All Hallows’ Eve: The Unmaskings of Honolulu — Chapter 18 (excerpt)

David Chan was heavily sedated, but something stirring brought him back to consciousness.  Dazed and struggling to focus, he managed to make out a tall man in doctor’s garb, stethoscope around his neck, looking down at him.

The room was darker, but the sun had still not set.  It streamed, golden, through the hospital window blinds.

“Lieutenant Chan,” the tall doctor said, “I’m taking care of your son.”

Chan thought about his beaten son, lying in a bed just down the hall of the hospital.

“Thank you so much.  How,” he stuttered, “huh, how is he?”

The doctor looked down at him and smiled.  “Relax.  I’m taking care of him.”

Chan nodded, sunk back into unconsciousness thinking about how red the doctor’s hair looked, lit up by the sun going down outside.

The tussle just before had been almost non-existent.  The two police officers sitting nodding outside of Lieutenant Chan’s room had not seen the tall Korean doctor with the flaming red hair walking quickly, silently down the hallway.  In one swift continuous move, he had rendered both of them unconscious, then dragged them into the Lieutenant’s room.

After promising Chan he was taking care of his son, he walked swiftly down the hallway to Chan’s son’s room.  His plan had been to beat this young man enough so that he would be heavily bandaged about the face.  He’d gambled that no one at the scene where he’d battered but not killed the young man would recognize him.

Standing over the bed, he admired the bandaging that covered more than half of the face.  He picked up the right hand and turned it back and forth in his own.  It had been quite a toughened hand, one that showed the constant practice blows of martial arts practice over many years.

But he had improved on their appearance by scuffing them badly on the concrete floor at the bottom of the stairwell in the Moana Hotel.  Now, if only the autopsy went his way, if there actually were an autopsy at all, the whole plan would play out perfectly.

The doctor laid the young man’s hand down, smiled at the prospect of a tricky job well done.  He reached for the patient’s nose and mouth and covered them both, exerting enough pressure to cut off the airflow.  There was very little struggle.

Once he was sure the young man was dead, he exited the room and disappeared down the hallway.

An hour or so later, a tiny Japnese nurse entered David Chan III’s room and found him dead.  Several attempts were made to bring him back.  It all proved futile.  He was pronounced dead and an autopsy was requested by the doctor on duty.  The patient should not have died.  His injuries, although severe, had not appeared to be at all life-threatening.  The death was indeed suspicious.

The body was taken to the morgue where it would be examined in the morning.

Kang Yu, back in Busan, had heard via phone call that the young Chan had survived the attack.  This outraged him, and when he was angry, there was no telling what he would do.

“Old friend,” he said to the man on the phone.  “Red is increasingly becoming a problem.  Wear the red carnation lei tomorrow morning.  You know what to do?”

“Yes, Mr. Yu, I know. Ahhhhh . . .”

“Yes, my friend, what is it?”

“Someone tried to kill Lieutenant Chan last night as well. A bomb in his car. He survived.”

Yu exhaled sharply. If Chan were dead, the full value of his plan would be negated. To kill Chan’s last child and watch him suffer for the rest of his hopefully long life, the way Yu was suffering, that was of supreme importance. “Do you know who tried to kill him?”

“No, ah, I have no idea.”

“Well, it may sound strange to you, but I’m extremely happy the good Lieutenant is still with us. I count two jobs you need to take care of, my friend. I know you’re up to it. Keep me informed on your progress.”

As Yu hung up, the sun was rising in Honolulu, and David Chan awoke to the gentle shaking of his arm by a tall blond nurse standing over him.  “Time to take your blood pressure, Mr. Chan.”

“Yes, okay.  Do you know how my son is doing?”

The nurse’s expression changed to something that looked like dread.  Chan was fully awake now.  “What is it?  Is he all right?”

“Just a second, please.  I need to get the doctor.”

A moment later the nurse returned with a tall, bald, Haole doctor, his face so obviously full of regret.

Chan had managed to struggle to a sitting position.  “My son. What is it?”

“I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Chan,” the doctor said, and Chan knew the rest.

His last child.  His wife, his daughter, and now his son.  It was too much.  He sobbed.

While Chan grieved the older man sat on the green wooden slatted bench by the Honolulu Zoo.  He wore a red carnation lei.  He’d brought a thermos of coffee because these waits could be long.  Sometimes you would have to come back the next day, maybe even the next, never knowing if a meeting would occur.

Three hours into his wait, he saw the tall Korean with the red hair coming.  He sat.  “Let’s walk,” he said.

“I can’t today, Red.  I sprained my ankle last night.  It’s too humbug.  I barely made it from my car to here.  This will be quick, I promise.”

“Make it very fast then,” Red said.  “What’s the job?”

“Red, Yu’s mad about the Chan kid.  You know he’s still alive, right?  You didn’t finish the job.”

Red tuned to look at him.  His face, iron, smiled.  “You can tell Mister Yu that I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon and finished the job.  The son is dead.”

The older man looked at him, surprised.  “Really?  Are you sure?”

“Oh yes, I guarantee you it’s done.  I’m curious,” he said, “who rigged the bomb in Lieutenant Chan’s car?”

The older man shrugged.  “Beats me.”  He turned toward Red.  “But that’s good Red, it’s good that you finished off the son.”

The long knife penetrated his abdomen and upward toward the heart half-a-dozen times in quick succession.

“But you know, Red, Yu’s just not very happy with the way you’ve been acting lately.”

Red, so startled, he was unable to react, turned and looked at the older man, then slumped over, dead.

“I’ll give him your message though.”

The older man looked around.  Thankfully there were no witnesses to take care of.  He propped up the tall Korean so he appeared to be dozing on the bench.  Wiping his hand and the blade of the long knife on Red’s pants, he sheathed it, stood, and walked quickly away.

It was All Soul’s Day, and now even more than ever before, he felt he needed badly to go to church and pray for all the departed.

At the same moment Red stopped breathing, Hank Lee arrived at the morgue, only to hear the sad news of David Chan III’s death overnight.  He had watched his godson grow up with great pride.  Unlike many godfather’s by title only, he took great care of the boy, actively participating in his development, went with the Chan family to little league games, plays and concerts, bought the boy presents for all occasions, or even just because.  A lifelong bachelor, so never having children of his own, Dr. Henry Lee sometimes thought of himself as actually being David Chan III’s father.  Because of Lee, David Chan III had decided to pursue a pre-med Biology degree at the University of Hawai’i.

Nearly weeping, Lee delicately undid the heavy bandaging from around his godson’s face.  It was lacerated, and swollen in spots, especially where the cheek bone was broken, but (snip)

Today’s word is


Use it in a piece of writing and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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