Chris’ transfiguration scene done (backhanded compliment from a valued friend over that one), Maya busted out of the hospital – and boy, does that scene need editing! – to a character focus on her as she passes nine days at sea on the way to North America. Did you know that travel by freighter is about US$100/day? Pricy, but better than an entertainment-cruise line. I’d love something like that: nothing to do but write, drink, and – if she came with me – be with my wife. Who, as we’ve been married for so long, would not even entertain the idea of what’s below the fold. *sigh*
As they say at Instapundit, classic reference* in the headline.
I’ve already written the scene after this: Maya talking to the two Americans on the way back to Portland, Oregon, Former US. The world of ‘Machine Civilization’ is increasingly complete. Still, this needs editing with a jackhammer.
Without being too much of voyeur, I need to see the next Act where Chris and Cat stop acting stupid around one another. I think Anton might take them up to the killing fields of Camp Pendleton, where the Mexican Army killed 100,000+ starving Los Angeles refugees… why take them there? Exposition, duh. After that, Maya shows up in town and BANG.
And by BANG, I mean I start on the sequel. You really think that the powers that be could stop a horror/romance of mine by death? Will Deonne taught me. Bring it.
In the backseat of another cab, Maya sat in her ill-fitting clothes. This time, headed south to the port of Hakodate. When she’d crept from an alleyway to find a young couple in a laundrymat, she’d walked in, crying. As they tried to comfort her, she stole enough of their lives to render them unconscious. Rooting through what they’d had in a drier gave her what she wore now. She’d taken the woman’s purse as she’d left. If it wasn’t enough for the cab she’d hailed, she could kill the driver if need be.
No. No! Maya raged at herself. I must get out of the country! The airport is too easy to watch; in the Hakodate wharves she would just be one tiny person amongst thousands…. But even one suspicious death would fill the port with police.
“Looks like it’s going to be a lovely day, miss!” The driver called over his left shoulder.
“Yes. I hope so.” Maya stared out the left window at the rising sun. The sun that had just set in former California.
Are you watching the sunset, Brother? Is that bitch, our false cousin, with you?
Her hand made fists and shook a little.
Shall I kill her first? Do you want to watch me eat her, Brother?!
Why did you go?! Why!!!
“Here’s the city limits,” the driver called again. In her rage he almost killed him then. “Where was it that you need to be?”
Maya willed herself to calm. No killing. Today.
“The docks; freighters bound east, please.”
He scratched his head with his right hand.
“Don’t rightly know where something that specific might be. The docks, proper are south of the ferry terminals.” He seemed to consider something. “Let me call Dispatch and see if anyone there might know.”
He tapped a number on his phone and raised it to his ear. Maya’s fingers snapped a bit, but: no, he doesn’t know my name nor anything about me.
She stood at the rail on the high stern of the Panamax-type freighter, looking aft at the ship’s foaming wake. The mid-sized vessel owned by the NYK was in the northern Pacific; off to her right, Maya’s eyes could just make out some of the Aleutian Islands in the chill haze. Her destination was Vancouver. Canada.
Still far from you, Brother, but I’ll be on the same continent. It will just be a matter of time…. She coughed and spat out into the ocean.
After his phone call, the cab driver still had to make two stops to ask questions about the best place to drop her off. Finally pulling up before a three-story office complex fronting the harbor, he leaned back and told her the fare. Maya rummaged in the purse of the woman from the laundrymat and handed the money over. She exited and did not return the driver’s wave as he departed.
She had 3,300 Yen left. She suspected this was not enough for a trans-Pacific berth. She slowly turned right and entered the building.
The pleasant, older man behind the main counter informed her costs varied, but yes, there were two ships bound for Canada and Mexico in just a few days. She’d have to talk to a representative of the ship, but it was usually quite inexpensive.
She allowed herself hope…
About 10,000 Yen per day, with the voyage taking nine to twelve days.
She thanked him and walked to just shy of the glass doors. She stared out at the activity on the street. How many will I have to kill? What is the danger of being caught?
“Ahem! <Miss?>” Someone was addressing her in atrocious Japanese.
<”Yes?”> She turned to regard a lanky young man in his late twenties. She was unsure of his precise race, but assumed Malay.
“<Sorry to overhear you talk with that old man; how bad you want trip across ocean?>” She had to concentrate to understand what he was asking. Once she did, her lips twisted.
Kill you, for starters.
The man gave an unpleasant grin at that. He looked over his shoulder at the older man before back to Maya.
“<We go for walk. I show you my ship and talk price!>” He seemed excited about something.
It was only a short walk before they came around another building. He gestured at the ship at dock. No expert on maritime matters, but well-educated by Neuroi in a little bit of everything, she guessed it about 30,000 tones. Most of the cargo containers were already on; a dock crane was moving a few more.
“<Ship I work on; Jodhpur.>” She presumed the unfamiliar name to be that of the ship, not him. “<We leave day after tomorrow, but I get you aboard today, if you want!>”
“<How much?>” She worked to keep her grammar simple. She raised her purse, but he shook his head.
“<You give… wait.>” He seemed confused about something. He took a small, worn paperback from his pants pocket and flipped a few pages, muttering.
“<Ah! You give me love on trip to Canada!”>
Affection? Companionship? The desire to consume her brother…? She did not understand.
“<Don’t get it.>” She said. He looked totally crestfallen.
“Um…uhh…” He flipped a few more pages in what she realized was a translation book.
“<You use your mouth,>” he pointed at his crotch, “<here.>”
She’d seen pictures; that she understood.
“<Okay,>” she nodded. “<Just once?>”
“<Each day!>” He leered at her.
“<Every other day.>” And you die when we get there.
“Yes!” He pumped his fist in the air. “<You come there, terminal 11A, say ten o’clock tonight? I sneak you on ship!>”
“<Okay.>” She looked up and down the street. She’d need to find some place to hide and wait until then. She began walking.
“Hey!” He called, catching her right arm. She almost killed him on the spot.
“<My name Tenuk!>”
She shook him off.
Her eyes unfocused onto the ship’s wake again. It was the sixth day of their voyage. Tenuk had come off his afternoon watch an hour ago, meeting her in her small cabin. She was already kneeling with her shirt off. The more excited he was, the sooner her unpleasantness would be over. Finishing quickly, he patted her head; she hated that. Once he was gone, she made her way up to one of the higher decks. There was usually no one there. She preferred to be alone.
A chime came over the ship’s speakers. The galley would be serving dinner in fifteen minutes. She spat again. Love tasted awful.