Endless Night || Heartless City Sequel
Chapter Four – Extraction
Kim Hyun-soo’s hand froze in his inner jacket pocket where he concealed the syringe he’d picked up off the ground as the young woman recovered from her attack. He withdrew his fingers and straightened his spine as he regarded her with interest. Since he had only arrived in Seoul two days ago, the first time he set foot in the city in five years, the girl had to be someone from his past. Her hair was tangled around her cheeks and half-covered her face, making it difficult for him to make out her features, although he could see the promise of delicate beauty in the curve of her jaw, but as she lifted a trembling hand to pull her hair behind her ear – he subconsciously noted the myriad of cuts decorating it – his eyes widened in recognition.
Jin-sook’s “little sister”.
Soo remembered quite a few things about the girl in front of him, who was starting to rapidly collect her senses and gather her wits together. Jin-sook had been so taken with her “little sister” that she’d brought the girl with her to Paksa’s place. Soo recalled the girl giving him a searching look, as if she knew him. It was not the look of a person meeting someone for the first time – even though Soo had never met her before in his life. Warning bells had gone off in his head immediately. The fact that the same girl was now at the very club he’d be sent to look into, and that she was somehow involved with a man in possession of a suspicious syringe, sent those same warning bells off again. Instincts born from and honed by his many years in the underworld told him he needed shake off the girl, extract the man, and get out.
Soo-min slowly rose up, keeping her eyes trained on the man in front of her. She had recognized Paksa Adeul’s former right hand man the moment her vision had cleared, even though the reality of him defied logic. His reported demise was false, she thought. He was even listed in the police database as “deceased.” She had personally gone over his profile more than once since the events five years ago. Kim Hyun-soo was a devilish “pretty boy,” quick to bestow a smile on any girl. He’d also level that same smile at a man as he kicked him in the throat. She’d be a fool to let her guard down.
“What are you doing here? How did you find me?” She demanded.
Soo shifted his weight from one side to the other and feigned casualness, “I was just taking a fresh breath of air from the nightlife when I wandered upon a man trying to assault a girl. I figured it would be unseemly if I didn’t aid a damsel in distress. You look like you’ve been through hell so I’ll just be satisfied with a simple thank you.”
Soo-min could smell the bullshit from a mile away. She narrowed her eyes, “You’re lying. You’re supposed to be dead. Why were you following–” Soo-min started to ask but stopped abruptly when she caught the sound of footsteps approaching; Soo turned towards the source of the noise as well. The fallen man began to stir and Soo silenced him with a swift kick to the head. He stepped towards Soo-min, pointing her in the direction of the path that disappeared between tall shrubbery, “Go that way. It leads out of this place. It would be bad if someone sees this.”
“There is no way in hell I’m leaving you with him.”
“I’ll bring him and meet you at the exit. Go.”
Soo-min stood looking torn between the exit and the approaching footsteps. She started to reach towards the man before Soo blocked her outstretched hands.
“Are you crazy? You can barely move, let alone carry a man twice your weight! I’ll take care of him. Go now!”
Soo-min stared at Soo fiercely, “Meet me by the exit in ten minutes. If you try to play any tricks on me, I swear…”
Soo cut her off, “GO!”
Soo-min turned and ran in the opposite direction, glancing back towards Soo to make sure he was following her. He met her eyes and nodded as he shouldered the man’s deadweight and started to move. Soo-min picked up her pace. The voices were now where she had been standing a moment ago. The path was longer than she expected, winding this way and that. She was beginning to wonder at the size of the area when she finally spied a small source of light ahead signaling an exit. She sped up her speed and burst through, throwing herself to one side and shrinking back against the shrubbery. She tentatively stuck her head out and peered back through the gap to look for signs of Soo and the man. There was no sign of them. Perhaps they had taken a different route? She waited. As the minutes passed her panic receded and a nasty suspicion, accompanied by slow, churning rage began to take over.
He tricked me, that bastard tricked me, she thought as she shook with anger. He must have sneaked out via another exit.
Soo-min headed back into the pathway. She traveled the full length of it, until she reemerged in the sculpture garden, where there was no sign of either Soo or the guard. Pushing back a scream of frustration and fury, and cursing herself for being so stupid, she went back through the pathway for the second time, escaping the giddy voices of tipsy guests.
If I ever see Kim Hyun-Soo again, I will kill him.
Paksa Adeul stared at the unconscious man tied down to a chair in front of him, a bag pulled over his head. Soo had called ahead saying that he hadn’t located the woman whose name was on the card Paksa had mentioned, but had found a man who might know something and was bringing him in. His first lieutenant showed up shortly afterwards with the unconscious man and deposited the syringe and a packet of pills found on his body into Paksa’s hands. Paksa immediately directed Masa to drop off a sample from the syringe and pills with Lee Woo-ha, then called the doctor and told him to immediately conduct a test on the drugs.
When the man had woken up, Paksa’s men had gone a few rounds at him until he passed out. Now Min-jae stepped up, removed the bag and held down a large piece of cloth over the man’s face, then poured a bucket of water directly over. This particular method of torture would create a sensation similar to drowning and it was a brutal method that could break a man quickly and cleanly. Paksa wanted answers, fast.
The man jerked awake, a scream gargling out of his mouth. Paksa signaled a stop and Min-jae removed the cloth as the man heaved, coughed, choked and spit out the water. Paksa Adeul crouched in front of the shaking, disoriented figure,
“I have questions that need answers. Do you understand?”
No response. Min-jae stepped forwards and repeated the torturous exercise. Paksa waited until the now violently twitching man finished coughing up a lake from his lungs.
“I don’t like asking things twice. Make it a third time and you’ll be dead. I have questions that need answers, do you understand?” Paksa repeated.
Paksa pulled a white card out and held it in front of the man.
“Who is this?”
“The Madame…she’s…she’s in charge of the girls at the club.”
“Who is Mi-young?”
The man blinked, “I don’t know anyone by that name. But lots of girls come and go so maybe she’s a new girl. I’m just a guard so I don’t get to know the girls.”
“Thank god for that because you’re a perverted as*hole.” Soo’s voice rang out, “You were about to drug and then rape that girl if I hadn’t stopped you.”
Paksa raised an eyebrow at Soo. You didn’t tell me that part, he silently censured.
Soo gave him an apologetic look and continued, “Why were you after her? Did she turn you down?”
“No. B*tch was a subject.”
Despite the torture the guard had undergone, a decidedly cat-like grin crept over his face. Paksa watched the transformation impassively.
“That girl? Oh, she was special. Bitch looked like she was hanging around looking for a fix so we took her and decided to have a little “fun.” We doped her up with a batch of drugs and watched as it boiled her brain for three days. She cried so very prettily.” The man cackled and leaned forward. He had seemingly forgotten his pain and was now fully immersed in his story, “She was one of my favorites. She was a fighter, that one. Tried to fight off the drugs but you can’t win against them. They always get you in the end. She’d screamed these names and kept sobbing until her voice gave out. Then the drugs would wear off and she’d be left lying there like a broken doll, all sad and shaking. She was exquisite.”
The guard paused and shivered from the pleasure of his recollection, then the glee in his face flickered out, replaced by annoyance. “Then, the bitch managed to escape. The boss took her escape out of my skin. I’ve got scars that demand repayment.”
Paksa Adeul’s jaw clenched and disgust welled in his stomach as he listened to the guard recount his story. The man was a sadistic scum who deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth and Paksa had to tolerate his gloating in order to to pick up any possible information.
“But then, she showed up right in front of me tonight! Bitch tried to be sneaky but I recognized her right away.” The man grinned, “I was just about to starting playing with her when you showed up,” He looked at Soo, who was wearing a expression of disgust on his face, “Did you manage to have any fun with her?”
Soo backhanded the guard. The man jerked back and grinned at Soo. “Not your type, huh?” Soo hit him again. Paksa’s phone vibrated and he stepped away to take the call, the man’s groans playing in the background. It was Lee Woo-ha.
“I won’t have a 100% confirmation until I get the complete lab tests back, but the preliminary examination results show the drugs the man were carrying are same as the drugs found in the victims’ autopsies.”
Paksa shut off his phone and spoke to Soo, “Woo-ha just confirmed the drugs are the same,” He stalked back to the man, “Tell me about the drugs.”
“The drugs? I got to play with the subjects if I didn’t ask any questions. So I didn’t. Why ruin a good thing?”
“Who did you get them from?”
“My boss. But after the shit storm that happened with the girl he cut off of my privileges and demoted me..”
“Yeah, the dead bastard. I tried to go back to get some more but place exploded and everything was lost. Fucking shame.”
Where was the place? What else went on with the drug trials? Who were the other subjects?
Paksa’s men punctuated each question with a vicious blow. Despite the beating, the man was only able to provide vague, unhelpful answers. After long minutes, Paksa was finally forced to acknowledge the futility of the interrogation. He swallowed a snarl and addressed his lieutenants, “The guy’s low-level idiot. See what else you can get out of him and then get rid of him.”
His mind washing itself clean of the perverted figure, he started walking away; Soo fell in step next to him, “Paksa…I recognized her.”
Paksa looked at Soo quizzically.
“The girl I pulled him off of…I knew her.”
“One of your past paramours?”
“No…she was Jin-sook’s little sister, the one from five years ago that Jin-sook brought to your place. I don’t know what she was doing there but -”
Paksa suddenly pivoted sharply to face Soo, seizing his shoulder harshly. Soo immediately stopped talking under it’s gripping pressure.
“Jin-sook’s little sister.” Soo repeated, bewildered by Paksa’s abruptly intense manner. Paksa stared at him wordlessly for a few seconds and then uttered in a hushed voice,
“Are you sure?”
Soo nodded. Paksa’s hand slid lifelessly down and he stood as still as a statue. All emotions seemed to have been wiped off his face. Silence followed, a deep, cold silence that was deafening. It yawned and stretched over the inhabitants of the room and paralyzed them in its grip. Even the guard quieted down.
The pieces had been laid out so clearly that a blind man could have read them. Paksa hoped with every fiber of his being that Soo was mistaken. He had read the reports, had seen the graphic images laid out from of him. His mind confronted the possibility of putting one in the context of the other and reeled. He spun around and stalked back towards the man, grabbing his shirt and hauling him forwards.
“The girl…she called out names, you said. Did she ever call out her own name?” His voice was dangerously low.
“Yes, she screamed it towards the end, when she was hallucinating real bad.”
“What was her name?”
The man smiled, rolling the name in his mouth like a favorite piece of candy. “Soo-min. Such a pretty, pretty name. I didn’t have my fun with her though, not like I did with the other -”
The man stopped in mid-sentence as Paka’s fist suddenly drove into his face, breaking his nose. Another blow followed immediately after and the man topped over onto the ground, screaming from the combined shock and pain. The repeated sounds of shoes making contact with flesh intermixed with cries echoed through the warehouse. Paksa’s lieutenants stood off to the side as they watched the display of violence with growing concern and discomfit. The Paksa Adeul they were familiar with was controlled, implacable, and precisely ruthless. Unlike many other drug lords, Paksa was not one to resort to extreme levels crude violence; he preferred subtler, neater methods. The man in front of them who was dealing blow and blow to the captive relentlessly contradicted all those conceptions…
Paksa paused, chest heaving from his exertions, to catch his breath. The man laid on the floor, curled into a ball and twitching. The dark violence slipped from Paksa’s face, leaving behind the normal, implacable mask. He hauled the man back up onto the chair, and then reached into his inner jacket pocket and removed a syringe. The broken man was hovering at the edge of consciousness, but at the sight of the needle his swollen eyes widened. Paksa smiled slowly,
“Since you enjoyed the experience of others so much, it’s only fair that you get a taste of the…exquisite.”
The man shook so violently he would’ve fallen off his chair if Paksa hadn’t grabbed his arm, holding him in place.
“An eye for an eye…” Paksa whispered and mercilessly plunged the needle in, emptying its contents dry. The man let out an unholy scream that sounded like his voice was being ripped out of his body. Even the lieutenants, who were hardened to violence from their years in the drug world, cringed. Paksa stood over the man with a terrible smile playing over his face.
He directed an order to his lieutenants, “Leave him be. The drugs will take care of him.”
Turning away, Jung Shi-hyun walked back into the shadows, which embraced him like a long-lost lover and cloaked the raging storm inside him.
Author’s Note: Whew! That’s pretty intense stuff to write. Next chapter continues with Soo-min making a critical decision with repercussions that will spiral through the series. A variety of important players are also introduced. Special thanks to lilahozi for your endless patience and advice (as well as the hours spent editing)! And thanks to aziraphale for going over edits and contributing your thoughts! Jess and Akiko, this story wouldn’t be nearly what it is without your amazing advice, thanks!!