Personal log of Kowalski, Roger
“I think he’s coming back”, a male voice said that I didn’t hear before. “Good thing that he is or he would have slept over the best part.” I opened my eyes. “What has happend?”
Tiffany, the young woman with the blond ponytail, had set herself before me, smiling. “So Mister… Dirk?” And she was holding my commlink up in her hands. “This thing is sadly encrypted. We can’t crack it here and in time, but you look like someone who is cooperative. Are you not?” And her voice was like a sharp knife cutting through silk. “Cooperative? What have you done to me?” I tried to move, but my hands were tied behind my chair and I wasn’t able to move my legs either. “Who the fuck are you?”, fighting a panic attack.
I looked around. The other young woman had placed herself behind a rustic table at my side, playing with some device that stood on it and she watched me like a lab rat she was going to skin. “I’m calibrating.” Tiffany turned to her, “just be cool. He will talk. I don’t think we need that.” “But it’s a cool toy. I want to try it out”, the dark-blonde woman with a stub nose and the ragged haircut said obstinate.
“We could just beat it out of him”, the Oni with the name Kinji suggested and hit with a baseball bat on the floor, that the toys of the geek-girl were dancing on the table. “He will talk.” “Or”, said the calm Japanese one which I remembered now was called Tadayo, “we use more subtle measures”, and he cut a carrot with a knife that was a Tanto. He stabbed the rolling part of the carrot that looked like the tip of a finger, and started to chew on it with pleasure. “No”, Tiffany smiled and it was a ‘no’ that I had begged to be a ‘yes’. “I don’t think we need any of that. Would you say so?” “What? You didn’t even ask me a question yet!” “No. Wake her up, will you, Kinji?” “Okay”, he submissively acknowledged.
“Babsie!” I turned around my head and could see her lying on the wooden floor. They had taken off her clothes but her slip and tank-top. “Don’t you dare to touch her!” I tried to get my hands free, but they just cut into the flesh. “Don’t worry, Mister Dirk”, Tiffany said. “I will not allow any sexual assault as long as I am in command. Just wake her up, please.” The Oni was spilling a bucket of icy water over her. With a shriek she came to consciousness. “Babs!” She lifted her head. “Fuck you all! Fuck your mother! Fuck you fucking suckers, damn shitty fuckwits, sucker punching ball lickers, fuckwads, sissy shitheads, fuck you!” She sobbed and gasped for breath. Tiffany looked at Kinji. “It would be nice to cool the hot mood of this foul mouthed street fairy outside for a bit. And by the way, you should wash her mouth with some snow.” My chair jumped. “No! Please! Don’t hurt her! Hurt me! Hurt me!” The Oni grabbed Babsie with just one hand and pulled her up. “Come on little Tinkerbell. It won’t hurt you, girl. Just water. It’s no torture.” He smiled, the struggling girl in his hand, her hands and legs bound with plastic strips. She was screaming and he went to the door, where a icy cold wind was coming in and pulled her outside. She was screaming in fright. He closed the door with a bang, but I could hear Babsie’s screams through the door. Then the screaming was muffled by snow in her mouth. The Oni cursed and she a dry bashing. “This will teach you. Hope you don’t have any infections.” Her screaming was muffled shortly afterwards.
Tiffany stretched herself. “Violence. This is taking a disagreeable course. So. We begin with names. Your companion is not Terry. Her name is Babsie?” “Yes. Her name is Babsie.” “Check”, the chick with the electronic toy said. “I think you understand that it is in your very interest that this conversation is over fast, do you? Mister…? How may I call you?” “Kowalski. Roger Kowalski.” “That’s right”, the tech-chick affirmed happily. “And you are?” Outside I could hear Babsie screaming and begging to bring her back in. “I am a private investigator. Really, we can talk about this. Get her in again and you get to know what you want. We don’t have it anymore. I tell you, we don’t have it.” “That’s true”, Shy confirmed. Tiffany frowned. “You have what? I don’t know what you are talking about.” “You want to have the data, don’t you? Really, we didn’t mean no harm. It was just about this woman and she suspected her husband to cheat. We really don’t have it anymore. Please, there is no need to do this. And if you want to kill someone, kill me. Let her go. Please. She’s just a girl from the street. We just know each other a few days. I tell you the truth.” “Correctomento”, the tech said.
“We are not interested in domestic quarrel, Mister Kowalski.” Tiffany was looking unhappy. “We got few time, maybe three to five minutes depending on the will to live of your fay friend outside. So please stop telling me things you think I want to know but just answer my questions?” I just nodded. “I like to hear just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Or details if I ask for them. Understood?” “Yes.”
“Fine. So let’s just relax and take some time. Tea? I am sure your foul mouthed friend finds this more entertaining than me. But at least I can offer you some hospitality.” She sighed. “Tadayo, could you please give us both a cup of tea? It’s getting a bit frosty in here when the door’s open.” Outside the screams of Babsie had gotten more panic but the screaming had stopped, she had started to sob and beg. Tiffany took her time to drink her tea. My tea was standing in front of me, but my hands were still bound.
She took her time to drink the tea. “Mh”, she made. “You know this is Sencha. Japanese tea, it’s steamed. I love it’s taste. You should really take your time to enjoy it, Mister Kowalski. You know? Some things you need to take time to really enjoy.” She had leaned back and nipped at her cup, with closed eyes. The door opened and the Oni came in. “That little beast bit me. Do you think she causes infections?” He took the bucket and filled it with more water. “Sorry.” Then he went out again, followed by a muffled screams of Babsie, when the icy water hit her almost naked body. He closed the door.
“So. You are part of the group of Mister Richard, correct?” “Yes.” My hands had started shaking and sweat was running down my temple. The tech just nodded silently. “With you there were three others. Some tech geeks, correct?” “Yes.” I tried to answer as fast as I could, with Babsie outside, fighting for her life, fighting about every minute to survive. “The names were Mark, Skylar and Dan?” She had checked her own commlink for that. “Yes.” “Where are they now?” “Back on the other side of the ravine. They are…” She lifted her hand and I stopped. “Fine. Why did you leave them?” “One of them is dying, the others are unable to go any further. We were sent to call a rescue team.” She was leaning back, her eyes watching me closely. “Fine. Do you know where the position of the three is at the moment?” “Yes.” “Can you tell me?” “I can, but if I do, you just kill us.” The trembling of the hands had spread on the lid of my right eye and my lips. “You will just kill us.”
She looked me coldly as ice in the eyes. “We do not intend to kill anyone. Nor do we plan to do any harm. If you don’t do something stupid and force us to do so.” Babsie had gotten silent outside. Silent as dead. “And why should I trust you?” “Because I give you my word.” “And why should I trust your word?” She just was staring at me, then turned to Yōhei, the one who was sitting behind me. “Get her in again, please. I think she had enough.”
She leaned back and smiled, satisfied. “That was a nice chat, Mister Kowalski. Very unpolite of you not to accept my offer. The tea was good. Steamy and hot. You don’t like tea?” The glowering Japanese with the cut on his cheek stood up and walked to the door. “Get her in.” The Oni carried her in, but all I could see was, that she had stopped struggling and had blue lips and was looking very pale. A strip of duct tape over her mouth. “Babs?” The Oni ripped the tape away and her head hit the floor. But she just chattered with her teeth. “M-m-m-o-o-okay d-d-don’t tellem”, she got out but the Oni just pulled her to her feet. “What shall I do?” “Rub her down. Put her in one of the beds. Two blankets. Let her warm up. We are no monsters, are we? Damn, that’s just a girl.” “M-m-m-ei-ei-ei-t-ei-teen”, Babsie said but had given up to struggle or to fight it. “Babsie I’m sorry.” “J-j-j-j-ust-d-d-don’t-t-t-tell-n-i-thing.” She sobbed but stopped to do anything after she was roughly rubbed down with a towel and the Oni had put her under the blankets. She didn’t fight it anymore.
“Hypothermia. Can be quite nasty. But she has spirit. I respect that. Ask the fairy, if she wants some tea, Kinji?” He offered an other cup, but Babsie just chattered something like a ‘fuck you’ from under the blankets and I could hear her sob silently.
“This was unnecessary. I would have talked.” “Wrong”, tech-girl said. Tiffany ignored me. “We have not much time, Mister Kowalski. So you don’t want to tell us where they are? Then you force us to take you and her with us. And if we get them, you will be left in the wilderness alone. If you want that, you keep that for yourself. If you give us the coordinates, we leave you here. Of course we destroy your radio, so you can’t call for help.” “Can I think about that?” “Take your time, Mister Kowalski, take your time. We can’t start to pick them up before dawn. I suggest you sleep over it.”
To the Oni she said: “Put the fairy lover under her blanket. I don’t like the idea that she’s dying of hypothermia in the end. I really hate to break my word. Do you like something to eat first? I offered you once, but seem not to have interest in my hospitality.” “No thanks. I had enough of it. I’d just like to go to bed, if you don’t mind.” She smirked. “I don’t mind at all, Mister Kowalski. I hope you don’t think of us as some uncultivated monsters. And I am happy that you were so cooperative.” “My pleasure. Could you just let me help my friend now?” “Of course.” She nodded to the Oni. “Cut him lose, bind the two together.” And to me: “I am very sorry for the inconvenience, Mister Kowalski.” “No problem.”
The tech-girl shook her head. “He’s totally talking shit, Tif.” “Shy, that’s rude. It’s just a form of politeness. Nobody expects, that it’s true, isn’t it?” She smiled at me. “Good night. See you tomorrow.”
Babsie was cold as ice, shaking heavy and freezing. It took long until she warmed up and we fell in a deep black dreamless sleep. Or better: we hoped it would be dreamless. She didn’t talk. She just cried noiseless.