Prologue – Chapter 16
The strange cars in front of the gate instinctively alerted Anton. He drove past the house without slowing down.
The house was ghostly dark in the night, with vague lights leaking only from a corner on the second floor.
By looking while driving past, Anton had already figured out that a dozen bodyguards had taken over the crucial spots of the house, hidden in the shadows on the first floor. From the way they walked and the sometimes visible holster under their shoulder, he could tell they came with malicious intentions.
Anton’s heart sank. He got nervous down to every pore. Are these people targeting the tainted witness that just got transferred away? Or do they have other purposes? And how is the person that he left in the house?
Anton’s car drove in the circle and quietly parked behind a big rock not far from the other side of the house. He turned off the car and pulled out his gun. Carefully, he opened the door and climbed down to the beach.
Anton knew there was a tiny dock at the back of the house. After the tide was out, one could climb up to the port from the rocks. The ground might look empty next to the port, but there was actually a trapdoor to the workroom in the basement not far from the wooden fence, with another exit under a big balcony on the second floor.
This house was a secret spot owned by the Special Unit for the witnesses. They had carefully inspected and evaluated all the entrances, exits, and crucial spots.
Anton stealthily climbed onto the beach and cautiously peeped from the edge of the dock, observing the guards on the back of the house: one, two, and another one on the side. As one faced away, the other lowered his head to light a cigarette and the one on the side just turned his head. Anton jumped out and disappeared behind the wooden fence of the dock.
The second time Anton peeped out was when he was under the balcony. He took the chance of the guard turning and mounted on the balcony. He swiftly hid behind the tall sill and grasped the gun in his hand tight. While keeping his body close to the wall, he leaned out and looked inside the room through the half-closed curtain.
The atmosphere was intense in the room.
A tall man in a black coat stood there with his back to the balcony.
His body moved, and Rene was exposed on his opposite side.
Rene sat in a chair expressionlessly, facing the balcony. In front of him was a table, and behind him was a tightly shut door. On the wall next to them, a lamp was on.
As Anton watched, confused, that uninvited visitor started to talk. But even before he spoke, Anton could already feel the aggressiveness simply from looking at the back of the man.
“I think you must have already found out where he is?!” The voice was confident.
“That’s my colleagues’ job. I haven’t talked to them.” Rene answered unmoved.
“I know that your men are ahead of us! You are going to give him back safe and sound, do you understand?!” The man looked down at Rene from his commanding position.
“You travel so far, and bring so many men, just to look for a person.” Rene’s eyes vacuously looked through the man and fell on the waving tree shadow outside of the window, “He is more than a someone to you, isn’t he?” He turned his eyes to the man.
“You are right, Jeong Hwan Yong is my man.” The man laughed haughtily, “He spent seven years with my crew. Ever since I knew his background, I knew he would one day come back and take his revenge. Even though I can’t let him forget the hatred, I will surely buy him an insurance.” He was pressuring Rene with his look.
“Sam, the north is not your territory. It is very risky for you to bring your men all the way up so deeply, alone.”
“Are you threatening me?!” The man laughed out loud.
“With what?” He suddenly tilted his head and glared at Rene ferociously. “What gives you the courage to talk to me like this?”
With his head tilted, Anton was able to see half of his face. To his surprise, though this man had a beastly voice, he looked righteous. His facial features were very well-defined and attractive. His full forehead exhibited his extraordinary aura.
“Sam, I didn’t mean that. From Miami to New York, how many people are eyeing for your businesses in the South? Plus, New York is so big, with hundreds of gangs. How do you know that I can make it before the big three families?” Rene spoke slowly.
Miami? Who’s this guy? Anton was guessing in his heart.
“Jimmy,” This man also called Rene ‘Jimmy’, which surprised Anton a little.
He approached Rene slowly, and patted on his face, “More than a decade has passed since we last met, and you look the same!” Rene sat still, letting the hand fall on his face. “- and as enticing as before.”
“Too bad that a whore with clothes on is still a whore – police officer?!” He increased the force on his hand, which turned the strokes into two heavy slaps on Rene’s face, “You know clearly what kind of thing you are!”
Anton saw that Rene clench his teeth in pain, staying still, eyes fixed on the table.
“How do you explain your past to your colleagues? Undercover or what? Both you and me know too well what you did on the streets of Dallas. Do you dare to tell them?!” He continued.
“And what about even earlier,” He looked at Rene mockingly, “How many men had fucked you before?”
“Jimmy, you have always been a piece of trash.” He approached Rene’s face.
Through the window, Anton was watching inside the room.
The man clamped Rene’s chin and lifted his face up, “You once sold me out for 300 grand, hmm? How many people told me to finish you off? But I let you go, Jimmy.”
Rene lowered his head, keeping his mouth shut. The uninvited man grabbed his hair and forced him to look up.
“But I know your life wasn’t easy there, hum?! Higgins is hard to please, isn’t he? I heard that you were used like a lowest whore – pretty intensely.” He derided maliciously.
Rene couldn’t face the man’s stare and lowered his eyes.
“Jimmy, and how did you please that FBI guy?” His fingers stroked across Rene’s cheek, “That you somehow persuaded him to give you your current identity, which allows you to sit here like a man?”
Rene closed his eyes. The trembling face exhibited the quake in his heart.
“Jimmy, I repeat,” He talked with his lips next to Rene’s ear, his breath falling on his face, “Jeong Hwan Yong is mine. Everything you have dreamt for, I give to him, not you.” He slapped Rene’s face away, turned around, and looked outside of the window.
Before he turned around, Anton had already crawled under the window.
“You colleagues seem very capable, do they know what kind of thing you are?” The man turned back, “Jimmy, listen up. If Yong gets into the cop’s’ hands, or if anything happens to him- even if he loses a hair, I will not let you get away again. I will make sure everybody knows what you are and kick you out of that building you’re in right now – you will be forced to go back to where you’re from. You will end up miserable.”
“Sam, I will give him to you.” Rene finally spoke up. His voice was slightly trembling, “And I will notify you in advance if I get any information. What else do you want?” He gazed out the window, but his sight was already blurred.
“Scared, aren’t you?” The man approached Rene again and grinned. His tone was intimate, yet full of threats, “Then be eager, just like what you always are in bed.” He stared at Rene for a while before he suddenly stood up and walked towards the door, “You’d better manage to do it and not make me come to you again. I will tell you what I need you to do if I want anything else.”
The uninvited guest soon left, leaving Rene alone in the room, sitting still in the half-bright, half-dimmed shadow.
In a blink, from the downstairs came the sound of cars starting. Anton knew that those unwelcomed dark shadows in the house had shrunked into the line of cars and drove away.
“Anton,” Anton heard the call from the room, “come in.”
Anton strode through the open window.
Rene tried his best to smile and looked up at Anton, hoping to clear Anton’s doubts, but he was confronted with an icy face.
“-You are dealing with them?!”
Rene was shocked by Anton’s resolute expression and couldn’t make out a response.
“Do you know how Kevin died?!” That was the day before yesterday, they scoured for Jeong Hwan Yong in the most likely neighborhoods, but they encountered a bomb trap and one officer died.
“I fucking hate traitors the most!” Anton’s fist smashed on the table with a bang. His eyes was furious and sad at the same time. In that moment, he remembered the picture, “What’s your relationship with Stringy?” Stringy, with the mention of this name, the death of Young and many other colleagues appeared in front of his eyes again. He couldn’t believe that this man in front of him has some horrible connection with that name. “ – who else did you sell?”
“……” Hearing this name, Rene gazed at him in surprise. He was again speechless, “How do you know?”
“You are not a cop.” Anton felt like he was awakened from a dream, “You are one of them… How many lies have you told?! Is what he just said the truth?!” He questioned Rene furiously.
“Are you that afraid of giving up your title? That you would trade anything for it?!” Anton was heartbroken.
“Anton, even since I entered that door, I have nevered expected to leave that building peacefully!” Rene asserted definitely, “and remember, if one day, for whatever reason, I fall from the 21st floor, it is not me jumping off myself!”
“Then it is truth?!” Anton’s glare was as cold as ice.
“……” Rene dazed, and shook his head, “you can doubt my past, my friends, my ability, but Anton, I have my principles, and my bottom line…”
“Principles?! Bottom line?!” Hearing this, Anton couldn’t control smirking contemptuously, “You? Have a bottom line?! Rene, you can disguise, lie, or sit at your seat giving orders everyday, however, there is one thing you can’t lie about,” Anton’s eyes were full of disdain, “Jimmy, what kind of man you are, and what kind of fucking bottom line do you have, I have known them too well since the first time I fucked you!”
Rene was still trying to argue vehemently, but upon Anton’s words, he sat stupefied as if he was choked by them. He blankly stared at Anton, muted.
“Fuck!” Anton turned around and left, leaving Rene sitting there alone.
The next morning, when Anton woke up, the door of Rene’s room was wide open. He was already gone.