Hong Kong – ten years ago:
Standing in the rain, McLeish yells at Logan that he killed hundreds o’ people, bloody hundreds o’ people. And that is only because he’s a classy man. It’s a relatively meager score. He knows people o’ less class who can place in the thousands. H was just a wean, first time he got blood on his face – thirteen. Fourteen more he did that year, about a dozen each year since. He can mark off the months in bodies. Twelve people a year is not exactly trying hard. But he’s classy. He’s no mad dog. He murders one at a time for good money. He’s exact, classy. Nearly thirty-seven years he’s been walkin’ this earth wi’ murder in his hands and mind. Looking up to the sky, he yells out that and he bloody loves it!
New York State – tonight:
Driving his motorcycle down the road, Logan wonders how in hell did he, McLeish, survive the explosion. There was nothing special about him, apart from he could kill near anybody he set his mind on. He was old and a drunk and he couldn’t have lived through a broken back and the middle of a gasoline explosion. Someone’s running a game on him. He decides that he’ll find someplace remote-looking to camp, catch some food, think all this over. Out there, he has time on his side.
Up ahead, behind a some trees, a lady in heavy-duty military-like gear informs the rest of her four man crew that they know their instructions – upper body shots. She also tells them to stay in the middle where the road forks. The man insisted on that. And if he gets too close, switch to the adamantium-load clips. As soon as Logan approaches the para-military crew opens up fire on him. As the bullets hit him, Logan yelps out in pain and then pops his claws and balances on the bike, preparing for a fight.
Hong Kong – ten years ago:
In an airport terminal, Ai-Chia sits one seat away from Logan and says to him so he knew him. Logan asks who to which Ai-Chia replies the man who killed her father. He called him McLeish. Logan says yeah, he drank with him. Ai-Chia asks why. Logan says to her why’d he kill her father? He heard a snatch of conversation before he… well, he heard a snatch of conversation. Seems he’d been hired by a Triad to whack her daddy, something to do with an actor.
Ai-Chia says no, why did he drink with him? Logan informs her that he’d been to the same places he’s been, knew the same things. Ai-Chia says he was a killer just like him, she knows he killed him. Logan tells her he used him to kill her daddy. He killed her daddy. He, Logan, liked her daddy a lot. Comes down to it, McLeish was a mad dog and he saved a lot of lives by burning his body in Hong Kong harbor. Doesn’t do her daddy much good now he knows, but it had to be done. It ain’t nice, he can’t defend it real well. It makes an animal out of him too. But he ain’t sorry, not this time.
Standing up and gathering his bag, he tells Ai-Chia he has to go. Ai-Chia agrees that it’s time to leave. He has to go to Canada, far away from these things. Looking away from him, she tells him it’s funny. She doesn’t think she could ever touch him again. The idea of him touching her… she doesn’t have the right words. There’s dead people all over his hands. Turning towards him, she adds that at the same time, she doesn’t want him to leave. Logan tells her that she knows he’s sorry, the words aren’t big enough. As he reaches out to touch her face, Ai-Chia moves away from him and tells him no. She then says to him that the word for a white man in Hong Kong is gweilo. It translates as “white ghost.” Logan tells her that he knows that. Ai-Chia tells him that it fits him. With that, Logan turns and silently walks away from her.
New York State – tonight:
Standing in the middle of the road, Logan is surrounded by the bodies of the para-military crew. Walking over to his bike, he notices that they killed it. He then remembers adamantium loads. He heard one of them say they had adamantium loads, adamantium bullets.
As Logan stands over one of the crew, the man quietly groans. Logan tells him to shaddap. He coulda killed him, probably shoulda, but he was taught never to kill more’n you can eat. Rifling through the ammunition clip, he sees for himself that some of the rounds are made out of adamantium, the hardest metal on earth and rare as owl’s teeth. He used to have a king’s ransom’s-worth bonded to his skeleton. Adamantium-spiked explosives, adamantium bullets – where on earth is McLeish getting this stuff from? More to the point, if he had adamantium loads all along, why did the New York kill team use regular ammo? Answer – because he didn’t want him dead, then. It makes him wonder – does he want him dead there? Did he somehow know which way he’d take out of the city where he’d…
He took the same way out of the city he always does. Old habits kicked in, not thinking. Logan wonders how long McLeish has been watching him. But he must still think he has the adamantium on his bones, otherwise why prepare adamantium bullets and bombs. He then decides enough o’ that, he’s going to tie his brain in knots that way. Logan starts to think about the forked road. The gunmen came out of the left-hand turning. Which way does he take? If they came out of the left, maybe McLeish wanted him to go right, maybe they were trying to drive him that way. Or maybe they came from McLeish, which means he’s down the left-hand road, waiting for him. Or maybe that’s what he wants him to think, and – mind games! He’s been off-balance from the minute he walked up his apartment building’s steps. Just the way he wants him. Now he takes control of this ride he’s got him on. With that, Logan walks into the woods.
Once he gets in a little ways, he smells metal and plastic. The scent is unmistakable out there. Popping his claws, he smells something else, too. Something medicinal, and another smell. He can’t nail it, too close to the rot of leaves and rich dirt. Just then, Logan hears McLeish’s recorded voice. “I killed ma first man three days after ma thirteenth birthday, Logan.”
At that moment, Logan sees a tape deck tape affixed to a tree along with a motion sensor – metal and plastic. As Logan wonders how many birds and squirrels got to listen to his ‘fore he came along, the voice continues. “I was the best murderer in this world.” Logan thinks to himself if it’s McLeish’s voice. Not quite, but if he factored in age, lung damage from inhaling the superheated air of a gasoline explosion.
Just then, Logan notices something up in the trees. While he dodges the falling item, the voice says “I’ve no’ killed many folk since my brief stay in Hong Kong. And I’m no’ the man I was.” Looking at the body in front of him, Logan senses old blood. The rot of death came a week ago, preservatives used to keep the body recognizable. Ten years older, the face changed by murder and a decade of living with a terrible loss. It’s Ai-Chia all the same. While Logan goes to touch Ai-Chia’s face, the voice is heard again. “Aye, not many dead for old McLeish since, Logan. But I’m catching up now, Logan, as you can see. Come up the road some. There’s a wee town up ahead. There’s more for you to see. More like this. Lots more.”
Enraged, Logan destroys the tape recorder with his claws and calls out to McLeish that he wants the animal, he wants death? He wants him, come on. He wants some death, you freak? He’ll give him some death. He’ll break his back all over again and send him straight to the devil with his guts on fire. He yells out that he’s dead, dead! Rushing deeper into the woods, he yells to McLeish that he’s gonna kill him…