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Hunters Point


hunters-point-book

Coming Fall 2015

Li sat in her car looking up at the window of her office and smiling. She unplugged her phone, stepped out of her Audi and made her way upstairs. She turned the knob and felt a slight tickle in her stomach, as if she were a kid on the first day of school. Terrance was sitting at his desk looking at a piece of paper.
“It’s nice to have you back boss,” Terrance declared as Li strode through the door of her investigation firm, Industry Inc. “How are you feeling?”
“Pretty good.” Li took her coat off and hung it on the rack by the door.

Over the past few months she’d been undergoing treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia, an uncommon cancer of the blood cells, and had taken time off from work. “Still having some stomach issues but overall things are good. I’ll find out in a few weeks if the cancer is in remission.”
“I’m sure everything will be fine. Looks like Jackson, Angie and Matti took good care of you,” he said with a wink and a dimpled smile.
“They did and thanks for the weekly visits Terrance. It meant a lot to me.” Terrance had been Li’s assistant for a number of years and they had become good friends. Terrance was a handsome guy in his mid-twenties who had a complexity about him that surpassed his age. Li often wondered why he chose to work with her and specifically in the field of missing children when most guys his age with his looks would be drinking, having sex, and trying to make money. He never talked about why he joined her. When she asked him once, he brushed her off, but she could feel a deep sadness emanating from him. Sometimes her extra sensitivity was irritating but when it came to the people she cared about, she relied on it to know what was going on in their hearts. One day she would understand Terrance. But not today.
“Of course. I’d do anything for you. Hey, before I forget, we got a phone call a few days ago from Jack Shepherd. He’s that reporter that wrote the story on Children of the Divine last month.”
“Oh yeah, what did he want?”
“He didn’t say, just asked that you call him. Number’s on your desk. Oh and that photograph you gave me of those women. I had my guy, Brad, enhance it but I don’t think you’re gonna be happy with it. The pic was taken with a cheap camera, maybe a phone camera, so when he tried to enlarge it, it became too grainy to make out any details. He did the best he could with it. I left it on your desk too.”
“Thanks, Terrance.”
Li popped into her office and felt a sigh of relief as she shut the door behind her. After Eliasa’s arrest, Li’s health was touch and go. Prior to her diagnosis, she had been feeling run down, had lost a significant amount of weight, and her skin was pale. Following weeks of tests, the doctors finally figured out what was causing her enlarged spleen and the news wasn’t good. She underwent months of chemotherapy and is continuing to be treated with a medication called Imatinib, a drug that targets abnormal tyrosine kinase proteins found at the surface of the cancer cells. By blocking signals from the proteins, the medication can stop the cells from growing and cause them to die. So far, the treatment has been effective and side effects, such as vomiting and dehydration, have been minimal.
Li was grateful to be working again and happy to be thinking of something other than anti-nausea medicine and white blood cell counts. She threw her purse on a chair, sat down and thumbed through her messages.
Just then, her private cell phone rang. She glanced down and then picked up.
“AlphaDodge388.”
“Are you secure?”
“Yes sir.”
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling fine sir. Thank you.” Li pulled up the photograph on her phone. “Is that the only photograph of the women?”
“Unfortunately, yes.”
“Any leads on who they are?”
“We have a lead on two of the girls but nothing on the others. We think the young woman to the far left is from Malaysia and was kidnapped in Penang three years ago when she was fifteen years old. The other girl we think is from Vancouver, originally from China. I’m sending you the details now.”
“Sir, where was this photo taken?”
“In Malaysia. That’s how we were able to track down one of the girls. We had a team set up in Kuala Lumpur. They were conducting surveillance on a known trafficker. These girls were coming out of a hotel with the trafficker late one night when one of our team members happened to be coming out of a bar two doors down. The sighting was unexpected so unfortunately he had to take the photo with his phone. The pixelation is not great but enough to get two identifications. The team questioned some people in the area and a local male resident recognized the girl from Penang because he had just moved from there six months prior.”
“That was lucky. No idea who the others are?”
“None yet. We were able to obtain some information from the local police. You know how we do it.”
Li knew and could never say. She could never talk about her involvement, her team, or anything they do. It would destroy everything she and the others had worked for. Her secret would remain just that. A secret.
“The documents I’m sending contain the information we extracted along with your assignment.”
“Thank you, sir. I will look at everything and will be in touch.”
Li hung up and pulled Jack Shepherd’s number out of the pile of mail and then picked up the orange envelope and pulled out the photographs Terrance had left for her. She looked closely at the face of the woman in one of the enlarged photos but was unable to make out any further details, just as Terrance had warned. The other two photographs, while slightly sharper, were still too small to confirm her suspicion.
“Dammit,” she lamented as she threw them on her desk. She made a mental note to review the documents sent to her. She had to be careful though. She couldn’t let on her suspicion that one of the women in the photograph was her missing sister. She most certainly would be thrown off the assignment. The team mantra: Under all conditions, you must remain skeptical, dedicated, patient, and detached. That last one was always hard for her.
She picked up the phone and dialed.
“Shepherd,” the voice on the other end declared.
“Hi, Jack this is Li. My assistant, Terrance, told me you left me a message last week.”
“Yes, Li thanks for getting back to me. Do you have time to meet me? I have something you may be interested in.”
“Sure. What’s it about?”
“The murder and kidnapping of ten children.”

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