A woman wrapped in the dark parts of martial arts finds a way to the top.
|I gotta get to the top of that mountain until 5 o'clock today or I'll die.'' Sarah muttered to herself as she stared at her reflection in the window. It was dark out. The bus passing through the mountain roads was nauseating and moving around her toe was making her injury ache.
She saw a flash of movement in the window.
''You want something? You've been staring at me.'' she lazily rolled her head to face her seatmate.
''I'm sorry. You just said something that piqued my interest but we don't know each other, it's none of my business.'' the man shook his head.
Sarah turned to face him better.
''Sarah Chan. Height - one meter eighty, weight - 68 kilograms. I love fighting, action flicks and martial arts, I got into fighting thanks to my grandfather. I hate complicated things that can't be turned simple and immoral people.'' Sarah said. She gave a smile. ''Do we know each other now?''
The man sighed. He looked past her at the window.
''Bart Karthan. Height - one meter seventy eight, weight - seventy kilograms. I love working on cars, collecting car parts and my wife. I hate timetables and I hate being late.'' Bart said.
''Nice to meet you Bart. Now what got you so curious?'' Sarah asked.
The obviously uncomfortable Bart shuffled in his seat and returned to his previous position.
''What was that thing you were saying about dying?''
''It's simple really.'' Sarah glanced dreamily at the seat in front of her.
''It was two days ago. They told me I had to be on top of that mountain.'' she pointed out the window without looking. ''By this morning 5 a.m. I have to be at the top or.'' she left it hanging.
Bart winced. Sarah nodded.
''There was a martial arts tournament about two days travel from here. Those guys. I didn't know someone could take a dumb tournament so seriously. I should have beat their assess then and there!''
Sarah curled her toes in her boots, wincing at the pain. Would she even be able to fight like this?
''Those guys kidnapped my grandfather, held him at gunpoint and demanded I quit the tournament.''
She spared a glance at Bart, not taking in much. He looked pretty shocked.
''This kinda stuff actually happens in real life?'' he muttered to himself.
''I was shocked. But still believed that the organizers would do something. They did jack squat. I should have beat them there and then, but I was too scared of something. I don't know what. Like I'd make things worse. Well I did, by not fighting them.'' she sighed. ''I forced a tie, got injured. The tournament was rescheduled for today at 5 o'clock. Now there are three scenarios.''
Sarah held out a hand and showed three fingers. Bart glanced at them and then back at Sarah. She tucked back one finger.
''One. I don't go. I die.'' second finger gone. ''Two, I lose, I die.'' she clenched a fist and then relaxed it. ''Third, I win, we both die.'' Sarah sighed as she stared at the seat before her.
''I have a business. I fix cars, but if I don't get to the base of the mountain in time my business days are over. Guess it's not much compared to your situation though.'' Bart gave her a reassuring smile. Disgust welled inside of Sarah.
She yanked him by the collar and glared at him.
''Don't you dare undermine yourself you bastard. You're just like.'' Sarah hesitated. Images of her granddad in that corridor held at gunpoint crossed her mind. He had that same smile.
She sat back down and looked through the window.
Before Bart could say anything to her she was dashing off.
''Why has the bus stopped?'' she asked as she walked along the white bus, on the narrow white road, a snowstorm doing its best to veer her off course.
She saw someone bending over the engine.
''What's wrong?'' she asked.
''None of your business girlie. Engine's busted. Repair will come in two hours.''
''But, I have to.'' she exclaimed.
''Get there on time? So does everyone else. Sympathize kid.''
And she would've backed down, but.
She took a step forward.
Sarah wasn't one to cause trouble, but.
She tapped the man's shoulder. He started to rise from the engine.
''Wha?'' she didn't let him finish.
''Screw you. My grandad's life is on the line. Do something.'' she exclaimed.
''Like what?'' the driver got in her face. They glared at each other.
''Lend her some parts of the bus.'' a third party intervened. They both turned to look at Bart who was looking at the engine. ''I mean you're getting help so might as well.''
''And why the hell should I?'' the driver glared down Bart, then glared down the still surprised Sarah. She shook her head composing herself. A glance at him got her a nod in approval.
''I'll pay you back any trouble for the bus plus extra. I'm winning a tournament soon.'' the man stared septically at the duo.
''Why should I trust you?'' Sarah grabbed a screwdriver that was on the bus's trunk. In a moment she focused on her body. There was a mild annoying pain from the injury on her foot, near the toe. She smiled. In an instant she stabbed herself right there. She grabbed her foot and the screwdriver handle and with a jolt snapped it in two, leaving a piece lodged into her foot.
No more wondering if she could use that foot. No more excuses to hesitate.
Sarah handed the tool to the shocked driver and spared a glance at the curious Bart.
''A blood pact if you will. I'll return the other half along with the money when I'm done.'' Sarah put the handle in the shocked man's hand. He looked at her like one would look at a wild animal.
''And how do I know you're not just bat shit crazy.'' he asked. Sarah flashed Bart a smile.
''You'll just have to trust me.'' she addressed Bart. ''You. The engineer. How much time. I'm a little short on it.''
''Should whip something up in half an hour or so. You'll be there on time if you drive like a madman.'' he pulled out a note from his pocket and handed it to Sarah. ''Here you're picking this up for me. My job depends on it. You gotta give it to me when you return.''
She reached out and took the note. Their eyes met as they stood opposite each other.