written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU
I was dragged into a house. Big house.
I wanted to run cause I knew not good thing would happen to me, but I could not. Two big strong men walked sides me. Each of them captured my wrist tightly.
Oh no. I am in trouble now.
I walked, not easy, following their lead.
They stopped before a door. I stopped too.
One of them knocked.
My ears were cautious. There was a sound coming from that room.
I felt familiar with that sound.
Then another voice happened, 'Come in.'
A man opened the door and after they pushed me into that room.
I stood, didn't move.
In front of me, there was a huge bed. Oh no, not bed. Mattress. On that, a man about 50 years old was over a young woman. Both of them were naked. The woman slept her face down mattress. Her back was pressed by the man. He was ding push up to her. And she yelled. Sound I heard when I was outside at the door.
Buddha, I did not dare to look.
One of big man pulled me to sit on a chair, before the mattress, and they stood behind my chair.
I lowered my eyes. I felt not good to see such image. Only my ears opened and the yelling of that woman reached into them.
I sat quietly, with my face down.
'You are brave.' The old man voiced to me. 'You dare to borrow my money and don't wish to pay.'
I was so nervous. My hands were trembling. What they would do to me?
'I hate such a person. Why are there a lot of person, like you, in this world?'
He said and I heard he roared and his woman screamed.
My face still lowered.
'I am good person.' He continued. 'I like to help people that's why I open my store, available for people like you, to come to take money. I just hope that you guy keep your promise, pay my money back. Well, but you do not.' He roared again and the woman screamed again. 'Even though, I'm still a good person. I give you chance.'
Hearing his last sentence, I raised my face up. It seemed that there was a small light coming to me. I was not afraid or shy anymore.
'You do not need to pay me, but,' he pushed up twice then said, 'do me work.'
'What's work?' I asked him. I was curious about what task he gave me. Prostitute? Selling drug? Oh no.. I cannot do that.
I was waiting for his confirm. My mind was hungry to hear name of that job.
He answered after he made rhythm, 'In your boss's room, there is a safety locker. Inside, there is a golden box. Take it to me.'
Is he crazy? How can I take it? I cannot even enter into that room.
I said to him, 'I am ordinary woman. This task is for wonder woman or Charlie's angel.'
The old man laughed when he heard my saying. He laughed at same time he did pushing up to his woman.
'I tell you. Borrowers before I sent only one guy to them when they wanted to escape. But you, I had to send five men and spend 2 years to catch you here. Are you saying you're ordinary woman? Don't look down on yourself like this babe.'
I did not know it was insulting or admiring. His words made me trouble inside. I could not escape, right? I had to, correct?
'I give you one week. Take it to me here.'
He gave me a strict voice.
He just finished his words, the two big guys grabbed my arms and made me up from chair. They walked me to the door, and I heard the old man last sentences, 'Don't think of running away again, lady. I never give person second chance. If you dare, I say that you will taste poisonous cherry.'
His word made my heart beat strongly. Scared.
The guys pushed me to get out of the room. They closed door while I still heard screaming of woman - on bed - continued.
I was kicked out. I back to my house. It was a nightmare. It would become worse nightmare, even I did or did not.
What should I do?
I covered my head with hands. My head was hot. My brain was full. I did not know how I solved this.
Two days. I lived badly. Think 24 hours to find solution.
I went to company.
My supervisor gave me document to take to fifth floor. I took files then went to elevator. I passed the room - of my boss - and I thought how could I enter it. Moreover, I did not know what the box looked like.
Well, if I could get in and opened the locker, I would able to recognize.
But how could I get it?
My brain was stuck. I got down and sat at my desk. Until I saw Martin, walking side of boss, from door to the elevator. Martin was boss's favorite. He was his assistant, friend and confidant. He knew all about boss. Furthermore, he liked me; I knew.
When he passed my desk, he gave me a smile. This time I smiled him back, like I have smiled to him.
His smile pop up something in my head. I lift coffee cup to my lips and I looked at my computer.
3 pm, my supervisor needed someone to bring another pile of file to fifth floor again and I volunteered.
I took elevator. I moved normally. I gave files to target department then I left to elevator. Then I met Martin - as I planned. He smiled to me. I smiled to him and walked into the elevator.
'How are you doing?' He started conversation - as I wished.
'Well.. fine.. I'm fine.' I said.
'I saw you were not fine. You drank lots of coffee and you seemed tired.'
How he knew I drank lots of coffee?
I turned face to him. I looked at his eyes and he looked back at me - bravely.
'Why do you know I drank a lot of coffee?' I blinked eyes and asked him. Curiously.
'Through camera. Don't tell me you don't know company put cameras. You're here five years including this year.' He laughed.
I knew man. I knew there were cameras around the company. Even in elevator. Like spider web.
I just wonder why you look me through camera? It means you can enter even camera room.
Camera room was strict room that - according to company rule - only two persons could enter, boss and safety department manager. I knew only of them, but now he was third person able to get in that room.
I raised my eyes brow in a quick movement. A flash happened in my head.
'This evening, are you free?'
He gave me a look when he heard me. He stared at me for three seconds then he smiled and claimed, 'What's time?'
'Eight. At my house.'
His eyes were full of light. I could see that.
He nodded. Smile.
'Do you know my house?'
He nodded again.
Hmm.. he knows my house.
I smiled as I turned my face straight to door of elevator.
We could see our smiling through reflection on smooth metal of the elevator.
It reached my floor. I got out and I heard he said behind me - before the door closed - that, 'See you tonight.'
A smile appeared on my face. I walked confidently, gladly, to wards my desk.
The dark cloud started to move away step by step.
Time walked and eight o'clock arrived.
Martin came on time. He smiled at my door when I opened. He was gorgeous within his formal black office suit and blue tie. Me, tonight was special so I wore not normal dress that I bought at evening after office, thin string wide open neck of short black gown. I saw Martin paid his eyes at my chest. I felt good that I was not afraid and I liked him to look at me.
We had dinner. Yes, it was steak. Good recipe for night dinner. Including red wine. The black night became pink.
After dinner, we sat on floor, before table, set back at food of sofa. We drank wine and chat. He told me his work, life - child-hood until now - and even his ex-girlfriends. We clang. We smiled. He made me laugh with some of his joke. Wine in bottle almost gone. I felt my body weak. I laid my head over sofa. Still, I listened to him. Then he stopped talking and stared at me. No wonder. He wanted to kiss me and he really made move. I accepted his lips with no hesitate. Sweet and soft of his lips were on mine. Then his body also above me. And after that was meaningful.
On my bed, I laid my head on his chest.
We had sincere talk. I told him my trouble. I told him everything. Honestly. Except one thing. I told him I threw money into fail business but in contrast I did gambling.
I was not wrong, he agreed to help me. It was a sweet shock that I could not control my happiness, I jumped to kiss him and I gave him - one more time - to make me scream.
Next day, we went to work normally. Our affair was kept in secret. We were just colleague when we were at office, but we gave bang to each other as we arrived my house or his house.
We made plan at his house, at night, after we finished our assignment. At his house, there were full materials. It was best place.
Martin showed me his computer than I realized I chose right person or I would be put behind bar or died mysteriously if I got caught.
Boss room was dangerous for thief. It was ordinary room at day, but after evening it became like in movie. His room had more than one hall before reaching his real office. That's why he never let anyone get in, also client had to meet in another room. Not that room. Before the room, in each hall, there was laser light. It was like in movie. If we touched that light, it would alarm to police. We could not get out because the door would lock automatically and it sprayed sleepy smoke whole room. Each room had it.
Marin was master of plan. He made with his computer, all alone, on bed, where I slept under him and he was over my back.
Everything was going well. I did not feel anything until sixth night of deadline date, my heart beat as I felt little nervous.
I suggested to go with him. At first, Martin did not agree, but after I gave my seduce movement, he nodded his head.
The task would be after midnight. We made our assignment before. After, we stayed naked on bed, doing some sweet gesture and I drew fake tattoo on his back of hand. He liked my arts so much.
'It will not stay longer,' I told him, 'for it is not real tattoo.'
'It's OK.' He smiled and kissed my forehead.
It was time.
We drove to company - in his car - but he parked far and we had to move quickly through feet to the company. We dressed in black.
Like in movie.
We reached the back door of company. He unlocked with his card. I opened eyes big when I saw. Great adventure.
'No guard?' I asked him.
He put finger cross his lips and whispered, 'Don't speak loudly because our voice will be recorded.'
I nodded. He continued, 'You stay here and I will be back.'
'No, I want to go in with you,' whispered I.
'I will be back before 10 minutes.' He murmured. 'You stay here and hold this thing.' He gave me a small black item. 'Push this buton if something happens. It will alert me.'
'It's dangerous. You will be caught. There are cameras.'
'Don't worry. I made all of them already.'
He was about to get in and I, in a quick flash, grabbed his head and kissed his lips. My one hand, I pulled his hand to on my chest. I covered his hand and pressed his to press on my chest. He smiled while his lips on me and his hand squeezed my chest gently against the fabric of my dress.
'After, OK?' He took mouth from mine then gave a smile and left me into the dark building.
I waited outside. I watched my watch. one,two, three, four, five, six, seven minutes passed.
Why he still not show up?
My heart beat fast.
Anything happen to him? What should I do? Wait here or leave?
Then I heard a sound. I looked through glass door. A footstep sound towards the door.
Who is that? Him or guard?
I hurriedly hid myself behind the bush.
I heard a voice, calling my name. It was him. I showed myself and he walked to me. He grabbed my hand and he lead me out of company. He did not say anything, just walked me fast to his car and then left.
He did not say anything on the way. And I did not open mouth too.
My heart was still beating. I wanted to know result but I did not dare to ask.
He drove back to his house. He parked. He brought me in. He seized my body when we reached in. He kissed my lips. I - no choice - put arms around his neck. He pushed me until my calves felt bed and he fell me, along with him, on bed. Well, we did again. It took fifteen minutes to finish such homework. Then he showed me a golden box.
'Is it real gold?' I showed voice.
'Yes,' replied him.
'You open it yet?'
I looked at him before I opened the box. My heart was curious about what's inside.
It opened now.
My jaw dropped.
I could not believe it.
Bright crystal light of diamond appeared in my pupils.
It was incredible.
'There are fifty, I think.' Martin put his hands behind his head said to me.
'How can you know?' I looked at him.
'I know. He ever told me he had fifty diamonds. But I never saw them. It is my first time.' He explained.
'I see.' I nodded.
'You are not surprised.' I said.
'Take it to loaner. You will be saved,' said Martin.
I put diamond box on bed, 'It is tomorrow homework. Let focus on tonight homework.' I crawled towards him. Martin smile big and then he grabbed me. We switched off light.
Next day, before Martin woke up, I reached loaner's house. I gave him the box. The old man smiled, 'I said you are not ordinary woman.'
He opened the box and claimed, 'Your loan is settle. You are free now.'
I left the house immediately. I was back to Martin's house. When I arrived at front, I saw suspicious cars. I watched from glass wall seeing Martin was beat by four men and boss was sitting on sofa. A man hold Martin's last night trousers, walked to boss and showed him diamond - ten - from Martin's pocket.
Boss showed angry face when he saw diamond. Then he got up and kicked Martin a heavy. He walked away. His man closed curtain and I could see anything happen inside.
I rushed go back home without anyone notice. I hid myself in house for whole day. Even phone, I did not turn on.
I slept underneath blanket.
At night, I left out of blanket to sit on sofa. I switched on TV and ate cookie and watched news.
It was Martin's news.
I watched it. Concentrate. Listen carefully to each word of TV person, 'Police found a man in his house today, at 1 pm. The victim was confirmed to be dead. He named Martin F. He was assistant of Jacky Sway Company and police is investigating the case.'
Seeing that news, I finished cookie inside the box. I went to bed and continued covering myself by blanket.
Morning arrived. I went to office and found people in chaos. I came in and saw polices inside. I did not ask or talk much. I went direct to my desk. I did not care. I just focused on my computer.
Few days later, I heard information that boss was arrested by police due to his relation to Martin's death case and arm depute with my ex-loaner.
It is not my business.. I told myself. I gave resigned letter and left the company one day after. Not only me, but some staffs did. They were afraid that company would close and they needed to find new job in advance. I told my reason of leaving same as theirs.
I stayed at home for one month.
Then I decided to go out one morning. I walked to small and dirty route. I went into a tiny stone hut and a woman wearing panties and her top was naked welcomed me.
'Anything to sell?'
She asked me and I nodded. I opened my old bag and took a tiny plastic bag and gave to her.
The woman took it and stared at me.
I nodded as I heard her claim.
'Good one.' She checked and smiled. 'Say the price.'
I raised up my point finger. She looked at me before she said okay.
I left my head from the door. I looked right and left then I slid my body out of the house. I walked to the main street. I marched along pavement. I stopped at a store by seeing title on newspapers, 'RICH loaner shot dead, over diamond dispute with POWERFUL business man' 'illegal 49 diamonds were found in locker inside office of Jacky Sway company' 'Jacky Sway Murder His Assistant & Loaner' There were pictures of my ex-boss, ex-loaner and ex-man, Martin, on the press.
I moved away from the store. I put my black glasses and walked on road.
The loaner was correct. I was not ordinary woman. I was the real master plan. In order to help me, Martin inserted fake images of company into all cameras. He went in with no seen on camera. Sure, he did to all cameras, but I removed one and Martin present was record. I drew fake tattoo of gang loaner on his back of hand. It remained on his and it showed in camera that caused boss think he worked for the loaner and his diamond was with the loaner.
Great perfect plan.
I knocked my bag, happily.
The mall.. I entered. Then I walked in space surrounded by glasses. I sat on chair before a pretty lady.
'What can I help you, Madame?' The lady said sweetly to me.
'I want to book a flight next week.' I said.
'Oh, to visit?' She smiled.
'Yes, I visit my homeland.' I smiled back to her.