Rain falls over Hong Kong in a soft but penetrating torrent. Slowly the sound of the rain overwhelms all other noise, and then fades until all seems silent, the world suffused with the falling rain.
Alone in a room lit only by the pale light of computer monitors Isaac sits, his mask put aside. Police records and assorted personnel files slide past before him as he searches for tools, implements to further his goal.
The office of the ministry of multinational relations lies mostly empty at this time of night. Most of its employees have headed home, or to a bar, leaving their work place empty. Empty save for one young woman, who moves around her desk, setting up the schedule for her boss's coming day. Setting down a small pile of reports on his desk and gathering up her bag she smiles an empty little smile, and heads for the lift that will lead her down to the garage. For a moment before the lift doors close she looks out on the city, wet with rain and the false smile shifts imperceptibly.
Downstairs she heads towards a sleek black car that would normally be out of the reach of a sectary, no mater how high her position. As she reaches for her keys with one hand her other looses the intricate leather cord that ties back her waist length black hair, her face displaying clearly her mixed European Chinese heritage. Slipping into the car she pulls away, moving out into the night with a roar of engine that is heard briefly before it too is swallowed by the rain.
He has been killing for some time now, almost a year. In all that time the Hong Kong Police have still not become aware of him. He is not a deranged killer as so many are, but rather takes his time, thinking through each killing and ensuring the there are no telltale signs to indicate more than another random death among the poor and destitute of the city. His name does not matter, only his hobby, but it might be good to know that in his professional life this man is an accountant, quiet but friendly.
He is cleaning his tools at the moment. Each blade bright and sharp, each lighter filled with its own carefully produced mix, each hammer and power tool clean and ready. They lie there on the large white cloth, precisely arranged, as though in some sort of case, and as he sets down a freshly polished bread knife it seems to click into place. He looks up as thunder sounds in the distance, and frowns. He had planned to go out tonight, but in the rain...
The rain deadens the sound of the bars, packed now with those fleeing the drenched streets. In one, rather dingy example, the incongruous figure of Albert Hemming sits. In his late 50s, Albert has been a teacher for most of his life, and has become in his way an institution, respected by faculty and parents alike. Now he sits at a bar, sipping a drink, and waiting. He does not wait long, for a young girl approaches him. Not even as old as some of his students, her overly mature, and rather scanty clothing leave little doubt as to her profession.
With the rain drumming on windows and roof, the sound of their words are lost, though in the end money is waved producing a drink that the girl accepts with an all too child like glee.
She might be lonely, this girl. Her family are in France, her mother's homeland, and have as little interest in contacting her as she has in them. The smile that she gives the security guard of her apartment block is as false as any she shows at work, and her flat when she reaches it, will show no signs of inhabitation save hers. She pauses to gather the small number of letters that have arrived for her and has already discarded most as junk before pausing at a single envelope, hand addressed but with no post marks. She exchanges words with the guard that seem to leave her unsatisfied but somehow intrigued.
She enters her flat, leaving the unusual letter on a side table as she moves of to take a shower.
Slowly he checks the tools in his rucksack. They are wrapped in cloth, but he knows what they are, they feel like a part of him. His contented smile is shattered by the sound of his letter box. Zipping up the bag he heads for the door to find a letter poking through the slot. The situation is odd, for it is much too late for post to be delivered. Something galvanises him into action and he leaps for the door.
Some time has passed, but the rain has not abated. It is with a strange, almost chivalrous motion that Albert moves the umbrella to cover the young girl next to him, as he leads her from the bar, steering her towards a nearby ally. She is in no state to resist even if she wished to, for she seems dizzy and clings to his arm far more than the small drink she has consumed would lead you to expect.
Back in the bar, a small group of girls show a similar lack of coordination, sufficient that they have not noticed that their friend has not returned. They will regret this in the morning, as the after affects of the drug kick in. For now, they have allowed their friend to be taken away, and do not even realise the danger.
Settled on a small, comfortable sofa, her wet hair draped over her shoulder, she holds the letter once more. Suddenly, with a deft flick of her perfectly painted nail she opens a corner and peels up the rest, removing the letter from within. It consist of a single A5 sheet of creamy, good quality paper with only a short and very precisely written section of text that bears no signature. The letter is skimmed producing a twitch of an eyebrow. A longer read through drains what little warmth and genuine colour her face had possessed. Finally she reaches into the envelope again and removes a photograph.
The night passes in near silence, save for the hiss of the rain, as her hair slowly dries leaving it slightly frizzed. She does not move, staring down at the photograph as even the rain begins to fade. The clouds have dissipated sufficiently at dawn that the light of the sun can shine through her windows, casting her shadow over the image in her hands. Finally she stirs, moving languidly across the room to the window, pulling back the light curtain to reveal the sun rising over Hong Kong. Her face is no longer the same as it was yesterday. The false warmth is gone, the dark circles under her eyes reveal the effects of a night spent awake, and in the place of the artificial perfection is a genuine smile. For the first time since arriving in Hong Kong fifteen months before, Cathy Chein grins and takes in the wave of red gold light that sweeps down the harsh planes of the city.
The photograph hangs limply from her fingers, not forgotten, but no longer necessary. Its work is done.
The door flies open as he burst through it, out into the rain. His heart races as never before with an instinctive fear, the danger of discovery. The rain acts like a balm, soothing the adrenaline driven fear, allowing him to take in the empty street, swept clean of pedestrians by the rain, which somehow fails to cover the painful rasping breaths that leave him.
Trembling now with cold more than fear he turns back to his door and there sees the letter, sticking out of the door. With trembling hands he slides it free, and drops it in a spasm of renewed terror, for it is addressed to him, not in the name he uses at work, that graces his birth certificate and the tenancy of his home, but in the name he chose, that he thinks to himself as he moves at night with his tools on his back. The name he has never spoken or written, that has in fact never existed outside of his own thoughts. His hands tremble as he picks up the letter from the wet pavement and stares at the name as the rain washes the ink away into a swirling black blot.
The alley way is dark and though mostly covered the rain still drips through in heavy streams. Albert folds away his umbrella, leaning it against a wall, still showing a slow careful nature that is at odds with the action he plans to perform. It is during this time that the girl, staggering without his support passes beneath the streams of water, the cold liquid reviving her somewhat, and perhaps alerting her to the danger for she begins to back away.
She takes no more than a step however before he is on her, his slow, careful motions replaced now with violent action. A hand in her hair halts her escape and allows him to throw her back against the back wall of the bar they have just left. If she cries out her voice is swallowed by the rain, and a moment later a back handed blow leaves her reeling. Shoved face first at the wall, she can only cry in terror as he fumbles with his belt.
The sound they hear is lost in the rain, but Albert looks up sharply, face contorted in anger. What he sees drains the blood from his face, as a figure, wrapped up against the rain approaches. Neither of them looks at the girl, who now cries out, pleading for rescue. No words are exchanged, though after a moment a plastic wrapped envelope is tossed down next to the umbrella and the figure turns to leave. Albert is left silenced for a moment before the struggling of the girl attracts his attention and he shouts, shoving her cheek harder in the rough surface of the wall. He is reaching for his belt as the rain swallows up the scene.
Puddles trace a line across the bare concrete of the floor, trailing from the door to the back of a small wooden chair. Isaac, hair soaking wet, sits once more at his computer. The table behind him is mostly bare, save for several sheets of paper and some sturdy brown envelopes.
Outside the rain is fading with the dawn, leaving only silence.
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