CHAPTER 4 (REMIX / THE SOUL STEALER)

Like the Neverending Masters before him, Masternever hid his identity from the public. His birth name was Arious Alcide.

During the midst of the afternoon, Arious skated through the busy Chinatown streets with certainty. He darted into a secluded alley and made his way towards the rear of his father’s restaurant — KAM’S KITCHEN.

Before he entered Arious took the scroll out of his book bag and looked at it, the style of writing, it was beyond anything he knew. He wondered where he should begin. There were four Chinese characters near each master on the scroll, they are the four characters that represent the name of each Neverending Master. He knew their meaning, but the rest of the writing, it remained a mystery. He put the scroll back into his book bag and entered the restaurant.

He entered the kitchen in the rear of the restaurant. It was small, clean and functional. There were several crates full of fresh vegetables as well as several large sacks of rice. It was partially visible from the takeout window in the front.

As usual, the scent of his parent’s cooking lingered. On warm summer nights, there was a line that exceeded the lengths of the restaurant’s exterior.

Arious opened a small closet where he put his bag and jacket. His father Yung, entered the kitchen while he put on an apron.

“Hey dad,” said Arious.

“What’s up Arious?” responded Yung.

Yung was a Chinese man, in his late forties, is in great shape thanks to his devotion to Tai Chi. Yung hummed a familiar tune as he cooked chicken. Arious walked to the sink and washed his hands.

Arious’ mother, Sue, was several years younger than her husband. She maintained a great personal relationship with each customer. Treating each patron as though they were a close friend.

“Hey Arious!” said Sue.

“Hey!”

She embraced Arious with a warm hug and looked at him with concern. Although she was not his birth mother, she knew Arious long enough to know something was on his mind. Something troubled him.

“Arious, is everything okay?” asked Sue.

Yung packaged some food for a customer and looked at Arious.

“I’m okay.”

“We’ll need you to make some deliveries later, Wang had to leave early today,” said Sue.

“No problem.”

ILLUSTRATION / ROWEL ROQUE

Arious looked at the pile of dishes in the sink and turned on a small black and white portable television.

He turned the knob until he reached THE SUBWAY CITY NEWS.

GOOD EVENING NEW YORK. I’M DAVID ALVERADO.

AND I’M NORA ORTIZ!

Both: WELCOME TO THE SUBWAY CITY NEWS.

David: NEW YORK CITY WAS RAVAGED BY THE CRACK EPIDEMIC IN THE EIGHTIES, NOW THE CITY DEALS WITH THE EMERGENCE OF A DRUG KNOWN AS YING YANG.

The television showed someone holding a small plastic packet with a mixture of white and black crystals. It is turned over and there is a Ying Yang symbol on the packet.

David: THE HIGH POTENCY DRUG WHICH DELIVERS AN ADDICTIVE HIGH PROVES TO BE FATAL IF TAKEN IN LARGE QUANTITIES.

The television then showed the police at a crime scene and several drug users who lie in the street and then being placed on stretchers.

David: MAYOR MAYNARD HAS APPOINTED A SPECIAL TASKS FORCE TO STOP THIS EPIDEMIC BEFORE IT SPREADS.

Nora: IN OTHER NEWS, POLICE IN CHINATOWN HAVE BEEN BAFFLED BY ANOTHER REPORT OF GRAVE ROBBING. FOR A REPORTED THIRD TIME, A CORPSE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM A GRAVE. LOCALS IN CHINATOWN HAVE SUGGESTED THAT THE THEFT IS RELATED TO WITCHCRAFT AND SORCERY, AN ANCIENT PRACTICE KNOWN AS SOUL STEALING.

David: SOUL STEALING HUH? I WISH SOMEONE WOULD GIVE THE KNICKS A SOUL!

Both anchors laughed.

ILLUSTRATION FS

At that very instant, Meng watched the news program. He turned off the television with his remote and walked towards the window.

“The Soul Stealer? Here in New York City?” as thought on the question, he knew why. He hoped that he was wrong. For he like myself, knew the story of the Soul Stealer well.

WORDS: 679

COUNTINE READING — MASTERNEVER AND THE FLOW OF DEATH: CHAPTER 5 (REMIX / CRIME IN THE CITY)

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