Stickman Readers' Submissions March 24th, 2007

Crime Suppression Unit Part 23

China Hotel Guide
• New Times Maruika Hotel
• Pleasure Hotel Chengdu
• Prime Hotel Chengdu
• Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel

Sonia Meets An Old Friend

Rick huddled against the cliff with Andrew and Sonia as the shooting became even more intense. It sounded like the finale of the fourth of July fireworks. The clamor was deafening as the shots
all blended into one continuous stream of noise.

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Rick knew that they would be killed at any moment now as he put his rifle to his shoulder and stood up, sighting along the barrel. He would shoot the next person that came around the bend. Then, suddenly there was silence. Nothing at all.

Everything was still. Rick waited, listening for the inevitable footsteps coming closer.

He caught a glimpse of motion as his finger tightened on the trigger. Two boys in dirty T-shirts walked calmly down the road holding hands. They looked just alike and appeared to be nine or ten years old. They moved past dead bodies hardly
noticing them as if they were out for a Sunday stroll in the park. Ten feet behind the kids were twenty soldiers armed to the teeth, all of them carrying huge weapons. As they came closer Rick saw that it was the people that were smaller rather
than the weapons outsized. They were just kids also. None of them could have been over twenty years old and most were a good deal younger. Armed kids came from in front of the truck and gathered around them. Many wore green army uniforms, some
just shorts and ragged shirts. One of the kids unwrapped a clean piece of cloth, put it on Andrew's wound and tied it in place.

'Do you know who these kids are?' Andrew said.

'Might as well be an army from God for all I know. They just saved our lives.'

'They did save our lives. They ambushed the guys who ambushed us and they are the Army Of God.' Said Sonia.

'Come on, I was only kidding.'

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'No really, that's what they call themselves. They are a Burmese rebel group and the two boys in front are twins and people say they can not be killed and have a divine sense as to what will happen. The twins are believed to have
mystical powers.

'Ask who those other guys were and why they attacked us.'

A boy stepped forward. He wore a green soft fatigue cap and a green shirt. He slung his assault rifle over his shoulder.

'I speak English. The men we killed were part of the United Wa State Army. We are at war with them. The UWSA fights for the Myanmar government, so we fight them and the government soldiers. We were tracking them but we were not in time
to stop their attack on the refuge camp. Most of our men were still on their way here. When our men came we set out to find them.

They make ambush for you and we kill them instead. The same group you fight at camp last night. I am sure they want revenge on you.

'Thank you for saving our lives.' Rick held out his hand.

'No problem. Thank you for defending the camp. Now we see what is left of your truck. You want doctor to look at your friend, better you continue on way than go all the way back to Doctor Meier.'

'Do you know Hans?'

'Oh yes, Doctor Meier wonderful man, treat many of us. We not say we are part of army. But I think he know and help us anyway.

Rick pulled Andrew to his feet and they went to inspect the truck. All of the windows were blown out and it was riddled with holes. One tire was flat. Rick got in the cab and turned the key. The engine started right up.

'Let's put on the spare and get into town. Andrew why don't you sit in the cab and rest.'

The leader of the group spoke again. 'I will have my men do it, no worry.'

He signaled for a few boys to pull out the jack and they started changing the tire.

One of the boys dropped his assault rifle on the ground and ran towards them. He had a bandana tied around his head and was wearing a red and blue Chicago Bulls jersey that was way too large for him. The shirt fluttered in the wind and flapped
around his thin frame as he ran in Rick's direction. His smile was huge as he cried out, 'Sonia.'

'Oh my God. It's Nui.' She could hardly believe it. She held out her arms as he leapt onto her and wrapped himself around her.

'Nui, what are you doing here?' Where is your brother?'

'Dead – the soldiers shot him when we smashed our car into their truck.

I ran and kept on running all the way out of town and into the woods. God's Army found me and I joined them.'

'Well, you can un-join them. You are coming home with me. I will send you to school and take care of you.'

Sonia held him tight. 'It's all over now. You will be safe in Thailand with me. I love you so much.'

She had her cheek against his and her arms held him close.

'Nui's face hardened. 'Put me down.'

Sonia bent over and lowered him to the ground.

'I not go with you.'

'What? Why not?' Sonia's eyes were large and moist as she stared at Nui.

'I stay here. Fight military. We go Myanmar, kill soldiers.'

'You can't my darling. They will kill you. It's too dangerous. There are too many of them.'

Sonia knelt down and put her arms around him, hugging him tightly. 'Please come with me. I love you.'

'I love you too.' Nui picked up his gun and walked away, wiping his face with his forearm as he went. He did not look back.

'Rick, look at this.' Andrew was pointing to the back of the truck- to the two people on the truck bed, riddled with bullets and killed during the attack.

'Hell, we can't take them to jail now.'

'Be easier this way. Sonia will not have to testify.'

'Do you want to just throw them over the cliff?'

'No, I'll bring their bodies in for identification. I'm sure we can close many cases of missing children this way.'

'Fine let's get out of here.'

Everyone piled into the truck and Rick drove. 'We'll go directly to the hospital.' They bounced their way down the mountain and in a few hours they reached the town of Pai. Only the main street was paved blacktop. The rest
of the streets were dirt road. There was no hospital but they found a small clinic with a nurse who changed Andrew's bandage and pronounced him fit to travel to a larger facility. Andrew would have to go directly to Bumrungrad Hospital on
his return to Bangkok.

'Do you want me to drive right to the airport so you can get back?'

'In for a dime, in for a dollar. I'll stick around a bit to see how this turns out. You remember of course that we were going to bust into Johnny Wou's office and steal all of his files and records before getting side tracked
on this trip to Burma.'

'We can't do that now. What with you out of commission and this old junker of a truck for a get away car.

We need to go back to Bangkok, regroup, pick up Vincent Canolli for back-up. No, we all have to fly out of here now.'

Sonia put her arm around Rick, her nose was touching his and he could feel her breath on his lips as she softly spoke.

'We can go to America and live together for a year.'

'No problem.'

'Then we can be engaged for a year to see if you still love me, and then we can get married the following year.

Then a year later I want to have a baby.'

'I thought you were coming to work in my restaurant.'

'Of course I am. Don't worry; you won't have to support me. As long as you pay me that is.'

'What's this stuff about marriage now?'

'I hate men for so long, I never think I feel this way about anyone. I love you so much. If you don't love me, just tell me.

Sonia folded her hands in her lap and hung her head. Tears welled up and ran down her cheeks. She looked like a little girl whose puppy had just been run over.

Rick felt a premonition coming on. It said, now your foot is in it and you know what's going to happen. But you don't really want to be without her. Rick pushed his thoughts about the future to the side; things will work out one
way or the other he decided.

Rick turned the truck in the direction of the airport.

'What about the bodies in the back of the truck?'

'We'll drop them off at the nearest police station. Andrew get your badge ready so we can get in and out of there.'

'Why don't you tell me about the rest of your trip to Italy?' Rick asked Sonia as they road along the highway.

'I think it might be better if we waited until we were in America.'

'Come on, you said you were going to tell us and I want to hear about Florence.'

'I never quite made it there. As I said, on the way to the airport, my fiancee's mobile phone rang.

Stickman's thoughts:

A nice story.

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