My recovery was surprising swift. Whatever herbs and potions were in those poultices the witch doctor applied to my wounds did the trick. I was on the mend, in no time and worrying about my impending confrontation with Hiromi. It was drawing nearer each day. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure that killing her was a good idea. It was true that she sent me after Plum, with no regard for my safety. It had to have occurred to her that I probably would not survive the attack. However, there was still the possibility that I would survive. Maybe she thought that Plum wouldn’t put up a fight, if I caught her off guard.
As the target, Plum wanted eye for an eye vengeance. Still, I wasn’t quite ready to jump on that bandwagon. Sure, I was pissed off at Hiromi for nearly getting me killed. But at the end of the day, walking up to her and sinking the cursed blade into her, up to the hilt, would be murder. I resolved to confront Hiromi and at least give her a chance to explain. Plum had been so pleased at my willingness to go after Hiromi, I decided to keep that part of my plan a secret. She looked at me sideways, when I insisted on going after Hiromi alone, but eventually agreed.
Plum let me use her car, so I went back to the artist incubator and waited for Hiromi outside. Night fell, by the time she arrived. I got out and followed her in and was emboldened, when I saw no one else. Hiromi had walked halfway across the lobby, before she sensed my presence and turned to face me. After a moment of startled confusion, she greeted me.
“Patricia? It is you! I’m so happy to see you,” she blurted awkwardly. I saw the lie in her alarmed eyes.
I strode up to her and smacked her so hard that my hand began to throb. Hiromi stumbled slightly, her hand going to her reddened cheek. Rage abruptly came seething up inside of me. My hand reflexively went to the hilt of the dagger concealed in the small of my back. I wanted to kill her.
“I hate you! How could you use me like that,” I shouted. Tears sprang to my eyes.
Recovered from her initial shock, Hiromi raised a hand to strike me. In a flash, I was holding the blade of the cursed blade against her neck. Her eyes widened. Hiromi let her hand drop. Our eyes met and I saw resignation in hers.
“If you’re going to slit my throat, then at least tell me what it was like to kill Plum. Did she beg for her life? Was there much blood? I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t bleed black, to match her poisonous soul. Well, don’t keep me in suspense. Wait…don’t tell me that bitch is still alive! How could that be?”
Hiromi abruptly broke eye contact and I realized she was gawking at something behind me. A hand suddenly reached over my shoulder, closed around my hand and pushed the blade up to the hilt into Hiromi’s throat with such force that blood came spurting out. Its warmth sprayed my face. I turned to find Plum surveying me grimly. Disbelief had me backing away with the knife, slick with Hiromi’s blood, still clutched in my hand. I was in shock. Where the hell had she come from?
Hiromi tried unsuccessfully to hold the gaping wound in her neck closed. A fountain of blood flowed between her grasping fingers and stained her white shirt red. Impotently, I shook my head to negate the horrific sight, gradually becoming aware that I was screaming. Plum suddenly grabbed my arm and started pulling me away. In a panic, I wrestled free and went running back to Hiromi, still holding the bloody dagger. Plum dragged me towards the rear of the building, opened the back door and pushed me out into the alley. I was still trying to get back to Hiromi. Plum grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me.
“Stop it Patricia! You cannot help Hiromi. Come on, we’ve got to get the hell out of here before someone sees us!”