by Jon Peters
Water cold, skin clammy, fingers shriveled. Carving knife limp in my hand. A droplet of water suspended from the lip of the faucet.
I want the drip. When the drop splashes into the tub, I’ll cut myself. Mix blood in my bathwater. Kill this bottomless well of grief I carry.
Evelina’s death a plague to me for too long. I have no strength left to counter it. No antidote. No cure.
But the water won’t fall.
I put the knife down and drain the tub. Dry off and lay naked on my bed. Stoned.
4 a.m. and I fall asleep. I don’t dream and I don’t wake up until late afternoon. I can’t spend another minute in my flat. Need to walk the neon streets of Tokyo again. Walk off my sorrow.
But my grief for Evelina, I realize now, was my savior. As I walk East Shinjuku, I know how I will survive. I have purpose today.
To avenge Evelina’s death.
I stop at Suntory’s Inn. Owned by that fat toad, Hansuke. Named after his grandfather. Uses the place as a front for his heroin trade. He is yakuza.
Evelina worked as a bartender at Suntory’s. It wasn’t difficult getting Hansuke to hire a pretty red-headed girl from St. Petersburg. He had a thing for Russians. They attracted the right kind of attention.
Evelina did what was necessary. She knew the game. So did I. That didn’t make it easy.
She’d pass out after coming home late from work. I’d be up before the noon sun, running drugs for Hansuke. We were low-level addicts and traders. Washed ashore a year earlier, looking for excitement. Easy for Hansuke to see us as nothing but junkies to exploit.
Maybe we were.
We shot up enough heroin to keep up appearances. But we weren’t there for the drug trade. We were working something much bigger.
The underground sale of Antidote A was coming from Suntory’s. Making its way into greater Tokyo. We were afraid it’d spread off the island and to the world. Hansuke didn’t know how potent a weapon he had.
He acquired Antidote A by accident. A disgruntled scientist named Toranaga snuck a vile out of our labs in Tokyo. He wanted to save people. Told Hansuke he’d show him how to reproduce it if he’d set Toranaga up with a lab of his own. And protection.
We got wind of it too late. Toranaga was working for Hansuke for six months before we discovered his treason. By then, Antidote A was on the streets, although in short supply. You only had three weeks, tops, for the antidote to work. After that, there was no coming back from Agent Z.
Evelina and I spent almost a decade developing Agent Z. It turned people into rage-filled animals. Killers.
Our goal, to rid the world of the corrupt human species. Antidote A was the cure we wanted hidden from the world.
Evelina payed the ultimate price getting to Toranaga.
I will avenge her.