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Thriller – Part five


Entry by Judy Goh

It was not much of a situation, for in Alex’s line of work, he was used to the hysteria and destruction. But getting out of a public display of murder had never been an easy task, especially where there were property and people to be compensated, and coupled with his jet lag, Alex just didn’t feel like dealing with the curious crowd of onlookers. Sometimes he just wished he had a normal, completely risk-free office job with medical insurance you never had to actually use. A still-bouncing Russian doll came to a halt at his weary feet as he regained his balance. Her beautifully painted arched eyebrows and deep blue eyes reminded him of Katka, and jerked him out of his wishful thinking and back to reality.

First, Alex had to get out of there in order to make his meeting at the restaurant and find out what was really going on. And without a ride, it could take hours to reach his destination from this part of the suburbs. Looking around, he noticed the crowd of people thinning, to his relief. But on the downside, Czech police had arrived to join the party in the form of two squad cars. Alex’s heart sank. He knew enough to understand that if he tried to escape, his face could end up on a WANTED poster, his cover would be completely blown, and he would be off the case- no questions asked. If he went quietly with the police and let himself be arrested, the entire process of explaining his identity could take weeks, and the meeting at the Seven Angels would be a no-show. Either way, Brocuek had gotten him into serious hot soup.

Luckily, distraction arrived in the form of one celebrity- Anastazie. She was more than just the local soap opera drama queen, now that she had released her own platinum-status album and landed herself a role in a Hollywood film. Nevertheless, she was famous enough to have her own entourage of fans, and plenty of the people were big fans. The shopkeeper of Russian Dolls Galore! and the toddler were no exceptions, both of which got to their feet earnestly and started clamouring for signed autographs along with everyone else. Alex seized this opportunity to slip away from the police, making like a bat out of hell. Anastazie’s mall tour was probably the best thing that had happened to Alex since his plane had touched down at the airport, and he made a mental reminder to himself to send her some flowers, even though he was not quite a fan of chick flicks.

Now that Alex had gotten out of the legal complications due to Brocuek and the unnamed driver’s murders, he had to hitch a ride to the Seven Angels restaurant in time, with the prized painting in tow and looking presentable. Running away from the crime scene was something he had to do often, and for once, he was glad that he had packed light. All he had to do was grab the bag containing the Matisse and just take off. His watch read eight-fifteen, while his reflection in the windows of nearby shops told him that his clothes needed changing. Forty-five minutes was hardly enough time to look as polished as James Bond would, especially in a posh restaurant. Alex picked up his pace and ducked into a family-run bed and breakfast, within a kilometre radius of the crime scene where the car had crashed.

The bed and breakfast was definitely not what Alex had expected. The walls were painted a garish fire engine-red. Chinese lanterns hung from the ceilings, and there seemed to be lingering scent of incense on the traditional rosewood furniture, which was an unnerving shade of auburn. Dragon designs were carved onto the mantelpiece. Alex stared in awe at the horrible decor as a stooped old Eurasian lady wearing a crimson qipao and her greying hair in a bun appeared at the doorway towards the kitchen. She shuffled towards him, all the while yelling at someone in some Chinese dialect that sounded like gibberish to Alex. Her expression seemed rather amused at the shellshocked Englishman standing on the bamboo flooring.

“Do you want room? All free, no customers today,” she spoke in a broken English.

‘I can see why,’ he thought grimly to himself. Naturally the appearance of the bed and breakfast itself was no more appealing than the smell. However, given the circumstances, he had no other choice. Time was a-ticking away and he needed a room to change into his disguise before meeting his new contact. More importantly, he had to find out what

“Yes, one room for just the one night. I’ll be leaving shortly, could you call me a cab? Thank you very much.” Alex hastened up the staircase, two at a time. He almost hated to see how his room would look like.

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