her nose as she freed herself. She came up coughing, mouth struggling for air, as there was only half a foot of water leftin the cabin. She pushed down from the ceiling but the lifejacket sent her back up to it.

The floatation device presented the same obstacle she had just overcome. She wiggled around uselessly; felt for one of the two cabins door latches that kept it shut and tried to move it; it wouldn’t budge. She felt for the open window, put her hand in it and pulled herself forward halfway through.

The need for air was overwhelming now and she held her mouth shut for all she was worth. She held her lungs back from their absolute need. Her mind wanted her to use her nose. It wanted precious air. She sucked in water deeply in to her nostrils, causing her bodies natural reaction to want to cough. Then she sucked in water through her mouth too.


            “I’d been dead for ten minutes by the time they revived me.”

            “Who got you out?”

            “That asshole McDaniels of course. I swear I hate goody two shoe do-gooders and he was the worst.”

            “He did save your life.”

            “Ya, he did.” She said as a matter of factly. “He was pretty nice to me after that. Around the time of my new little gift he even tried to ask me out. Can you believe that? Crazy.” She said shaking her head.

            “And that’s when you started having the visions?”

            “Yup. First I didn’t know what in the hell they were and then the military noticed.

They don’t want you knowing their business at the drop of a hat and I knew things no one could ever know.”

            “Like what.”

            “The combinations to safes with TOP SECRET material in them. Then the remote viewing began- that was the worst.” She paused.

            “What’s that? Remote viewing?”

            “It’s what the military really wanted me for. In the past there have been secret programs with members who could kind of do it, not willed it to happen like I can. I can see things that are far away without even being there."

            He thought about this for a second. Her gifts could be more useful than he thought in the first place. He knew about some of them, but not this. “That’s pretty fucking crazy.” He said.

            “Don’t do that.”

            “Don’t do what?”

            “Don’t swear.”

            “But you do it constantly.”

            “I don’t know. You look sweet and innocent. Stuff like that just doesn’t look right coming out of your mouth.”

            He looked at her quizzically and then shrugged his shoulders. It was funny to him that she should feel like this. He felt like he was being protected by her and that felt odd, yet somehow correct, like it was supposed to be that way.

            “I keep thinking about that guy. The one I kicked out the back of the plane. Who am I to decide who should live or die?”

            “If you didn’t kill him- he would have pulled you out there with him. I don’t think a free-fall from 15,000 ft without a parachute would be very much fun.”

            Tell that to the guy, who fell out of the plane, is what she wanted to say. She understood. It was either him, her, or both- a fight for survival. “This isn’t my fight- I want you to know that.”

            “I know you’re doing this for the money.”

            “Not that I don’t care that your grandfather witnessed those killings. But I can’t decide if what we’re doing is right or wrong.”

            “You knew that was my grandfather that touched you?”

            “Yes, I even knew he had a younger brother who was hit by a truck crossing a bridge- I didn’t mean to see that, but it kind of flooded in afterwards.”

            “My brother is set on killing the families of those who did the murdering of those innocent people. He wants our family’s honor restored.”

            “Yes, and you want him dead so he won’t kill them.” She laughed lightly. “I think the only thing that makes sense here is the money.”

            “Do you want to know what’s coming next?”

            “Not really.” Though she knew in the beginning of things she wanted to know everything. Now she felt she wanted to turn to stone- to receive and absorb nothing. She was a perfectly good sociopath until someone started caring for her- then her psychological defenses melted away. She had never witnessed death before. It made her feel vulnerable.

            He got up out of his seat and she scooted over to let him sit down. He yawned, stretched and put his arm around her. His fingertips rubbed her shoulder and his thumb slipped inside the neck of her loose pink blouse. “What are you doing?” She said. But she knew. She could see in to everyone else’s head but she could not see in to her own. He seemed to be able too tell she was troubled.

            “One more personal question.” He said.

            “Only if you tell me something.” She sounded close to him now, not just because their needs were blending together. Her voice sounded real and close. She crossed her arm in front of her chest to hold his hand draped over her shoulder.

            “The one recommendation listed on your site, it was a little vague. That was another job you pulled right?”

            “I helped her find her lost dog.”

            He laughed heartily. “This is the fist time you’ve ever done anything like this?”

            “I could do integrated calculus at the age of 4- this is a breeze. And besides, I wouldn’t be here if I thought I couldn't handle myself. Now it’s your turn to tell me something.” And she kissed his hand. “Who’s funding you?”


            “Do you think you can find him?" He said changing the subject. "You think you can do that psychic thing you do?”

            “What? Remote viewing?”

            “Yes that.”

            “You’re thinking about pyramids- I picked that up, but that’s the problem. The concrete limestone blocks pyramids have, have a tendency to distort everything. Limestone concentrates psychic energy and it contains it. Quartz does the exact same thing. You’ll find a majority of haunting’s are in houses that are built on large deposits of limestone and quartz. So, I can try, but there is no telling what I’ll pick up."

            She shut her eyes tight and let out a breath of air. She told her hands to relax and her feet. She imagined they weren’t there and then she imagined balls of light at the crown of her head, on her throat, just above her chest, and at either wrist. The vibrations came- smooth and white- up her toes, her ankles and her body shook lightly. Her body soaked in the numbing white light. She heard a rush of voices speaking backwards that used to frighten her and she passed the border of insanity between this world and the next.

She put her hand on a sacred temple wall used by astral travelers and closed her spirits eyes. A second wave of vibrations came. They were the ones that now plagued her often in her sleep- the ones that sometimes took her away to other realities parallel with our dimension. She concentrated and let her mind pass through vast amounts of time. It was a blur at first like wearing smudged up glasses and then a vision of the past came in to focus.

Before her was a deceased man on a cement slab and another man standing over him. He was using a wooden hook and he placed in to the person’s nose and there was the crack of cartilage as he shoved it in down to his hand- he then pulled out the instrument with grunting tugs. Soft bloody tissue issued forth from the nose and Missy covered her mouth and nose while breathing out of it. “Oh my God- wrong image.” She said muffled.

            “Why, what was it?”

            “Mummification.” She said with eyes still shut.

            She tried harder- and a vivid picture came in to view. A silver metallic circular craft hummed with vibrations similar to hers. In the dim light of dusk a soft blue light emitted from the craft, illuminating a 2.5 ton block; the object gracefully lifted off the ground. Workers beneath watched in awe as the stone reached the top of the pyramid. There was a brief silence and then there was a large collective cheer from all the workers.             “Whoa.” She said- “that wasn’t it.”

            “What did you see?” He said eagerly.

            “U.F.O.’s did help build the pyramids.”

            “Whoa.” He said in return. Though he wasn’t sure what to think

            She came out of her trance like state faster than she went in and her eyes snapped open. It took her a second to focus on her surroundings. “If you don’t mind, I am going to rest for a little bit. I now have a nasty headache. I usually do after go in that deep.”


            The plane arched over a violet morning horizon. The plane took a steep left-hand turn and that woke her. She looked out the window and could see the coming ground- cars looked like matchbox toys; backyard swimming pools looked tiny ponds.

            “Hey wake up.” She nudged him as he lay on her shoulder. “We made it somewhere. Though I don’t know where.” Her morning voice cracked, slightly deeper than her usual voice; her lips were puffed and he watched her as she sat back to briefly shut her eyes.

            She was a sight to behold to him; a real American girl with real lips for kissing; like red licorice just like Baywatch. To him America was Baywatch, but that seemed to be South Korea’s current view of America. Endless re-runs of the beach house hard-bodies in eternal syndication. He kissed her full lips and she almost kissed back.

            “Hey- easy. It‘s not like we had sex last night.” But the way her thighs hurt and her chest ached, it felt like she had. She turned her head to look back out the window. Slash pines, Water Oaks, and hundred foot Cypress trees all draped with moss for hair rushed on by.

The tires skidded and the flaps on the wings turned straight up to restrict the air as the plane’s props winded down. The plane turned towards a hanger somewhere in northeast Florida on a wealthy logger’s private airstrip. Kwan smiled at the thought of that man. He had been so easy to pay off. He had classic cars, drag racers, Hum-Vee’s, personalized shiny chrome semi’s, and an elegantly furnished four story house deep in the woods. Now he had a cool million for a little more.


            She stepped over the fallen pitch-black beamer still in planes cargo bay. “I have to go to the bathroom.”

            “Uhm.” He said. “There’s a tree- there’s a tree...”

            “Oh, that’s funny.”

            “There’s a bathroom back there around the corner I think.” And he pointed back in to the darkness behind them. Meet me at the entrance to the hanger.

            “Sure thing.” She said as she tucked a blonde wisp of hair behind her ear.


            He felt hesitant now. He took air through his nose and then let it out- a long deep sigh. Up to this point he hadn’t been nervous- maybe scared she was moving a great deal too fast at times. But now making it from point A to point B hinged on her, upon this very moment. He watched her walk down the ramp, her ankle twisted at one point and he watched her as she recovered. She limped for a brief moment and then continued on- a brave little soul.

            He pulled out a set of keys. “Wow, look at that.“ She said. “You’re just full of surprises: fast cars, military planes and foes with Beamers. What's next?”                      

            He put the key in the door and had to play with it for a second for it to turn; then he pushed it open and waved her to head on in.

            She could see daylight within provided by screens on the upper half of the hanger. She walked in further, looked, did an about face and walked right out- “Oh, there is no fucking way! You have got to be kidding me!”

            “There’s the cussing and swearing I know and love.” He said giddy out of nervousness. He had honestly missed it briefly- it had been at least a full hour since he last heard her use the F word. “Look, before you say anything else.” And she remained quiet to listen, though she held her tongue tight. “I hunted online forever through applicants and turned the world upside down to find someone with your qualifications. Because I knew someone out there like you existed.”

            “Gee, I’m flattered. To bad you didn’t pick someone out there that was fucking suicidal too.”

            “According to my source- someone who briefly monitored your Internet activity- they said you completely reviewed the flight manual from head to toe.”

            “In theory I could fly it, but when I read it I did not have practical application in mind.”

            “Yes but...”

            “But nothing. I bet you don’t even have compression suits.”

            “They’re in the cockpit.”

            She walked back in for a second too take a peek around the corner and then came back out. “This plane once made it from New York to London in a little less than two hours and coast to coast in 68 min! To accomplish that it had to travel Mach three! Are you sure you want to do this?”

            They both walked in to the hanger, but did not say anything. The plane looked slick and black, with the aerodynamics of a single flying wing in a wind tunnel. She imagined white air, split by the razor sharp nose and titanium fuselage. She reached out and put her hand out to touch it, but was cautious. “You know what‘s scary about this thing? The curved skin under here-” And she reached her hand under the plane to touch its belly. “-It has almost no support. The structural ribs have wide spaces in-between them with absolutely nothing there. It cannot survive being ditched.”

            “You mean a crash landing?”

            “Yes, it would fold like a piece of tin foil. Reassuring huh?”


            “Gee, these are comfortable." He said sarcastically. He felt stiff, unable to move in it and twice as claustrophobic with the dark helmet on. He shut its sun-tinted visor and gave it a try.


            “See!” She said jovially now in a completely different mood. “It works!” She plugged in her facemask for when they would need the oxygen for the extreme altitude. She felt restricted and felt like hitting something. Save it she thought- save it for the 25lbs of pressure your going to need to pull this bitch off the ground.

            She was one of those kinds of people who said no often. Then when it was too late she would say yes, after the chance of an adventure was gone feeling disappointed she missed out. Not this time and beside, if she said no where would she go? Her family probably already filed a missing person’s report on her. They were close and they talked often. Everyone knew she was going to Hawaii. To the big island. She hadn’t told anyone about her plan to jump an island- a simple 30-min flight to meet her client.

            She couldn’t believe the sight had worked so well. It took her 20 min to read the 584 page book on HTML, an hour to create the web page and another hour because she had a slow ass DSL connection. She kept going back and forth to view the marvel of her efforts between the many pages of code she had to enter. “Ghost Girl Blue- Garbage Collection And Waste Management.” Garbage collection was the current term being used for all current contract killers. She had hidden a link at the bottom of the page to another. A sight not as popular as Metacafe and You Tube would come up. It was a video of her hitting a target with deadly accuracy with a stripped down M-16. All holes in the target were within a one-inch diameter- the 3-foot target so far away it was the size of a postage stamp. Satisfaction complete of her abilities the client emailed her that evening- “Ghost Girl Blue- I have job for you”

            Now she was sitting in the ultimate result of her efforts. She thought she would end up perched on a rooftop with a sniper rifle, a task she felt she was fully capable of. Killing wasn’t the problem. It was casing the sight first to make sure it was an acceptable spot to hit the mark without getting spotted.

            The plane taxied out of the hanger to the short runway. “I’m going to do something-scary ok?”

            “What exactly?”

            “We’re going to lift the nose at 60 knots below the take off speed.”

            “Why is that dangerous?”

            “I’m not sure- the flight manual said not to do it. The reason why wasn’t in the appendix.”

            He held on for dear life as the plane rapidly gathered speed.

            “Easy there- you could fill up your mask with carbon dioxide and kill yourself before we even take off. “ She said greatly exaggerating the time frame. Sometimes it was ok to bend the truth a little just as long as you knew the truth. “You gonna be ok?”

            “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all!” He yelled in his mask. He felt suffocated, yet he was getting a full supply of oxygen from the planes air conditioning system. He smelled the rubber inside his own mask and a slight smell of a cleansing chemical called wiscodine. Probably from the last pilot who donned his flight mask and helmet.

            “Too late for the sweetie.” She said pulling back on the throttle. Both of them sat back in their seats and felt like they were sitting somewhere inside the seat or an inch past it from the pressure of the rapid acceleration. “Heeeerrrre goes!” And she pulled back hard on the stick. Both of their stomachs left them and Kwan turned his head to look at the blue sky all around- struggling to see the sight of the ground that decided to leave him all alone with a pilot with zero flight experience.

            “Oh my God! This is great!” She said as the plane rushed off to its first stage of subsonic climb.

            “There’s another part we’re going to have to execute here!”

            “Another appendix you didn’t read!”

            “That’s not fair!” She said part flirting, part frustration he didn’t have his heart in to this like she did. “I said lifting the nose below the take off speed wasn’t in the appendix- not that I didn’t read it! No. This was a procedure I didn’t read.”

            “What was it?”

            “The three-part process of a subsonic climb: the supersonic climb-, which we’ve already begun, the transonic acceleration to the supersonic climb schedule and supersonic climbing acceleration.”

            “Can you do it?” He felt like his life was now in her hands. A feeling he had twice already, speeding in the car, and on the cargo hold in the C 130, even though she had no real control. He felt she could handle herself and him. He supposed that is what a man found in a relationship from a woman. Though they didn’t like to admit it, they found a motherly safety.

            “It should be like anything else. It’s like driving a stick. You know when to switch to the next gear when the engine reaches a high RPM. I should be able to hear it when it’s ready.”

            “What do you mean when it’s ready?”

            “The plane’s airframe physically changes because of the extreme airflow. We go to fast too soon and the plane could rip apart.” The plane looked like a pitch-black piece of origami, folded to a long and alien shape. From a distance its wings appeared paper thin, as well as the fuselage- its two engines set on its triangular shape. It looked like a jet-black dart. “Look I go this ok. Don’t worry.” The horizon was a fuzzy white with cloud cover and the ground was a deep blue because they were already over the Atlantic.

            He looked up to the sky and got dizzy. It was a darker blue there. He knew the next color shade up was the black of space.


            Smooth sailing with the oxygen on at Mach 3.2+ she bumped her co-pilot with her elbow. “You don’t mind if I catch a few Z’s too do you?” She said jokingly.

            He took her seriously. “Why, this thing has autopilot?” And he shifted around in his seat. He was soaked to the bone down there with perspiration from the leather seats. She didn’t feel too much better with an additional undergarment on. She wished desperately that she could take off what he could not. At 35,000 ft their pressure suits inflated but there had been no cool air to accommodate the extra space; she cut in a little air in to both their flight suits from the air conditioning system. “Better?”

            “Yeah.” He said enjoying the rush of cool air. “A whole lot better. I thought I was about to die in this thing. Where are we at exactly?”

            “We just started our decent.” She could see the gold of the desert now far below, as far as the eye could see. The day was a crystal clear blue with not a cloud in sight. “We’ve made it in a little less than two hours, pretty impressive. I want to thank you for this; it’s not too often a girl gets to fly 80,000 ft.”

            He turned to look at her for the first time in a while. She was like Pamela Anderson or Nicole Eggert on Baywatch, adventurous girls. It was pleasant being around someone so outgoing. The only women he had ever known were brought up to cook and clean with absolute vigor. They were brought up to serve a man and take care of them. He felt she was doing that, just in different ways. “It’s time for the next part.”

            “Sure, what is it?” She said hiding her excitement.

            “If you follow that longitude and latitude I gave you we should be able to ditch near a specified pyramid.”

            “A pyramid? We can’t just ditch. I thought I already told you that.”

            “What do you mean?” He said frowning, somewhat frustrated.

            “From the Flight Manual. And this is verbatim. Section 3, Page 3-30: Ditching, landing with both engines inoperative and other forced landings should NOT be attempted. Ejection is best course of action." She hoped he grasped the simple concept. "This plane WILL breakup on touchdown.”

            “Well, not everyone would know that.”

            “Anyone with a brain- no offense. I hope you didn’t plan on returning this plane.”

“No, not really.” Kwan did not want to be followed or investigated. His men were busy lying in wait for the wealthy logger to return home. What they didn’t know is that the man was busy stalking them with his deer rifle. His massive house was a maze of panels in walls that pushed out and shut so one could travel through unheard and unseen. He had heard about a man in Texas who had shot a couple of burglar's and they hadn’t even been on his property. He was about to shoot him a couple.

            “Well then, we’re going to have to do this in the next five minutes. We can’t do it below 2000ft by the way and I’m going to have to stall us out.”

            “You mean drop us out of the sky basically right?”

            “That would be it. Have you ever jumped out of a plane before?”

            “Yes, once.”

            “Great? How about a little instruction? Any safety tips?”

            “Sure- don’t forget to pull the ripcord.” He pointed a finger at the red D-Ring with the small Caution label on it on the front of her suit.”

            “You do know the seats are going too?”

            “They are?”

            She shut her eyes and flicked the ejection switch. A red idiot light came on.

            “What’s that? What’s that light?” He said panicking.

            “The ejection seats failed to fire!”

            “We’re not going to be able to bailout?” He felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. The feeling one would get if they were holding a grenade, the pin pulled, knowing they were about to die.

            “We’re going to have to do a manual bailout! “ They undid their seat harnesses and put on their spare chutes. “I’m going to pop the cockpit open- the wind will sheer it off and we’re going to have to jump clear! Ready?” But she did not wait until he said so. The cockpit motorized up, caught the wind and was gone like a leaf in the wind. She inched up in the seat and then shoved with her legs jumping in to the wind. He watched her in fascination, clutching to his seat for dear life. He felt like he was floating up, out of his seat, and gripped his fingers under the armrests to keep himself down. The wind pushed violently against his body and he was vividly aware of the naked blue sky. Then he pushed up and out. He grunted as his body struck the plane on the way out and he rolled, body flailing. The Blackbird inverted and headed for a nosedive in to the ground.

The altimeter had read 5,423 feet when they jumped. There were three pyramids in the distance. She marked that as her drop zone and searched the sky for Kwan. She found him in the distance and moved in to the belly to earth “arch” position while turning her body slightly sideways, moving to the right.

She stripped off her flight mask and helmet and pointed her body like an arrow downwards. He got closer and then closer still and she leveled herself out parallel. She wanted to reach out and grab him, but she didn’t want too loose her position- the safe feeling of being belly to earth. She put her arms around him from behind and pulled his chute ripcord- nothing. She grabbed his flight mask and helmet and ripped it off. Panic began to set in.

After 2000 feet they would no longer be safe. With too much velocity, even if they pulled their chutes they would not be able to slow down before impact.

            His parachute deployed, strings on a harness, but the canopy did not open. “He must have pulled it- he must have pulled it.” Maybe this was his reserve chute. Maybe he didn’t have a chute left. Maybe he was completely fucked. She tried to turn him so she could face him. If she pulled her chute she did not know if she would be able to hold him. What if when she slowed suddenly from her open chute’s canopy and he was ripped from her fingers? She would have to watch him fall, his body flail. Maybe he would pass out before he hit the ground. She was going to miss those big dark brown, nearly black eyes. And he had stolen a kiss from her too. She never got to return it. He pulled the cut-away handle on the right-hand side of his harness. The main canopy was released in to the sky; it zipped off useless and dead. He pulled the second handle on the left-hand side of his chest and his reserve chute deployed. He was torn from her arms. She layed on her back so she could watch him slow and disappear upwards. The wind rushed by at 120mph and she pulled her chute. Her stomach hit her throat and she exhaled to try and get things back to normal.

            She controlled herself with the steering lines and pulled on the handgrips to maneuver about. Missy blew a sigh of relief and melted when she realized the immensity of the object she was gliding towards; she hook-turned back around it to keep her body facing it. Her altitude dropped sharply and her speed picked up. She pulled on both toggles to try and slow her decent, but she hit the sand running at 60mph. Her legs dragged on the ground and a gust of wind rushed past her, feathering her blonde hair, inflating her chutes canopy. She was lifted up over the next dune and came down hard like a rag doll. Her face bit the sand and she held on to her nose as she rolled on to her back. She pulled her left hand away to look at it and it was wet and red with blood. She put her hands in the sand to get up and then rapidly rubbed her hands together.

            The sand seemed to be finer than she ever thought. The granules were smaller than salt and she blinked as the sticky product fell in to her eyes. She wiped her brow with the back of her hand and brushed more of it off. She spit and then chewed. It was between her teeth and it gave her the chills. She reached the top of the steep dune and looked over it.

            There were three of them; the largest and tallest was nearly 500ft. Occasional gusts of wind whipped through her hair and stung her face and she have to squint to blindly move forewords. He was on the ground! He was safe! He was right in front of her at the bottom of the dune and she broke out in to a high stepped run. She stumbled and fell and took off her harness with chute that was dragging behind her.

            “Oh my God. Oh, my God! I can’t believe you’re all right! That was fucking crazy!” And she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and neck. She kissed him. That kiss she wanted to give him in the sky before death. That kiss she nearly missed out on returning. She disengaged her thoughts and feelings and turned to the solid, unevenly stacked structure. It was mountainous and everything she had ever hoped for. Not too many people get to see the pyramids of Egypt and she soaked in the adventure and the excitement of being there. Her smile was broad and she grinned from ear to ear. It was a feeling she wished would last longer than a moment and she grabbed his hand and realized she valued his company.

            “What next! Or are you going to tell me?” And her tone took a more serious note.      “He’s in there isn’t he? Your brother.”

            “I see you’re still up for the challenge.” He said.

            “Hey you know me, always.” And she let go of his hand walking purposely to the entrance. “We can get in through the original entrance. If I’m not mistaken we can also get in through the ground level through the forced entrance. Or- and she looked up to the top of it. “We can crawl in through one of two narrow airshafts.”

            “How do you know so much about pyramids?” He chuckled.

            “Book report, 4th grade.” And she grabbed his hand for comfort. It was soft like she though it would be. Not the hands of a construction worker, but of someone who carried out administrative duties.

            “My brother is in the lower chamber underground. Can you find it?”

            “Sure- there’s only two other chambers to choose from- the King and Queens. Finding it shouldn’t be too hard. By the way- I know you’re not supposed to tell me yet but why is he hiding in a pyramid?” And then she answered her own question- “I guess if I wanted to hide out it would be the perfect place to be.”


            She stepped in to the darkened room of the pyramid. A room she could clearly see was used for embalming; it was the same one in her vision. The accuracy of her second sight was uncanny and she still amazed herself at her abilities. “There’s no one here in this place is there?” She said. She fell forward on to her knees as her legs turned to jelly from the force of the blow. She saw stars and they went away and she was left with a hazy, fuzzy black. It was like a television not quite able to get reception. It was a feeling of shock- of getting clocked in the head senseless. There was no up and no down, only the feeling of being struck by an anvil.


            He brought the boards out of the darkness and laid them out at an angle. She was heavy; at least a buck 30, but he managed to nail in the sharp horseshoes over her ankles and wrists. They went deep in to the boards, trapping her limbs. They were steel cuffs; red and rusted out and very abrasive. The moisture there made the metal of her restrains flake off and the tiny slivers of it went in to her dainty wrists and ankles.

            She awoke in complete darkness in the same room- a towel wrapped tightly around her head. The sound of water began to patter and then there was an echo, the sound of a facet left on. Her hair got wet and then she realized it was the towel around her head that was soaking up the water. She could barely catch short spells of air through the thick fabric. The water bit the area of her mouth, her nose, and her gag reflex was triggered. She choked violently as if taking in massive amounts of water in to her lungs. The feeling was familiar. She was going to die again.

            Her body struggled and shook and convulsed. Her bare ankles and hands bit in to the cuffs, reddening them, cutting them, making them slick with red. He removed the rag from her face and she gasped desperately for air. “Why are you doing this! Oh God, why in the fuck are you doing this!”

            “Sshhh pretty little girl” He said and put his hand on her chin pressing her mouth shut. “I think you know why.” He could feel the ball of her Adams apple as she gulped for air. Her neck was so soft, so fragile. He could snap it by simply shoving his hand down on her head. Tears streamed from her face in reverse and she felt the warmth of one cross her forehead. “The American CIA performs this interrogation technique on their own agents just so they know how it feels. A grown man will crack in 14 seconds; will tell you his whole fucking life story if asked. You, Missy, just experienced 4 seconds.”

            He let go of her chin, “Why are you doing this? Why Kwan?”

            He grabbed a large roll of plastic wrap and it adhered easily to the back of her wet head like scotch tape. He quickly pulled it over her face and got down on his knees. Her face was shiny and her open mouth sucked in the cellophane material desperate for air. Then all she could do was scream and the sound came from deep in her throat making it hoarse.

As he applied a second layer she felt the familiar panic for air. She felt like she was under the water again- heavy camouflage and all- boots kicking uselessly as if they were pumps priming for air in the deep darkness. Her wrists and legs spasmed and blood dripped off the board on to the sandy earth. He flicked open a switchblade and tore open a small slit for her mouth. She turned her wrists sideways, arched her back, and sucked in a precious breeze mixed with heavy dust. Speech would be possible again- she would be able to ask why again. More water was dumped over her head from the unknown water source.

            “You know the problem with a lot of these second and third world countries Missy? They’ve barely developed industrially in the last 5000 years. They have a poor human rights record. No human rights policies and if they did. They have no real leader to implement them. And while I’m on my soapbox let me say that they have little or no basic skills to maintain a decent quality of life. That’s why you see all of those children starving on TV. Nobody knows how to dig for well water. The ancient Egyptians had it figured out. Sure, all the lower class peasants had to rely on was the crocodile infested Nile and its annual flooding. But royalty, they had it all figured out. They dug cool wells deep in their pyramids just like this one- a secret source of life. It’s funny how it’s going to be your death; again. Might I add?” He shook his head. “You must feel pretty lucky. You’re going to get to drown not once, but twice.” He wiggled his index and middle finger in her face.

            “Why.” She said, as she gasped for more air.

            “Why!” And he felt like punching her in the side of the head. He directed the thick rubber hose over her again. He lifted up the handle and pumped more water out. This time he kept pumping. The water ran over her chin, in to her mouth, past her cheeks and over her eyes. The water gurgled out of her mouth and she coughed violently. He cut holes in her nostrils and she sucked in lustfully for more air. He stuffed a wet piece of rag in to her mouth gagging her once more.

            “Let me tell you WHY, Bitch.” He stood up to pace the room, something he always did when in deep thought. “I scoured the earth for you. It’s like the lyrics to that song Dragging Me Down by The Inspiral Carpets. Ever heard of them? No? You haven’t? Well let me recite a verse or two.” And he began singing- “I would search this world for you, even though you can't imagine. I wanna take you to China; I wanna kiss you in Rome. I'd use rocket ships, minesweepers, and transistor radio receivers! I wanna hold you, wanna hold you too tight! Gonna break every bone of everybody in sight!” He stopped and got down on his knee again so he could get in her face. “That song pretty much sums up all the fun stuff we did doesn’t it? Except for the breaking the bone’s part, but we haven’t gotten to that yet.” He caressed the side of her head in plastic and stood up again to continue pacing. “Oh. But you will be the first to know.” He added. “I promise.”

            She breathed in as heavily as possible through her nose while he ranted about the room. Her eyes felt hot with tears and her body felt stiff and the small of her back ached tremendously. He had been unconscious in the car on the C-130 and she had pulled him out. She could have just crawled over him and left him there to die; then he had been unconscious, knocked out from the fall out of the plane. She had stayed by his side when she could have left him alone to sort things out and eventually bounce off the ground. What went wrong? She focused on the obvious reason and analyzed it. He pulled the rag out of her mouth. She spoke with careful non-threatening sentences as a negotiator would. “You’re blaming me for your misfortune. I understand that. Whatever it is I’m sorry. If you let me go I know we can talk about this rationally, person to person."

            “Rationally? How’s lined up next to a pit of lime picked off one by one with a riffle? Then told you can go when you were next in the line to die, shot in the back as you walked away to freedom. How’s that for rational you fucking cunt.”

            “I don’t understand?” She said.

            “You don’t understand? Let me explain it to you. Shortly before the Korean War in 1950, Communist suspects were held by South Korea- an anti-communist authoritarian government. There we’re mass executions of them. Skeletons have been found, stacked on one another, with bullet holes in the skulls and hands tied together with rusted steel wire.

Your grandfather Lt. Colonel Baines was there. He watched- he participated. My grandfather was the only one left alive. He watched his first wife die- his brothers, his sisters and his aunts and uncles. Everyone. I have no ancestry. Only a weak mother and father who refuse to acknowledge what happened. They’re afraid to stand up against these crimes against humanity, these atrocities of war.

I’m just taking care of what should have been done by my countries Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is designed to expose crimes and injustices. I have no family ancestry Miss Baines and neither will you. Funny thing- thanks to your web presence it took me five minutes to find you. Hey?” And he brought his open hand down hard against the side of her face. The slapping sound echoed in the chamber and off in to another room. “You still with me? I wouldn’t want you to pass out on me or anything or heaven forbid fucking die again.”

            “Yes, yes.” She felt all she could do now was delay the inevitable. She knew her grandfather had been a part of the Korean War. Knew he had been assigned to pick up body parts, but that was all she ever heard. He didn’t like to talk about it. It gave him nightmares. He sung the star spangled banner aloud at every sporting event, even though it embarrassed her grandmother. He was patriotic enough. If he ever did anything illegal it was because he did his job. He followed an order and she was not going to penalize him for the rest of her life for it, even if she was being tortured for his possible transgressions. “Would it help if I told you I was adopted?”

            “Funny to the last, American!” He laughed.

            “I didn’t realize I was humorous to you in the first place.” She said hotly. “You know what?” And she decided she was beyond saving. The waterboarding did kill her. It killed her spirit and dignity: the girl that could read three Sidney Sheldon novels in one hour; the girl who wanted to look pretty inside and out when you she went out. Now she was just a bloody waterlogged mess pinned to a board. Her will to live was deceased. She could feel the weight of his anger and measure his hate. She closed her covered eyes and soaked in the emotion- it could be her only way out. “You’re going to hold me personally accountable for this? Gee, I’m sorry, but you can go fuck yourself and your sisters, and your brothers and whoever else is still alive, because I DON’T GIVE A FUCK.”

            He let out a low growl as if he were a dangerous dog and a then a frustrated wine. He held on to the note and she thought it almost sounded as good as his singing. “Hold that thought Missy- I’ll be right back.” And he steamed off.

            Numb to everything she quickly slicked her red hand out of its cuff. She reached out for anything that could be of assistance- knife, a bottle, a hammer, perhaps the anvil that formed the bloody knot on the back of her blonde head. What she found was a hose. She pulled on it and it popped off the facet of the hand pumped tube well. She slid the three-foot length under the leather strap holding her head, doubled it over and pulled. She attacked the strap from the side instead of pulling up on it and it came loose. Then she pulled at the elastic from the bottom of her chin, and was able to slide it off like a mask. She sat up and slid the hose under her left cuff and pulled. The metal object came loose and hit the soft dirt and she slid up, bending at the knees.

            On her feet, her ankles and wrists burned and itched and she limped on her right leg. She scanned the area for anything she could use as a weapon before he came back. She lifted up a green army blanket and stepped back in awe. “Who does this guy think he is? Wile Coyote?” She said aloud. Before her were two crates marked ACME Rocket-Packs. “Fine. I’m the fucking roadrunner.” She said, giving herself newfound hope and encouragement; it was time to live again.

            Because of the echo’s she knew they were in the lower of three chambers. There was something that disturbed her about it. It was the persistence of the sound after it met the walls. It seemed to keep going and going as if she was near a larger chamber- a 4th chamber; something that wasn’t supposed to be there, something immense. She trained her ears on the sound of his coming footsteps and knew she did not have time to further contemplate her surroundings. She ripped the wooden lid off the crate that was nailed feebly shut. The backpack was lightweight and she identified its composite materials at a glance- an uncommon synthetic fiber used to armor helicopters. She slung it on with two fears in mind: the intense heat the hydrogen peroxide rocket was about to produce once its propellant reached its immediate catalyst and her destination- an unknown chamber of unknown dimensions.

            Kwan’s mouth dropped open as she leaned against the chamber wall. She broke in to a sprint, hair matted with blood, barefoot, and screaming like a banshee. “I’m gonna get you MOTHERFUCKER!” She twisted the throttles to control the packs simple flight control system of pitch and yaw, and she barreled in to him at 30 miles per hour. “Ooof!”

Was all he could muster as he held on to her small frame for deal life. They passed through the doorway and in to the darkness. Her legs kicked at the air and she hugged him like a bear, digging all available nails in to his back. She looked down briefly and realized they were over a cavern; it was round with rocky edges.

            “GO BACK, GO BACK! We only have 60 seconds worth of fuel!” He said.

            Her right foot kicked at the ledge and she winced in pain- eyes watering. Something gave way and a hula-hoop of blue lights lit up down the shaft directly below them. One after the other they came on in rapid succession. They went on forever and she guided them to safety. They both fell against the dirt and she let go of the controls and the rocket pack’s motor ceased. She looked over the edge in disbelief. Not far down the shaft there was a thin membrane and beyond it was a dream. She had seen its picture in a Discover Magazine while in a dentist’s waiting room. Its vast arms spanned 30,000 light years across and it spiraled slowly in space as its 100 billion stars danced gracefully in front of her. Somewhere near the constellation Pieces the galaxy M74 spun- only 30 feet away.

            “Bitch!” And she received a solid kick in the shoulder blades, pushing her forwards. Her left leg and arm hung over the gaping hole in the earth and she rolled back away from it. He stood up and she swept his feet with one leg sending him flat on to his back. She maneuvered herself in front of the rocket back grabbing its throttle control. “Stay back Kwan! Death isn’t fun! Trust me!” She inched herself over between him andthe pit.

            “You were a worthy adversary Missy; Ghost Girl Blue.” He said mocking the user name she most often liked to pick. He rushed her and she switched the backpack on while twisting the throttle. Two tubes at the bottom of the catalyst pack on the RB 2000 Backpack sprayed high-pressure superheated steam. He screamed as it melted his face and hair at 1,370 degrees Fahrenheit. She crawled to the ledge and looked down in to eternity. She quickly pushed him over to get rid of him and resumed the position on her elbows and watched as his body passed through the thin membrane in to a galaxy 32 million light years away. There he his body froze instantly in deep space in front of the prettiest blues and bright yellows she had ever seen. She could feel the warmth of its sun in the center- a hopeful sign of life; happy she had once again escaped death.