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The Hunter and the Hunted (12)

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When Ash returns to his hideout his guys were busy cleaning up the mess from being ransacked. Ash walks in to find the place back to the way it was with Alex walking up to meet him. Alex gives Ash a status on the injured; Kong seems to be fine with just a bump on the head and Bones had a few cuts but those were things first aid was able to fix.

"Does the computer still work? I'm gonna need it in the morning" asked Ash.

Alex replies, "Yup. We got it up and running. Internet and everything."

Ash throws his bloodied jacket on the bed, "Good." Ash plops his tired body on the bed as well; not even wanting to take a shower to clean himself off just yet. Alex hesitates to ask Ash anything else unless he's spoken to; seeing Ash with that much blood all over him took him back from a few years ago when Ash killed 4 people and was sent to Juvenile detention. However, not saying anything was making Ash nervous so Ash decides to break the silence, "Got anything else for me, Alex?"

Alex is startled, "Uh, no, nothing. I was actually gonna ask you the same question." Alex chuckles to lighten the mood. Thankfully, Ash chuckles with him.

"If you can read my mind then you know I need to shit, shower, and sleep. I'll see you at sunrise."

"Gotcha, Boss" Alex leaves Ash to his privacy with a smile on his face knowing there's still a bit of Ash left somewhere in that weary body that laid lifelessly on that bed. Alex closes the door behind him.

Now Ash is alone. By himself. All he could hear was his breathing while he was staring at the ceiling. It bothered him that he couldn't hear Eiji breathing beside him. He dozes off and goes to sleep.

...

......

.........

Ash wakes up to see Eiji standing in front of him with his always bright smile on his face. Ash reaches out to him and hugs him tightly saying, "I thought I lost you, Eiji." Suddenly, the most bone-chilling sound of loud gunshots is heard behind Eiji as he falls to his knees looking at Ash with frightened eyes. As tears start to form in both Ash and Eiji's eyes Ash finds Eiji's blood on his hands and looks to see Marvin and Arthur with gun at the ready aimed at Ash. Marvin and Arthur both fire their guns at Ash with the ear-splitting death knell of Ash's fate sung by their bullets until suddenly...

.........

......

...

Ash wakes up to see no one was around. He was by himself as he was before and it was still night time. He breathes in deeply knowing what he saw was just a dream. He heads to the bathroom to go take a shower to clean all of the blood off of him. After his shower, he looks in the mirror to keep what's left of his sanity, and then he proceeds to wash his face. As he looks back up again to the mirror he sees Eiji behind him with his always bright smile on his face.

"Don't worry, Ash, you'll find me."

Ash quickly turns to look behind him and Eiji is gone. Ash realizes he's now seeing things unclearly, and leaves the bathroom. He walks into the kitchen thinking that maybe a drink of water would help wake him up. He opens the fridge to look for the water jug, but ends up finding the left over natto Eiji had eaten from a few nights ago. Ash tries to shake off the uneasy feelings he has for losing Eiji by grabbing the found water jug and taking a drink from it. He goes to put the jug back into the fridge and hears Eiji from behind the fridge door.

"I believe in you, Ash."

Ash pops up from the fridge door and sees that Eiji is nowhere to be found once more. Frustrated, Ash slams the fridge door and goes back to sit in his bed hugging his pillow. After awhile, he looks over to see an empty bed where Eiji slept. He slowly walks over to sleep in Eiji's bed in hopes he gets comfort from where the only innocent being in his life gets his peaceful rest. Ash starts to doze off, but hears Eiji yet again from behind him...

"Ash?"

"For fuck's sake let me sleep, Eiji."

"I'm not Eiji." Ash starts to feel a cold chill shivering throughout his body as he immediately recognizes that voice and turns to find that he is looking at himself with a knife at Eiji's throat. The other Ash licks Eiji's face as a taunt as Eiji tries to wriggle away from him to get to Ash. All Ash could do was stare petrified at the imagery he's seeing; he tries to reach out with one hand to Eiji and sees that blood has appeared out of nowhere on his hands. Ash looks again at the Other Ash to see him covering Eiji's mouth as he slices Eiji's throat open and muffles his screams.

In shock, Ash leaps out of the bed and yells, "EIJI!" as he wakes up to see the sunrise. He was by himself as he was before, still in his own bed, had not taken a shower and he breathes in deeply knowing what he saw was just a dream.

Alex hears Ash shout and hurries to his side, "Boss? Are you alright?"

"Fuck if I know, Alex. I had a rough sleep, man. I need coffee."

"OK, Boss."

Alex goes to make coffee for Ash in the kitchen while Ash feels through his pockets, pulls out the two photos of Rolando and Jamie, and sits them on the table. Ash goes off to take a shower. When Ash is done with his shower, he sits at the computer, and Alex hands him a cup of coffee.

Alex asks, "Did you want any sugar?"

"Nah, I need it black like Shorter's pubic hairs."

"You've seen his pubes, man?"

"I mean, we were cellmates in juvie. After awhile you start to see some crazy shit." Ash takes a sip of his really strong coffee; at least the taste assured him he wasn't dreaming. Alex diverts his attention to the photos on the table.

One photo showed Eiji unconscious held by a muscular, tanned, Hispanic man that looked to be in his 30s, chiseled face, wavy jet black hair, and had a serpent tattoo on his left forearm; Alex turned the photo over and it read "Rolando". The other photo showed what appeared to be Eiji's feet which were held by a slim, petite white man who appeared to be in his 20s, delicate features, dirty blonde hair that was in a pony tail, with smooth pale skin; this photo read "Jamie" on the back.

Alex was curious, "So these are the guys that knocked out Kong, injured Bones, and took Eiji?"

"Yeah, and I need them found. I don't want them dead yet; I need them followed. I need to know where they go on the regular. If there's any dirt on 'em I need that info, too; even better if you can eavesdrop on any conversations. Get the best guys that can do the job; they need to be flies on the wall. Get it?"

"Got it."

"Good. Tell the rest of the guys to go about their routine. Report back to me of any updates."

Alex heads out to get some guys to follow Rolando and Jamie, and Ash gets on the computer to hack into databases to get more info on them. Ash finds both of these guys were ex-military and both were in the same unit for a brief time. A few hours pass by and Alex comes back with an update.

"Ash, a couple of the guys found something on Rolando and Jamie."

"Bring 'em in." Ash continues to type on his keyboard.

Two members of his crew come up to him waiting for orders. Ash, with a satisfying grin on his face, "So what's the word?" He gestures for one of them to come closer as he typed one handed for a brief moment.

One of them comes close to Ash, "Well, we both overheard their convo with their friends."

"What did they say? Whisper it to me."

The loyal henchman whispered in Ash's ear, and Ash looked very pleased of this news and stops typing. Ash starts to giggle at the turn of events this has turned into. Ash orders the other henchman to come closer.

"This news is so good I need to hear it a second time. Whisper in my ear what they said." Ash was trying to make sure both of their stories added up. Indeed, the stories were the same, but of course said differently. The hunt for Rolando and Jamie just got a ton easier for Ash with this information.

"Did you overhear of when they were going to be out tomorrow tonight?" asked Ash.

Both henchmen said in unison, "9pm sharp, Boss."

"Perfect. You both can leave now. Alex, pay 'em in full plus a 50 for doing a good job. When you're done with them stick around the hideout tonight. I'm gonna try and get some sleep this time." Alex leads them out, pays them, and closes the door behind him.

Ash turns off the computer, lies in bed, and smiles knowing that he will definitely get some sleep tonight. What is going to happen tomorrow night will be easy work for this Lynx.