The Darkness in the Tree – Part 9

Chan finished the call with Wong as quickly as possible and headed for Sec for Secs office. Ms Lau kept him waiting for the mandatory three minutes before allowing him into Alphonse Lo’s office. Chan was motioned to a chair and handed a report. It was marked Top Secret.

“We’ve received the report from Security Wing. That’s it!” He said, pointing towards the file. It was as if he had been personally responsible for demanding the report.

“And”, he continued, in a more ominous tone. “I received a call from the Chief Executive’s office”.

Oh shit, thought Chan. He didn’t need to ask, Lo was going to tell him all the gruesome details.

“When you ordered Security Wing to provide information on Huang they naturally contacted the Singapore Intelligence Service. It would appear that Huang’s name is flagged and when they ran his name through their system alarm bells started ringing. They got in touch with the Singapore Commission in Hong Kong and they, in turn, called the CE directly. They want him back, on the first available flight, unharmed, unmolested and in perfect health!”

“That’s going to be difficult Sir”, said Chan. He took a deep breath and told Lo about Huang’s escape from Sui Lam.

The Sec for Sec visibly blanched. It was the first time Chan had never seen him at a loss for words. The two men sat in silence for a moment and then Lo picked up his phone and spoke to Ms. Lau. “Get me the Commissioner of Police”, he said and dropped the phone back into its cradle.

“OK”, said Lo, “I’ll deal with the CP, you get back to Tai Po in case the bugger turns up there. We’re on 24-hour call until we can hand this fellow back to the Singaporeans”.

Chan asked for permission to take the file on Huang and returned to his office. He told Amy to arrange for transportation in 45 minutes, which would give him time to go through the file for anything useful. “And tell the OIC I’m on my way”, he said.


Huang Li Man was sitting comfortably, eating noodles in a dai pai dong in Tsuen Wan. He had given up his traditional Chinese dress for a less noticeable T-shirt and a pair of slacks. The clothes had been provided by Nurse Suen. She had assisted in his ‘departure’ from Sui Lam. Between the two of them, they had placed a short-lived spell on the admin staff and security guards who had cheerfully handed over Huang’s belongings and allowed him to leave unmolested. When questioned by the irate management and police officers they had no recollection of ever having seen Huang. As for Nurse Suen, she was going off shift and there was no reason to suspect her of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, the security cameras had recorded her escorting Huang out of the facility. The police were now looking for her as well.

Huang knew that the Darkness was looking for him, as were the police. It was only a matter of time before either of them found him. He had to return to Tai Po and confront the demon before it had time to cause him harm, or escape.

Nurse Suen had given him information on how to get back to Tai Po without having to use the Mass Transit Railway system, in which the police certainly be looking for him. He still had no idea how to deal with the Darkness. It was strong, incredibly strong. It had sent feelers into the detention centre searching for him. The best Huang could hope for was a binding spell. The alternative was to tuck tail and run; hand himself over to the police and allow them to deport him to Singapore. He would be safe, but the Darkness would be left to continue its reign of terror. Why not leave it to someone else, a voice in his head asked him. Huang knew the answer without having to think. If he ran away and left the job to someone else then more people would die and their deaths would be on his conscience.

Huang finished his noodles and went looking for the red minibus that Nurse Suen had told him about. According to her, these minibuses were rarely stopped by the police for random checks and travelling on one would be his best bet to get back to Tai Po. He also needed to find a safe place to rest and recharge his energy. He would have to be at full strength when he faced the Darkness.

(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution

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