The Sea DevilsChapter 15
by Richard Messer
A trembling shook the lepine femme’s being as she stood rooted to the floor, her flashlight illuminating the two figures hanging there. One was smaller than the other, their arms stretched overhead by the chains, the tatters of black silk dangling from their bodies, ears dangling in shreds around battered faces. They definitely had been tortured and most severely.
Grief overwhelmed Wu Hsing Jade to the point that she sank to her knees, her body racked by sobs and outbursts of crying. The pistol slid out of her hand.
<Do not grieve for us, daughter! >
It was moments before those words worked their way through the Eurasian’s sorrow. She turned up a tear-streaked face to the silent forms hanging there. Her grief was causing her to hear things.
“Our time is done, princess, while yours is just beginning!”
“No, I’m hallucinating! You’re dead, both of you, and I’m imagining your voices!”
Two points of light appeared in the center of the corpses, burning hot and white.
Jade shielded her face as those points grew into widening and stretching blobs of intensity until they faded like light bulbs just turned off. In their places were the ghostly silhouettes of Roger and Keyo Bannon.
Jade could feel the warmth of their presence chasing away the heartache deep in her soul. She sniffed and scrubbed the tears from her face.
“Mom, Dad? Is it really you?
The male figure nodded. “It’s us, princess,” it replied, using the old honorific that the American cottontail always used for his daughter.
“Wha, what happened to you?”
<We fell afoul of a Japanese magician working for the Japanese army. We had been sent here, by Madame Xin Xue, to find out why the local Chinese were disappearing without a trace. >
The spirit of Roger Bannon shook its head. “Not him, for he did this to us not too long ago. No, the fur who had captured us was a naval officer who had been working at this medical facility established in this abandoned wat.”
Wiping the last tear from her eyes, the young Eurasian femme frowned at this.
“Was he a macaque?”
<Yes, Jade, he was, and a most honorable one as well. >
Something was not feeling right to the rabbit woman. They had been gone two years and yet they had died recently. She looked upon the two ghosts of her dead parents.
“For two years you’d been kept prisoner here? And at no time did neither one of you tried to escape?”
Jade caught the slight turns of their heads as if exchanging a knowing glance. When they returned their gaze upon their only living child she had the feeling they were sharing an embarrassment.
<Understand, daughter, that this fur was a magician as well. Only he was kinder than the one who was later sent. This furson who had captured us bound us to this place by his powers. He was subtle in his interrogations, but learned very little from us. There was mentioned of our being taken to Manchuria where the officer in overall charge of this operation is headquartered. >
Again Jade frowned. “Manchuria? Why there?”
“There seems to be some big medical operation there that is using the locals for their experiments. What is being done here appears to be a minor sideshow. What little we found out involves infecting the people with specific diseases and watch how it affects them.”
“For what purpose?”
<We believe the Japanese, with the Siamese government’s blessing, plan on releasing these diseases into areas of Chinese habitation in Siam. >
Coldness, far greater than what she first experienced with meeting her parent’s shades, filled Wu Hsing Jade’s being. Developing an epidemic designed to infect a certain portion of a population was tantamount to making a pact with the Devil, as her father would sometimes say. But something still troubled her.
“Then why were you just now killed if you were to be taken away?”
The large male shade just shrugged. “That was never quite clear to us. When this Nano Nishida showed up, he pretty much took over the operation of this facility. And seeing us as a mere sideshow, decided to have some fun with your mother and I while trying to get information out of us.”
“And did he?”
There was a shake of Keyo’s ghostly head. <He became very angry when we didn’t give him what he wanted. Eventually this Japanese army officer had us strung up here and whipped to death. And my being the Chinese wife of an American naval officer fueled his anger even more. >
Now a growing anger began to replace the fear in the tall Eurasian’s heart. This Japanese dog was going to die by her hands!
[As well as he should!]
Jade cocked her head at this new voice, one that was in her head.
[Ah, you remember. Good! Now is the time to find this furson who has done this despicable thing to your parents and take revenge on him!]
“Jade, who are you talking to?”
The young lepine femme turned a sheepish grin to the shade of her father.
“It is Sun Wukong, father. His spirit is in the Tear.”
There was a subtle nod of the shadowy head. “Of course! He was the one who told me to set that black pearl into your empty eye socket.”
Another mystery in her life was now answered, but something else was nagging her.
“If you both are dead, why has not your spirits moved on?”
<Because of the Japanese’ binding spell. As long as it is in place, we can never find rest.>
The tall Eurasian thought about this for a moment when she was interrupted.
[You can break the spell!]
That brought the femme’s ears up. [How?]
[Look deep within yourself. Open your mind to where the counter spells are kept and you will find what you need.]
[Okay, if you say so,] was the reply as Jade closed her eyes and began to clear her mind. It was a little difficult at first, trying to put away the mental baggage that was cluttering her thoughts. Eventually she cleared a space within and began to see how the spells and cantrips were kept. Like a card catalog in a public library all the magic within was neatly filed under their capabilities. After a quick browse Jade did find what could be called a dismissal spell. She quickly reviewed what was required before she felt confident in performing it.
[I’m ready.] She didn’t want to look at her parents; to finally see them again after so long only to send them onto the next world was tightening her belly. <Mom, dad, I love you both!>
<We know, daughter, we know.>
The shade of Roger Bannon nodded. “We’ll be seeing you some day, princess.”
Tears began to streak tawny cheeks as their daughter gave a weak smile while taking her stance, arms held up and out. Closing her eyes to try and keep any more tears from spilling out, Wu Hsing Jade began to speak the words that floated before her mind’s eye. A tingling began in her toes that worked its way up her tall form before reaching her fingertips. She traced fire in the air as she wove the spell, the light of which began to illuminate that small room. The walls, ceiling and floor also glowed as the counter spell bathed them and began to work in dismembering the binding.
The words grew louder and more vibrant as confidence bolstered the lepine femme’s performance. There appeared dark cracks in the binding spell as Jade repeated the counter spell until the bright walls gave a crash like breaking glass and vanished. And the ghostly figures of Roger and Keyo Bannon became bright points of light to flash out of existence. Then the two corpses in chains crumbled into dust on the floor. Jade stared in disbelief.
[You did it, girl! You should congratulate yourself for this of many successes to come] There came a pause before the spirit of the monkey king came back with urgency. [But we should wait for the celebration until much later. I sense your companion is having some difficulty with an ogre up above!]