Jay's Corner

Writers Spotlight – Gary Chavez

Gary Chavez – 2014
Big Trouble in Little China: Fire and Fury
Chronicle 1: I Left My Heart in Little China
Chapter 1: Egg Shen and His Attorney

Let us begin with the ending.
“The battle raged on but Lo Pan, the ultimate evil on earth, had escaped,” claimed the enigmatic elderly man.
The lawyer who sat across from him sighed loudly and just rolled his eyes.
The elderly man continued, “But the gods blessed us with a true champion, named Jack Burton, whom the gods in their wisdom had cleverly disguised as an ordinary loud-mouthed beer-swilling truck driver. Armed with only a knife, Jack bravely faced Lo Pan. But the conniving Lo Pan wrestled the knife away from Jack, intending to insult my friend by killing him with his own weapon. Lo Pan hurled the knife straight at Jack. But in a display of inhuman skill, Jack caught the knife and threw it back, hitting Lo Pan dead-center on the forehead.”
“And then Mr. Burton said, ‘It’s all in the reflexes,’” interrupted the lawyer.
“Exactly!” exclaimed the old man, “How did you know?”
“Call it a lucky guess,” responded the lawyer.
The man’s name was Mr. George Camden and he just spent the last hour and a half listening to the eccentric Mr. Egg Shen tell his incredulous tale. Camden looked at his watch and grew impatient. He had tee time in forty five minutes and needed to get the real truth out of Egg Shen.
“But you still don’t believe. Do you Mr. Camden?” queried Shen.
“Please, Mr. Shen, excuse me for being a little skeptical but Chinese black magic. C’mon…”
“You aren’t convinced even after I showed you proof of Chinese black magic?”
For the second time, Shen conjured bolts of brilliant green lighting between his palms.
“I don’t call that proof, Mr. Shen,” scoffed Camden, “I call it a nice parlor trick. I just caught a show last night where a magician stuck a needle through his hand. Very entertaining. But not worth the eight bucks I paid for admission”
The lawyer looked over at his stenographer, who joined him by throwing out a little smirk.
“But let me make sure I have this straight Mr. Shen,” smirked Camden, “You’re telling me that Jack Burton and his friend, Wang Chi, were trying to find Mr. Chi’s kidnapped wife, Miao Yin.”

Egg Shen nodded and grunted in agreement.
“Miao Yin had been kidnapped by three men, these so-called Three Storms, who apparently are some kind of super-powered warriors because fly around Chinatown and kill dozens of men without barely lifting a finger.”
“Sure,” acknowledged Egg Shen as he took a sip of coffee.
“These Storms brought Miao Yin to their master, this Lo Pan, an evil immortal sorcerer. And in order to rule the universe, he needed to marry a green-eyed girl. In fact, he found two green-eyed girls, Miao Yin and Gracie Law, a Chinatown lawyer.”
Egg Shen nodded and chuckled, “A very charming young lady.”
“But to make sure his Demon God approved, Lo Pan performed what you called ‘The Ritual of the Burning Blade on these women”
“Very dark magic,” grumbled Shen.
“I see,” mocked the Camden, “You, Mr. Burton, and Mr. Shen broke into the Wing Kong Exchange, which you say is Lo Pan’s hide out. You stopped the wedding, then killed the Three Storms and Lo Pan.”
“But first we drank ‘The Elixer’!” stressed Shen.
“Ah yes, ‘The Elixer’ which is I guess some kind of magic potion. Did I forget about anything else?” asked Camden
“You forgot about the Chang Sing and the Wing Kong!” announced Shen.
“Ah yes, the two Chinatown clans, The vicious Wing Kong worked for Lo Pan and the noble Chang Sing helped you defeat them in order to get to Lo Pan.”
“The Wing Kong and Chang Sing been fighting for centuries!”
“Of course, centuries,” signed Camden.
Camden threw up his hands in surrender and grumbled, “Mr. Shen, if I’m going to be your attorney, you really need to tell me the truth.”
Egg looked at a loss and appeared to be thinking very hard as one does when they are out of ideas. After a moment, he stood up slightly, patting his pockets.
“Perhaps, I have proof of our battle with the formidable Lo Pan.”

Frustrated, Camden rubbed his forehead with his hands. He wondered what his loony client would throw at him next.
Egg Shen began to rifle through his pockets feverishly, emptying their contents onto Mr. Camden’s desk. Next to the brass desk lamp, Egg Shen piled his bus keys, used tissue, some loose change, a diamond about the size of a quarter, crumpled receipts, and a couple of sticks of chewing gum. Egg Shen double-checked his pockets to make sure they were empty. Mr. Camden leaned forward slightly to look more closely at the large diamond on his desk.
“Is that real?” he asked.
“What?” replied Shen still checking his pockets.
Camden picked up the diamond for a closer look.
“Oh that. Yes, very real. It’s been in my family for generations. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
Camden looked even closer at the diamond. It seemed to glow with its own light.
“It has absolutely no flaws,” claimed Egg, “look closely at it, very closely…”
The diamond glowed brighter and brighter. It soon bathed the whole office in light. But Mr. Camden could not turn away from it.
With a flash, Camden and Shen found themselves in a foggy Chinatown alleyway. Mr. Camden looked around trying to figure out how he got there. Egg Shen paced slowly in front of Camden but continued to talk.
“I told you the truth, the whole truth, Mr. Camden. But it’s not the past you should be interested in.”
A dozen or so young Chinese men and women dressed in black outfits with red sashes and turbans ran from behind a corner towards Egg Shen. Mr. Camden knew Egg Shen could hear them coming but Egg didn’t move from his position.
Egg Shen continued, “What you SHOULD be concerned about is what happens next.”
Camden could see the young men were scared for their lives. They ran closer and closer to Egg Shen. It almost seemed like they didn’t see him. Just when you thought the group would run down Egg Shen, with a woosh, they ran right through him instead. A few steps later they ran through Mr. Camden then stopped to catch their breath. The experience was a little jarring to the lawyer. He realized that he must be a kind of spirit looking in on current events like in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. But somehow he knew that this was not going to have a happy ending.
Camden took a closer look at the young men and women that just ran past him. They were still breathing very heavy. Mr. Camden realized they were close to exhaustion. He wondered why they were running and soon had his answer. From every corner of the alleyway dozens of other young men and women wearing black outfits but this time with gold sashes and turbans ran in with a battle cry. They paused, knowing they had the others surrounded.
“The Chang Sing are now hunting down all the Wing Kong,” claimed Shen, “They are doing this partially in revenge for their assassinated leader, Lem Lee. And partially because without Lem Lee’s wisdom…the Chang Sing aren’t quite what they used to be. With Lo Pan and the other Wing Kong leaders dead, I fear the remaining Wing Kong will not live many more days.”
One Chang Sing then let out a battle cry then a second followed by a third. Then they all joined in and pounced on the helpless Wing Kong. Camden shuddered at the shear wave of hatred and vengeance that swept past him.
With another flash, the two found themselves standing in a sparsely decorated bedroom. A young lady stood at a dresser mirror staring at herself. Egg Shen approached the young lady from the side. Camden could see that Shen made no reflection in the mirror.
“As for young Miao Yin”, shrugged Shen, “She is beginning to realize that the great ordeal she has experienced has not left her totally unharmed.”
Miao Yin stared at herself in the mirror as she intentionally blinked her eyes once then twice. On the third blink, Maio Yin opened her eyes, but instead of finding her beautiful green eyes, she found only menacing blank pupils. Shen turned back to Camden.
“Very few have survived the Ritual of the Burning Blade. And none were allowed to live long after that! There’s no telling what happens to a young lady who is exposed to that kind of dark powerful magic.
A voice from behind the bedroom door accompanied a knock, “Miao Yin?”
Maio Yin shook her head and her eyes were back to normal.
“One minute,” she said.
With another flash, the two found themselves in a busy restaurant kitchen. A young man was at the sink washing dishes. The maitre’d approached him with a friendly smile as they began to chat. Their small talk was rudely interrupted by a fly buzzing the heads of both men. They were able to successfully ignore the flying pest for several seconds, swatting at it when it came too close. But after a while both became visibly irritated. The maitre’d attempted to resolve the situation by swatting ever more frantically at empty air. But the dish washer had a much more effective albeit more frightening solution. With a quickness that no one in the room had ever seen before (even the dish washer), he snatched a chef’s knife from the sink and slammed the tip into the wall next to him. The maitre’d turned visibly white for the blade missed his face by mere fractions of an inch.
“What was that all about, Wang?” asked the maitre’d.
The dishwasher responded, “Oh, God, Eddie. I didn’t mean anything. It’s just…”
“Holy Crap!” shouted the Eddie.
Out of instinctual curiosity, Eddie turned to look where the knife has plunged into the wall. At the end of the blade was the fly, cut neatly in half from its mid-body down.
“How the hell did you do that, Wang?”
Unable to look away Wang whispered, “I have no idea.”
The young man had a look of disbelief on his face. Egg Shen approached the young man from behind and smiled as only a proud mentor would. Then turned away and shook his head sadly.
“And my dear old friend, Wang Chi, is about to find out that I’m a selfish old man. In order to fight Lo Pan, I needed him to drink the elixir,” claimed Egg Shen with conviction shaking his fist, “But I knew it would awaken something in him. Something that…that may have been better left undisturbed. But I did it anyway because I needed to fulfill my destiny.”
In another flash, the two found themselves in a dark ominous cavern surrounded by fire, chains, and demons. Thousands upon thousands of people as far as the eye could see were tied up in chains as the demons cut them up piece by piece. The scene was horrifying and the screams of agony were deafening. The demons brought in a white faced man dressed in long robes. The man cursed at the demons in Chinese.
“And to my old enemy, Lo Pan. He is meeting his destiny. He has just arrived in the Hell of Being Cut to Pieces.”
The demons hung Lo Pan with chains and began to cut him. One demon carved his chest open. Another slashed at Lo Pan’s arms. A third took a knife to his back. Lo Pan’s cries rose above the others.
Mr. Camden could look no more. He instinctively covered his eyes and was about to scream. But before he drew in a breath there was silence. He then heard a familiar sound. It was the typing of his stenographer. Camden was frightened but forced his hands off his eyes. He found himself back in the office as if he never left. He darted a look at the stenographer. She looked at the fear in his eyes and Camden could see she was confused by his expression. Camden wondered if he had left his chair at all. Egg Shen continued to talk from his chair.
“So you see, Mr Camden. I was most certainly telling you the truth. But as I said, you shouldn’t be concerned with what happened in the past but with what happens next.”
Egg Shen’s Casio watch beeped in alarm. He pushed a button to turn it off.
“Hmmm. Thank you for your time, Mr. Camden,” Egg Shen rose from his chair, “You must excuse me. I have a plane to catch.”
Egg Shen rose from his chair, “I apologize for not being able to provide you with more convincing information.”
Camden did not try to stop him. He was still frozen, the images of hell burned in his mind.
“And I apologize even more that I will not be available for further questions. There are many preparations to make. I fear that the final battle is yet to come,” claimed Shen as he put his belongings back in his pocket.
He paused momentarily to unwrap one of the sticks of gum and put it in his mouth, “Perhaps the city will drop the matter altogether. I doubt they could make much sense of the situation either.”
Egg Shen shuffled over towards the coat rack by the door, shaking slightly from old age.
“You asked how it began, Mr. Camden,” claimed Egg Shen, “And I told you it began as all things do – very small.”
Taking care not to disturb the other coats, Shen took his off the rack and slipped his arms through the sleeves.
“Then I told you how it ended. As it often does in Little China, in death.”
Egg Shen took his hat. He then turned slightly to open the door and began to walk out. But Egg Shen paused and leaned over to see past the door and speak to the still shocked Mr. Camden who was frozen in his leather chair.
“The thing is, sometimes in Little China, death is merely…” Shen thought for a moment then nodded with a sly smile, “death is merely a new beginning.”
Egg Shen walked out of Mr. Camden’s office. With a creak and a soft thud, the door shut behind him.

 

Big Trouble in Little China: Fire and Fury
Chronicle 1: I Left My Heart in Little China
Chapter 2: Wang Chi – 17 Years Later

The dinner rush was almost over at the Dragon of the Black Pool. Its owner and head chef, Wang Chi, stepped out back for a much-deserved break. The mild stench of garbage in the alleyway would offend most people. But Wang loved it. He loved everything about Chinatown. He turned his body to remove the lid off the small tray that sat on the counter behind him. The smell of the simple plate of chicken and vegetables enticed Wang’s appetite. But the real prize revealed itself as the thick fog of steam dispersed. The perfectly round mound of rice, obviously methodically prepared by someone loved by his Asian mother, sat in its bowl in Buddha-like contentment. The creamy-white grains reflected the light from the kitchen like pearls. Wang Chi picked up the rice bowl in one hand then positioned chopsticks in the other. He brought the rice just under his nose and filled his lungs with the rising steam. The subtle scent of jasmine was the essence of Asian comfort food. The dish smelled even more enticing to Wang who had not yet eaten dinner. He looked up at the starry night sky and knew Chinatown is where his heart belonged.
A woman’s scream interrupted his moment of indulgence. Wang knew the sound came from the dark alley around the corner. Wang rolled his eyes. He opened the back door and threw his hat and his coat inside. He eyed the dish and spoke to it apologetically, “Sorry, gonna have to cut our evening short. Duty calls.”
Wang paused momentarily then popped a piece of chicken in his mouth then greedily filled the rest of the space between his cheeks with the gleaming rice. In moments, he was running to the source of the scream.
A young Chinese girl, no more than 17 or 18 years old, wearing the plaid skirt and white blouse of her school uniform cowered on the ground against the wall. She screamed between panicked breaths as several dark hulking figures surrounded her. Their skin was dark, almost crude oil black. A thin film of slime made their muscles shine in the little light that was in the alley. The empty eyes of the demons stared at the beautiful young girl hungrily. One grabbed the girl’s arm. Another grabbed her leg. All of them growled as was traditional for them before feasting on girl-flesh.
“Wet hair coal!” Wang Chi interrupted.
The demons went silent and turned their heads to look at Wang. The young girl tried to crane her neck out from behind the demon that had her arm. They all had the same confused expression attempting to figure out what the man in the alley was talking about.
“WET HAIR COAL!” yelled Wang louder.
The demons darted looks at each other to see if any of them knew what he was talking about. One scratched his head while another shrugged his shoulders. One even looked at the girl to see if she could figure it out. The girl just shook her head.
“I think he said ‘Wet hair coal,’” the young women told her attacker.
Wang rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Rod ram rice,” commented Wang, his mouth still full of jasmine rice.
Wang put up his index finger, gesturing everyone to wait. He chewed the rest of his dinner then swallowed.
Wang clarified, “I said, ‘Let her go.’”
Everyone nodded at the explanation. The demons then did as they were asked. The young girl dropped onto the cement with a thump.
“Ow…Mother f…” the girl stopped herself from swearing anymore in an attempt not to garner any more attention from the demons.
The demons surrounded Wang but were sure to keep the girl from escaping.
Wang spoke to the demons, “You know, seventeen years ago, this would have scared the crap out of me.”
A demon approached Wang stealthily from his right.
“But I faced Lo Pan and his Three Storms and killed them ALL!”
Wang landed a surprise punch on the demon that tried to sneak up on him. Then he somersaulted over another that lunged in for an attack.
“Well actually, I didn’t kill them all. One had a statue dropped on him.”
Wang blocked a slashing claw then kicked another demon in the face.
“Another made himself explode and a friend of mine was the one who actually killed Lo Pan. But I killed someone I’m pretty sure.”
Wang flipped a demon that charged him.
“I forget which Storm he was – Rain, Sleet, Drizzle, something like that.”
One of the demons attacked. Wang evaded it but he came close to another who took a swipe at him. The demons claws ripped Wang’s shirt but didn’t cut him.
“Of course, I had to drink a magic potion to do so but.”
The demons closed in on Wang, knowing of his vulnerability.
“But that potion also helped me realize exactly what I always was.”
Wang reached behind him and drew out two swords out of the scabbards on his back. He looked at the demons’ more cautious faces.
“Ah, you weren’t expecting that were you?”
In one swift motion, Wang sliced the heads of the two demons closest to him. The young lady released a high-pitched scream before the heads hit the ground. The remaining demons pounced on Wang with abandon. The demons’ assault was met quickly and precisely with Wang’s blades.
Wang continued, “It turns out my ancestors were Dragon Servants. You’ve heard of the myth Dragon Servants, right?”
One demon saw that Wang had left his right hand opened to attack. He quickly moved to slice his arm with his razor-sharp claws. But just as he came within a breath of striking, Wang’s left hand entangled his own arm.
“I guess not. Let me fill you in.”
Before he was effortlessly spun around and thrown, the demon caught a glimpse of a smirk on Wang’s face. The demon realized Wang had cunningly baited him.
“Dragon Servants were fierce legendary swordsmen who began as slaves to a Black Dragon”
Wang had thrown the demon at the legs of one of his demon brothers. Wang’s sword through the shoulder of the thrown demon guided his trajectory precisely.
“But they had later tricked the Dragon into endowing them and future generations with potent Dragon Chi.”
As the second demon began to trip, he extended his arm to break his fall.
“Everyone treated us as heroes once but now we’re just hunted.”
But just before the demon’s hand touched the ground, Wang’s blade sliced through his arm. The demon collapsed painfully onto his stump.
“My family trained me in the old ways for my own protection.”
Wang continued his attack. He moved among the demons like water. He was calm but unstoppable.
“They told me to keep my powers a secret.”
Wang pulled his sword out of the last demon who fell over with a dull thud.
“But I have other plans.”
Wang checked behind him to make sure there were no more demons. Satisfied, he placed his swords back in their scabbards then began to approach the young girl who because of her screaming had trouble breathing.
“Don’t worry miss, they’re all dead,” Wang tried to explain, “My name is Wang Chi. You’re safe now. I’m one of the good guys. Just breathe slowly…deep breaths.”
The young girl nodded and did as Wang asked. She began to calm.
“Are you OK, Miss?”
The young girl stood up and gawked at her knight in shining armor.
“Wow! You were just…with the swords and…Wow!”
She fixed her hair and straightened out her clothes hoping to impress Wang.
“I must look terrible to you.”
Wang tried to avert his eyes as the young woman bent over to dust off her knee-high socks.
“No problem, ma’am. You’d better be on your way before more of those things show up.”
“Yeah. You’re right. Is there any way I can repay you. I mean, I have some money and…”
“No ma’am. Just get home safe. OK?”
The young girl looked upon Wang with dark beautiful eyes and smiled at him in a way that would make an old man feel young.
“You’re very sweet, Mr. Wang Chi was it?”
Wang nodded.
“I’ll never forget this. I owe you and your swords my life.”
.She approached Wang like she was about to give him a well-deserved peck on the cheek.
“You know what they say about a Dragon Servant’s swords, ma’am?” asked Wang.
Wang drew his swords in a smooth arc, thrusting one into the young woman’s stomach as she approached.
“They say his swords are sharp enough to even cut through lies.”
With her eyes glowing red like fire and fangs as sharp as daggers, the young woman hissed at Wang.
“Go home vampire,” ordered Wang. He drew his sword out of her with a snap. The vampire doubled-over in pain, hissing once more at Wang.
“You will not feast on my blood tonight.”
“So it is true,” mocked the vampire, “There is a Dragon Servant in Chinatown. Your blood is a rare delicacy among my people.”
Wang held his stance.
“And a treasure to many others,” she added.
“I think I’ll keep mine for now,” Wang rose his swords slightly higher, “Maybe you should try eBay.”
The vampire stared at Wang intensely then smiled. She turned around and ran back into the alley disappearing in the darkness as the echo of her footsteps faded.
Wang yelled to her, “Yeah, and the whole slutty Catholic school-girl thing…SUBTLE!”
“You will not feast on my blood tonight?” asked a voice coming from behind Wang.
Wang turned to find another young woman. But this one was wearing sneakers, jeans, and an “Old Navy” T-shirt. She gently swung a garment bag that hung on her left index finger. A black bowtie against a crisp white shirt was visible beyond the partially opened zipper.
“Too far, huh?” Wang asked as he approached the girl and put the swords back into their scabbards.
“I told you – the swords are cool, your witty banter, however – not so much.”
“I’ll try to remember.”
The young lady threw the garment bag at Wang.
“C’mon Dad,” the girl smiled, “We’re going to be late to the party.”
Read the rest of “I Left My Heart in Little China” at:
http://www.gcrocketscience.com/fire/ILMHILC.html

PamHarrison
Pam Harrison is one of the first and best known CGI artists in Independent Comics. Her work with the historical fiction series House of the Muses earned her the 2008 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant for Outstanding Series, and she continues her storytelling in a gripping sci-fi space opera adventure, A Deviant Mind, that far transcends its original LGBT audience. Her work has also appeared in ALPHABET Anthology, Dark Mischief horror anthology, Voices Against Bullying and more. Her current series is the long-running scifi space opera A Deviant Mind, updating Sunday-Wednesday-Friday on http://adeviantmind.com/