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Mishiida Alexander

Stalking Shadows

“A leader cleans everybody else’s mess.”

Chapter Fifteen: Saving grace

Not everyone is born to lead; an easy euphemism, but one that easily masks not only the qualities that make up the one who is, but divulge nothing about the intricacies of the job involved, and the complexities in life that it leads to. It is not easy challenging wrong perceptions, beliefs or habits that have developed deep roots in a civilization. Nobody likes being told they are wrong, or what they believe is wrong, yet a leader’s work begins by making these very assertions before he or she is able to supply a better seed. But that is not even half the job, or even its beginning. The unassuming job begins with a very simple realization; what is already there is wrong. What this realization hides in its garbs, is a plethora of policies and plans envisaged and propagated by those already at the helm, that merit questioning, review and adequate replacement. An unbecoming choice that can potentially alter a person’s life, stares dead blank in their face; to question the mighty, or to live like the herd. The right choice not only leads one onto a path of conflict with the staunch adherents of the currency in circulation, but with those who control the currency. Doesn’t matter how good a leader’s intentions are, how wise are his words and foresighted his solutions, life is a bed of thorns from that moment onwards.

The glitz and glamour associated with being a leader sometimes masks the grossly understated, and yet the ugliest aspects of being one; the thanklessness of those whose mess is being cleared, the disrespect of those who are still under their influence, and the distrust of those who are willing to open their hearts but not yet their minds. A leader is thus tasked not only to clean the mess of a few and save the all, but also live every moment of the good deeds in painful seclusion. Heavens forbid were that leader to be a torchbearer in a new direction. Nothing could be worse than trudging a lonely furrow in a direction that everybody needs to be heading into, just to prove a simple point: I live what I preach. But that is exactly what the job entails, and hence the euphemism; not everybody is born to lead. Not many have the guts to challenge, patience to preach, intellect to light, and above all, perseverance in the face of complete loss of happiness, ease and comfort.

It is easy to hate a leader, for he or she is directly questioning your beliefs; and thus in turn directly questioning your conscience as to how brave and honest you truly are. These are not easy questions to deal with for most of the humanity, yet a leader’s work will run straight into them at the first hurdle. As much as it can break your conscience and shatter your beliefs, your ineptitude and stubbornness can equally break an honest leader. Colonel Rick is lucky to have men who are ready and willing to listen, learn and act on his wishes. Perhaps discipline of the disciples supplies a lot of strength to a leader’s credibility and depth to his intellect. It is however not to say that discipline will be able to mask a leader’s flaws indefinitely. A leader has to be forever on his toes, on the job, and on the point.

The blood stains might not have been removed just yet, but it doesn’t mean they are not being looked after. “Wrong place, wrong time and at the wrong end of the barrel,” Menzies wastes no time in letting Corbett know he is not welcome in the terrain he guards.

“Let’s just say I love getting lost in woods,” Corbett quips as he tries to rise up from his crouching position.

“Easy boy,” Menzies readjusts his grip on his pistol and continues, “You are already missing out on half the world. I don’t want to shut you out of it completely, just yet.”

“Now aren’t you an assuming one!” Corbett chuckles at his impetuosity, “I’m sure I am not that unknown a figure for you to not have already figured it out who we are, what we are capable of, and what it means for you.”

“For a one man army, you sure are pretty boisterous,” Menzies however is not perturbed, “But you have entered a territory marked by me, without my permission, and you don’t know what kind of pain I am capable of inflicting.”

“What a shame some desires never grow beyond day-dreams,” Corbett chuckles again, shaking his head this time, then adds nodding his head in a direction pointing towards Menzies’ back, “He doesn’t like it either.”

“Nice trick cowboy, but the man behind me can wait for the next train which never comes down this way,” Menzies, overconfident in the comfort of his territory however is not willing to fall to any tricks. Alas! He didn’t see what we already have.

“He’s talking about me baby,” Lieutenant Andrew Gurien cocks his weapon and plants its business end behind Menzies’ neck, “I think this is where your pituitary gland is located, isn’t it?”

In a flash all colours are awash on Menzies’ face, as Corbett steps closer to take away his gun.

“Oh! Don’t worry about your three men darling,” Andrew continues, “Their heads are coming home along with their bodies, with your sugar daddy.” And one whistle from Andrew, Lieutenant Charles Heather steps out from behind the wooden crates, his guns pointing at the heads of three men Menzies was counting upon.

Now it’s not a pretty site when a big man is carried away by another big man on his shoulder like a baby, but we guess Corbett deserves his sweet revenge for all the mean comments Menzies had just made about him.

“We gonna have a party,” and Andrew sings along a tune as they march their captives out of the building, through the yard and into the back of a military truck.

Good times are often far and few in life, for life is a struggle for survival. Struggles are rarely pleasing. The big fish fears the bigger fish, and the bigger fish wants to be an even bigger fish for it fears other bigger fish. It’s a vicious cycle of survival at all costs, repeating itself daily.

If anyone thought it would be a piece of cake for the Penancthian to catch up with Mishiida, they couldn’t have been any more inaccurate. Their recent experiences having been more than discomforting, defense forces were taking every precaution to ensure it was safe to take the new arrival to his intended contact, for no one knows who is an enemy and who is a friend. The language barrier notwithstanding, it is clear everyone wants to be sure the alien is not here to hurt Mishiida or the force members. Sandeep and Monty, the two marines have been specifically instructed to escort the alien and keep a close watch on his moves. We catch up with them just as they disembark from the jeep at the Downtown Paringa underground facility.

“Welcome my dear friend,” Rick greets the alien as he steps out of the jeep.

“Meensheendha,” the alien quips in his peculiar voice and it is evidently clear he is really keen on catching up with her.

“Yes of course, my men will take you to her,” Rick quips as he grabs the aliens hand for a handshake that almost appears out of place, and takes the alien by surprise as he obviously is not accustomed to the earthly customs.

“Sir, do you really think it’s a good idea,” Sandeep almost whispers.

“I don’t know,” Rick replies, “But the situation we are in today morning, I don’t think it can get any worse. We need him as much as we need the hope that he is a friend and not a foe.”

“Sir,” Sandeep and Monty salute the officer and lead their companion towards the hospital unit.

A flower has a life, but much shorter than the branch that it grows on. The branch bear no attraction without it, and it cannot keep it’s attraction for much long in whatever life it has. A flower has a really sad story to tell that no one cares to listen, for no one understands what a flower says, what a flower wants. A flower still makes everyone happy.

Lying on that bed, flanked by Alex on one side and Mrs Rai on the other, Mishiida is asleep, or so it appears. At least she is not hurting the way we saw her earlier.

“Alex,” Sandeep walks into the room, followed by the Penancthian and Monty, “Someone’s here to see Mishiida.”

“Hey, hey, hey, not that many,” the nurse in the room immediately protests.

“We won’t be here long,” Sandeep replies, “And we need to be here.”

“That’s fine we will leave,” Mrs Rai exclaims as she tries to get up.

The Penancthian interrupts, gesturing with his hands for everyone to stay. He steps closer to the bed to inspect what’s wrong.

“Easy buddy,” Sandeep quips as he and Monty step back with their hands now firmly resting on the weapons under their jerseys.

Penancthian nods his head, and slowly drags the blanket off Mishiida’s body, but only slightly, to reveal small plants sprouting out of her body. Immediately Mishiida’s unconscious frame takes a deep uncomfortable breath. The pain of the sight is evident on Penancthian’s face as he quickly closes his eyes and turns his head away, as if he didn’t want to believe he just saw what he did.

“Is she alright?” Alex asks, perhaps momentarily forgetting that every Penancthian doesn’t understand his language.

The Penancthian however steps to the table by the side of the room, places his precious little box that he salvaged from the wreck on it, and opens it up to reveal many small cylindrical vials. He removes a cylindrical apparatus from the box and inserts one of the vials into it. Trouble however explodes as soon as he steps closer to Mishiida to administer whatever he has in his possession.

“Stay away from her,” Monty yells as he and Sandeep, both having pulled out their weapons and pointing them at his head, step back into two different corners of the room, “What are you doing? Just stop! Put it down, whatever that is in your hand.”

The Penancthian is expectedly taken aback, but obviously doesn’t know how to express himself to them. He says something which no one in the room understands. His vehement gestures are of no avail for mistrust is breaching the roof.

“I don’t care what you want to tell us, just step away from that bed,” Sandeep yells.

At a loss, the Penancthian haplessly looks on at Alex, who like ourselves notices the moistness in his eyes.

“Let him do what he wants,” Alex turns around to Sandeep and Monty and tells them, “He only means well.”

“How do you know?” Monty however is not the one to be easily impressed.

“He’s honest. I see it in his eyes,” Alex replies, and as he replies Mishiida suffers another bout of painful convulsions. And as she writhes and whines in pain, the sight becomes unbearable.

Reluctantly, Sandeep and Monty back off, their weapons however still raised.

The Penancthian looks at them, and then at Alex. No word needed to be spoken as he senses the need of the moment. He pins Mishiida’s arm to the bed with one hand, and using the cylindrical apparatus with the other, presses a button. A light beam emerges from its end close to Mishiida’s arm, and penetrates into her skin. A strange pumping sound emerges from the apparatus, and after a few moments, the light beam retracts. As Mishiida’s breathing becomes normal, a content expression grows on her face. Alex slowly lifts the blanket of her body, just slightly so as to see if anything has changed.

“The plants,” Alex exclaims, a bit euphorically, “Her body is spitting out the plants.”

And finally Mishiida opens up her eyes, and looks at Alex.

“Mishi, are you alright?” Alex exclaims as tears roll out of his eyes.

Mishiida raises her hand to caress his cheek, and then turns around to have a look at the company in the room. A big smile breaks out on her face as she recognizes a familiar face. “Zeeyaisheen!” she exclaims, but immediately falls back into slumber.

Everyone looks on surprised, first at Mishiida, and then at Zaiyeshin, who raises his hands and gestures to everyone to calm down and relax. A content nod of his head does finally calm us all down.

Calm however is space, inside which all the catastrophes happen and yet no one can hear them. What appears massive when you are in the thick of it; doesn’t even make a muster when you are far out in space. Much is not even visibly noticeable. Calm is the space, and space is what’s hard to find in a man’s heart.

“We’ve finally made headway,” Sir Aldridge quips to his trusted pal, “One of his people used their credit cards in Bolivia. What an innocent mistake to make!”

“Bolivia,” Sir Whittington is taken by as much surprise as we are, “No wonder we couldn’t get any information from our official sources. That is one hell of place to do business in.”

“Not if you know the right people,” Sir Aldridge exclaims, “The kind of people who can run a nation unofficially, with full force of fire.”

“I never knew he was supplying the cartels down there?” Sir Whittington finds it hard to digest that Garcia has got connections in that part of the world.

“Officially, he is currently supplying ten percent of world armies, a figure expected to rise up to twenty percent in the next two years,” Sir Aldridge adds to his general knowledge, “Unofficially, his weapons are arming thirty percent of the world’s underbelly.”

Strange are the ways of the world where life divides people into classes, while death unites them into oblivion. Not surprising, love that creates life is a divisive force, and hatred creates common ground.

Bolivia is not an easy place to search for a facility not on anyone’s radar. The vegetation is thick, and with no clue to the location to scrutinize, it is not a bad idea to spy on Garcia, who is currently arriving at his former girlfriend’s place, for the expected conference.

“Look! I can explain,” Talia blurts out as soon as Jackie enters her living room, her fear dripping from her face, “Please don’t do anything stupid.”

Garcia however calmly gestures her to be silent as two of his men march in and start scanning the room for any recording devices. A lady joins the party and gives a thorough pat down to Talia. When completely satisfied all is clear, they all bow and take the leave of Mr. Garcia.

“Now, it’s your only chance,” Garcia quips as he sits down on the couch and pulls out a small silver bottle from his jacket’s inside pocket, to sip on a drink.

“They have my boyfriend, and said they will kill him if I don’t,” Talia blurts out as she breaks down and collapses into a heap on another couch.

Garcia is immediately all ears and springs back to his feet, “Who are they?”

“I don’t know, I just got a phone call,” Talia starts giving details but something catches Garcia’s eye. We notice it as well; a figure’s reflection on a liquor bottle lying on one of the shelves appears to be raising a machine gun to fire.

Shots are fired from three different directions as Garcia lunges into the air and over the mini bar set in one of the corners of the living room. Talia of course is no longer with us anymore.

Five men, if we still haven’t forgotten how to count, all empty their guns to end the first round. The room is already a mess littered with holes. Garcia appears to have been shot by his own security.


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