Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Lesson One from Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings.
In her darkened apartment Janet Lee kneels on the hardwood floor. Her open palms rest against her thighs. She wears only the bottom half of a gi, a black sports bra and a blindfold. The blindfold holds her long dark hair back, leaving her muscular shoulders bare. On her left shoulder is a green and black Infinite Ying Yang Tattoo. The only illumination in the room comes from 100’s of candles placed carefully one inch apart around the edge of the room. The soft flickering light reveals the ridges and contours between each of her defined muscles. Before her are two swords resting on a wooden stand a Daisho. The longer blade the Katana is below the shorter bladed Wakizashi. The blades are naked, reflecting and amplifying the dim surrounding candle light. The scabbard for each weapon is beside the open entryway in front of Janet. Through the entryway lies the kitchen and the entrance to the apartment.
Janet focuses on her heartbeat, her practiced concentration keeps her pulse low, despite the mounting anxiety welling within her. No sound escapes her notice, from the gentle breeze rapping on the window behind her to men slowly preparing to enter from outside her second floor apartment door. Their whispers cut through the silence around her, a prelude to the conflict to come.
In quick succession two shot gun blasts come. The speed tells Janet two separate men fired. Next she hears a battering ram against the door handle. With its hinges blown away the door falls to the floor in the kitchen with a dull thud. Heavy boots move through her home and it takes little time for the assault team to find her, moving into the living room from the kitchen. They pay no attention to the furniture pushed against the walls framed by the multitude of small candles. She hears the team form a semi-circle around her, their breath is labored, and she knows they are anxious, and she knows why. Janet uses the sound to count the team members around her. She takes careful notice of the man to her left with the most controlled breathing. Listening closely Janet counts the number of soldiers. There are seven. Across her bare torso she feels the subtle warmth of the laser sights trained on her. The sound of a muffled hum comes next as the team switches on their night vision.
“Hands on your fucking head!” A woman to Janet’s right yells, and she knows that Lisa Bernard is hesitant. She was always easy to read in moments of stress. Slowly Janet follows the command, waiting because he has not arrived yet.
With the team in place she hears the voice of the calmest team member on her left. His voice is balanced as he speaks into his mic, and she recognizes it instantly. Darren Smith. “Target acquired and contained.” Even sprinting she never saw the man break a sweat.
From the broken entryway Janet hears his soft footed approach. He always enjoyed his spectacle, to revel in his sense of power. It is tragically predictable. Unlike the assault team he moves with a methodically deliberate pace, taking in the darkness all around him. Janet hears him enter the room and chuckle. Donvan.
“Really Ms. Lee, Seppuku. A bit fucking melodramatic, but fitting for a control freak such as yourself. I want you to know that while I am going to torture you, I’m still not sure if I’m going to take your life.”
Janet cannot hide a tiny smirk at his self-assurance.
“And what is it you find so amusing about this situation?”
“Melodramatic, controlling. You’re the one who enters with fucking stormtroopers.”
“Perhaps, Ms. Lee. But you’re still crude and rudimentary, and those are the qualities that have brought us to this point.”
Janet’s response is the press of a button concealed in her palm. In a moment the flash bangs behind each candle go off. With the assault team blinded Jan rolls forward grabbing the wakizashi blade in her left hand and the Katana in her right. Even blinded Donovan’s survival instincts are amazing and he staggers from the room in an instant. Janet sets to work on the seven members of the assault team, remembering the words of Miyamoto Musashi “When you are fighting more than one enemy you must use both of your swords and strike quickly and strongly without hesitation. You must go for the strongest attacker first.” Janet is upon Darren before he can fire. With refined movements her blades move in turn to the throats of the blinded flailing assault team. Janet steps from one to another with practiced and planned movements. Each motion causes a bloody eruption, a precursor to each death. After taking seven lives Janet moves toward the entryway and places her back to the wall beside the entrance to the kitchen. Next she removes her blindfold. Reaching beside the door frame she takes the sheaths and returns each blade accordingly. She then wraps them around her body. Finally she takes a semi-automatic rifle from the corpse nearest to her.
“Ms. Lee.” Donovan begins from the hallway before pausing. “I’ve got another full team out here, and I really want to torture not fucking kill you.”
“You know your crude rudimentary behavior has brought us to this point?” Janet responds.
Donovan fires a single round into the apartment. Jan empties the semiautomatics rifle’s clip in short bursts as a response. She fires with slow sweeping motions. Her aim lowering as she moves back towards the window. When the weapon clicks empty she tosses it aside and in a single motion opens and climbs through the window. From the ledge she grabs a strong nylon rope and slides two stories down. Her bare feet fall upon the cold roof of a dark blue van. She climbs through the open driver side window. Her fingers come to the waiting ignition key. The engine turns on and she pulls away into the night, with all of her fears confirmed.