So we will take one last peek in on Jade before we take off for the month…
She tried to look out the window, but all she could see was a bleak bit of daylight oozing in between the heavy, dark curtains. It was the only amount of light that shined in the room. She looked down to see what was holding her to the chair now that her eyes had grown accustomed to the dim light. She was tied to the chair by a thick, braided rope. Try as she might it was impossible to loosen it even the slightest. As she struggled she almost gagged on the rag they had stuffed in her mouth.
The sounds of her retching must have gained the attention of her captors. A man suddenly appeared at the doorway. He was a short Asian man about five-foot-six, much shorter than she. His hair was neatly trimmed and he was wearing pleated dress pants with a crisp white button-down shirt.
“Ah…So you are awake now.” The man had a quiet and soothing voice, unlike the harsh barking the other men had spat at her. “I am sure you have a lot of questions. From what I have heard you are a very bright girl and bright girls always have questions.”
Jade just stared, not daring to move even when the man approached her. He was close enough now that she could smell the cologne he was wearing. “If I remove this awful rag from your mouth will you promise not to scream?”
Jade nodded. He reached out and took the gag out of her mouth. She sat there not moving a muscle. “There, that’s better. Now you and I can have a quiet conversation.”
Jade said nothing, just watched as he walked back around the coffee table and sat down in the big armchair across from her. “Now what questions do you have for me, bright child?”
Jane still remained silent, not fully trusting her voice. She did not want to show this man how afraid she was. She was afraid for her life and for the lives of her parents. She could almost imagine what her mother was doing right at that moment. And her father would be raging at anyone who would listen and even to those who wouldn’t. Hong Chu had a way of making people listen to him no matter what.
“Oh, come now, child. Surely, you are not a mute. You must have some questions for me.”
“Who are you? And why have you brought me here? What have I ever done to you?” she demanded, hoping her voice would not betray the knot of fear resting in the pit of her stomach.
The man laughed. “Oh good, so you do have a voice! And some very intelligent questions to go with it! Very good. I will make you a deal: I will answer your questions one at a time. But for every question of yours I answer, you will answer three of mine as I have many more questions for you than you have for me. Although I think that my answers will create more questions from you, but for now that is the way it will be. Fair enough?”
Jade stared at him for a moment. Was this guy crazy or something? Was this all he wanted to do? To play twenty questions with her? If that was the case then he could have just asked her out for coffee. No, she decided. Except there was something else. She knew that the longer she played along with him the less of a chance there was for him to do something to hurt her. That meant there was a better chance that she would be found and rescued. She nodded her agreement.
“Good. Shall we start with one of your questions first? Or one of mine?”
“Who are you?” she demanded again.
“I am Ling Chong. A Chinese businessman. Now my turn. I want to know about—”
“How do I know that you are telling me the truth? You could be lying to me for all I know.”
“That is another question; however, for the sake of putting your mind ease I will answer it. The simple answer is there is no way to know if I am telling you the truth or not. I could very well be lying to you as you say, but the only solution to this is you will just have to trust me.”
Jade laughed. “Trust you? You had me taken against my will from my home and brought to you in the middle of nowhere. I am supposed to suddenly trust you? You are crazy if you think I am going to trust you.”
“That of course is your prerogative, my dear. The way I see it, though, you have no choice but to trust me. Just as I will have to trust you to tell me the truthful answers to my questions. Some of the questions I will already know the answers to. However, those will serve as my test to see if you are being truthful with me. I wouldn’t advise lying to me. I don’t like liars, which gives you another reason to believe that the answers I give you are truthful because I detest liars. I certainly wouldn’t want to be one myself.”
A man entered the room, bringing with him a small, silver tray with a tea service for two on it.
“Tea?” Ling asked once the man had left the room with a quick, neat bow to Ling.
“I can’t very well drink it when I am tied up like this now can I?”
“Ah. That is another very good point as well. One that I really should have picked up on before I asked for tea to be brought to us. What are we going to do about this?”
“Well Ling, if that really is your name, you said that I have no choice but to trust you. Don’t you think in all fairness that you should trust me as well? I mean it’s not like I am going to be able to go anywhere when you have this place probably crawling with your goons with those needles.”
“I regret you having to go through that, but under the circumstances I didn’t think you would willingly go quietly and I desperately required your presence.”
“My dear, that is another one of those questions that will have to wait until after you have answered three of my questions first.”
“All right, fine. Let’s get this over with.”
“I will make you another deal. You promise to behave yourself and I will untie those ropes so that we will both be able to enjoy the tea together while we have our little chat.”
“Okay. I won’t do anything to you or try to escape.”
He walked over to the chair and untied the ropes. When he was done, he returned to his chair and poured each of them a cup of tea. He slid hers across the side table located beside his chair.
Jade took her cup and gingerly sipped the steaming brew. It was green tea and it tasted delicious.
“Now, shall we start with my questions?”
“Go ahead.” She was becoming uncomfortable with this whole question and answer period with a man who was obviously not playing with a full deck.
“First question. I want you to tell me about you: who you are and all of that stuff. I know your name but I want to know you.”