Where is she?

Die Last

The lights were coming on all over Chinatown.

I drove as close as I could get, the blues and twos flaring and screaming, all the city making way for me.  I left the BMW X5 on Gerrard Place but it was only when I saw the shrine of dead flowers that I realized exactly where I was parked.

For a long moment I stood under the red and gold awning of the dim sum restaurant, staring at the flowers that marked the spot where we had found the lorry with twelve women who died and one woman who lived.

And then I ran.

I ran through the dawdling late afternoon crowds on Gerrard Street to the doorway by the duck restaurant halfway down and then up the ancient wooden staircase three steps at a time to the bright white room on the first floor.

The door to Sampaguita was closed.

Low voices were coming from inside.

I went in without knocking and stared at Ginger Gonzalez and a man I didn’t recognize. He was not yet thirty, a clean-cut city type, lean inside his good suit, the kind of man who goes to the gym for a serious cardio workout before he goes to move money around in one of the big glass towers. He looked privileged but not soft. It was a look you were seeing more and more. He was smiling at Ginger as he moved slowly towards the door, about to make his leave.

I was about to knock him to the ground when Ginger spoke.

“Max, this is Kris. Max is a colleague of mine, Kris.”

He held out his hand, smiling politely, and I had shaken it before I knew what I was doing.

“Good to meet you, Max.” He turned to Ginger. “I’ll call you later.”

As he left I stared at her wildly.

“Where is she?” I said. “Where’s Rabia Demir?”