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From a Hypothetical Yakuza Novel 2

Posted by on in Bloody Death
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A sequel to From a Hypothetical Yakuza Novel 1, inspired in part by a certain unused scene in Kill Bill: sister of the slain kunoichi seeks revenge, even if it's the last thing she does.

From a Hypothetical Yakuza Novel, Scene 2

A gust of chilly wind caught him as he rounded another corner, penetrating the light jacket that he wore over his usual business suit, causing him to instinctively scrunch his shoulders a little. This evening, the roundabout path from the chore of overseeing the Clan's industrial district operations to his car had taken him in front of Warehouse D-21. On the outside, it was no different from the other blocky, rust-colored structures that lined the street, with an occasional working street lamp.

D-21 brought back recent memories, though: a few months before, it was there that he had fought and slain the infamous Jade Kunoichi and her retainers. The police lines and the bodies were long gone now, with nothing to show for it: everybody in his world knew just who had done it and why, but nobody wanted the police involved, least of all the police themselves.

He stopped. Ahead of him, he had spotted a figure causally sitting on top of the farthest lamppost on that block. Outwardly, he did nothing, but he was already planning his next move.

“Good evening!” It was a cheerful female voice. A moment later, she gracefully flipped off her perch, landing noiselessly into the spotlight. He remembered where he had seen her: it was at the ceremony that took place two weeks after the deaths of his uncle and the Jade Kunoichi. There, a peace agreement with the Jade Clan had been formalized. A younger sister of the Jade Kunoichi, she had stood out from the rest of her clan with her not-quite-traditional bleached blond hair and a dark brown artificial tan. He had heard they called that fashion “ganguro,” though she seemed to eschew the heavy makeup that “ganguro” supposedly wore.

Rather than the skimpy uniform of a Jade-clan kunoichi, she was wearing an even skimpier version of a “sailor” school uniform, consisting of a short-sleeved white button-down shirt and a jade-colored miniskirt. She wore it braless, he could tell, because the shirt was unbuttoned and tied off under her breasts, revealing much of the deeply tanned flesh of her bosom and all of her toned abdomen. The skirt, too, was short enough that every gust of wind revealed a similar lack of panties, along with the knowledge that she shaved her pubic hair. She wore no footwear, but he could see the toenails of her bare feet were painted jade green, like those of her late sister. He always did admire the physical and mental conditioning Jade Clan applied to their trainees: though half-naked in the cold, she was showing no discomfort, or shivering. Unlike most of the Jade Clan’s ninja, she did not appear averse to using firearms: on her belt, she had two hand grenades (that he could see), an Uzi, and several magazines of ammunition.

“Good evening.”

“You sure took your time getting here. I've been freezing my butt up there every night for a week!”

“May I presume that this is about your elder sister?”

“Right. I am here to kill you for what you did to her.”

Normally, such a declaration would have been met with a quick draw and a killing shot, but this time, there was the matter of justifying it before their two clans: without proof that he was threatened, killing her at this point could be considered aggression. Thus, he chose his words carefully: “It was my humble understanding that our clans had come to an agreement that the Jade Kunoichi's actions in facilitating the death of my uncle were driven by a desire on her part to provoke me into a test of fighting prowess. It was also my understanding that the honorable and respected Jade Clan has disavowed her actions, acknowledging my revenge on her as legitimate, and thus not subject to retribution by the honorable and respected Jade Clan or...”

“You just don't get it, do you?! You're just like the Elders!” The girl interrupted. “You think it's just because you killed her. So you killed her. She was ready to die, if you proved stronger than her! But you didn’t give her that! She said that whoever won, the winner would never forget the battle. She even waited until you killed all of her retainers to confront you! And you just shot her!”

Her voice shifted lower, turning into a growl.

“I saw her body. I can read blood spatter as well as anybody. I know you shot her through the throat after she challenged you. You bastard...”

He observed her, responding in the same, overly formal language: “At no point did I make a secret of what had taken place, nor of my intentions. Whereas her goal was to provoke me into a blade duel, my goal was to kill her.”

“‘My goal was to ke-ell her,’” the girl parroted his words with derision. “You just shot her... My sister...” She was tearing up. “My sheltered, traditional big sister... Best of the best with the blade, and willing to lay down her life to prove it, and you just fucking shot her!”

“Fuck this. This is making me sad again...” She wiped her tears with her left forearm. With her right hand, she reached for her belt and pulled out a vial of something. She brought it up to her brown face and snorted the contents. A few seconds later, she shivered with her whole lithe body as the drug took effect, then arched her back and moaned. Her face flushed even under the tan, and her nipples, which before were merely stiff from the cold wind, now seemed to want to puncture holes in her shirt. She bowed a little, as if to catch her breath.

“Ahhh... That’s better.” When she next looked up at him, the tears were gone. They were replaced by a burning gaze that could only be described as feral. Her lips were slightly parted in a smile. “Let's do this.”

She went for the Uzi.

He ducked around the corner of the warehouse just as the first burst of gunfire signaled the start of the battle. He did not stop, rolling along the wall as the second burst stitched its way through the building's thin metal. That would be proof enough that she had started it...

He began formulating his strategy. He had little idea how good she was with the gun, but, just looking at the grouping of the holes in the wall, she had a pretty steady hand. The drug (something else that most Jade Clan kunoichi did not use) that she had taken was another wild card.

He had faced superior firepower before and won, mostly through superior speed and accuracy. This time as well, he was confident that he could turn around and score one or two solid hits on his opponent before she could fire an aimed burst.

The problem was that he was not confident that those shots would be enough. The ammunition in his gun was full metal jacket with a steel core, designed to punch through body armor and obstacles, at the cost of reduced effectiveness against his opponent’s unarmored flesh. Her speed further reduced his chances of hitting anything instantly lethal or immediately incapacitating. Her determination, her Jade Clan stamina, and the likely effects of the drug she had taken meant that anything less than instant incapacitation would leave him facing her bullets. And so, standing his ground out in the open was an unacceptable risk at best and suicide at worst.

He looked down the side of the warehouse, and saw a door. It was too convenient. He also noticed that the lights inside the warehouse were on. He ran past it, then took a moment to fire one shot at the doorknob.

There was a ping and a ricochet as the bullet hit the knob. A moment later, an explosion blew out the door. He kept going, risking a backward glance to see a small cloud of smoke masking his retreat. A burst of gunfire came through it, bullets whistling all around him. He ducked around the next corner just as a gust of wind wiped away the smoke. The back door was there, but he did not trust D-21. He rushed across the alley, shot out the lock of the back door of Warehouse E-21, and went in, ducking around a stack of crates, the Uzi chewing up the door behind him.

He took position covering the door, waiting for his opponent to try to get through. She did, getting a running start, leaping to grab the top of the door frame with her free hand and flipping herself up acrobatically, flashing him. His shot made a hole in her flaring skirt but missed her flesh.

She completed her flip, planting her bare feet against the vertical surface of the wall just above the door frame. It was his turn to flip and roll away as she pushed off from the wall, pouncing forward while raking his hiding place from her Uzi. She rolled behind a row of crates as she landed. He heard her reload.

He moved on, specially-padded soles of his expensive-looking shoes concealing his steps. He assumed that his opponent was, likewise, moving, and the barefooted Jade Clan assassins could be very stealthy when they wanted to be. Like D-21, this warehouse had those energy-saving skylights, but the cloudy weather kept it dark, giving the advantage to his opponent’s spraying tactics, especially in stacks of crates.

There were other ways to locate an opponent, though, especially one that had struck him as rather unprofessional in her disposition, if rather skilled in her technique. Besides, he had wanted to ask her a question before, but never got the chance.

“Aren't you a bit old to be dressing like a schoolgirl? Did you even go to school?” He ducked, and heard a short burst of gunfire, riddling the crate uncomfortably close to him.

“I'm not old! I'm nineteen!”

A liquid seeped to the floor through the cracks in the crate. He could not read the stencil, but the smell was clear enough: kerosene. He moved on, but made a mental note to order some of his clan’s thugs to pay a visit to whomever it was that was transporting kerosene in plastic bottles in wooden crates. Somebody could get hurt...

“And I'll have you know, I did go to one for a year, just to see what it's like. Didn't like the uniform, so I modified it a bit; they didn't like it, but I CONVINCED them to let me wear it. How do you like it? I think I started a fashion trend...”

The girl babbled on about her experiences in high school. Yakuza clans tended to take a more individualized approach to educating their leaders and elite assassins, so he was almost curious enough to pay attention. Almost. He closed his eyes and tuned out the words, focusing on the direction of her voice. Reasonably confident, he aimed and squeezed the trigger three times, then ran. He was shooting through wooden crates and whatever was inside them, so the armor-piercing ammunition served him well for these particular shots.

The long retaliatory burst was almost instant, sending the contents of the the crate spilling out onto the warehouse floor.

“You’re no fun!” he heard that petulant voice when the shooting stopped. “Did I get you?”

He did not reply, moving slowly and quietly toward one of the other exits from the warehouse. There was no dishonor in retreating from a pointless fight, and he was quite certain that the Jade Clan would be more interested in dealing with her than he was.

“Not so brave when someone else has the bigger gun, huh?”

He could hear the sound of the crates creaking under his opponent's light footsteps, as she scoured the warehouse trying to locate him, pausing periodically to taunt him. What she didn’t realize, he thought, was that while she was moving too quickly for a kill shot, giving him a clue where she was meant that he could maneuver himself to be in the shadows whenever she passed nearby.

Her latest taunt had come from some distance away, so he moved again, and

POP!

The sound of what appeared to be a sheet of bubble wrap lying on the floor was not particularly loud, but it might as well have been a thunderclap. Most people, having stepped on bubble wrap while trying to sneak around would freeze, but he was not most people, and was somersaulting backwards while bullets from the Uzi shredded the crates and the hapless sheet of bubble wrap not a second later. As he continued retreating, he wondered whether there was something to Jade Clan assassins’ going barefoot. One of them would never step on bubble wrap.

As he scrambled away from a river of kerosene that was flowing from the ruptured bottles, he heard the characteristic clanking of a hand grenade rolling on a concrete floor. He heard it splash to a stop in a puddle of the flammable liquid.

“There’s kerosene in these crates, you crazy bitch! Can’t you smell it?!” He was not generally prone to outbursts, but this was a special case.

“Cool!” Another grenade clanked on the concrete, closer to him. He scrambled faster, rounding another crate. Then, the first grenade exploded.

A flash illuminated the warehouse. The crate next to him shook and shifted. He heard rattling of the glass skylights above him. Burning droplets of kerosene flew through the air, most of them burning out but a few landing on wooden crates and setting them to smolder. The light died down quickly, but not completely, and his part of the warehouse was illuminated by the reddish glow of burning fuel.

He continued moving away as the second grenade exploded. He was leaning against a crate to avoid the shower of kerosine, when he heard glass cracking and breaking above him: the second explosion had shattered the skylights. Looking around, he saw a potential sanctuary: one of the nearby crates was open, and its cover was leaning against its side. He dove for it, skidding to a stop on the floor under the cover just as he saw the profile his opponent in front of him.

She was strolling almost casually through the wide isle, looking around, eyes wide open like a tourist taking in a beautiful vista, beholding the conflagration she had started. There was a gleeful smile on her face. Blood was flowing down her flank and staining her skirt: one of his blind shots had found its mark. There was one more grenade on her belt.

The rain of glass came a second later, shining in the reddish illumination of the fires. The girl in front of him glanced upward, gave an odd sort of smile, and continued her stroll, making no effort to avoid the shards.

A few landed on her head and shoulders. Her thick hair protected the top of her head, but he was pretty sure that one of the bigger shards jabbed through the thin cloth of her shirt and into her shoulder. Another left a vertical cut on her right cheek as it flew by. A few more left cuts in her arms and bit into her proud breasts, leaving gashes in her shirt. Glass shattered all around her bare feet, but her footsteps did not falter: her bare soles were tough enough to withstand the small pieces of glass lying flat on the cement floor. Shards thumped on his wooden shelter.

He tried to bring his pistol to bear, but found that his maneuver had left his gun arm trapped. He would later chide himself for having overestimated the danger of falling glass, putting himself into a vulnerable position to avoid it, especially considering that none of it could have gotten through his jacket. Still, there he was, having the drop on his opponent, but unable to take advantage until he backed out.

Though he was still uninjured, the battle was taking a toll on him. He could handle (and has handled) better armed opponents, he could handle (and has handled) skilled opponents, and he could handle (and has handled) suicidally determined opponents, but this one was better armed, skilled, suicidally determined, AND crazy. The combination was off-putting, to say the least.

He let her pass before carefully backing out of his shelter, trying to avoid disturbing any of the glass lying around. His opponent was making no such effort, and he could hear glass crunching as she hopped around the burning puddles, searching for him amid the wreckage left by her grenades.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

The fire was spreading. He guessed that, after she didn’t find a body, the girl was probably patrolling the edge of the conflagration, hoping that it would smoke him out. He was still not averse to running, but the flames and the maniac were blocking the nearest exit, and the next nearest one was across the warehouse. The glass on the floor, while not dangerous, made it impossible to move both quickly and quietly, so he would have to fight after all. But first, he needed something to misdirect her...

He considered picking up a shard of glass and tossing it, but he guessed that it would do little more than give his general location away. He needed something more compelling. Pulling out a spare magazine, he extracted one cartridge. Sighting a burning crate some distance from him, he threw it in and waited. A few seconds later, the round cooked and exploded, providing what he hoped was a plausible imitation of a gunshot. Less than a second after that, the crate was further victimized by his opponent, as she emptied a magazine into it. He saw her leap on top of a crate some distance away, then leap from container to container toward the decoy. He noted that she had discarded her shirt while exploring the burning half of the warehouse, leaving herself nude except for the tiny skirt and the belt. Her ganguro skin glistened with a mix of blood, sweat, and grime.

Unlike the hard and flat concrete floor, the wooden crate covers made for an uneven landing surface for glass, and every leap sent droplets of blood from small cuts in her soles and toes spattering through the air. Without breaking her stride, she slapped another magazine into her machine pistol.

He took aim, firing twice rapidly at her receding back. His first shot was a solid hit, entering under her lower right ribs at an angle and (he guessed) exiting through the globe of her right breast. The second shot was only a scratch in her left flank, though. The shots had caught her in mid-jump. She staggered as she landed, but managed to keep her footing, her gun arm already twisting backward to aim, turning the Uzi sideways.

She fired another long burst, aiming it by sound and by feeling of her bullet wounds. The weapon’s recoil in her sideways grip sent the bullets in a horizontal strafe. He grunted and spun a little as one of her bullets hit his side, under his left ribs. Then, he smirked and continued running.

When he had gone to confront and kill the Jade Kunoichi, he had traded protection for speed, and did not wear body armor. The morning of the present day, though, he had expected less exotic opponents, and so had worn his usual Kevlar vest under his suit. He had not been prepared to sacrifice too much mobility, so it would not stop a direct burst from the Uzi, but at a distance and at an oblique angle, it worked well enough.

She was running after him now, leaping from crate to crate, wood creaking and glass crunching under her feet, pausing to fire an occasional burst when she glimpsed him running between crates. In the light of the spreading flames, he found that he could now read the stencils on nearby crates, and it looked like he was out of the kerosene section. He zig-zagged as he crossed a wide isle and a bullet from another burst clipped his left upper arm. A moment later, he saw a stencil that he liked.

He spun around. She was close, having just landed on a crate two rows and an aisle he had just crossed away from him. There was, indeed, an exit wound on her bare right breast, just above the nipple, sending blood streaming around it. He fired off two quick shots, and ducked behind the crate.

The rattling of the Uzi, accompanied by incoherent shouting, went on for a while. As he had expected, the cargo stopped all the bullets. He took the opportunity to reload: he had fired eleven of the twelve rounds in this magazine (though there was another in the chamber). The Uzi clanked empty.

“... motherfucker! In the bellybutton like Big Sis! D’you do that on purpose?! I’m gonna fucking riddle you!”

Amid the shouting, he burst from behind the crate, containing, of all things, heavy brass doorknobs, to see her leaping into the wide aisle. Indeed, a stream of blood was flowing from her navel. His other shot had pierced her gut, a few inches lower.

He fired on her as she zig-zagged toward him, simultaneously working on sliding another magazine into her Uzi, leaving bloody footprints as she went.

She took a bullet in her left flank and another just above her right breast before she got the magazine in, jerking a little with each impact but continuing to move toward him. Taking a flesh wound in her upper right arm as she worked the action, she finally fired back, spraying him with the Uzi, forcing him to again duck behind the crate. She kept firing to give herself cover as she crossed, ending up on the opposite side of the crate from him. He began to retreat behind the next crate when she jumped on top of it, firing her remaining few bullets down at him, even as he fired up at her.

One of her bullets clipped his outer left thigh. The recoil drove the machine pistol up, and its successor managed to punch through his vest and into his left flank. He spun a little and a third bullet hit him in the chest at an oblique angle, failing to penetrate his vest but cracking a rib. Another missed his head by less than an inch.

At the same time, one of his bullets ripped into her groin, wreaking havoc inside her as it traveled lengthwise up her body and another entered under her left ribs and exited through her shoulderblade.

He reeled from her hits, but saw her fall backwards. He wondered whether it was all over, but tactical pessimism won out and he kept the gun ready, watching the crate as he used his free hand to try to staunch the bleeding from his stomach. He figured he had some time before it was life-threatening.

Sure enough, she rose up over the crate’s edge, a switchblade glinting in her left hand, a manic glint in her eye. He fired, hitting her in the stomach. She threw her empty Uzi at him and followed it, pouncing on him like a cat. He continued shooting, raising his left arm to deflect the improvised projectile. One of his shots hit her ribs under her left breast and another pierced it just under the nipple.

The gun crashed into his arm, and he knocked it aside at the cost of a bruise, continuing to fire. A round clipped her shoulder and another hit her under the right ribs, downward at a steep angle.

She managed to grapple him, swiping at his neck with her knife, which he managed to block at the wrist with his right forearm. Then, they were both rolling on the glass-covered floor. He rolled them over on the side, pinning her knife hand. Pivoting his own wrist, he aimed his gun at her wrist and fired. His wrist was sprained and almost dislocated from the recoil, but the switchblade dropped from her limp left hand.

He could feel the girl weakening, her many wounds finally catching up with her, but her lips, dribbling blood, showed a smile. She raised her right hand, showing him its contents.

In her hand was her last grenade. It was attached to a short chain. The chain was attached to a handcuff around her wrist. The pin was nowhere to be seen.

“Gotcha!” She grinned, and gave a small cough. “Nothing... you can do!”

“No.” He growled through clenched teeth. He grabbed her right wrist, and twisted her arm. She tried to resist but her wounds had sapped her strength. He gave her arm another jerk and a twist. Her elbow joint dislocated with a sickening pop. He forced her grenade hand behind her back.

“What?!”

He then rolled them over with himself on top, withdrawing his hand as he did. A glass shard on the floor cut the back of his hand as he pulled it away. The grenade under her body was left jammed against the small of the girl’s back.

“No...” The girl’s eyes widened with realization. “No... I can’t... can’t fail!”

He did not dignify her with a reply, working to keep her pinned while maximizing the protection her body would give him. She struggled, trying to buck him off, blood spurting from her numerous wounds into the rapidly growing puddle on the floor, injured left arm flailing uselessly, dislocated right arm trying to pull the grenade out from under her torso, bare heels hammering and dragging on the glass-covered concrete, trying to find purchase and failing. He closed his eyes and went as limp as he could while maintaining his position on top, waiting for the blast. Even with the lithe body between him and the grenade, it was going hurt, a lot.

“No... Sis...” The grenade exploded. Her body jumped and arched, projectile-vomiting blood and gore, breaking, but absorbing most of the fragments. His vest stopped a few more. He rode the explosion, feeling a few pieces nick his extremities.

Ears ringing, disoriented from the blast, he stumbled and swayed as he struggled to stand up. Never before in his life had he wanted as much just to lie down and rest, but he forced himself to keep moving. All he could do was take one step at a time, supporting himself against the crates. The fire was getting closer, but so was the glowing EXIT sign. He fumbled with the doorknob. The puff of cold outside air on his face woke him up somewhat. There were sirens outside. Not police: they knew to stay away. Firefighters, on the other hand, had the much simpler duty of making sure the warehouse fire did not spread. He was pretty sure that the crew of this truck was on his clan’s payroll, too...

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