Readers' Submissions

First You Die, Chapter 15: Saving Sonia



First You Die, Chapter Fifteen: Saving Sonia

Jip had taken an old Honda sedan that was not a police vehicle. The police had seized it when a distraught man had kidnapped his girlfriend. There was a stand off situation near Lumphini Park for hours, with the couple locked in the automobile. Finally, the crazed man stabbed his hostage. The crowd that had gathered to watch had stormed over the police and had beaten the man to death.

Jip drove over the Phra Pin Klao Bridge, heading towards Petchaburi Road.

‘The clinic is at the end of Soi Twelve. It’s larger than the one in New York. There may be a half a dozen rooms to search. There are always a couple of guys standing around. We’ll do the same thing here. You walk right in and grab Sonia. I’ll take care of the guys outside, but don’t hesitate to shoot if you have to. There aren’t many rules here except to stay alive.’

Rick opened the duffel bag and pulled back the chamber levers on both rifles, checking them for cartridges. Both were loaded and ready to fire. Rick put an extra clip in his pocket.

Jip had reached Petchaburi and was approaching Soi Twelve. He drove past the Double Lucky Clinic, taking a good look through the car’s smoked windows and then turned the car around, parking just before the storefront. ‘Did you see the guard by the door? I recognize him. He’s an enforcer for a gambling organization in this area. He was in court last week.’

‘Yeah, and the place looks like it’s full. I counted three tough-looking guys playing cards in the corner. There’s also a nurse and two customers, I think.’

‘What I’ll do is get the guy in front out of the way and then create a diversion-stay here for a minute. Jip popped the trunk and stepped out of the car. He strolled on the sidewalk, not looking at the clinic until he was next to the man lounging against the wall. Jip shoved his pistol into the man’s side, grabbed him by the shirt and pushed him towards the car.

Jip grabbed the man’s gun from underneath his jacket and threw it under the car. ‘Three broken ribs, a broken jaw and a brutal beating, think about it,’ Jip said to the man, slamming him into the trunk. Jip reached into the front seat for his M16. ‘Let’s go. Stay behind me. We’ll have only two or three minutes for our search so we have to be fast.’

When they reached the clinic, Jip opened the door and threw in a stun grenade. A second later, there was an explosion of blinding light as the front window blew outwards, showering the street with glass. Rick ran into the reception area; white smoke filled the room. ‘Create a diversion? How about havoc?’ He felt for the door behind the nurse’s desk and turned the handle.

They entered a hallway with doors on each side. Rick immediately opened the first door. It was a laboratory of some kind filled with beakers, test tubes, stainless steel receptacles and many items Rick had never seen before. Jip jerked open the next door to find a white-tiled operating room. Rick flung open another door. Cool air enveloped him as he stared at cardboard boxes embossed with Thai characters. Along one wall were rows of huge stainless steel cylinders. Rick kept going and opened the next door and saw a man bending over a figure in a bed. Rick could see a girl’s ankles strapped to the bed. Rick swung his rifle and clobbered the man across the head. The girl screamed as the man fell to the floor. She was short and plump, in a green hospital gown. She jabbered in Thai as Rick untied her hands and then started on her ankles. ‘Don’t worry, you’re safe now. You can come with us.’

As soon as she was free, the girl jumped from the bed and ran out of the room screaming. She fled down the hallway, past the front desk, out into the street and kept on running.

The next room Rick ran into was a wood-paneled office. One wall was covered with framed diplomas and another had a row of filing cabinets and shelves filled with books. There was a large mahogany desk in the room with an upholstered leather chair behind it. Rick saw the tip of a shoe under the desk. He ran around and pulled out a man wearing a white doctor’s laboratory coat and an expensive shirt and tie. The man was middle-aged with wavy steel-gray hair and gold wire-rimmed glasses.

‘The money’s in the safe,’ he sputtered. ‘But you don’t know who owns this place. You better leave while you still can.’

‘Where’s Sonia?’ Rick smacked the side of the doctor’s face with his open hand.

‘Who?’ The doctor put his hand to his cheek.

‘The girl with the rare blood type, damn it.’

‘We have no patient like that.’

‘Rick, the other rooms are empty and we have to get out of here, take him with you,’ Jip ran down the hallway and into the lobby.

The smoke had cleared and one of the thugs was sitting up reaching for his gun. The rest of the people were just starting to recover. Jip slammed his gunstock into the man’s head as he ran past. The man slumped back against the wall, bleeding from the nose and mouth. Rick pushed the doctor towards the car.

Rick forced the doctor in and jumped into the back seat. ‘Jesus Christ, Where could she be? Time’s getting short. I suppose you know of a safe house here in Bangkok? We’re going to have to question this guy too.’

Jip swung off Petchaburi and drove towards Ekamai, then onto Ramkhamhaeng Road. ‘The economy crashed in ‘97’ but now construction is coming back with a vengeance. However there are still some abandoned sites. I have some business to settle also. The thug in the trunk beat a seventy-year old woman almost to death over a few hundred baht gambling debt. Of course she was too frightened to testify so he’s free to do more damage.’

Jip drove down the highway in silence. He was intent on inflicting the same pain on the man in the trunk as the man had the poor woman. But what good would it really do he wondered. The man would be out of the hospital in a few weeks and on the street again like the vicious dogs that terrorized some neighborhoods, attacking people, without reason or understanding. He would learn nothing from the experience and be as dangerous as before.

After twenty minutes, Jip pulled off the highway and onto a dirt road. Ahead was the skeleton of a half-finished apartment building. It was pitch black and Jip drove carefully around stacks of rusted steel beams and tattered bags of cement towards the rear of the complex. Jip stopped the car facing the rear of the building and left the lights on.

‘Take your rifle.’ Jip said as he climbed out of the car holding the keys. Jip banged on the trunk. ‘We’re going to let you out. If you try to run, we’ll shoot you. Stay calm, we just want to ask you a few questions.’

Jip nodded to Rick and opened the trunk. Rick was a few feet back with the weapon to his shoulder. He knew that gunmen firing from the hip and hitting their target was a fiction of the movies. Jip dragged the two men out and pushed them in front of the car headlights. They stood there sullenly, glaring at their captors.

Jip was to one side. ‘I need to find Sonia, the girl with a rare blood type. Where is she?’

No one answered. Jip stared at the men as he held his hand towards Rick for the weapon.

‘You. Put your hands up.’ Jip motioned to the man that was on guard duty outside of the clinic.
‘Where is she?’

The man stared at Jip, not speaking. Jip fired and the man’s right hand disappeared in a welter of blood and bits of flesh. The man screamed, bending over in pain and holding his wrist. Jip calmly walked over and tapped the man on the shoulder with the barrel of the rifle.

‘I need your help.’

The man moaned in pain and fear.

‘Hello, hello, can you hear me?’ Jip tapped him again with the gun.

The man was shaking, starting to go into shock. ‘I don’t know anything about her.’

‘That’s too bad,’ Jip jabbed the gun into the side of the man’s head and pulled the trigger. The blast echoed against the building as the man fell, his brains and blood splattering against the wall, the body lurching into the mud. Jip motioned to the doctor. ‘Put your hands up.’

The man’s face twisted in fear. He held his shaking hands in front of his chest. ‘Don’t shoot.
Please don’t shoot.’ The man dropped to his knees. ‘I beg you.’

‘I’m only going to ask you once. Where is she?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t know,’ the man shivered and cried.

‘That’s too bad,’ Jip put the muzzle of the gun to the man’s head.

‘My life won’t be worth five baht if I talk.’

‘In a few seconds you’re not going to have a life.’

‘We were going to do the procedure in my clinic but the patient is a former military officer and a member of parliament. He’s very famous and can’t just walk into any hospital or clinic without being recognized. They must have taken the girl to a private hospital or someone’s house. They are supposed to call me to let me know where to go if they need me.’

‘Like Johnny Wou’s house?’

‘It’s possible. But you’ll never be able to get in, the security is very extensive.’

‘That’s okay. We’ll have someone get us past the guards, someone they know and trust.’ Jip pulled the man to his feet and pushed him into the rear seat of the car.

Rick climbed in the back next to the doctor as Jip put the car into gear, ‘Which way do we go?’

Stickman's thoughts:

.