The couple embraced on the doorstep and entered the house. They fell onto the bed and began to make love. They were too engrossed in each other to notice events around them. The birds, the burning of the tea, and the man, creeping out of the shadows. His friends said he was as quiet as a mouse. He did not like that expression. He preferred the name death! The sun rose slowly above the horizon, casting its pinkish glow across Schezhuan. In the light, the sign Schezhuan Noodle Factory could be read on the side of a huge grey concrete building.Order now
A short stumpy man waddled up to the small red door in the side of the factory and forced his large brass key into the hole in the door. The badge on his chest informed everyone that he was, in fact, Long-How Thae, the factory manager. He was typical in Chinese appearance for someone of his age. Balding head of black hair, squat face and a shirt that had so many buttons undone, it was a wonder how it didn’t fall open. As he opened the door on what he thought was going to be another uneventful day, a scene met his eyes. A scene of complete carnage.
His factory was a complete mess, that machines all broken, and the night workers. ‘Shit! ‘ he thought. He ran at an amazing pace for a man of his stature across to the other side of the room where his four night watchmen lay on the floor in a pool of blood. All tied up together and slumped against a concrete pillar, a single shot through each of their heads, and their guns, laying next to them. Long-How put down the phone, relieved that the police were on their way. He wondered whether to report his wife missing at the same time. She had only be gone a night.
Long-How realised that his wife had been going out most evenings and had been returning later and later each time. They had had a row about these late nights and she stormed out and still hadn’t returned. No. The police will have enough on their plates. She’ll come back. Five minutes later, the police turned up along with two ambulances and a C. S. I. team. The paramedics ran across to the four men, but when they saw the state they were in, they lost the urgency about them. All their energy just seemed to flow from them. A tall muscular policeman walked up to Long-How.
He had a small ‘Hitler’ style moustache. It seemed extremely out of a place on a Chinese man. ‘Hi, I’m Sam Peng,’ he said as he strongly shook Log-How’s hand. ‘Hi,’ came the weak reply. Meng Ni sat slumped in his large office. It was extremely well equipped with leather chairs and fine mahogany tables. Two men, almost identical, stood on the opposite side of the room to the tall, lean yet fearsome looking Meng. The office was that of Helterok Noodle Factory, a large fine looking wooden building on the outside, which was even more impressive on the inside.
Meng took a long draw from what can only be described as a huge, fat Cuban cigar, and let out a long breath of smoke which bellowed its way up towards the ceiling, all the time circling round and around before being dispersed around the room by a small bamboo fan in the centre of the ceiling. Meng watched repeated this a few times, watching the smoke closely each in time. ‘Is it done,’ he said simply, still watching the ceiling. ‘Yes. The factory is crippled and I killed all I found. It was extremely easy considering they were all armed and I wasn’t. I believe that my brother has also done his part. ‘ Have you,’ asked Meng, finally drawing his gaze from the smoke to lay his eyes upon the two nervous men against the wall.
‘Of course,’ said the second man in a rather sheepish voice. ‘Yelip Orpfars is dead. He was with another woman. I killed her too. I hope you will not disapprove. ‘ ‘Was she pretty? ‘ ‘Very. ‘ ‘Then perhaps you should have brought her to me. Go, my assistant will pay you. ‘ The two men walked out of the room and Meng swung his chair around to look out the window. On the horizon, the village of Schezhuan could be made out with its unmistakable noodle factory rising high above all the other buildings. Meng simply laughed.
For years now he had felt angered by the Schezhuan Noodle Factory, opening as rivals to his factory. Offering cheaper noodles. And even though his Helterok Noodles were of course the best, his overheads went down, and Long-How made a small fortune within a month. For some reason, Meng still felt angry. Then it dawned on him. He swung sharply, His think black eyebrows pointing downwards, almost meeting in the middle of his forehead. His head of black hair drawn into a ponytail at the back of his head. A small wisp of hair grew on his chin. All of it seemed to quiver in madness with him. He picked up his phone and called his assistant. Are the Tei brothers still there? Good.
Send them back through. There’s one more thing I want. ‘ Long-How slumped back in his armchair next to the fire. There was no point on him being at work while the C. S. I. was there so he decided to come home. He looked across at the village of Schezhuan. It consisted of about a hundred houses, all of which were built for and housed the workers of Long-How’s factory. They would now be without work while the factory was re-established and Long-How would be without any form of income. Form the noodles or the rent, as the workers would have no money. He gazed at the sun, now directly overhead.
During the next ten minutes, Long-How thought of many things. It was only for this short period of time that he was able to spend by himself, as there was a sharp knock at the door. He gazed out the window and saw the unmistakeable figure of officer Sam Peng. ‘Why me? ‘ This thought had been through his head several times since he had first stepped through the door of his beloved factory this morning. He opened the door and he could instantly tell it was more bad news. ‘May I come in. ‘ Long-How took Sam’s jacket and hung it up by the fire. ‘We have found you’re wife Leiei. ‘ ‘How did you know she was missing? ‘ We found her with Yelip Orpfars. I believe he is in charge of the factory floor and you trust him as a friend. ‘ ‘Yes. That is correct. ‘ There were so many questions building up inside Long-How’s mind. All burning to be set free. Answers. All he wanted was answers. In the end, he just burst. ‘Why was she there? Is she all right? Why Yelip? Does she want to come back home? Does she even want to know me â€“’ ‘Whoa. Hold on there Mr. Thae. May I suggest you take a seat. ‘
‘It’s bad isn’t it? She doesn’t want to come back to me. ‘ His eyes looked to the floor and a large tear rolled out of the corner, falling gracefully to the ground. No. It isn’t that. It’s, it’s â€“’ ‘Well? It’s what! ‘ ‘Mr. Thae, you’re wife is dead. She and Mr. Orpfars were found this morning by Mr. Orpfars wife. I’m very sorry,’ but nothing could console Long-How. He didn’t cry. He didn’t even move. He just sat there, and slowly moved his head across to the window ledge. After three hours, the policeman long gone, Long-How finally managed to draw the courage to phone Mrs. Orpfars. How had dozens of questions burning up inside him. He needed answers. No. He couldn’t. Perhaps he didn’t want to hear the answers. Perhaps he thought that Mrs.
Orpfars could do without having to describe the scene of her dead husband and his dead wife. Either way, he placed the phone back on hook and turned away and walked through to the bedroom. He collapsed like a falling tree onto his bed and turned his head to look out the window. Almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, he sat up with an extreme sense of urgency. ‘You bastard. You complete and utter bastard. ‘ Out of the window, right on the horizon, stood the unmistakeable, magnificent figure of Helterok Noodle Factory. For years, Long-How had taken much enjoyment and glee from sitting at this window and staring at his struggling rivals.
For seven months, ever since his factory drove the Helterok factory into administration, Meng Ni had said he would do anything to gain back control of the noodle market in Eastern China. He sunk back down, onto the bed. At that moment, for the first time in his fifty-four year life, Long-How lost the will to live. He could safely say that by the end of the week, either he or Meng Ni would no longer live. He rolled over and laid his eyes on his only memorabilia of his days as a Samurai. His two-foot samurai sword, presented to him when he left the Canton Samurai Team and became an honorary board member instead.
It was a shame, he thought, that he could no longer remember how to use it. But then, did it really require that amount of skill to ram a giant blade into someone you hate. In a fight, anger is one of the most powerful allies you can have. Even so, you still have to be able to manage it, and Long-How wasn’t sure that he could do that. Yes. Long-How would take back up his sword. He would die, as long as he could see Meng Ni fall in agony first. That would satisfy him sufficiently. He got up and strode across to where the sword lay, and lifted it off the wall.
He ran his fingers slowly across the metal blade. His face now seemed to have a new leash of life. Power seemed to surge through his body. The fat that was around his joints now looked like raw muscle. His eyes bulged, bloodshot through anger and desire to kill. ‘Never should a Samurai feel the urge to kill. ‘ This was one of the teachings of the great Samurai master that taught Long-How. ‘Screw that! ‘ Meng Ni looked across the factory floor from his balcony, high above the low-life that was the workers. He smirked at the thought of gaining back his profits and getting out of administration.
He had managed to manipulate the local government and they agreed that the administrators should take a backbench and just watch what Meng was doing with all the money that he obtained. He gazed at the door of reception at the front of the building. He wasn’t sure how, but he could tell that trouble was about to come through the door. ‘Open the door and let the man through up to my office! ‘ These words echoed around the factory and the workers looked up at the ‘boss’ looking down at them. The guards at the front of the factory rushed up to the door and pulled it open. Meng turned back and returned to his office.
About a minute later, a guard entered the office. ‘Sir, it’s Lo â€“’ ‘I am aware who it is Hey,’ replied Meng. ‘But Sir, he’s armed. ‘ ‘I know! ‘ ‘Very well Sir. ‘ With this the guard stepped back outside the office. A rush of air could be heard, shortly before a large amount of blood covered the floor and wall of Meng’s door and surrounding office. ‘That, was unnecessary Long-How! ‘ Long-How stepped through the door and into sight of Meng, who did not seem too disheartened by the fact that he had just witnessed the death of a human. Long-How gazed up at Meng and noticed the samurai sword, high up in a glass case above Meng’s case.
With simply a raise of his hand, Meng smashed through the case and grabbed the sword inside, holding into it as if it were his lifeblood. ‘You were Samurai too? ‘ asked Long-How, the words still not relenting his anger and tension in the room. ‘No. I am a Samurai. ‘ Meng’s small fat lips grew into a wide smile and a row of sparkling white ‘perfect’ teeth could be seen. Long-How simply stood there and penetrated Meng’s eyes with his stare. ‘Why don’t you crawl back to you’re factory, or I will have to make you get down on you’re hands and knees and make you beg me to ram this sword down you’re throat. ‘
Samurai’s don’t give up merely in the face of death,’ and with this, they both let out their own ancient samurai chants as they charged at each other. Long-How vaulted a table and jumped high above Meng, swinging down his sword with an almighty force. Just in time, Meng managed to force his sword in between his opponents and his skull. Long-How carried in his jump and turned around as he landed. Yes. It had all come back. Long-How gazed down at his sword. Once more, the two combatants leapt into fearsome action, both deflecting powerful blows and both showing that they were still two of the best samurai fighters in the world.
Blow after blow came, unrelenting. The sound of clashing swords echoed around the factory floor and drove the workers to stop and look up at the two silhouettes locked in almighty combat. They danced around the room, leaping over both swings of the sword and any pieces of furniture that happened to get in their way. Beads of sweat hung onto their faces, like climbers, eager to avoid the drop to the floor, but the inevitable happened as the men swung their heads this way and that and the beads were dissipated across the room.
Patterns were drawn on the wall from the light, which repeatedly glinted from the blades as they danced around the room, occasionally entwining to perform a move or two together. After a particularly vicious move pulled by Long-How which completely caught Meng by surprise, but which he managed to deflect nevertheless, the two men stood on opposite sides of the room to each other, stationary. Just eyeing each other. All of a sudden, without any form of warning. Meng charged with amazing speed from the other side of the room. He leapt into the air. He pushed his blade forward and slammed it hard into Long-How’s stomach.
At exactly the same time, Long-How raised his and pushed it into Meng’s right eye. Even though he was losing his energy, constantly draining out of his body, dripping into the floor from his wound in his midriff, Long-How managed to summon the energy to drive the blade further into Meng’s head. The hilt touched the forehead of the now deceased and Long-How relaxed his grip and collapsed onto the floor, shortly followed by the limp body of Meng Ni. Long-How merely looked at his dead fighting partner and smiled. He reckoned that he was the only person to have ever smiled with a two-foot samurai sword in his belly.
He felt that justice had been done. He rolled on to his back and the sword was pushed out of his body by the green carpet, now black across a wide area due to the sheer amount of blood that had been sent across it by the fact that a majority of Meng’s eyes and brain now lay on the floor, having been sent out the back of the skull. Long-How lay there for about three minutes, dreaming of his wife, and remembering the moment he had killed Meng Ni. His breathing grew slower, and slower, but even though he felt that he wanted to die and join his wife, he still felt scared. But doesn’t everyone when they are about to die?