Night Market

    Skye was oblivious to the fact she angered Shao Zu and he was distraught that she impulsively left the Club. She was accustomed to acting carefree and didn’t feel it was unreasonable to leave under the circumstances. Skye was well aware that if Shao Zu saw her clothes stained he would want to know what happened. If he investigated he would find out she knocked the one obnoxious woman to the floor and threw the stinky disgusting water on the other two women. Although Skye didn’t come out of the fray unscathed the other women were in much worse condition. 

   She leaned on the car door thinking about the situation. I had to make a hasty exit from the Club. How could I allow the image of a gentle sweet girl I had painstakingly maintained in front of Shao Zu be destroyed on my first night in Shanghai! If I did my name wouldn’t be Skye Jade Benning!

    Skye widened her eyes while she gazed out the window at the vibrant night scene as the taxi weaved in and out of the congested traffic. I love Shanghai. The city feels so alive…  I can feel its restless energy and Shanghai’s enchanting beauty at night is captivating.The neon lights..shining unique skyscrapers touching the clouds..the cruise ships gliding down the Huangpu River. She happily smiled at the romantic scene of couples holding hands walking along the Bund. A flash of steely resolve darkened her amber eyes. I want to live here and experience all this amazing city has to offer..I am not going back to Switzerland! I won’t let Grandfather control me!

   She noticed a busy Night Market as the taxi stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly she exclaimed “Stop. I will get off here.” Startled, the elderly taxi driver  looked in the rear view mirror at the blonde haired foreign girl. Conflicted as to whether or not to warn the innocent looking girl about this area he scratched his bushy white hair. The old man decided if the little girl staring wide eyed out the window was his granddaughter he would want someone to give her a word of caution. I will offer some advice. “Miss, this neighborhood at night isn’t safe. There is another smaller, more controlled Night Market closer to your hotel. There are many tourists over there so the police patrol on a regular basis.”

   Skye bit her lip and hesitated, then decided this Night Market looked intriguing. “Thank you for your concern but this one looks interesting.” She wasn’t afraid, because while living in Manhattan, Skye and her friends would often travel into the depths of the city to explore and have fun. The Night Market looks busy and well lit. She handed him the fare then stepped out of the taxi excited to discover what all the various stalls were selling. Oh.. the street food smells delicious but I am still stuffed from dinner.

     When the taxi driver found a place to stop, Skye was gawking at the diverse crowd at the entrance to the Night Market. Mesmerized by the lively atmosphere in the darkness she failed to notice the taxi stopped by a section of the sidewalk under repair. Skye caught the toe of her black leather boot on the broken concrete, causing her body to fly forward. She ended up falling onto the broad chest of a mysterious looking man wearing a long black trench coat.

   Ye Yunxian was in a very bad mood. He was annoyed that his informant failed to show up at the designated meeting spot. He made no attempt to steady Skye, all she could do was cling onto him so she didn’t fall onto the ground.

  When she didn’t immediately let go of his coat sleeves and remained plastered against him his body stiffened. He lifted his eyebrow and pushed her away with his large hands, “Get lost. I’m not interested.” This particular Night Market was located by many cheap hotels and attracted the local prostitutes. He assumed by Skye’s pitiful appearance she stumbled into him intentionally, then would act as though she was in trouble to lure him to a nearby hotel. 

   Skye gazed up at Ye Yunxian’s ruggedly handsome face contorted in anger and regained her composure. Asshole! Skye’s amber eyes gleamed with undisguised arrogance as she stepped back. Unperturbed by his oppressive aura she pointed her slender finger towards the broken concrete. 

   She curled her lips into a smile that wasn’t a smile and flippantly responded. “Pfft! Don’t flatter yourself, Old Man. Either I face planted onto the concrete or grabbed onto you. I, of course…” Skye brushed her messy honey blonde hair back exposing her flawless features then smiled. “Chose the latter, too many men would be heartbroken if my beautiful face was ruined” 

   She immediately turned around and sashayed away from him, her shoulders slightly trembled as she quietly giggled. Hahaha.. The handsome piece of wood looked like he swallowed a fly..haha..What a jerk!  Skye lazily strolled into the Night Market not realizing she would be seeing Ye Yunxian again in the not too distant future.

     He shook his head and watched Skye’s slender back as she seductively swayed her slim hips walking away. He bent down taking a closer look at the broken concrete on the sidewalk. The city must be repairing a water line..the work area should be blocked off…why isn’t there any tape around the broken concrete?.

Ye Yunxian has always possessed the ability to see clearly in the dark and with his excellent night vision he spotted a sparkling object wedged in between two pieces of the gray concrete. When he picked it up he looked surprised. A pink diamond hair clip? For a brief moment he considered returning the expensive hair clip to Skye then put it into his pocket. He scoffed, the stupid woman’s clothes were dirty and ordinary. The pink diamond hair clip was probably stolen or someone else lost it. I will turn in the hair clip when I get back to the station.  He impatiently surveyed the street for his partner’s car. Where the hell is Leng Han anyway?

   Ye Yunxian took his phone out of his coat pocket and called his partner, Leng Han. He barked, “Where are you?” his voice tinged with impatience.

   Leng Han swallowed a piece of  dark chocolate “I’m behind you… by the corner. I saw you talking to a beautiful woman and thought I would give you a minute. It isn’t often I see the cold and aloof Detective Ye flirting. Did you get the little beauty’s WeChat?”

   “…”  He lit his last cigarette then crumpled the pack throwing it into a nearby trashcan .

Ye Yunxian lazily walked to where Leng Han rested on a wall and kicked the back of his bent knee making his leg buckle. “Next time don’t make me wait.” He exhaled a thin stream of smoke and sighs, “ Baldy didn’t show up.”

  Leng Han took off his old fashioned black rimmed glasses and rubbed his bloodshot eyes. He had been on a stakeout for over twenty four hours and was exhausted. “Fuck! Did you try calling him?’

   Ye Yunxian stared at his partner, “ I am beginning to wonder if I need a new partner. What do you think? Of course you moron, a woman answered his phone so I hung up.” He inhaled deeply then blew a smoke ring. Deep in thought he watched the smoke fade away then said, “I am fuckin pissed. If we can’t nail Ping Cai with the evidence we have collected I will have wasted six months on this goddamn case.”

   “What do you think happened to Baldy?”

  “Baldy? One. He got his fat ass out of town when Ping Cai was arrested.” He snarled, “Which I haven’t properly thanked Captain Kang for jumping the gun on that one. The greedy bastard wants to be Commissioner. I get it. But the investigation could be stalled because now… whoever was behind that slimy gangster just got a very loud wake up call.  Two. Baldy is dead.” He flicked the ash from the tip of the half smoked cigarette. I guess there is no Three. “ He finished his cigarette then crushed it under his black boot on the sidewalk.

   The two tall muscular men walked down the street to a low key black vehicle parked by a convenience store. Ye Yunxian went into the convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes while Leng Han leaned on the car waiting for him.

Leng Han had his head lowered while unwrapping a chocolate. Fuck..quitting smoking is such a pain in the ass.If I keep eating candy I’m going to get fat. He looked up when a speeding car’s tires squealed coming into the parking lot. 

    Suddenly the sound of several gunshots rang out. Ye Yunxian dropped the bottle of water in his hand and rushed out the door to see Leng Han slumped on the ground next to the tire. Blood was spattered on Leng Han’s face and his glasses were hanging off one ear.

The clerk ran out yelling “I called 120.”

Blood was flowing out of the gunshot wounds. Ye Yunxian knew he needed to slow down the bleeding or his partner wouldn’t make it until the ambulance arrived.

“Get me some towels! “

Ye Yunxian knelt on the ground next to Leng Han. He ripped his shirt and tied it around Leng Han’s arm then took the remaining cloth to press on his abdomen. “FUCK!”

     As Skye walked through the crowded Night Market she was immersed in the atmosphere and didn’t realize she was being followed by a sinister looking man. When Shao Zu brought Skye into the Club the man was smoking outside. He had been ordered to find an opportunity to snatch Shao Zu Tang’s woman. Working as a busboy at the Club he hadn’t seen him with a woman until tonight.It was a coincidence he was hanging out by the bar after his shift when Skye left without Shao Zu Tang. She sauntered right past him on the way to the front door of the Club so he followed.

   Skye was picking up a scarf and examining the quality when a large hand placed a knife on her waist. The man’s rough voice was low. “Scream and you die bitch. The market is crowded, no one will notice you fall to the ground dead and I escape.”

    She instantly dropped the red and black silk scarf. She muttered, “Ta..take my money. Don’t kill me.” 

   The man stank of a cheap cigar, his greasy black hair sticking out from under a blue knit hat brushed against her cheek sending a cold shiver down her spine. He pressed his head next to her ear, “You are Shao Zu Tang’s woman. I want him, not your money.”

   Skye was overwhelmed as he breathed on her face. Yeesh, doesn’t the man brush his teeth? The body odor ..Oh my God! I am going to throw up. She wanted to reveal she was Shao Zu’s sister, not his woman, but what difference would that make?  Skye wrinkled her forehead then covered her nose with her hand. Too bad the disgusting man didn’t snatch Chloe Wang instead of me.  

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