Delicate Touch

Chapter 1

Guo raced down the filthy alley, frantically pulling down old crates and cans of putrid garbage as he passed, hoping they would slow down his pursuer. But Hung never slowed, jumping every obstacle, eyes focused on her prey like lasers.

Guo slammed into a chain link fence and spent precious seconds climbing it. As he swung over the top, Hung put on an extra burst of speed and ran up the fence and the adjoining brick wall, leaping over the fence practically on Guo's back.

They landed at almost the same time, and Guo knew running was no longer an option. He sprang up into a fighting stance, feinted a couple of times, then tried to punch Hung in the face. A second later he was looking at the sky and half his body hurt.

While Guo lay in a puddle of water and groaned, Hung relieved him of several thousand dollars and a kilo of crack. She rolled him over to slap on some handcuffs, completely unsympathetic of his coughing and spluttering as his face was now in the puddle.

She wrenched him to his feet.

"Make a trade," Guo said.

Hung dragged him down the alley. "Not interested."

"I have info on those missing girls."

That got Hung's attention. She stopped. "If you know anything about that, you'd better talk now."

Guo shook his head. "It ain't for free."

Hung dragged him away again. "Within an hour, you'll be begging to tell us everything. Then you'll find out what making a deal really means."

"You lock me up, I tell you nothin'."

Hung stopped and looked at him for a moment, then she shrugged and unlocked his handcuffs. "Fine. There you go. Now take off."

Guo looked at her in bafflement. "Seriously?"

"Yes! Run along. I'll just keep your stuff, and I'll tell everyone on the street that you lost your entire stash and all your money, and now you can't pay your supplier. I'm sure he'll be understanding. He's a businessman, right? You'll be fine. Off you go."

Guo's face had turned deathly pale. He and Hung stared at each other for a long moment.

Guo swallowed hard and held out his shaking hands. "M-m-maybe you'd better take me into custody."


Guo sat in the interrogation room, looking thoroughly miserable. Feng sat opposite him, while Hung leaned on the wall to Guo's left, arms folded.

"Look, I don't really know if what I heard means anything," Guo said.

Feng doodled on the pad of paper in front of him, acting as if Guo was about as interesting as an insect. "You let us be the judge of that," he said.

Guo shifted in his seat, stole a glance at Hung, and said, "So my supplier-"

"Name," Feng said.

"I don't know his name. He doesn't share that kind of information. And we had no regular meeting place. Every time we met, he would tell me where to meet him the next time, and it was never the same place twice. And by now, he knows I've been arrested, so he won't show."

"All right," Feng said.

"So I met him this one time-"

"Be more specific," Feng said, still sounding bored.

"I don't know! Three days ago, I think. It was the last time I saw him. Just as he's giving me the delivery, this guy comes up and says he's on his turf. My supplier and this other dude, they argue for a few minutes. I hang around and watch in case I need to help out. This other guy says my supplier needs to move on, that he's attracting too much attention. My supplier just laughs, and he says something like, 'You won't be here long. You think you can kidnap some girls and get away with it? You're the one who's attracting all the attention!' Then the other guy pulls a knife, but he just gives my supplier a warning and walks off. Then my supplier tells me to get lost."

"Where did this occur?" Feng asked.

"Down by the docks."

"Well, gosh, that narrows it down," Feng said.

Guo glared at him. "It was an old warehouse off Han Lo. I don't remember which one."

"Would you be able to point it out if you saw it again?" Hung asked.


"Describe your supplier and the other man," Feng said.


Wearily, Hung let herself into her apartment and tossed her coat on the desk chair. Two hours walking around the area Guo described had yielded nothing. She and Feng both believed he was lying. After running down filthy alleys and poking her nose into warehouses which still reeked of fish, all Hung wanted was a long hot shower. And it was due to her fatigue that she didn't notice something was wrong as quickly as she normally would have.

When she reached for her cigarettes and found they were gone, she snapped alert and looked around carefully. Things didn't feel right. A tiny, almost imperceptible buzz crept into her senses, but she couldn't tell from where. There was a mug on the kitchen counter which hadn't been there that morning. The air itself felt different, as if...perfume.

Hung sighed, relaxing a little. She had smelled that perfume before. And she should have seen this coming.

She walked to her bedroom and gazed in, a soft, sympathetic smile on her face. The light buzzing she had heard had actually been snoring.

Sue lay in her bed, snuggled under the covers, her clothes folded neatly on a chair.

Hung glanced in the bathroom. Sue had obviously taken a shower. Some of her belongings sat on the bathroom counter, as if she expected to stay a while.

Hung sat on the bed and gently stroked Sue's hair. She stirred a little and yawned, clearly not ready to waken.

Hung leaned close to her ear and whispered, "Hey. Where are my cigarettes?"

"I threw them out," Sue mumbled.

"You threw them out?" Hung asked sharply.

"They'll kill you." Sue settled back into sleep. Seconds later, she was snoring again.

Hung just shook her head in disbelief, then grumbled all the way to the corner store and back.

Evidently, she had a new girlfriend. It would have been nice of said girlfriend if said girlfriend had actually bothered informing her of her new girlfriend-ness. And within seconds of acquiring said girlfriend, Hung was already irritated at having to do all this extra work.

But despite her grumbling, she really didn't mind trekking to the store to replace her cigarettes. So she figured it must be love.

Author's Notes Chapter 2

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